The unofficial capital of northern England beckons, with its thriving music scene, impressive art galleries and a host of lively football fans. But besides its better known attractions, there’s much more to Manchester than meets the eye. Have a read of my city guide and you’ll be navigating the city like a local in no time…
If you’re in need of a night or two away, but are short on time, then a staycation is perfect for you. You can just hop in the car or onto the train, and discover the amazing cities and countryside areas that we have right here at home! Manchester is an great city for a weekend break, there’s fantastic attractions, shopping and nightlife and definitely something to keep everyone entertained. Here, you can read my hand-picked selection of the best things to do whilst you’re there.
Did you know that a large part of the BBC’s production takes place in Salford, Manchester? At the 81 hectare site, just outside of the centre, you can take a tour around the sets of much loved TV shows including Blue Peter and Coronation Street as well as several news programmes. It’s a great place to take the little ones, as there’s an opportunity for them to make their own program in an interactive studio, and there are often special events such as the CBBC Summer Special party. There’s plenty of restaurants and cafes in the area too, for when you need to refuel.
The Northern Quarter is one of Manchester’s most modern, exciting and rapidly expanding districts. It’s know for its lively cafe and bar culture, which offer quality coffee and also cater well for veggies and vegans. I recommend a visit to Pen & Pencil to sample their new brunch menu, which includes delicious dishes such as N’duja Baked Eggs (two poached eggs baked in a n’duja and pepper ragu topped with feta and served with sourdough). The area is also a hub for design, fashion and music. Visit Affleck’s Palace, a multi-storey bazaar of knick knacks, to grab some vintage clothing bargains, spend an evening at Night & Day Cafe watching an upcoming local or international band, or just wander around and check out some of the street art.
Museum of Science & Industry
For the curious cats among you, the Museum of Science & Industry is the place to go. The museum explores Manchester’s rich industrial and technological history, spanning everything from the Industrial Revolution to today and beyond! You can admire a large collection of antique steam engines, former factory machinery and locomotives, but also try out a flight simulator or visit the 4D cinema. This is another great one to do with kids, as the museum is very interactive. For example, you can try out an electric shock machine… if you dare!
Canal Street is Manchester’s Gay Village, and the largest area of LGBT bars, clubs and restaurants outside of London. I recommend a visit to Napoleon’s Bar, one of the most well-established venues in the area, which opens late 5 nights per week and hosts a multitude of nights to suit everyone. Many LGBT events also take place in the area, namely the annual Manchester Pride event. Please bear in mind that while straight visitors are warmly welcomed, respect must be shown for the LGBT community at all times.
Manchester Art Gallery
Manchester Art Gallery is the city’s most prestigious art collection. The collection is largely comprised of British and European art, including 37 Turner watercolours and a more modern section home to works by artists including David Hockney and Francis Bacon. The gallery also hosts temporary exhibitions, for example the Mary Quant: Fashion icon exhibition, which is running until November 2017 and exhibits garments by the most famous female designer working in London during the 1960s.
Browse all my Manchester deals as well as other trips within the UK on the Staycation section of my blog! If you’re a local Mancunian, or happen to have any exciting insider tips for making the most of Manchester, then please do leave me a comment below! :)