The Ultimate Travel Guide to Manchester!
Ok. Let’s get real here for a minute. I’m apart of the Girls Love Travel Facebook group and literally almost everyone said to skip Manchester. I even did a poll on my Facebook page and no one said to stop. A ton of people from both pages said it was not worth the trip. And after going, I strongly disagree. Granted I couldn’t find any one thing to make someone visit, like a standout attraction or something like that but we had an amazing time! I think it may have even been one of my favorite places in England! It’s like a British version of Brooklyn or North Beach for my Cali friends. Almost too cool for me. lol ⠀
Birthplace of the industrial revolution, Manchester is now one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the UK., yet it has its own unique character. Manchester is the perfect city to explore on foot. Stroll around the city;’s streets and you can discover new neighborhoods, restaurants, and bars and the amazing mix of old and modern buildings. You’ll even notice a lot of the fun graffiti walls! There’s plenty to see and do, including museums and galleries, most of which are free to enter. For shopping Manchester is the perfect destination, whatever your style or budget. Whether it’s designer labels, high street shops or vintage clothing, that city has it all.
Fun fact. Did you know the worker bee is the symbol of Manchester? Symbolizing industry, work ethic and cooperation, since the 1800s. Today you can see the bee all over the city – in their city crest, in their street art and mosaics, and on Manchesters lampposts and bins. It’s a constant reminder of where the city’s been, and what it stands for.
Manchester has a free bus service called the Metroshuttle. The green, purple and orange coloured Metroshuttle buses loop around the city centre on three different routes. The service numbers are 1, 2 and 3, and stops are clearly marked on the all maps.
Manchester also has a tram service called the Metrolink which visitors can use to reach slightly out of town places such as Salford Quays or Old Trafford. There is a charge for using the trams and payment must be made at the machines before boarding.
What To Do
There are so many amazing places to explore when you’re in Manchester. Breetham Tower, Spinningfields, Central Retail District. The Gay Village, Chinatown, and the Northern Quarter are all a must too! It’s super easy to get around because they have this bus that will take you around the city for free. FOR FREE. I couldn’t get over that. Spinningfields is a vibrant area with luxury brands, restaurants, and bars. Northern Quarter is Manchester’s creative urban heart with independent stores, record shops, and cafes!
I love to get to know the city better when I visit and the best way to do that is a walking tour. I suggest booking a walking tour with Sue McCarthy! She’s so knowledgable about Manchester!
While you’re in Manchester, visit the Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Central Library, The John Rylands Library, Manchester Cathedral, or the National Football Museum! For the weird and wonderful head to Junkyard Golf Club, Bongo’s Bingo, Statue Hunt, Cat Cafe, Axe Throwing, Ancoats Peeps.
Where To Eat
Seriously. I did not go hungry in Manchester. Out of everywhere we went in the UK, Manchester had the best food and drinks! You could do an entire foodie tour here because their food scene is on point. So for starters, Neighbourhood is a MUST! It’s such a fun place to eat or go for drinks! So fun! It’s Instagram heaven. Alberts Schloss is another Instagram gold mine. They have a fully stocked rose gold Prosecco bar with your very own “Push for Prosecco” button on your table. Think white subway tiles, exposed beams, and a free photo booth with props! Everything was so gorgeous!
If you want to dine with a view then I suggest Cloud 23! It’s the tallest building in Manchester and the second tallest building in the UK! Cloud 23 has such a cool vibe. With lite bites, small plates, and cocktails you can’t go wrong looking out the floor to ceiling windows around the entire floor. I had a nice happy hour there and then I went back the next afternoon for tea time! Their afternoon tea is legit!
Another great place to have afternoon tea is Opus One at the Radisson Blu. I loved dining there because they have a traditional afternoon tea and a gentleman’s afternoon tea. I had both, do not judge. They were both so good. I’d recommend the gentleman’s afternoon tea to try more of their lunch bites. You still get the finger sandwiches and scones.
A few other favorites are The Alchemist Spinningfields, Artisian, Australasia, Fazenda, Iberica, Manchester House, The Oast House, Tattu, and Thaikhun. Oh and if you want the best dessert in Manchester head to Black Milk Cereal! If you can make your way through that list and still have time then don’t worry because there are 55 other amazing restaurants you can eat at!
Where To Stay
We stayed at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate. Housed in the Beetham Tower – Manchester’s first true skyscraper, and an iconic part of the city skyline – the hotel is a destination in itself. It takes pride of place in the city centre, and is walking distance from Manchester’s thriving business districts, shops and restaurants. Cloud 23, an amazing spot to dine on the 23rd floor, along with the Hilton executive suite that always has snacks and juice out to accompany the stunning views.
You can also stay at the Stock Exchange Hotel, Cow Hollow Hotel, Haigh Hall Hotel, The Principal Manchester, or even Roomzzz Manchester Corn Exchange!
Enjoy Manchester! I can’t wait to go back!