Essential Manchester Guide

Buzzy, vibrant, and bold with loads of brilliant things to eat, see and do, I often wonder why it's taken me the better part of 19 years in the UK to discover and write my guide to Manchester. I've jotted down my top picks for my Essential Manchester guide:  What to Eat in Manchester.  Where to Sleep in Manchester. Where to drink in Manchester and What to see in Manchester. 

Manchester is the second largest city in the UK (after London) and it's quite rightfully dubbed the Uk Capital of the North. The city is probably best known for its music legacy, for giving birth to the likes of New Order, The Smiths and the Bee Gees to name a few.  It was also deeply rooted in the Industrial Revolution with the production of textiles.   At one point it was the world's largest marketplace for cotton goods. Now, that's impressive. 

The architecture in the northern quarter has a distinctly New York City vibe with its red brick warehouses complete with zigzaggy fire escapes lining the wide city streets. The people are super friendly and there is this nice balance of buzz and calm in the city.  

I hope this essential guide to Manchester has been helpful. 

Sleep :: Design-Led ApartHotel Living at Whitworth Locke

As much as I love staying in full-service hotels… I’m a mega fan of Aparthotels.   Whitworth Lock is the newest and easily the most design-led entry in the Aparthotel offering.  

What I love most is with apart hotels you get a bedroom, living space and fully functioning kitchen all for the price of a standard hotel room elsewhere. . . It's great if you are obsessed with having midnight fridge snacks at your fingertips.

Besides their instagrammable interiors, they have loads of workspaces on the ground floor… A speciality coffee shop (Foundation Coffee) serving loads of brilliant coffee and drinks... including Bulletproof for all you Keto's out there, Conservatory Bar,  Shampoo that smells of Salted Caramel by Kinsey Apothecary and some of the fluffiest towels to wrap my plus-sized frame. 

These are just a few perks that set Whitworth Locke head and shoulders of other ApartHotels.

Sleep ::  Luxury Victorian Restoration stays at The Principle Manchester

Ok… So Full disclosure… I did not stay at the Principal on my visit to Manchester… But I did visit and was swooning over the entire place.  The exteriors are a stunning example of the Victorian Architecture that I adore.  

The terra cotta clad Grade II listed building and clock tower is an unmistakable landmark in the city's skyline.  The building itself was built in 1890, when it first opened as The Refuge Assurance Company headquarters.

It was converted to a hotel by Richard Newman in 1996 at a cost of £7 million, and was named the Palace Hotel… But it was rebranded as the Principal Manchester in 2016.  

Rumour has it that the place is haunted…. But that will not scare me away from staying there the next time I visit.

Sleep ::  Loft Style Aparthotel Living at Native Manchester

Set to open July of 2019, Native Manchester is looking to be an impressive ApartHotel for Manchester.    If any of their more recent properties are to go by (Native Glasgow & Native Bankside) this will be a perfect home away from home when staying in Manchester.

 

The gigantic Grade II listed former railway goods warehouse is a two-minute stroll from Manchester Piccadilly.  According to Native Places website, the newly christened London Wharehouse (formerly the Dulce Wharehouse) will house 166 beautifully designed apartments. 

The word on the street according to to Manchester Confidential, there will also be a restaurant, bar, café from the founders of Bistroteque and fitness studio from London Based fitness studio Blok offering everything from ballet-based workouts to rocket yoga.

 

EAT  ::  Mackie Mayor

Mackie Mayor was on the top of my list to visit in Manchester... Mainly because of what I had seen with the renovation of the old market building.. Not really for street food.

You see living in London, I feel a little overexposed to street food. There seems to be a new street food complex on every corner.  Some hitting out of the park, most just barely hitting it.

When I travel, street food scenes interest me, but I always go with apprehensions. Although Mackie Mayor feels like a street food hall, it's not really a street food hall... more like a modern food court with restaurant quality food. I fell in love with this porchetta and roasted cauliflower from NQ Rotisserie. Literally, mind blown. Chatted quite a bit with the owner and his passion for what he makes was obvious and the attention to detail was second to none.

Eat :: Trove

Absolutely fell in love with Trove.  They have two locations. I dined at the newly opened Ancoats location ⠀

✔️Chic minimal interior.

✔️Open Plan Kitchen to watch all the action.⠀

✔️brilliant reading (and tasting) menu⠀

I brunched on Merguez sausages, fried egg, labneh, dukka, pickled turnip and Zhoug on toasted house-made sourdough. ⠀

Perfect brunch on the perfect pink terrazo table.⁣ ⠀

Eat :: Eveylyn's

With Pinterest worthy interiors and killer brunch dishes, its no wonder that Evelyn's  Cafe Bar was one of the most suggested places to visit in Manchester.

Really love the vibe and the light, I mean look at the light. .. Tho the staff straddled that treacherous helpful/patronising borderline by telling me how to best eat the shakshuka. In case you were wondering the #protip was to mix the yolk into the tomatoes. I mean what kind of heathen shakshuka eating clientele would not do that? ⁣🤣😂🤣😂⁣⠀

The food and coffee were good.. overall a delight⁣. 

Eat :: Mr Thomas’s Chop House

Dating back to 1867, this Victorian Terracotta Façade has stood as a testament to time.  Inside it’s a stunning pub and dining room… with yes you guessed it…  Victorian Tilework The interior with its tiled arches and intense green lustre remains almost completely original.  This unique little building was given protected Grade II-listed status in 1988. 

