Until last month, if you'd have asked me my favourite UK city (other than London)- I'd have said probably Brighton without hesitation. I mean, I still bloody love it (how can you not people?) but after visiting Manchester I definitely have another city on my most favourite places list. Perhaps it was the accent and the lovely people, the beautiful Northern quarter or the fact we stayed in one of the nicest pads ever- but this city is one I'm so glad we made the effort to get to know and I can't wait to head back and finish ticking off my list too! For now though, I thought I'd whip up a city guide for anyone else on a first time visit (or even hoping to discover some new gems)! As always let me know what I've missed too- sharing is caring!

Staying: Airbnb

Stumbling across Jan and Emily's incredible apartment seemed a little like fate. Without getting too ~deep~ I'd had Fig & Sparrow on a desktop 'must visit' list for as long as I can remember (read: a couple of years), so stumbling across their beautiful home (with the promise of breakfast included at Fig & Sparrow too) seemed like a total no brainer, and it was pretty much booked before I could even consider alternatives. With the location being in the complete heart of the Northern Quarter (so much so we couldn't even consider Deliveroo when we felt lazy), the interior looking like a total open plan red-brick-Brooklyn dream and the mezzanine bedroom what dreams are made of- I couldn't recommend staying here highly enough (and here's £20 off for first time Air BnB users, if I can tempt you too)!

Shopping: Cow

Living in London, I've always thought we've been quite spoilt for a strong selection of vintage; and we definitely are- but let's say the selection in this city is definitely where some real gems are hiding. Our first stop on our vintage-must-visits was Cow, and this was possibly one of my favourites of the bunch. With a huge selection of gorgeous reworked pieces and an even bigger collection of perfectly curated items (with an incredible men's section too)- it's a total dream to browse through and one of the first shops I've picked up my fitting room allowance in the first five minutes. Ahem.

61 Church St, Manchester M4 1PD ...If you liked this you'll love... Oxfam Originals, Unit 8, Smithfield Buildings, 51 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR

Magma:

Like breakfast and homewares, another dangerous duo comes from neighbouring shop Magma, home to- you guessed it; magazines and coffee table books (read: beautiful books you couldn't possibly just leave on a shelf and ever-so-slightly probably don't need). But who wants to resist a visit to a shop like this? Not me, that's who! With shelves of city guides, quarterlies, photography journals and style books- you'd be hard pressed to not leave with something from Magma (and I totally don't blame you either).

22 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JN

Fig & Sparrow:

Although it's a pretty unassuming and modest shop front, Fig & Sparrow was definitely one of the places I was most excited to pay a visit to. There's something about the combination of stationary, greetings cards and breakfast that has me at hello- so being able to sit down to a fresh homemade breakfast (try their speciality breads and jams) whilst perusing shelves of homeware that made my heart skip a beat was quite the treat- just try to keep your cool, your purse won't appreciate it otherwise.

20 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JA

Fred Aldous:

Who remembers the Lizzie McGuire movie? Well, upon walking into Fred Aldous I'm pretty sure the total hit 'this is what dreams are made of' entered my head- and didn't leave until I was a set of photo booth pictures down and resisting the urge to leave with all of the coloured card from the bottom floor. Because that's right- this shop has THREE FLOORS. Three floors of stationary, photo booths, paper, brushes, pens, wool- and basically anything you'd ever need if you were feeling even mildly creative. Now to extend a branch to London, ok?

37 Lever St, Manchester M1 1LW

Pop Boutique:

Another vintage hide out I've been a long time lover of is Pop. Having trawled their Liverpool and London stores- it was almost obligatory I pay a visit. Although I'm constantly head over heels for their own brand collared dresses and Breton tees, the real treat here was the furniture and homeware in the basement- which had me wishing for my very own Ron Burgundy style apartment to deck out. A girl can dream...

