If you only have time to dip your toe in to Manchester, dip it in style. Enjoy a weekend of the most luxurious sightseeing, supping and shopping in the city
Travel by train from Sheffield to Manchester in just under an hour. Expect to pay just over £20 return on the day but book in advance and the price will be considerably cheaper. Travel by car (avoiding rush hour) and it’ll take you just over an hour. Overnight inner-city parking will cost around £16.
Enjoy a night of luxury at The Light ApartHotel, Manchester. Occupying a prime city centre location on the fringe of the trendy Northern Quarter, guests at The Light Aparthotel can enjoy the flexibility of serviced apartment living with hotel-style accommodation. There’s a choice of 60 beautifully furnished studios, one and two bedroom apartments and penthouse suites which have the wow factor! Comprising of a master bedroom with en-suite, second bedroom, bathroom and communal living space with a 50” flat screen TV, six-seater dining table and an open plan kitchen with a cooking island – a penthouse suite is the ideal spot for a large party. Step outside on to your own private roof terrace with a six seat hot tub and stunning panoramic views from the 15th floor.
Rooms are available from £99 – £999 per night.
LUNCH: Kosmonaut Located just off the beaten track on Tariff Street, the stripped back bar is a daytime haven for lunches, coffee meetings and gettogethers with a fine selection of artisan beers and craft cocktails for the evenings. Sit in a red leather barber’s chair while you browse the menu featuring finger-licking-good burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and picnic style snacks; or head to the basement for ping pong parties and DJ sets.
Burgers, beer and bowling
Once-upon-a-dual-carriageway there was only bowling. Sticky carpets, crappy hot dogs and warm beer: It pretty much sucked. Now bowling is here – at All Star Lanes, Deansgate. It’s foo-ooo-oood, fine cocktails, crisp beer, good people and oh yeah, bowling. Walk in and you’d have no idea a state-of-theart bowling alley was hidden at the back of the venue. We head over to the central island bar for a cocktail then a waitress escorts us to our table. It’s a new concept bowling diner – while the venue does retain some tradition features such as the leather booths and mirrored walls – it’s certainly much sleeker than you’d expect. We ordered from the ‘Eat, Drink, Bowl’ menu – two courses, a cocktail and a game of bowling for a very reasonable £29pp. Starters include: popcorn squid, hot chicken wings and salt beef croquettes; the burger menu features maple bacon cheeseburgers, NYC salt beef Reuben and Seafood ‘Po Boy’ sub; plus main courses range from buttermilk fried chicken and gravy to three hour shoulder of pork.
Dedicated followers of fashion will be guaranteed to get their retail kicks in Manchester. Browse the Northern Quarter boutiques, flash your cash at The Avenue, dip in to the pocket-sized arcades off St. Ann’s Square, lose yourself inside Manchester Arndale or dive in to the departments of Harvey Nichols – all in one day. In-between the retail cracks you might stumble upon gallery shops, seasonal markets and contemporary craft outlets too.
Curiouser and Curiouser This pretty ladies fashion boutique is located in the heart of the trendy Northern Quarter selling unique and cutting edge clothing by young independent designers and fashion enthusiasts. Despite labels being sourced from around the world, prices are surprisingly affordable.
Oi Polloi This Independent menswear brand launched in 2002, after two young and starry-eyed go-getters melded minds over the idea of selling tie-dyed Lacoste polo shirts. The polo shirts never materialised, but a clothes shop did. Now, ten years on, Oi Polloi is a well-established indie outfitter beloved of those looking for carefully crafted menswear with an urban edge. Its good quality, good looking gear that’s fit for purpose.
Encompassing wonders such as the smallest pub in Europe (Portland Street’s wee Circus Tavern) and an ingeniously repurposed underground public toilet (The Temple of Convenience), Manchester’s historic pubs are the pride of the city. If you’d prefer something stronger, you’ll be happy to hear that Manchester is undergoing something of a cocktail renaissance with a growing army of mixologists dying to out-do one another with their creations. From sleek cocktail lounges and divey rock and roll bars to louche modern-day gin galleries.
CHAMPAGNE AND COCKTAILS
Bar Épernay This hidden gem in Manchester’s Petersfield district offers a little bit of luxury and elegance. From a chilled champagne to killer cocktails, whiskey and cigars, dynamite G&T’s or just a cold beer – Épernay is sure to have all the ingredients for your perfect evening. The bar also boasts an outdoor terrace popular with sun seekers.
Soup Kitchen Communal café by day, one of Manchester’s best live music and club venues by night, the Soup Kitchen works hard pretty much round the clock. Spread over two floors, the venue – winner of the Manchester Evening News City Life Best Club 2013 – is transformed from day to night. It’s also a regular host of comedy nights and art exhibitions.