And so it begins…. this week saw the start of my third and FINAL year at the University of Durham and after a fun-filled Freshers week the work has already started to pile up, I already feel miles behind and the weather has taken a turn for the worst, with icy winds and torrential monsoon rain making an appearance – pathetic fallacy perhaps marking the end of all the fun and frivolities with the return of the doom and gloom that comes with attaining a degree. However, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my hometown and its surrounding area by all this rancid rain, evoking a feeling of homesickness. These rainy days remind me of all the joys the North-West has to offer. Being located slap bang in-between two of the greatest cities the North has to offer I am only a short train journey away from a host of weird and wonderful things. And all this rain has got me thinking about the rainiest city of them all, Manchester. So, I’m going to share with you a few of my favourite places in this vibrant and diverse city including shopping hotspots, eateries and more.
Manchester is a heavan for any shopaholic! The Arndale Centre is full of high street favourites (e.g. Topshop, UO) and little treasure troves full of vintage delights are dotted about Manchester’s edgy Northern Quarter. I prefer hunting out unique pieces not likely to be found elsewhere and so I am going to share a few of the places where such items are likely to be found.
In the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Afflecks Palace is bound to satisfy you if you are in need of the weird and wonderful, full of retro treasures not likely to be found anywhere else. This indoor market is full to the brim of stalls and wonders! It has been known to offer a strange yet satisfying shopping trip since its humble beginnings in 1981. Shoppers who have worked up an appetite can rest and refuel at the retro café situated on the top floor of the palace or they can indulge their inner child in the clever and creative cereal café. If boredom strikes (which is highly unlikely) then why not spend your time playing nostalgic arcade games, such as pac man, situated in numerous stairwells throughout the store. A trip to Affleck’s is bound to be interesting and intriguing and I can assure you it will not disappoint.
Pop Boutique, also situated in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, is the perfect place for any vintage king or queen. Bursting with vintage delights with a focus on the groovy 70’s, you’re bound to come strutting out draped in bright floral attire. Don’t get me wrong Pop Boutique also offers various items from across the decades, paying tribute to the best fashion trends modern history has to offer, including 60s Harrington jackets and 80s oversized knitwear. Make sure you have plenty to spend when you take a trip to the boutique as you’re bound to come out with bags full of retro goodies.
Cow’s colourfully painted window display lit up by twinkling vintage glass bottle lights is bound to draw you in and once in you will be welcomed by a wide array of vintage delights! With two floors of unique vintage goods, you are bound to find at least one item that will tickle your fancy. There is plenty to choose from and any trip to Cow wouldn’t be complete without an hour’s session in the changing room trying to find the best of this stores fine vintage collection. This vintage delight is another of the Northern Quarters finest and is by far one of the best in the market.
Eateries and Bars
If you’re in need of some R&R after a hefty shopping spree or you’re in need of a place to shelter after being caught in one of Manchester’s sporadic showers, do not fret because I’m going to be sharing with you some of my favourite places to dine and relax in this rainy city.
If you’re in need of a succulent meat feast then head down to one of the city’s finest burger joints situated in Manchester’s Northern Quarter (and Deansgate). This mysterious burger haven may be hard to find at first but you will not forget its whereabouts once you’ve tasted one of its heavenly burgers, which always leave you hungry for more! Once you’ve located the unmarked building which hosts these dreamy delights, you are welcomed by a hefty flight of stairs, which I like to call the stairway to heaven. Do not let them put you off as once you’ve indulged in all Almost Famous has to offer you will realise that your mini-workout of the day was all worth it! Don’t forget to order some salt soaked fries to accompany your dreamy burger as these too are a treat not to be missed. A trip to Almost Famous is one which you will not forget and will leave you with your largest food baby yet hungry for more!
If you’re absolutely sick of the cold damp weather Manchester has to offer then why not head to Turtle Bay, its vibrant décor and famous jerk chicken will transport you, momentarily, to the sunny Caribbean coast making you instantly forget about the showers that wait for you outside. The Caribbean cuisine will offer you a true escape and with lightening fast service and multitudes of fiery mouth-watering goods on offer I can assure you a trip to Turtle Bay will not disappoint!
Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home is sure to be your home away from home, with a cosy interior and a wide ranging display of delicious goods on offer from fried chicken in a basket to burgers, an array of milkshakes and numerous giant sickly sweet cakes to choose from. All your cravings are bound to be satisfied in this cute café/restaurant.
If you’re not looking for a sit down meal but a bit of fun, a few bevs and maybe a hotdog or two, then get down to Junkyard Golf! This isn’t your ordinary crazy golf stunt full of not so crazy windmills and the sorts. With a Rihanna room, a bear pit and all sorts of other crazy delights, Junkyard Golf makes normal crazy golf look tame. And why not indulge in a cheeky crazy cocktail littered with various of your favourite treats from your childhood, including fizzy laces, jammy dodgers, bon-bons and more. So if you’re looking for a bit of fun but you don’t want to do the same old boring thing then head to Junkyard Golf for a fun-filled night (or afternoon) that will be like no other.
If you’re in need of a culture fix, then one things for sure Manchester is not short of it! With plenty of theatres and numerous museums on offer you are bound to find something for you. Some of my favourites include the Royal Exchange where Maxine Peake likes to make a regular appearance and the Opera House and Palace Theatres where you are bound to find highly-acclaimed shows on tour– check out my previous piece on Giselle to get a taste of what the Palace has to offer. Also, just down the road in Salford Quays is the fabulous Lowry arts centre with not just two theatres but galleries, bars, restaurants and shops too! There’s also plenty of gigs on offer in this magical city, with star-studded musicians and sell out tours at the Phones 4 U arena (previously known as the MEN) to smaller more intimate gigs at the O2 Academy. If you’re wanting to broaden your knowledge then why not head to the Museum of Science and Industry, the Imperial War Museum (strictly speaking Salford Quays too) or Manchester Art Gallery – which is currently hosting the Vogue 100 exhibition – check out my previous post on this.
One things for sure Manchester is not short of things to do! You will never be bored in this magnificent city which offers a diverse array of activities and events and you a bound to build fond memories, like I have, with any trip to the city.
Photo Credit – All Photos are my own except for the Pop Boutique pictures – from Pop Boutiques Instagram @popboutiquemanchester – and the middle picture for Cow Vintage – from Cow Vintage Manchester’s Instagram @cowmanchester