34-36 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JN ...For more vintage, curiosities and a Snoopers Paradise feel, visit Affleck's Palace, 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW

Oklahoma:

For all things bright and beautiful (as well as notebooks, burger lamps and shelves of things you didn't even know you needed)- Oklahoma is certainly worth a snoop. You could easily spend hours looking at things in this little gem, and considering I left with a dog selfie kit and (another) new notebook- id say it was a success too!

74-76 High St, Manchester M4 1ES

Arndale:

It feels like a bit of a safe bet including the Arndale in a 'things to do' in Manchester guide, as, well, it's pretty obvious. But hear me out! The shopping here is quite something. Okay there's absolutely a shop called 'loveyababes' at one end (which totally made my weekend)- but with all the high street giants and a Selfridges and Harvey Nics a stones throw away (which is what dreams are made of, as you well know)- it's a pretty good rain-safe bet (especially if you're in the mood to get spendy too).

Feasting: Home Sweet Home

Having been to Home Sweet Home before, I knew it was a guaranteed good food option- so with the debate between Almost Famous and here for a burger, it was a coin toss win, but I think we made a pretty good decision (plus, have you seen the cakes here? HAVE YOU?) Opting for their burger and chicken in a basket, it was a pretty delicious first meal- plus we even got instantly seated on a Friday night (which is always a thumbs up from me). Next time maybe we'll sample Almost Famous...

51 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW

Foundation Coffee:

If you're a coffee fanatic, tea lover, smoothie kind of gal or even after a delicious slice of cake or salad (or even after some beautiful interiors to swoon over)- Foundation is the perfect spot. Whether you're stopping for laptop time, having a meeting, taking a pit stop or even a take-away- this place seems to be the ultimate go to and these guys pride themselves on their high quality brew too.

Sevendale House, Lever St, Manchester M1 1JB

Federal:

With a playlist of Surfer Blood, the promise of Manchesters most delicious bagels (IMO) and some of the best brunch in town- Federal is one to mark for the top of your lists for everything from avocado on toast, French toast (yup, it's happening) and banana bread too. Plus, if you're nosey like me it's perfect for people watching at the window with a cuppa too. Dreamy.

9 Nicholas Croft, Manchester M4 1EY

Ply:

With PLY and Rudy's being top of our pizza-tasting-list we had to make a last minute decision about where we'd get our carb fix, and with Rudy's being a popular-no-booking job (something I'm usually pretty used to in London) we sadly couldn't squeeze in, meaning PLY was our next best bet. With a lively, bar-meets-restaurant type vibe and pastel tables GALORE (which, obviously totally sold me)- this place prides itself on its beautiful cocktails and stone baked pizza- neither of which did disappoint- and would be the perfect place for drinks, dinner and a little bit of dancing too.

26 Lever St, Manchester M1 1DW

Sugar Junction/Teacup Kitchen:

Let's talk about cake baby. With both of these gorgeous tea and cake joints on my list- it felt totally obligatory to sample both in between lunches- just to give you guys some useful resources (which is totally how I justify my sugar intake, FYI). With Teacup Kitchen offering incredible honeycomb brownies, some of the most generous cake servings in the world (see toffee apple cake above) and Sugar Junction being the go to for a quintessentially British afternoon tea fix- they're both delicious bets for your 4pm sugar fix.

SJ: 60 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LG, TK: 55 Thomas St, Manchester M4

Evelyn's:

If you're bored of your morning porridge and yearn for a breakfast a little more adventurous than toast and jam- Eveylyn's is the place. Mixing more traditional European cuisine with Asian favourites, you'll wonder why it's taken you so long to tuck into a Korean chicken burger or bavette for breakfast. Obviously if that's a little crazy for you (as it was me)- they know how to nail avocado with poached eggs- and also boast an amazing orange blossom granola too.

