FEAST on fish tacos, sip kumquat cocktails and lose hours trawling the city’s indie boutiques, says Beauty Editor Tara Ledden.

Here, she reveals the best spots to visit while in Manchester.

Shop for shirts 

Manchester’s a treasure trove of quirky independent stores.

Hit the Northern Quarter and the iconic Afflecks, a wonder emporium of eclectic goods.

This three-storey maze of small-brand boutiques makes the perfect rainy afternoon refuge (Afflecks.com).

Nearby, Fred Aldous stocks arts, crafts and photography supplies galore (Fredaldous.co.uk).

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Meanwhile, Deadstock General Store has unusual gifts and unique homeware (Bindlestore.com).

Keep an eye out for the beautifully ornate Barton Arcade, between Deansgate and St Ann’s Square, which has fab indie menswear shops like R Store (Therstore.com), plus Classic Football Shirts, selling retro footie tops from all over the world (Classicfootballshirts.co.uk). 

Tuck into cider tapas 

Built from shipping containers, Escape To Freight Island plays host to six bars and 10 restaurants.

Make a beeline for Madre’s Baja fish tacos, £8 – they’re a collab between Liverpool faves Belzan and Volpi and London’s Breddos Tacos.

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Head to El Gato Negro on King Street for terrific tapasCredit: El Gato Negro/Instagram

Plus, DJs, comedians and bands hit the stage five nights a week (Escapetofreightisland.com).

In the centre of town, Mackie Mayor is packed with long tables flanked by stalls serving every type of cuisine imaginable – make sure you order the pork belly bao at New Wave Ramen, £9.

After a sit-down meal? Head to El Gato Negro on King Street for terrific tapas.

Grab a seat on the first floor opposite the kitchen and you’ll want to order everything that passes by, especially the mini Catalan chorizo with Aspall cider, £8.50 (Elgatonegrotapas.com).

Glug wine cocktails

Rowdy entertainment, roaring fires and overflowing steins bring Oktoberfest vibes all year round to Albert Schloss (Albertsschloss.co.uk).

Fancy cocktails? Hit Three Little Words in the historic arches of The Spirit Of Manchester Distillery.

Grab a cosy corner to sip creations like Make Me Blush, an elderflower, kumquat and rhubarb fizz, £11.50 (Threelittlewordsmcr.co.uk).

Meanwhile, it doesn’t get much more laid-back than Arlo’s – a coffee shop by day, bar by night, where the wine cocktails, £9.50, are as dangerous and delicious as they sound (Arlosmcr.com).

Get your geek on

Culture vultures should head to John Rylands Research Institute and Library.

It’s free, full of ancient artefacts and the interiors look like something out of Harry Potter (Library.manchester.ac.uk).

From February 2023, Manchester Museum reopens, and as it previously housed an extensive live frog exhibition, it’s sure to have some unique collections (Museum.manchester.ac.uk).

For some light-hearted fun, give Treetop Adventure Golf in The Printworks a go, with its two rainforest-themed, 18-hole crazy-golf trails, £10.50 per adult.

Don’t worry, there’s a bar, too (Adventuregolf.com).

Bag an apartment

As the world’s first industrial city, there’s now no shortage of red-brick warehouses converted into cool spots, such as Native Places Aparthotel on Ducie Street, less than five minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Station.

As well as the chic apartments, it offers a bar, restaurant, gym, cinema, coffee-shop-turned-deli and florist, plus a bakery booth.

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Oh, and they’re dog-friendly.

Come breakfast, order the pancake stack, £8.50 – you won’t be disappointed.

Apartments cost from £107 per night (Nativeplaces.com). 


The Suffragette movement started in Manchester.

Visit the Pankhurst Centre, AKA Emmeline Pankhurst’s former family home, where the first meeting took place (Pankhurstmuseum.com).

Plan your trip at Visitmanchester.com.

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