Manchester has always ranked among England’s best shopping destinations, but while you could max out your credit card at the designer boutiques of Cross Street and King’s Road, or spend an entire day in shopping malls like the Arndale Centre and the Trafford Centre, the city’s markets are also well worth a visit. From alternative clothing to artisan produce, Manchester’s best markets are full of bargain buys and unique finds – here are some of the best.
Whether you have road-weary youngsters to entertain or thrill-seeking teenagers to impress, there are plenty of fun things to do with kids in Manchester and many of them are equally enjoyable for the whole family. Here are a few ideas.
Like London’s Camden Town, Manchester’s Northern Quarter has earned a reputation as a creative hub and is the heart of the city’s alternative scene, home to a lively cluster of independent shops, contemporary art galleries and left-of-the-center bars and cafes. With a burgeoning foodie scene and some unique nightlife venues, the Northern Quarter has been drawing the spotlight away from the central district in recent years, voted as the UK’s Neighborhood of the Year back in 2011 and even used as a filming location for Hollywood hit Captain America: The First Avenger.
Stretching 429km from Edale in Derbyshire all the way to the Scottish Borders, the Pennine Way is one of England’s most iconic hiking routes and, first marked out in 1965, is the oldest of the country’s 15 National Trails. Located less than an hour from the start of the trail, there are a number of options for hiking the Pennine Way from Manchester and those short on time or fitness can enjoy a number of shorter loops ideal for day or multi-day hikes.
Once you’ve discovered the legacy of The Beatles in their hometown, cruised along the famous Mersey River and got your culture fix at the city’s top museums and galleries, Liverpool’s excellent transport links make it easy to explore further afield. Whether you want a day at the beach or a hike in the hills, there are plenty of great day trips from Liverpool – here are a few ideas.
Pop-up bars and restaurants have been springing up all around the UK in the last few years, with everything from quirky theme bars in unique locations to gourmet eateries adding a new dimension to British cuisine. Lasting anything from a single day to several months, some of the pop-ups have become so popular they’ve become regular events or even taken to touring around England, and Manchester has wasted no time jumping on board with the new trend.
Famed around the world for its historic breweries and thriving pub culture, beer lovers won’t have to go far to get a pint in England, but the British Isles are also renowned for their production of quality ales, many of which date back to medieval times. With temperatures plummeting and Mancunians huddling indoors, winter ales – stronger, richer brews designed for their warming effect – quickly become the drink of choice for locals and there’s no better place to sample England’s best than at the National Winter Ales Festival.
With Santa’s grottos popping up around town, storefronts adorned with fairy lights and the scent of roasting chestnuts filling the air, Christmas in Manchester is the most atmospheric time of year to visit. The holiday season kicks off on November 8th with the city’s legendary Christmas Lights switch-on – a task typically undertaken by a celebrity guest and accompanied by live musical acts and a dazzling fireworks display in the central Albert Square.
Tucked away in the limestone gorge of Winnats Pass, the Blue John Caves are one of the highlights of England’s idyllic Peak District National Park and a popular day trip from nearby Manchester. Renowned as some of the finest natural caves in Western Europe, the caves are most famous for the semi-precious mineral ‘Blue John’ from which they take their name.
Whether you’re seeking the perfect Biryani or a cheap takeaway curry, Manchester’s famous Curry Mile has it all. Located along a mile-long stretch of Wilmslow Road in the Rusholme district of Manchester, the Curry Mile is crammed with ethnic cuisine from fine curry houses to kebab shops, and even a number of Asian food stores and supermarkets.