G18 Tib St, Manchester M4

Seeing: The National Football Museum

Okay so this was more of a suggestion on a certain someone else's part (how did you guess)?! But in all honesty, this place (for a girl who is a little bit of a football novice) was pretty interesting! I amused myself by joining in on the activities, talking about Arsene Wengers delightful voice and trying to absorb facts to later impress Joe with- which was enough for me. Joe (as a football lover) also enjoyed it- so if you're looking to play serious tourists for a day I definitely recommend it.

Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG


If there were more than 24 hours in a day we'd have also visited...

Pasta Factory/Northern Soul Grilled Cheese/John Rylands Library/Takk/Wharf Pub/Trof/Whitworth Gallery

x


Until last month, if you'd have asked me my favourite UK city (other than London)- I'd have said probably Brighton without hesitation. I mean, I still bloody love it (how can you not people?) but after visiting Manchester I definitely have another city on my most favourite places list. Perhaps it was the accent and the lovely people, the beautiful Northern quarter or the fact we stayed in one of the nicest pads ever- but this city is one I'm so glad we made the effort to get to know and I can't wait to head back and finish ticking off my list too! For now though, I thought I'd whip up a city guide for anyone else on a first time visit (or even hoping to discover some new gems)! As always let me know what I've missed too- sharing is caring!

Staying: Airbnb

Stumbling across Jan and Emily's incredible apartment seemed a little like fate. Without getting too ~deep~ I'd had Fig & Sparrow on a desktop 'must visit' list for as long as I can remember (read: a couple of years), so stumbling across their beautiful home (with the promise of breakfast included at Fig & Sparrow too) seemed like a total no brainer, and it was pretty much booked before I could even consider alternatives. With the location being in the complete heart of the Northern Quarter (so much so we couldn't even consider Deliveroo when we felt lazy), the interior looking like a total open plan red-brick-Brooklyn dream and the mezzanine bedroom what dreams are made of- I couldn't recommend staying here highly enough (and here's £20 off for first time Air BnB users, if I can tempt you too)!

Shopping: Cow

Living in London, I've always thought we've been quite spoilt for a strong selection of vintage; and we definitely are- but let's say the selection in this city is definitely where some real gems are hiding. Our first stop on our vintage-must-visits was Cow, and this was possibly one of my favourites of the bunch. With a huge selection of gorgeous reworked pieces and an even bigger collection of perfectly curated items (with an incredible men's section too)- it's a total dream to browse through and one of the first shops I've picked up my fitting room allowance in the first five minutes. Ahem.

61 Church St, Manchester M4 1PD ...If you liked this you'll love... Oxfam Originals, Unit 8, Smithfield Buildings, 51 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR

Magma:

Like breakfast and homewares, another dangerous duo comes from neighbouring shop Magma, home to- you guessed it; magazines and coffee table books (read: beautiful books you couldn't possibly just leave on a shelf and ever-so-slightly probably don't need). But who wants to resist a visit to a shop like this? Not me, that's who! With shelves of city guides, quarterlies, photography journals and style books- you'd be hard pressed to not leave with something from Magma (and I totally don't blame you either).

22 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JN

Fig & Sparrow:

Although it's a pretty unassuming and modest shop front, Fig & Sparrow was definitely one of the places I was most excited to pay a visit to. There's something about the combination of stationary, greetings cards and breakfast that has me at hello- so being able to sit down to a fresh homemade breakfast (try their speciality breads and jams) whilst perusing shelves of homeware that made my heart skip a beat was quite the treat- just try to keep your cool, your purse won't appreciate it otherwise.

20 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JA

Fred Aldous:

Who remembers the Lizzie McGuire movie? Well, upon walking into Fred Aldous I'm pretty sure the total hit 'this is what dreams are made of' entered my head- and didn't leave until I was a set of photo booth pictures down and resisting the urge to leave with all of the coloured card from the bottom floor. Because that's right- this shop has THREE FLOORS. Three floors of stationary, photo booths, paper, brushes, pens, wool- and basically anything you'd ever need if you were feeling even mildly creative. Now to extend a branch to London, ok?

