Manchester is one of those cities that I feel like I know really well, but in actuality I don’t. I mean I know it as it was ten years ago as I spent three years there at University. But Manchester as it is now is kind of a mystery to me. I know where the centre is and how to get around it easily, but I’ve not properly explored it, like you would as a tourist, for a very long time. So last year when it came to deciding on where to spend a Christmas weekend with friends Manchester was the obvious choice. And I loved every second of it. Manchester, is a really awesome city. So if you’re considering a trip there then read on for my top tips of what to do if you have 24 hours in Manchester.
Explore the Northern Quarter
This is my new favourite area of the city. We stayed in a great Air bnb here and it was the most perfect base for us. It’s just ten minutes walk from the station and less than five to the main shopping centre. So it’s super easy to get to. And then it’s full of the most awesome places – from incredible food places, lovely shops and full of amazing street art. Basically there’s a photo opportunity every way you turn. An Instagrammers dream you say? We tried a couple of the food places – for lunches and brunch and loved them all. From what I’ve heard you’d be hard pressed to find a food place that wasn’t amazing in this area.
Hit the shops
Manchester city centre is like a shopping mecca. There’s every shop you could possibly want – from standard high street shops to Selfridges and Harvey Nicholls and TK Maxx. Plus the biggest Primark shop ever! We spent an afternoon popping in and out of all the shops trying not to buy everything – it was a hardship I tell you.
Brunch at Albert Schloss
I’d heard tell of this intriguing venue via the medium of Instagram as the decor is incredible. Then I saw the menu and I was sold on visiting it. And thank goodness I did as everything about it is incredible and it totally met my crazy expectations. The decor is awesome – like a log cabin in the middle of Bavaria, but with the addition of neon lights, buttons for champagne and delicious bread and baked goods on the wooden tables ready for you to devour and drool over. And the food, it was delicious. We started our brunch with two cruffins for the four of us to share, followed by plates of avocado and eggs on toast and all the drinks. Because if you’ve not got three drinks at brunch what are you even doing?!
Just on the outskirts of the city centre there’s a Junkyard Golf, which has two different crazy golf courses. The holes are fashioned out of junk and lit up by neon lights, which is pretty cool. If you’ve got even a tiny streak of competitiveness you need to visit with friends. It’s such fun!
Admire the architecture
Manchester is such an awesome city – with beautiful buildings wherever you look. The city is made up of an eclectic mix of building styles, from those dating back to the industrial revolution to the gothic buildings like the cathedral. And then there’s the more recent buildings and concrete architecture – it really does make a great city to photograph (and Instagram of course)!
Go to the Christmas markets
The Manchester Christmas markets are the best in the UK and are only beaten by the German Christmas markets in actual Germany in my mind. Not only are the markets on every corner of the city, they are also full of incredible and good things. Not just crappy plastic toys or rubbish, non festive food. There’s the classic Gluewein and the huge bratwurst cooked with onions and served in crunchy baguettes. Plus they do chimney cakes and chocolate covered fruit skewers. In the non-food related category they have carved wooden Christmas decorations, beautiful glass decorations and wooden toys. It’s easy to spend a couple of hours wandering around the stalls and getting all festive. It’s the best.
So there we go, if you have 24 hours in Manchester this is my suggested itinerary – a good mix of culture, aimless wandering and organised fun, plus all the food. Yeah for lovely weekends in gorgeous UK cities.