A Manchester City Guide

A Manchester City Guide

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  • Post last modified:February 18, 2024
  • Reading time:7 mins read

Manchester is definitely my favourite city in the UK outside London. Like London, it is a high energy, diverse with a rich culture; however, this city reaps the benefits of size and location. Because it’s so small, you can walk to most places meaning less money, and more importantly, time spent on transport. Because it’s more northern, it tends to be more affordable than its capital cousin. So how would I choose to spend my time if I only had a weekend in this amazing city? Here’s my ideal itinerary.

A Manchester City Guide

Friday
We land in the afternoon and head to the centre. Manchester has one airport, with a convenient metro which can take you straight to the city centre. You also won’t need to get confused over buying a ticket as you can pay with contactless. Easy!

Stop off at curry mile…
You can’t come to Manchester without visiting the iconic Curry Mile. A stretch of Indian-Pakistani restaurants running through Rusholme, which has been around since the 80s and home to some of Manchester’s spiciest spots for a curry. You’ll find BYOB restaurants here where for a small corkage fee, you can bring your own beer or wine and dine in for cheap.

If you are looking for a cheap curry in the centre, I would recommend This n That – a low key, low maintenance restaurant serving different curries each day, where you can get rice with 3 curries for as little as £4! Tucked away in a hidden alley, this restaurant is loved by locals and gives a truly authentic experience, where you’ll share tables with strangers, dining hall style, and enjoy a cheap meal served quickly. This restaurant is no-frills but gets rave reviews for their unbeatable flavour and amazing value.

Head to Northern Quarter…
You can’t visit manchester without spending an evening around northern quarter. This area is a hub of fun and affordable bars and restaurants. You’ll be spoilt for choice when you come here, but my top recommendation is Terrace, where you can enjoy a pint on the roof or a boogie downstairs; take your pick!

Saturday

Grab a coffee and walk the canal…
Why not stroll along the canals that snake along the side of the city? A canal walk is a great way to explore whilst also enjoying the beautiful scenery manchester has to offer. Grab a coffee from Alex’s Bakery, a small independent cafe born during lockdown, and start the day off by getting your bearings and soaking up the unique character of this amazing city

Now we brunch…
Manchester is packed with independent cafes thriving with unique character and often serving a spectacular brunch. My favourite is Another Heart to Feed, where I would recommend the wild mushroom french toast with truffle oil and a poached egg. It was divine!

Hit the museum or an art gallery…

Soak up some culture by heading to the science and industry museum in the city centre. Or my personal favourite, The Manchester Museum, which is packed with natural artefacts, fossils and activities. This museum is unique as it houses live reptile exhibits and artistic displays amongst the artefacts.

The manchester art gallery is another cultural must-see. Here you can find anything from contemporary modern art to historical pieces. They showcase a wide range of media as well as pieces that represent all eras and techniques.

Chill by the Wharf Marina…
If you are visiting in summer, then the marina is a must. Crowds will flood this chilled oasis to relax and soak up the sun in the grassy surroundings. It’s not uncommon that someone will bring speakers and play music for everyone to enjoy whilst gazing out on the beautiful body of sunkissed water. The atmosphere is unmatched as you laze the days away and forget your worries.

Grab a slice at crazy Pedros…
Grab a slice or more at the cheap and cheerful Crazy Pedros. And, whilst you are there, why not treat yourself to a cocktail. They offer all the classics along with some more creative concoctions, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. They offer incredible vegan pizzas with creamy, gooey fake cheese, which competes with the dairy option, whether or vegan or not. They do happy hours from 5-9 pm, Sunday to Friday, where you can get 2-4-£10 cocktails and Slices for £2.

Play pool and grab a drink at Black Dog Ballroom…
Then when you’re feeling thirsty, head over to Black Dog Ballroom for a pint and a game of pool. This is my favourite affordable activity, and this bar does it well. They have several tables which you can hire on an hourly basis, so no scraping together pound coins. They also serve modern Chinese street food, catered by Salt & Pepper, Manchester. Dishes average at around £7.50 with a vegan option available.

Sunday

Soak up the botanical gardens…
Wake up, grab a coffee and take a free stroll through the botanical gardens, where you can grab a bite to eat from one of the local restaurants and enjoy a picnic on the grass.

Go for a Sunday roast…
Before you set off on Sunday, you cannot visit the UK without treating yourself to a truly British Sunday roast. You’ll find many places where you can enjoy this local cuisine with most offering roast potatoes, roast meat or wellington, roast veg and of course a Yorkshire pudding, gravy and some extra essential trimmings. I’d recommend going to The Elnecot or the wharf, which serve reasonably priced roasts and offer a good vegan roast option.

Browse the Manchester Markets…
Finish your trip by grabbing any last-minute souvenirs and filling our last inches of luggage space before heading home. The Sunday markets are the perfect place to have a lazy wonder as your momentum slows and you prepare for your flight home. Situated in the centre, it also allows you to give the city a last goodby before hopping on the metro back to the airport.