Sunday 1 October 2017

city guide : manchester.

Manchester is one of those cities which oozes cool. I'd visited briefly a couple of years ago, and didn't really want to leave! It was so good to have the chance to revisit, see what's changed, and spend some proper time exploring.

Here's my little guide to Manchester.


I was lucky enough to be offered a stay in the newly refurbished ibis Styles Manchester Portland Hotel. They've taken the fact that Manchester seems to have all types of weather in one day, and really gone to town on this theme! Everywhere you look, there are playful hints to the weather.

My room was the perfect little home for two nights - a big and comfy bed, tea and coffee, lovely blue-tiled shower, telly, and free wifi. That circular mirror was perfect for doing my make up in too.

The hotel is located just on the edge of the Northern Quarter - which was very handy for me as this is where most of the coolest places to eat and shop are! Almost everything on my list of recommendations was within a short walk.


On the first night, I met up with lovely Tori and we headed to Rudy's Pizza - which I'd heard is the best pizza in town. We sat up at the bar - which is now my seat of choice in any pizzeria, since it became mine & my boyfriend's usual table in our favourite pizza place - watching the dough blister within seconds is mesmerising.

This bustling restaurant is extremely popular - don't be shocked if you're told there's a long wait. Just leave your number and pop across the road for a drink. It really is worth the wait. The cocktails aren't half bad either, and the staff are all lovely.

This was recommended to me numerous times for brunch, so I had to go on my first morning. It was pouring with rain outside, and the dark interiors were so cosy. I sat in a window seat so that I could watch the world go by while I enjoyed my hot tea & avocado on toast.

Something I loved about this breakfast was that they gave you a steak knife - the number of times Sam & I have whinged about not being able to cut through sourdough with a regular knife.. I wished he was there to appreciate that with me, and I really needed someone to help me out with that generous portion of halloumi.

Another place highly recommended. I headed here for breakfast on my last day. The interiors are perfect - it's a big, industrial looking space, filled with plants.

I sat in the window again, had another cup of tea, and couldn't resist the buttermilk pancakes that the waitress sold to me. She said they were like sweet, fluffy clouds, and she was not lying. I just wished there was a little more of that blackcurrant compote on the side.

I stopped in here on Sunday morning while waiting for some shops to open, and I'm so glad I did. Everyone was so friendly, and you're encouraged to share tables. I had a delicious coffee while I people watched and wrote some notes.


I almost didn't go in to this colourful place, and I'm very glad I changed my mind. This space is huge and super chilled, and I love all the bold, colourful artwork adorning the walls. 

I had a second brunch for lunch, because I was kind of on holiday, so why not. Their dirty beans are excellent.

A few places that were recommended to me, but I didn't make it to:

• Sugar Junction
• Bon Bon Chocolate Boutique
• Fig & Sparrow
• Koffee Pot
• Foundation Coffee
• Porter & Cole
• The Refuge
• Albert Schloss (I actually went there last time, and had the best damn salmon of my life)


This is a newly opened shop that Tori had recently been to the opening of & recommended to me. It's a lovely little space, full of gorgeous things. They also hold workshops upstairs!

I wanted pretty much everything, but limited myself to a pot by Hannah Bould, which reminds me of macaroni cheese.


This is a cute little lifestyle store from the Ezra & Gil people, next to their little tiny coffee shop. I love shops like this, but I wish they'd stop enticing me to spend all my money. I restrained myself in here, but I need pop nextdoor for a coffee afterwards.


Hey, guess what? Yup, another shop full of things I want to own. Many of these things have a vintage feel, although as far as I'm aware they're all new. They stock my favourite pen brand (Kaweco) as well as lots of interesting grooming items and useful things. 


A super fun shop! There are so many cute things, and the visual merchandising is on point. I loved all the different themed displays. This would be the perfect place to buy a gift (for a friend or for yourself!) and they also have loads of cute cards. 

The best stationery, art supplies and gift shop I've EVER BEEN IN. Multiple floors of heaven. On the ground floor you'll find photobooths, Hay products, endless colour-coordinated sketchbooks.. head downstairs and you'll find paints, pastels, pens, wool, fabric, paper.. head a little further down and there are artist's studios and more. I could've got lost in there for hours. 


I thought about listing them all individually, but it started to get a bit ridiculous. The Northern Quarter is home to a lot of brilliant vintage shops, and most of them are situated on Oldham Street. I recommend just having a wander and seeing what you can find! 


I'm super glad I took Tori along with me to the market, as it was a good way for us to try more of the food that was on offer! It took us a while to decide, but we settled on sharing a Korean chicken burger (it looked way too good to resist), a steak sandwich, and a couple of cookies, from the various places dotted around the market house. They were all delicious, but our favourite was the Korean burger - BOLD flavours! 

There were loads more stalls outside the main hall though, selling everything from plants, ceramics, jewellery, and... more food! 

We could've happily stayed there all day, sampling the different dishes and chatting the hours away.

On my last rainy day in the city, I headed to the art gallery for a slow meander around the incredible paintings. Some of the rooms were closed to set up for new exhibitions, but the main collections were all there to see. 

There's a Waqas Khan exhibition on now, which I would definitely go and see if I was there! 


One of my favourite things to do in an unfamiliar city is to simply wander around. I like to get my bearings, see what cool things are nearby, and admire the architecture. Manchester does not disappoint on this front - there is such a mixture of gorgeous old brickwork right next to modern builds. I love this juxtaposition. It's like a jigsaw of all sorts of different styles and I cannot get enough of it. 

Just make sure you look up, and look down every alleyway! 

So there concludes my guide to Manchester. Is there anything I've missed?

• post in collaboration with ibis •

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  1. Gosh you've made me ridiculously homesick. I left Manchester last year after 9 years, it really is my favourite city. I'm glad you made it to the Alty Market - it really is great fun :) I'd recommend a visit to Didsbury next time you're in town :)

  2. aww this makes me miss my ben! such wonderful post filled with some fab places to visit I'm about to write a blog post on federal cafe we visited at the weekend you would of loved it!! thanks for sharing Bub x


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