Style City: Manchester

August 17, 2010


Style City: Manchester

by Louisa McDonnell

Wags watch out. This month, reader Louisa McDonnell, an Irish expat in Manchester, gives us her stylish insider tips on shopping, eating and going out in Manchester.

With cheap flight deals available regularly and only a short flight away, Manchester is a great location to visit from Ireland.

From Manchester airport you can get a train directly into the city centre, taking about 20 minutes. You’ll be glad to hear that once you get to the city, there’s a free bus service serving the city centre.

Eating out in Manchester

First things first, you’ll need to eat once you get to your city break destination. These are all my favourite places, having lived in Manchester for some time now.

Visit Katsouris, a small continental deli on Deansgate for breakfast or lunch serving hot and cold European food. Coffees here are excellent too. It’s one of the first things I seek out in the morning, a good coffee to set me up for the day.

For mid afternoon break, try Teacup on Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter for a pot of tea and a delicious cupcake. Owned by Mr Scruff, a famous Manchester DJ who is renowned for his fondness of a good cuppa and that’s exactly what you can get here with some lovely added extras, mismatched china and polka dot fabrics.

Mr Thomas’ Chop House on Cross Street is an authentic Victorian bar serving hearty traditional English fare. When you step through the door you will feel like you have stepped back in time. Even worth visiting if just for a pint of ale!

Shopping in Manchester

Manchester is the epitome of variety for shoppers.  If you are after high street shops, concentrate on Market Street and the Arndale centre, while just a minute’s walk away, you will reach King Street, with designer shops including Vivienne Westwood, Hermès, Karen Millen and Mulberry.

Visit the Designer Handbag Agency in the Triangle Shopping Centre in Exchange Square, which sells authentic pre-owned luxury handbags, shoes and accessories including Chanel and Louis Vuitton. You will find many independent boutiques in  “the Triangle” too.

Opposite the Triangle is Selfridges, the famous department store which is worth a visit alone if you’re strapped for time as it has everything under one roof in opulant surroundings from designer beauty and clothing to an amazing food court.

Vintage Shops in Manchester

For vintage clothing and accessories, stick to the Northern Quarter and visit Affleck’s Palace, a tall Edwardian red brick building containing little individual shops and stalls, including kitsch Japanese clothing and accessories, Goth and Indie wear, independent student designers, and many fantastic vintage shops. You can even get your fortune told in here! 

Shopping Centre in Manchester

If the Manchester weather proves unreliable during your visit, head to the famous Trafford Centre, just a bus ride from the city centre, where everything  is under one roof, including John Lewis and another Selfridges, plus cinemas and restaurants. 

Going out in Manchester

Manchester’s nightlife is varied and vibrant. For fabulous cocktails, go to Bluu or Walrus in the Northern Quarter. If you’re after a quirky and funky alternative with great beer, try Odd on Thomas Street or its sister bar, Odder, on Oxford Road.

Spinningfields Cinema is one of the only outdoor cinemas in the country and you don’t need a ticket, so just turn up. This cinema shows retro films as well as new releases. Carluccio’s restaurant and deli beside it, will provide hot or cold picnics which are just perfect for a date or an evening spent with friends.

For a vibrant night out with a difference, visit Manchester’s gay village, centred on Canal Street, and go to Bar Below, a tiny bar underground playing cool tunes that stays open long after all the others have closed.

Hotels in Manchester

Stay at Malmaison in Piccadilly, an opulent hotel with stunning rooms and fabulous late night bar. The hotel’s location is perfect for shops and bars.

Other Tips for your City Break

Pick up a copy of the Manchester Evening News paper, given out free in the city centre, to see the events guide of what’s on during your visit.

And finally, let’s hope you have the most stylish weekend in what I regard to be the best English city – maybe you will even need to increase that baggage allowance for your homeward journey with all the savvy shopping you’ve done.

Images: clockwise from left:Exchange Square, Afflecks Palace, Spinningfields Cinema, Odder Bar

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