Last weekend I was in Manchester for the annual Blog at the Beach event with icelolly.com. Myself and a few other travel bloggers decided to make a weekend of it and explore one of my favourite Northern Cities; Manchester. I’m no stranger to Manchester and every so often, I do love a weekend trip to explore all the amazing bars, restaurants, sights and of course, shopping. I thought I’d do a little post letting you all know about what we did in Manchester for the weekend.
We ended up staying overnight at the MacDonald Hotel & Spa which is just right by Piccadilly Train Station. As there was four of us, we were really lucky to find a hotel which accommodated us all in one room. We did also look at serviced apartments Manchester as there was plenty of choice on Hotels.com. As I mentioned before, we attend the annual Blog at the Beach event with icelolly.com which I’ll be doing a separate post on what we got up to there. The event was held really close to our hotel which was ideal and afterwards we booked an Uber to head over to the Deansgate area.
Our first port of call was Rudy’s Pizza which is on Peter Street. I’ve actually been to this Neapolitan pizza place before and it’s one of the best I’ve tried in the UK (it’s actually been named the 10th in the WHOLE world). No matter where I am in the world, I can always hunt down the best pizza! It’s certainly a firm favourite for everyone so be aware that you might have to wait a while for a table. However, they use an electronic system where you can keep track of your place in the queue via your phone. There’s plenty of bars in the area to go for a couple of drinks whilst you are waiting. Trust me when I say it’s certainly worth the wait. I went for the classic Margherita pizza which cost £6.50 and it was truly heavenly. If you’re a pizza lover like myself, this place has got to be on your list.
Peter Street is just off Deansgate which is the central hub for nightlife in Manchester. As it was a Saturday, it was super busy about with long lines for many bars. Along Peter Street is Albert Schloss which is a favourite amongst locals (I really want to try their Sunday Roast) and I also noticed a Peaky Blinders bar pop up! We decided to head to the All Star Lanes which is actually a bar with a bowling alley at the back. It was pretty chilled in there with an extensive list of cocktails, so it was perfect for a few drinks!
The next morning, I was rather excited about our first stop. Since my last visit to Manchester in May (for the Spice Girls concert) there has been a very exciting addition to the Market Street Primark. On the Ground Floor, they have opened their very own Central Perk café. Although it’s not a complete replica, I absolutely loved it. I’m a huge fan of Friends, I’ve probably watched every episode about fifty times so it was great to visit the café. I dragged Jess along despite her never seeing an episode – Shock horror! We got a hot chocolate and a cookie to fill us up before lunch.
Although we did visit early on a Sunday, the café wasn’t too busy and we didn’t have to queue for a table which is always good. It’s also worth noting that all the prices are all very reasonable and they also do waffles and pancakes costing only £3.25! I would definitely visit again and it’s always good to visit the Manchester Primark as it’s HUGE.
One of my favourite areas of Manchester to explore is the Northern Quarter. It’s filled with cute independent stores, street art, great bars (also hidden bars) and restaurants and the famous Afflecks Palace. If you’ve not heard of Afflecks Palace, it’s four floors filled with little unique boutique-like stores. In my teens, this was always my highlight to visiting Manchester. If you’re in the Northern Quarter area, I’d highly recommend visiting a little shop called Oklahoma. It’s one of those stores filled with unique items perfect for gifts and all the items you don’t need but you’ve got to have!
In the Northern Quarter, you are completely spoilt for choice for foodie options from Home Sweet Home to TNQ. We ended up going to Yard & Coop which specialises in buttermilk fried chicken aka it’s my idea of heaven. Their menu is pretty extensive with all different types of chicken dishes. I went for the winner winner chicken dinner which essentially is their take on a Sunday Dinner with Buttermilk Chicken – It was a 10/10! I obviously had to get a side of Mac n Cheese as I can never say no to one of my favourite dishes. I’d definitely recommend Yard & Coop, they also have restaurants in Liverpool and Leeds. Keep your eye out for another post about Yard & Coop coming soon too!
You can’t visit Manchester without a spot of shopping. I’ve got to say, Manchester is one of the best cities for a shopping trip. The Arndale Shopping Centre offers all your favourite high street shops including Victoria’s Secret, Monki, Disney and Topshop. It’s also worth noting the food hall which has a Taco Bell – Hello! Outside the Arndale Centre, you’ll find Exchange Square which is usually decorated beautifully around Christmas with food stalls. The shopping is slightly more upmarket across the road with a big Selfridges, (which I did have to pop in to have a little gander at Tiffany & Co) Harvey Nichols and Louis Vuitton. It’s safe to say it was strictly window shopping at this point.
Exchange Square has had a few recent additions in the last couple of years to the Corn Exchange with restaurants such as The Cosy Club, Banyan and Salvi’s popping up. These are all in a great location for a quick cocktail in between popping in the shops. Nearby is also Printworks where there’s also even more bars & restaurants including Hard Rock Café and a Tree Top Mini Golf which I’m desperate to visit soon!
It was then time for me to get the train back home after quite the busy weekend in Manchester. I’ll definitely be back soon as I have a list as long as my arm of places to eat, drink and fun places like the Flight Club, Tree Top Golf as well as visiting old favourites such as Moose Coffee for Brunch, Sunset at Australasia for very Instagrammable drinks and Bock Biere for an incredible Roast Fondue. I’d like to thank Hotels.com for collaborating with me on this post.
Have you visited Manchester recently? Do you have any favourite spots in the city?
*The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.