Whether you like to wander around galleries and the outdoors while travelling, or prefer to roam the shopping districts and bars, Manchester has you covered. Here are 10 ways to get the best out of your visit.
1. See street art in the Northern Quarter
You’ll find an eclectic mix of boutiques, record shops, galleries, cafes, bars and restaurants in this part of the city. It’s also home to some of the country’s best street-art spots, but you’ll have to wander down cobbled alleys to discover them, so put on your walking boots.
2. Shop at Afflecks
Located in the Northern Quarter, this eclectic venue is a great place to shop for anything from top hats to a new tattoo. After stopping by this indie spot, team your visit with a trip to the nearby Manchester Craft and Design Centre, where you’ll find more one-off handmade gifts to take home.
3. Soak up culture at The Whitworth
The Whitworth Art Gallery on Oxford Road won the Art Prize for Museum of the Year in 2015, following a refit and extension into Whitworth Park. It’s now considered one of the finest galleries on the continent, so make sure to at least experience the glass-walled cafe within.
4. Get up-close to a piece of history at The John Rylands Library
While people often traipse the streets of Deansgate for retail therapy, The John Rylands Library nearby can be overlooked by tourists, who may not be aware that the Victorian Gothic building is there. It’s said to have one of the world’s finest rare book and manuscript collections, including the oldest known piece of the New Testament, the St John Fragment.
5. Explore The Quays and MediaCityUK
Located just 10 minutes from the city centre is MediaCityUK, a digital and creative hub where popular soap opera Coronation Street is based, as well as the BBC building. On the other side is The Quays, where Manchester’s famous museums and galleries, including the IWM North and Lowry arts centre, overlook the water.
6. Drink at Manchester Three Rivers
Inside the City of Manchester Distillery lies the opportunity to learn about the history of the juniper-based drink at Manchester Three Rivers. Named after the Irk, Irwell and Medlock rivers, which existed before the canals formed, the venue invites guests to create a personalised bottle of the beverage, which they can take home. All batches are made in small amounts by master distiller Dave Rigby.
7. Play around at Junkyard Golf Club
Blow off steam at Junkyard Golf Club, based in the old office building of Piccadilly Place. The mini-golf experience is a mash-up of two courses containing plenty of junk to form obstacles for players. Local DJs play while popular street-food vendors serve tasty eats to players tackling the alternative 9 holes, which makes the sport more of a party than anything else.
8. Relax at Oddfellows on the Park
Fifteen minutes by car from Manchester Airport is the award-winning sister hotel to Oddfellows in Chester. Offering 22 boutique bedrooms, this Victorian mansion has been turned into a design-led hotel at Bruntwood Park and offers great dining and drinking in venues such as The Galloping Major and Stud Room Bar. The Pigsty beauty salon provides services for freshening up your look on the way into or out of the city, while the rooms and suites provide a comfortable space to sleep.
9. Dine at Where The Light Gets In
You’ll have to look out for this restaurant tucked away on a side street near Stockport market hall. It can be spotted by an overhead lamp shining through a doorway that leads to chef Samuel Buckley’s delicious plates. Having worked under celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, Buckley certainly knows how to pair local and seasonal produce with top wines for the ultimate dining experience. The venue used to be a coffee warehouse and now boasts an open kitchen.
10. Discover the transformation of Ancoats
Ancoats has been described “the world’s first industrial suburb” that went downhill after the Industrial Revolution, when Italian and Irish immigrants left for better living conditions. Now, the neighbourhood boasts plush apartments, offices and restaurants such as Rudy’s pizza, Kettlebell Kitchen and Squid Ink. It’s also home to world-famous nightclub Sankeys (which you’ll find on party island Ibiza as well), independent playhouse Hope Mill Theatre, and Halle St Peter’s church, where the Halle Youth Orchestra rehearses. While you’re there, learn about the Victorian Scuttles on a Gangs of Manchester walking tour.
– TEXT BY LEAH SIMPSON
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This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.