Being Manc is something I don’t exactly keep quiet about.
I think living in Yorkshire for the past fifteen years has brought out a strong sense of patriotism for my city (though I do dearly love you, Leeds). It’s a huge part of my identity which was solidified on hearing the awful news of the recent terror attack. This article is not about that, though. It’s a guide to my favourite city in the world and why you should visit.
Last week I spent a couple of days doing all my favourite things in Manchester, and trying some new things I’ve always wanted to. I also visited for a couple of days in March and had a totally different experience.
Here are some of the best bits I experienced from my recent trips:
The café inside The Whitworth gallery is one of the most beautiful spaces I’ve ever been in. Designed by MUMA, the casual dining space which, at lunchtime is filled with students and lecturers from the nearby univeristies, is effectively a glass box sat in the middle of the serenity of trees and greenery in Whitworth Park. For a place that you can get lunch for under a tenner, it’s pretty spectacular.
Mr. Scruff-owned Teacup is tucked away in the Northern Quarter and is a lovely, friendly place to get the best cake and tea in the city. They are so into brews they give you a timer to make sure you’ve left the tea leaves in long enough for the perfect brew. Get the rainbow cake!
I visited this beautiful gig venue for the first time last week to see Seu Jorge performing Bowie covers. I was completely taken with the place. The huge stained glass windows bring in the unusual treat of natural light to view the gig (in the summer months) and the acoustics are totally different to any other venue.
Though this is a chain restaurant, we don’t have one here in Leeds and I always go to this place when I visit London, so I was chuffed to find it in Manc. Mexican is my fave and though I’m no expert, it’s the most authentic Mexican I’ve had before. My favourite Mexican restaurant in the world is Rosa Mexicano in New York City. This one comes second (which is pretty good when you consider the savings on the flight cost).
It’s been said many times in the past couple of weeks, but the Manchester people are something else. Don’t get me wrong, we (and I definitely include myself in this) can be arrogant, narky, gobby and on the odd occasion a living, breathing stereotype. 99% of Mancs would do anything for you. We don’t suffer fools and we’ll defend our own to the last, but my God, have we got heart. I’m in danger being incredibly sentimental here. Who cares, I am so proud of our city. You just had to walk into the wall of floral smell from thousands of flowers that hit you when you walked into St Ann’s Square to feel the love. I spoke to a homeless gent called David last week who was one of the people who had run in to help the victims on 22nd May. I would normally be a bit scared to approach a lot of homeless people (which is not something I’m proud of) but something made me chat to him. He’d served in the army and now was sleeping rough. He had so much time for me and was kind. I won’t forget David.
Manchester doesn’t have a Michelin star, but Manchester House is the closest thing to it. You wouldn’t notice it if you walked past, it looks like any other office block. Once you’re in it’s luxurious but welcoming. You feel at home but are glad you dressed up. Try the ten course tasting menu and visit before they get the city’s first star under their belt and the price doubles.
I was a little disoriented looking for Koffee Pot last week. It used to be opposite Fred Aldous but it’s new home is now on super-cool Oldham Street. Head there for a fry up and check out the mural of twenty two bees which is at time of posting still being painted.
No need to visit a gallery to see Manchester’s best art. Have a wander around and check out the amazing graffiti and murals around the city. Northern Quarter has the highest concentration so head there first. The ever-changing mural outside Fred Aldous is my favourite.
I stayed at The Lowry for my first wedding anniversary and was so proud of how Manchester had become synonymous with cities Wallpaper would make a guide book for. So stylish and grand in a place that was once somewhere you’d avoid for fear of getting mugged.
100% hipster and I 100% don’t care. If you love stationary or beautiful things that you don’t need, this is a treasure trove. People into design and art will love it here.
St. Ann’s Square
My new favourite place to sit and ponder.
Even if you’re not a bookworm, this place is so beautiful. Another nice place to get a cup of tea and escape the pace of the city.
Yeah, it’s contrived and isn’t the most cultured place, but it’s another great addition to the city for the next generation to enjoy. The bars are thoughtfully decorated and will one day have some character and stories to tell. Everyone flocks there when the sun shines to get a drink in the square outside The Oast House.
You may be put off visiting by recent events, but please don’t be. Visit Manchester and you’ll fall in love like I have.