Map of ManchesterWhen thinking about Manchester, the world famous football team is often the first thing to spring to mind. The ‘Capital of the North’ however has far more to offer than sports. This friendly cosmopolitan city has a thriving art scene, a fantastic musical heritage (producing The Smiths, Oasis, and many more…) and is increasingly becoming a top destination for foodies.

With a number of attractions, including several well-known art galleries, incredible (often free) museums and some of the best shopping in the country, as well as a number of events happening all year round, there’s no shortage of things to do to fill up a weekend away in Manchester. Add to this the bustling nightlife scene, with cutting edge clubs, proper British pubs and a few secret bars thrown in, and you’re left with a city break that’s not for the faint-hearted.

Stay at…

With over 100 hotels to choose from, there’s accommodation to suit every taste and budget in this vibrant city. For an indulgent weekend away, book into Velvet, a hotel, bar and restaurant in the city centre, with stunning rooms and suites designed to an exceptionally high standard. Velvet offers a number of packages with its rooms, from Bath Butlers and Rose Petal Turndowns for a truly romantic weekend, to Harvey Nichols shopping packages for those looking for a weekend of retail therapy. They also offer reduced room rates and late checkout on Fridays and Saturdays for those indulging in the exciting nightlife that Manchester has to offer. For those on more of a budget, there are plenty of hotels, B&Bs and hostels offering fantastic service at very reasonable prices.

Eat at…

In the past few years Manchester has placed itself firmly on the food map. Simon Rogan’s The French is a firm foodie favourite, showcasing his award-winning dishes made from ingredients grown on the farm at L’enclume (Rogan’s 2 Michelin Star restaurant in Cartmel). Or try Aumbry in Prestwich, a fantastic restaurant for intimate fine dining, with graduates from Heston’s Great British Menu Laurence Tottingham and Mary-Ellen McTague at the helm, both of whom worked at Heston’s The Fat Duck when it was crowned ‘The Best Restaurant in the World’. If you’re looking for something a bit more exotic, try Sapporo Teppanyaki in Castlefield, which boasts incredible sushi, sashimi and Teppanyaki for a theatrical dining experience.

Explore…

The intu Trafford Centre
Described by Manchester’s tourism board as ‘as much of a theme park as it is a shopping centre’, this fantastic shopping location offers over 200 stores from designer to high street, fashion shows, and film premiers in the 20 screen Odeon cinema – not to mention a Sea Life centre and the Legoland Discovery centre. This is not your average shopping centre, and you could easily fill a weekend here alone!

The Rovers Return with a tour of Coronation Street
Take a stroll down the famous cobbles and have a picture at the bar on this behind-the-scenes tour of the set of this famous soap, getting fascinating facts and stories from the studio guides.

The Artzu Gallery in the heart of Spinningfields
Showcasing painting, sculptures and photography from both established and up-and-coming artists, The Artzu Gallery is known for being the most progressive independent Gallery space in Manchester, and stands as a beacon for art-lovers, art-buyers and artists the world over. Featuring works from Michael John Ashcroft, Andrew Hunt and Pip Dickens this is a great place to inject some culture into your weekend.

The 20’s at The Fitzgerald
The elusive Fitzgerald cocktail bar in the Northern Quarter is one of Manchester’s secret bars, renowned for its flapper bar staff, classic cocktails and 1920’s sounds. If you can find it, it offers live jazz jam sessions, wine and spirit tastings and classic film nights in a vintage atmosphere that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into an old-fashioned speak-easy.

Wartime Britain’s Home Front at Stockport Air Raid Shelters
Opened in 1939, Stockport air raid shelters were the largest purpose built civilian air raid shelters in the country, providing refuge for up to 6500 people. The shelters were authentically reconstructed and re-opened as a visitor attraction in 1996, and the underground network rapidly became one of Stockport’s best loved tourist attractions.

The Best of Manchester’s Nightlife at The Liars Club
The Liars Club is a basement Tiki dive bar and Caribbean rum shop, offering the best of Polynesian flavour in the heart of Manchester. The bar offers a selection of over 100 rums, and has an exotic list of cocktails served, often flaming, in elaborate Tiki vessels.

Manchester can’t be beaten for a lively and exciting weekend away, packed with unexpected adventures and luxury experiences. If you’re planning a trip there this year let us know what’s on your to-do list at @MapMarketingUK!

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