The city of Manchester in the UK is one which is noted for a whole host of reasons: famous TV, fantastic music, and a buzzing nightlife. Every corner of this fabulous city holds a hidden surprise or gem; from delicious food and classy cocktails to a wealth of activities. After my last visit, it has officially embedded itself in my heart as one of my favourite cities: here are just a few stand out favourites, though you could write a book on the amazing must sees!
Best places to eat in Manchester
Wherever you are in Manchester, there are a huge number of restaurants, cafes and street vendors to suit every taste and style. From clubs to TV studios, churches to steakhouses, here are a pick of some of my top choices to visit not only in the city, but in the UK!
Manchester Smokehouse and Cellar
Located in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter, the Smokehouse is a fantastic hidden gem which offers incredible food at great prices. Hidden down a side street close to the town hall, it is one which could easily be missed if you didn’t know what you were looking for. Once inside, the stylish interior is welcoming and inviting, the service attentive, and the food fantastic! The menu is wide ranging, from delicious beef burgers to meaty steaks, all with an incredible smoked flavour. Sharing platters are more than generous, and the taste is to die for. I was even more delighted to discover that the veggie options are not only plentiful, but delicious: it is a rare place which can make bean burgers tasty and moreish! Choose from a range of chips and fries, mix and match sides, and make sure everything is washed down the the variety of wines, spirits, beers and cocktails available. The atmosphere is buzzing and lively, and the whole experience one I am keen to repeat: this is a must visit spot whilst in the city.
The Liquor Store
Another of Deansgate’s treasures, the Liquor Store is as much an experience as a bar. A unique blend of UK and New York, it is one of the rare establishments which seeks to mix two distinct styles and not only pulls it off, but completely smashes it. Bare brickwork and vintage Los Angeles style signage are blended with a soul which is pure Manchester: the walls are covered in photographs of Manchester royalty, and liquors are sourced from around the world, giving an international vibe which blends perfectly with the locally named cocktails: Oasis and the Manchester Mule being just two examples. The small space has an intimate feel, and the eclectic playlist and friendly atmosphere market this one of the best bars not only in Deansgate, but in the whole of Manchester. Definitely one of the first places I head for whilst in the city!
Oh My Glaze
Whilst shopping at the Lowry Mall in Salford, I was reluctant to sit indoors and eat on a gloriously sunny Bank Holiday weekend. When hunger hit, I wandered outside amongst the many stalls for a browse, and saw a stand selling chicken and veggie wraps, entitled Oh My Glaze. The price was a bargain, so I gave it a try. And boy am I glad I did. Street food with a twist, these wrap wizards can be found at various pop up locations throughout Manchester: check the handy calendar online to see where to find them on a given day. They specialise in delicious wraps filled with unusual salads and sauces, along with grilled chicken or halloumi. You may have to be patient to find them, but they are well worth the wait!
Must see sights in Manchester
From the home of TV, to tear jerking theatre, to the chance to dance the night away, Manchester truly has something for everyone, and it is impossible to run out of ideas to explore!
Located right next to Manchester Central tram stop, the ten converted railway arches of ‘The Locks’ are home to six of the hottest bars in town, as well as a comedy club, and offer a range of experiences from cool, trendy bars to the most buzzing clubs. Lock 91, a cocktail bar, sits happily alongside Revs, which nestles shoulder to shoulder with El Diablo, a unique tequila bar which offers something a bit different. You can easily hop from bar to bar depending on where the night takes you, and best of all, no sore feet from miles of walking to find the perfect place! For a night out you will love to not forget, I would definitely head to the Locks: what happens from there is a bonus!
Less than a ten minute drive, or a fifteen minute tram, out of Manchester City centre sit the Salford Quays, home of Media City. This unique waterfront location holds amazing places to eat, sights to see, and architecture to explore. Take a tour of the ITV and BBC studios, take a guided walk on the Salford heritage tour, and take in the stunning architecture of the Lowry and the Imperial War Museum. My favourite part was a leisurely stroll along the Quays, and taking a quiet moment to reflect and enjoy the stunning sights and relaxed atmosphere.
As an art history and architecture nerd, this seems an obvious must see. It is fantastically deceptive: from the outside, the nineteenth century facade makes it seem a relatively modern building, but this is far from the case. Extensive refurbishment was carried out during this period, but there is evidence of a church on the site dating back to the early Saxon period, thanks to the Angel Stone, dated to around 700, found embedded in the wall of the original South Porch. One of only fifteen Grade One listed buildings in Manchester, the spectacular Gothic style architecture, and the blend of old and new, makes this a truly breathtaking site, and one not to be missed.