Travel UK

Travel || Manchester

Despite being in England for almost exactly 7 years now, I’d never truly explored a lot of the big cities outside of London. So when we had friends who were performing a play in Manchester, it seemed like a great opportunity to explore a new place as well. (Especially because Manchester really isn’t that far away from York.) 

It was quite a short train ride, and it ended up being on one of the hottest days of the summer. Everyone was lounging around the city, sitting wherever they could find space and having a few drinks. (Or a lot of drinks – we took the last train out of Manchester that night back to York and there was some truly impressive drunken behavior). 

Sam and I popped into the Arndale Center for a bit of window shopping. It is the UK’s largest city-centre located shopping centre (aka mall). Malls are fairly unusual (though increasingly being built) in the UK that being in one still feels like a treat. It’s not at all like when I was a teenager and my friends and I would literally spend days just hanging out at the mall and wandering aimlessly from store to store; with the usual pitstops being Charlotte Russe and Claire’s before eating our body weights at the food court. (Panda Express, Sbarro, Dairy Queen). 

Sam can barely comprehend just hanging out at a shopping centre for fun, but hey – I guess there wasn’t a lot to do growing up in New Mexico. In fact, Sam got to try his first ever meal at Taco Bell to help me truly relive all my American high school memories. 

Anyway, back to Manchester – after wandering around the Arndale Centre we ambled through The Printworks and the Corn Exchange (dodging all the Saturday stag dos). We finished off our evening in Manchester having a picnic dinner in the Square alongside hundreds of other people who were having the same idea, before heading over to the theatre. 

We noticed so many cute brunch places in Manchester that I’m really excited to go back and try one day. 

Have you ever been to Manchester? What are your favourite things to do there? 

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  • Laura Emilia

    Ahh this post has made me want to visit Manchester again! I’ve been twice before and love it so much – I could even imagine myself living there! I loved the Northern Quarter the most – I could have explored all those little record shops and independent bars & restaurants forever x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

    • I totally agree- the Northern Quarter is the best! I think I could see myself living there too if we ever moved back to a city! xx

  • I’ve not visited a lot of the big cities in the North and Manchester is one of them! It’s supposed to be quite arty though so I’d like to see it some day! Alice xxx

  • We visited Manchester early this year for an Oasis exhibition at the library. We had a brilliant brunch in The Night and Day Cafe and flitted from bar to bar – all were lovely. Plus, if you like shopping, a visit to Affleck’s is a must.

    • I went into Affleck’s with Sam – he remembered it from his time in the Manchester Youth Theatre and we had to go. I’ll definitely remember your recommendation of The Night and Day Cafe for later! xx

  • Ashley Angle

    Looks like an awesome city! Beautiful!
    Ashley @ A Cute Angle //

  • It is so strange seeing someone view Manchester through new eyes, looking at things I’ve seen my whole life as a novelty. Some of your photos.. I have walked across that bridge, over those fountain rocks a thousand times. I’ve looked at those building and been shopping in the Arndale centre all my life; I forget to see the beauty in it πŸ™‚ Loved reading and seeing it through your eyes, makes me appreciate it afresh πŸ™‚

    • I really loved it, Sarah! It was such a gorgeous city. After years in London, I’m very much enjoying smaller town life but if we were ever to be tempted back into a big city, I’d definitely consider Manchester! If you had to pick one favourite thing to do, what would it be? x

      • I think just wandering from the top, near Primark, weaving all the way down through the shops, bars and restaurants, and heading all the way down to the bottom where House of Fraser is. You have to have strong arms if your going to spend that time doing more than window shop though πŸ˜‰ x

  • The North Left Blog

    Yes! And I was so excited to find Taco Bell in the Arndale! Hellllooo crunchwrap supreme!
    Glad you got to explore Manchester a little, I do love it for a weekend away sometimes x

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  • I love Manchester, i also love the christmas market there, it’s one of my favourites as it’s so spread out, so you should try to squeeze a trip in!

  • I’ve been living in the UK for all 25 years of my life and I still haven’t been to Manchester! Liverpool is another great city to visit if you’re ever looking for another weekend city break πŸ™‚ xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

  • hahaha you’re so cute with your taco bell bag! I have to say I also hung out at the mall or at the cinema all the time when I was in high school, and my Brit doesn’t get that at all either. And now, living in Scotland, I can’t comprehend it either haha. We go through the mall to get to the grocery store and it’s always an awful experience!

    • I’ve never really enjoyed hanging out at an English mall either *shudder* Westfield Statford was always a painful experience to visit in London. Maybe as teenagers it seems cooler? Probably not these days though! x

  • I went to Manchester a couple of years ago but couldn’t really feel the vibe. Loved the gay village, though, fantastic street art πŸ˜‰

    It does seem to be quite different in the sunshine. I should have gone to some theatre there, instead I got drunk in a Premier Inn while the staff chatted to me about wanting to fuck Lenny Henry. Classy, huh.

    • We need to re-do your Manchester experience immediately. That sounds awful.

      Sam was a part of the Manchester Youth Theatre when he was a teenager and they used to go to the gay village to drink because no one ever carded them there. And trust me, at 16 Sam was fooling no one about his age.