37 Lever St, Manchester M1 1LW

Pop Boutique:

Another vintage hide out I've been a long time lover of is Pop. Having trawled their Liverpool and London stores- it was almost obligatory I pay a visit. Although I'm constantly head over heels for their own brand collared dresses and Breton tees, the real treat here was the furniture and homeware in the basement- which had me wishing for my very own Ron Burgundy style apartment to deck out. A girl can dream...

34-36 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JN ...For more vintage, curiosities and a Snoopers Paradise feel, visit Affleck's Palace, 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW

Oklahoma:

For all things bright and beautiful (as well as notebooks, burger lamps and shelves of things you didn't even know you needed)- Oklahoma is certainly worth a snoop. You could easily spend hours looking at things in this little gem, and considering I left with a dog selfie kit and (another) new notebook- id say it was a success too!

74-76 High St, Manchester M4 1ES

Arndale:

It feels like a bit of a safe bet including the Arndale in a 'things to do' in Manchester guide, as, well, it's pretty obvious. But hear me out! The shopping here is quite something. Okay there's absolutely a shop called 'loveyababes' at one end (which totally made my weekend)- but with all the high street giants and a Selfridges and Harvey Nics a stones throw away (which is what dreams are made of, as you well know)- it's a pretty good rain-safe bet (especially if you're in the mood to get spendy too).

Feasting: Home Sweet Home

Having been to Home Sweet Home before, I knew it was a guaranteed good food option- so with the debate between Almost Famous and here for a burger, it was a coin toss win, but I think we made a pretty good decision (plus, have you seen the cakes here? HAVE YOU?) Opting for their burger and chicken in a basket, it was a pretty delicious first meal- plus we even got instantly seated on a Friday night (which is always a thumbs up from me). Next time maybe we'll sample Almost Famous...

51 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW

Foundation Coffee:

If you're a coffee fanatic, tea lover, smoothie kind of gal or even after a delicious slice of cake or salad (or even after some beautiful interiors to swoon over)- Foundation is the perfect spot. Whether you're stopping for laptop time, having a meeting, taking a pit stop or even a take-away- this place seems to be the ultimate go to and these guys pride themselves on their high quality brew too.

Sevendale House, Lever St, Manchester M1 1JB

Federal:

With a playlist of Surfer Blood, the promise of Manchesters most delicious bagels (IMO) and some of the best brunch in town- Federal is one to mark for the top of your lists for everything from avocado on toast, French toast (yup, it's happening) and banana bread too. Plus, if you're nosey like me it's perfect for people watching at the window with a cuppa too. Dreamy.

9 Nicholas Croft, Manchester M4 1EY

Ply:

With PLY and Rudy's being top of our pizza-tasting-list we had to make a last minute decision about where we'd get our carb fix, and with Rudy's being a popular-no-booking job (something I'm usually pretty used to in London) we sadly couldn't squeeze in, meaning PLY was our next best bet. With a lively, bar-meets-restaurant type vibe and pastel tables GALORE (which, obviously totally sold me)- this place prides itself on its beautiful cocktails and stone baked pizza- neither of which did disappoint- and would be the perfect place for drinks, dinner and a little bit of dancing too.

26 Lever St, Manchester M1 1DW

Sugar Junction/Teacup Kitchen:

Let's talk about cake baby. With both of these gorgeous tea and cake joints on my list- it felt totally obligatory to sample both in between lunches- just to give you guys some useful resources (which is totally how I justify my sugar intake, FYI). With Teacup Kitchen offering incredible honeycomb brownies, some of the most generous cake servings in the world (see toffee apple cake above) and Sugar Junction being the go to for a quintessentially British afternoon tea fix- they're both delicious bets for your 4pm sugar fix.

