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Reasons to visit Manchester, UK

When seeking a destination that houses innovation, creativity and an electric atmosphere, there’s no other place to be than Manchester. Today, the ‘capital of the North’ is known widely for great football, home to the two huge rival teams – Manchester City FC and Manchester United FC. But there is much more to the city than one would initially expect.

Manchester is famous for being the first industrialised city in the world and at the heart of the Revolution. The worker bee symbol, found throughout the city, recognises the industrial background and impressive work ethic and community of Mancunians. Yet, despite the alluring, historic buildings and stories that can be told, there are many other reasons why travelers should rush to experience the energy of the legendary Northern city.

Unique afternoon tea

For a truly British encounter, indulge in one of the many elegant tea rooms of Manchester. Manchester is well-known for intense sports and exciting nightlife, but sometimes you need something slightly more relaxing and elegant.

The Midland Hotel has been well-known for its tea room since its opening in 1903. The Tea Room at The Midland provides an all-round opulent experience where guests can sip their tea while overlooking the beautiful St Peter’s Square.

Expect a variety of dietary options and high-end cuisine, with The Midland’s special menu including exclusive teas such as The Midland 1903 which features the ‘champagne of tea,’ Darjeeling as a key ingredient.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for an exciting and memorable afternoon tea to continue talking about even after you leave, Richmond Tea Rooms is a perfect choice. Hidden in a street beside Manchester’s iconic Gay Village, Richmond Tea Rooms is heavily inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and you can feel the magic of Wonderland the moment you walk through the doors.

The eccentric hotspot combines fun and nostalgia with the elegance of a quintessential afternoon tea. The impressive detail is guaranteed to wow all visitors, with a woodland forest garden room, delicate flowers hanging from the walls, and bold, colorful decor everywhere you look. The diverse menu is also influenced by Alice in Wonderland, making it a truly unique experience that can only be found in Manchester.

Plenty of fine dining options

For sophisticated dining with exquisite menus and high-quality cuisine, look no further than Manchester. The city will introduce you to a vibrant culinary scene with no shortage of options.

Situated in Ancoats, you’ll find Manchester’s first Michelin-star restaurant, Mana, offering no less than intense sophistication and a lavish dining experience. The breathtaking cuisine is inspired by traveling and research while the creativity of the restaurant is unmatched, with an ever-changing, limitless menu.

The essence of Mana is felt as you arrive, with sleek interiors, innovative chefs and decadent dishes. When visiting, remember to try the highly recommended Kakigori desert. The Japanese-inspired dish provides an airy yet sweet feel to the tastebuds, while the ice is infused with roses for that extra fine twist.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for fine dining with a home comfort approach, Dakota Bar and Grill offers a fabulous menu inspired by the seasons. When visiting the Manchester restaurant, you’ll find great food with an elegant twist, including their mouthwatering signature, prime-cut British steaks – the best in Manchester. The steaks are cooked on hot coals while guests can also opt for a private dining room to enjoy a truly intimate experience.

The shopping scene

Indulge in some retail therapy with some of the biggest fashion names in the world, as well as several unique, independent designers. If you’re not in London, Manchester is the next best place for a shopping trip in the UK with the additional benefit that you’re less likely to get stuck in extremely long queues.


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A highlight for many is the presence of Selfridges. Founded in 1909 by Henry Selfridge, the chain houses several upscale designer stores. It has since gone on to win several awards and accolades including Best Department Store in the World on four occasions. When traveling to the UK, Selfridges can only be found four times, two of which are situated in Manchester – Manchester’s city center and The Trafford Centre. The store oozes creativity and innovation, offering a memorable shopping trip for all who visit.

Aside from Selfridges, there are several boutiques and stores where you’ll find big names in fashion. A walk down Manchester’s King Street will lead to many British designer shops and independent stores, whereas Flannels and Harvey Nichols offer a similar service to Selfridges but with a few gems that you are less likely to find elsewhere.

If you’re seeking unique handmade pieces, decor and gifts, then Manchester’s Craft and Design Centre situated in the Northern Quarter is a must-visit. Here, you’ll find many independent artists and designers who create exclusive items for the individual.

Relax at the tranquil spas

While Manchester can be busy, there are plenty of options to relax and rejuvenate. Unwind with indulgent treatments, massages, and wellness therapies for the ultimate pampering experience.

Situated just southwest of Manchester in Knutsford is the beautiful Mere Golf Resort and Spa. Elegance is felt from the moment you arrive, with an exposed brick interior and modern amenities.

Feel all your problems melt away as you take advantage of the luxury Natura Bisse facial treatments. The team adopted one of the best skincare brands in the world to target signs of ageing and provide a soothing effect on the skin while giving you a radiant glow.

For a shorter stay closer to Manchester city center, the perfectly located Rena Spa is an exceptional choice. The Midland Hotel is home to the famous Rena Spa, which is highly praised by all who visit – winning many awards and accolades. After enjoying your afternoon tea at The Midland’s Tea Room, take some time to indulge in the stunning spa amenities, which offer everything that you’d ever need for a truly tranquil afternoon.

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  1. I think Salford counts as Manchester. As you mention Manchester United I think that it’s OK for me to put in a plug for Salford Quays.

    If you’re travelling to get to Manchester there’s plenty of hotels and accommodation at Salford Quays.

    The Lowry Centre has to be one of the country’s top art attractions and there’s usually plenty more going on there too.

    1. Salford is actually a city in its own right, so separate from Manchester, but it is part of the metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester. I was there only the other week for a tour of Energy House 2.0, which isn’t usually open to the public, but was very interesting, particularly from a renewable engineering perspective.

  2. Mention Manchester and everyone thinks football. What about cricket? Old Trafford hosts international test matches, one day internationals and T20s. And that’s before we even mention Lancashire’s matches played at home at Old Trafford.

  3. Quite rightly you give Manchester its title of Capital of the North. Even then I think it’s underrated. I’ve been in exile, working in London for a number of years, and I’m always shocked by the number of Londoners who have never even thought of visiting Manchester.

    1. It is a capital in its own way. There’s always so much going on. Art, culture, music, sport – whatever you’re into, Manchester’s got it.

  4. Talking food and talking football there’s always Tast Catala. Pep Guardiloa, Man City’s manager, is one of the directors. You can’t help but wonder if he was missing the tastes of Barcelona and wanted to bring some Catalan style tapas to Manchester.

  5. Like many other cities, Manchester’s attractions change from month to month, week to week, even from day to day. You could almost do a very different post every month on reasons to visit Manchester.

    1. We had a brilliant weekend in Manchester and we were amazed at how many places to eat there were from good value chippies through to fine dining.

      We spent far more longer deciding on where we were going to eat than we’d thought possible. If you’re going to Manchester do some research on the food scene first to save wasting your valuable time when you’re there.

      And one more thing. We thought that when it came to eating out our money went a lot further than it did in London.

  6. Is that the right headline? Should it be Reasons to live in Manchester? I visit the city a lot because I’ve got friends who live there. There’s always so much happening that I want to live there too.

    1. As someone who was born in Manchester and lived here for well over half a century I can tell you that I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

      A lot of my friends left the city in their late teens and early 20s. Over the years a lot of them have drifted back and stayed.

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