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The best way to spend a weekend in Manchester

By Kingfisher Visitor Guides

With its stunning architecture, quirky cafés and a wide choice of luxury shops, Manchester is your perfect weekend city break.

Day one

Start the day in the Northern Quarter, the city’s fabulous bohemian district, teeming with independent shops and bars. Hunt for unique treasures at Manchester Craft and Design Centre or Afflecks while soaking up the area’s inimitable café culture.

You can stop off for a relaxing cuppa and an indulgent pastry at the Nibble on Oldham Street. Bags of atmosphere are crammed into this small, kitschy-decorated café.

For a pleasant afternoon head for historic Castlefield and sip a cappuccino while watching the narrowboats slip by. Then it’s time for a wander over to Liverpool Road and the Science and Industry Museum, a fun place to explore the city’s industrial past and the site of the world’s first passenger railway.

The Castlefield Viaduct, Manchester

Stroll along the canal at Castlefield

The Northern Quarter is chock full of hip eateries for a spot of lunch. District is a cool Neo-Bangkok eatery, Tokyo Ramen offers an authentic Japanese dining experience, BAB serves up unique (ke)babs and meze and Evelyn’s Cafe Bar is popular for brunch classics.

You can then walk or take the bus over to Spinningfields for a spot of upmarket shopping. This area is also home to bars and restaurants, including Australasia, and Comptoir Libanais, serving Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Interior of the John Rylands Research Institute and Library

John Rylands Library on Deansgate

You’ll most likely stroll past the stunning John Rylands Library on Deansgate and, if you have time, check out the rare books and superb architecture of this building, lovingly created by John Rylands’ widow as a memorial to their devotion to each other.

Come evening, glam it up and perch on a bar stool at Cicchetti on South King Street or head over to sister restaurant San Carlo and soak up the buzzing atmosphere. Then round off the night at The Comedy Store, home to some of the finest stand-up comedy in the country.

Day two

With two of the most famous football clubs in the world on your doorstep, it would be rude not to pay a visit to either Manchester United or Manchester City grounds. Take the tram over to the Manchester United Museum at Old Trafford and you’ll be within walking distance of Salford Quays where you can spend time at The Lowry and the Imperial War Museum North.

Head back into the city for a quick lunch at one of the many restaurants in the Corn Exchange and then head over the road to catch a movie on the giant IMAX screen at The Printworks.

In the evening indulge in a glass of champagne or a cocktail at one of the city’s buzzing bars before heading off to a dazzling show at one of Manchester’s brilliant theatres like the Palace, The Opera House or the Royal Exchange.

Later on, round up your evening with dinner in Chinatown. This area really comes alive at night with its neon lights and stunning arch.

Read more

History and heritage of Manchester

The best retailers and independent stores in Manchester

5 of the best cultural gems to see in Manchester

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Image credits: ©Chris Payne; coward_lion/; Jason Lawton/IWM North; John Clarke/; The John Rylands Library

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