SJ: 60 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LG, TK: 55 Thomas St, Manchester M4

Evelyn's:

If you're bored of your morning porridge and yearn for a breakfast a little more adventurous than toast and jam- Eveylyn's is the place. Mixing more traditional European cuisine with Asian favourites, you'll wonder why it's taken you so long to tuck into a Korean chicken burger or bavette for breakfast. Obviously if that's a little crazy for you (as it was me)- they know how to nail avocado with poached eggs- and also boast an amazing orange blossom granola too.

G18 Tib St, Manchester M4

Seeing: The National Football Museum

Okay so this was more of a suggestion on a certain someone else's part (how did you guess)?! But in all honesty, this place (for a girl who is a little bit of a football novice) was pretty interesting! I amused myself by joining in on the activities, talking about Arsene Wengers delightful voice and trying to absorb facts to later impress Joe with- which was enough for me. Joe (as a football lover) also enjoyed it- so if you're looking to play serious tourists for a day I definitely recommend it.

Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG


If there were more than 24 hours in a day we'd have also visited...

Pasta Factory/Northern Soul Grilled Cheese/John Rylands Library/Takk/Wharf Pub/Trof/Whitworth Gallery

x

40 comments:

  1. Long awaited post! So in love with the Airbnb you stayed in. You always have the best recommendations! x

    www.ashrealasitgets.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks amazing! I've never been to Manchester, seems like a must visit!
    Laura x
    LookAtMyClothes

    ReplyDelete
  3. Manchester is where I left my heart :) You should visit Blackfriars, a lovely little town in Greater Manchester :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. That streetart looks so amazing! Love the bird
    www.mishii.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  5. No words, for 48 hours, you really got a lot in. From this post, it looks like you spent a whole week there. Love it. When I'm exploring a new place, I try to get as much in as possible. Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for sharing this with us.
    XO,
    Maria
    MariaOnPoint http://mariaonpoint.com/ | Find me on IG https://www.instagram.com/mariajabad/

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think I'm going to have to put Manchester on the 'to visit' list! Great post.

    Noor x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Design shop and coffee house? That's all I've ever needed! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

    ReplyDelete
  8. Never been to Manchester, but it definitely looks worth the visit because these photos are just so beautiful!

    Kayleigh | anenthusiasmfor.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  9. Looks lovely! I really need to explore more of England since we visit every year but always just stay in London. Brighton is already on my list, but I'll be sure to add Manchester too! xx

    http://www.shakespeareandsparkle.com/

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have family that live near Manchester and I love it, it's such anise city x

    www.abeautyromance.com
    www.abeautyromance.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am simply in love with the graffiti scene! each one is unique.

    xx from Brighton
    Cate แƒฆ kate/idoscope | youtube | Enter my Charlotte Tilbury GIVEAWAY here

    ReplyDelete
  12. I literally spent 48 hours in Manchester last week and I loved it - I definitely need to visit again because it seems like I missed out on a lot, gorgeous photos Liv!

    Lucy | Forever September

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lovely photos! I've been to Manchester lots of times but you've shown it in a new light and I'm now dying to go visit again soon. =^-^=

    Sam | Momentarily Dreaming

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think my next city to visit may have to be Manchester! I would love it if you would take a look at my post on my trip to Edinburgh!
    Amy.rowley@blogspot.com
    Xx

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've gone on several day trips to Manchester whilst visiting my sister, but 24hrs is never enough! They do a brilliant Christmas market which has become an annual event for us to go to!

    Laura xx | Loved By Laura

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ahh I love Manchester so much, this has made my already huge list of places to try even longer! One recommendation I feel I need to share for probably the best burger and chips I've ever had- Filthy Cow- its so so good! (And I've had honest burger)

    www.hunchblog.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'd love to get the opportunity to explore Manchester more! I think it's so important to discover local treasures in your own city or country x
    http://my--socalledlife.blogspot.com.au/

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've never been to Manchester, though one of our friends has lived there the past 2 years haha! It looks amazing - I love the look of that stationary/craft shop! And obviously, the airbnb!
    xo April | April Everyday

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is such a lovely guide to Manchester City Centre. Some of the places you've mentioned I've never heard of and I live here, haha! Afflecks Palace and Cow are some of my favourite places, if you ever pay us another visit, check out Dough for authentic pizzas!

