Growing up only about forty minutes outside of Manchester, I feel that I know it pretty well. Now I live on the outskirts, I feel like I’m getting to know it even better. After having a love-hate relationship with the city for quite some time, I’m finally starting to just love it, and it’s starting to feel more like home.
What I love the most about Manchester is how close everything is. I can leave my flat, hop on a tram, and within twenty minutes be weaving my way through the crowds of people in the middle of Piccadilly gardens. I can walk around the corner and find a lovely little coffee shop, and I can walk down the road at sunset and find the canal, perfect for an evening stroll. I love Serendipitea in Sale which does an amazing cooked breakfast, and also Blue Daisy Cafe in the Northern Quarter of the city centre.
Manchester prides itself on being the capital of the north, a city of culture and of rich industrial history, and this is evident around every corner as you see the old and the new mixed together. Perhaps my favourite building is City library, which looks like something from another time, and looks quirky and unique in contrast to the nearby Manchester Central and passing trams. You can spend an afternoon here soaking up the history, or having some quiet time with a good book. The MOSI museum is good, and always extremely busy, but I prefer Manchester Art Gallery, which contains an abundance of beautiful paintings which tell a history; it’s perfect for any couples out there wanting more of a cultured afternoon.
In Manchester, you’re also never too far away from the countryside with the Peak district and the Cheshire plain almost on your doorstep. I love Lyme Park with it’s romantic setting and it being the backdrop of my favourite version of Pride and Prejudice. Dunham Massey, near Altrincham, is also lovely for taking a stroll in when the sun’s shining on a cold and crisp day. If you like long walks with dramatic backdrops then Dovestone Reservoir is ideal, and you can walk all around the outside in around two hours. I’d recommend taking a bit of a picnic if it’s a nice day.
In terms of shopping, I’ve found you’re spoiled for choice, as is evident from my now overflowing wardrobes. The Trafford Centre’s worth a trip to, particularly if it’s a rainy day, and if you’re wanting an array of choice for food after all that shopping; I’d recommend Coast to Coast, which I visited a few weeks ago for the first time. I also like shopping in the centre of Manchester, not just in the Arndale, but also in the surrounding streets. Of course the giant Primark is a must, but be warned that you will be in there for a long time- enter at your own risk! But if you like vintage shops, and second hand book shops and charity shops galore, explore the backstreets of Manchester. Check out Ancoats and the Northern Quarter. Altrincham, which is close to where I live, is great if you’re a fan of charity shop shopping like myself, and I’ve found a tonne of good finds by spending a Saturday morning on the lookout. There’s also a fab tearoom in the old post rooms which is a must for afternoon tea.
As for nightlife, again you’re spoiled for choice. Being the type of person who prefers meals and cocktails, I’m a big fan of Deansgate Locks. It’s also right next to the tram station which means I can get home quickly, ideal after a few too many. Lola Lo’s, with it’s coconut theme aroma, and Revolution, cheap with your student card, are the best bet. If you want a night of dancing then Revolucion de Cuba is pretty good.
Where are your favourite places in Manchester?