The menu is just like you would imagine… chicken liver pate, smoked salmon, sourdough with gravy for dipping, chops, fish and chips…  But the signature dish Is the Corned Beef Hash… 10 days in the making to their own secret recipe – served with sautéed potatoes & creamed onions, topped with a soft-poached egg & crispy dry-cured bacon.  This was a case of more meat than potatoes and I’m all for that

Eat ::  Idle Hands Coffee 

The speciality coffee scene in Manchester is really up there with that of London.  I know its really unfair to compare, but you have to.  Most of the Specialty coffee shops are located in the Hipster Northern Quarter area of Manchester. 

My hands down favourite was Idle Hands Coffee.  I don't know what it was about the place... the vibe, the coffee, the food or the pies... This one really tripped my fancy. 

It's bright and spacious without being achingly hip. its the kind of place that you want to spend time in and buy coffee, rather than nursing a single flat white for 3 hours whilst you freelance.  

They also managed fuel my Turkish egg obession in Manchester at Idle Hands Coffee. Yess the obsession is real. You probably know by now that I love Turkish eggs... even better on these pink plates no? ⁣⠀

Even better yet when a friendly face from the London Street Food scene (Hey Catering Craig) cooks and brings them to the table. ⁣Perfectly poached eggs in a garlic yoghurt and this incredible chilli jam to slather on the toasted sourdough. ⁣Not only do they do killer coffee and brunch dishes.... but OMG THE PIES. Save room for the pies. ⁣⠀

Eat :: Siop Shop

What more could you want by the seaside than fish & chips. Everyone recommended this and from the queues outside all of Margate loves Peter's Fish Factory. Deffo the best chippie in Margate.

Drink: The Peveril of the Peak

Low key obsessed with this green tiled pub in Manchester.⁣⠀

The Peveril of the Peak is probably Manchester’s most unique pubs, Obviously for its brilliant green Victorian tiled exterior. But its also Manchester's detached pub in the city centre. You can walk right around it. It has been run by the same hands for more than 4 generations and it dates from the early 19th century. ⁣⠀

I mean just how cute is it?

Eat :: CBR+B

Manchester has it all... Gorgeous tile facades, tasty brunch, brilliant coffee and baked goods...

They even have great ramen... Loved my little lunch at Cocktails Beers Ramen & Buns.  A little bowl of ramen and steamed bun for £10.  The broth had real depth and was packed full of pork and noodles... obviously, I added an extra egg. . . The Korean fried chicken steamed bun was well stuffed and had a kick... The Padron peppers with kimchi were inspired.

Eat: Pollen

Afternoon strolls around any city are best punctuated with cake and coffee stops.  My favourite cake and coffee break was at Pollen Bakery.  

This insanely delicious sugar-coated cinnamon crumb cake was jam-packed with the most jammy of berry compotes.  The perfect bit of crumble streusel topping and gold leaf... because something this luxe needs just that.

The brunch options looked soo delicious so deffo one to revisit on my return to Manchester. Can you resist a cake and coffee break?  Yeah me either!

See :: Barton Arcade

Never tiring of the Victorian architecture in Manchester. I mean just look at this beaut of a shopping arcade.Barton Arcade was built in 1871 and was Grade II listed in 1972. It underwent restoration in the 1980s. ⁣⠀
⁣⠀
Its the home to loads of shops a few cafes and I got an excellent grooming from Barber Barber.

Drink: Sugar Junction

If you have a proper breakfast with all the trimmings for lunch is that really brunch? That's what I was pondering at Sugar Junction. Not pondering for too long though once I got stuck into it. Regardless of what time you eat it, it was a solid meal. ⁣⠀

This is a super cute day to night cafe/tearoom in Manchester's Northern Quarter. They serve all day breakfasts (with some epic looking baked french toasts), afternoon teas and cocktails till late... ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀

Shop :: Fred Aldous

Never tiring of the Victorian architecture in Manchester. I mean just look at this beaut of a shopping arcade.Barton Arcade was built in 1871 and was Grade II listed in 1972. It underwent restoration in the 1980s. ⁣⠀
⁣⠀
Its the home to loads of shops a few cafes and I got an excellent grooming from Barber Barber.

See ::  The Toast Rack

Afternoon strolls around any city are best punctuated with cake and coffee stops.  My favourite cake and coffee break was at Pollen Bakery.  

This insanely delicious sugar-coated cinnamon crumb cake was jam-packed with the most jammy of berry compotes.  The perfect bit of crumble streusel topping and gold leaf... because something this luxe needs just that.

The brunch options looked soo delicious so deffo one to revisit on my return to Manchester. Can you resist a cake and coffee break?  Yeah me either!

See :: The John Rylands Library

Low key obsessed with this green tiled pub in Manchester.⁣⠀

The Peveril of the Peak is probably Manchester’s most unique pubs, Obviously for its brilliant green Victorian tiled exterior. But its also Manchester's detached pub in the city centre. You can walk right around it. It has been run by the same hands for more than 4 generations and it dates from the early 19th century. ⁣⠀

I mean just how cute is it?

Do you have suggestions for me?

Did I miss out on your favourite breakfast haunt?  What about the best flat white in the neighbourhood?  Is there a must eat restaurant that just opened up? 

I'd love to know. 

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