    Lima
    Fashionicide

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Ply is more authentic Italian pizza than Dough (though each to their own) :)

      Delete
  20. I'm so happy to see Teacup on here! I practically lived here when I was in Manchester, they had the most amazing cakes :)

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

    ReplyDelete
  21. You squeezed so much in! I love Ply, have also yet to go to Rudy's (last time I went the wait was AN HOUR AND A HALF) omg no I need pizza NOW. But it's great Manchester finally has not one, but two good pizza places. (Dough is crap, imo.)

    If you're there again and have the time, definitely catch a film at the independent cinema Home and have cocktails at Apotheca!

    Michelle • macaroons.co

    ReplyDelete
  22. Lovely photos!! I want to stay somewhere from Air B n B they always have such cute quirky places! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Sophiekate.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  23. Aww, would love to visit Manchester! Love Brighton as well! <3
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  24. I always love your city guides. I plan on visiting Manchester over the summer so this will come in VERY handy! Such gorgeous images as always!

    Josie x

    www.aprettypostit.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Never been to Manchester but you've shown it to be such a wondrous place. Definitely putting it on my places to visit list and will be heading up north for a trip.

    https://jasmineisabellaa.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  26. These photos are so amazing!!
    http://wiltedxfaded.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  27. I live in the NQ, you've actually highlighted a couple of places I've never ventured in! There are so many amazing places in such a small area it's easy to stick to the firm favourites...will defo be trying out Fig + Sparrow. A few others to consider for your next visit: Chetham's medieval library, Koffee Pot, Bon Bon Chocolate Boutique (salted caramel hot chocolate anyone?) Glad you enjoyed Manc! x

    ReplyDelete
  28. I only live in Liverpool so I'm not that far away at all, these photos look fabulous

    Anything & Everything | Bloglovin'

    ReplyDelete
  29. Best city in the world, you photographed it so beautifully! x

    India Charlotte♥

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've heard a lot of people from the UK talk trash about Manchester but I would happily live there! :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Looks like a fab weekend. I've not been to Manchester since I was a kid, love a wee local city break too
    Lauren
    livinginaboxx | bloglovin

    ReplyDelete
  32. Nothing can top Brighton Liv ;) Only joking! Manchester looks incredible, I sadly for some reason have the idea in my head that Manchester is actually not a very nice place to be but after seeing your guide I have completely misjudged and really wouldn't mind visiting!
    http://www.pagesfrombeth.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  33. You really did manage to cram a lot in for 48 hours! Ezra & Gill is also another great coffee shop/cafe & Federal is literally my fave for brunch. Some good spots here :)
    Fee
    http://firstandfifteenthblog.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. Yay! I'm heading to Manchester this Saturday so these tips will really come in handy - thank you! x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

    ReplyDelete
  35. If you ever come back try heading out to Altrincham - their market & market house food hall is incredible, and it has a great gift store called Idaho. Didsbury also has some great independents! All the places you've mentioned are some of my fav haunts. Others inc; Ezra & Gill, Bon Bon Chocolate, Asian afternoon tea @ The Grand Pacific, northern Soul cheese toasties, PKB, Grindsmiths... More further out The Garden in Hale is lovely as is The Yard in Alderley Edge... Oh and Trove in Levenshulme (but who also have a stall in Altrincham)

    ReplyDelete

MEET OLIVIA

MEET OLIVIA

Hello, you! I'm Olivia, or Liv- a 23 year old girl living in London, spending most of her time blog writing, photo taking, social media updating and occasionally cake baking.

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