A day in Manchester isn’t complete without a coffee shop trip but if you’re a fan of the outdoors like I am, a day spent in the city centre may leave you lusting for more. But fear not, I recently headed to Manchester for a day trip and even squeezed in a bouldering session whilst there to keep my adventurer heart content.
So, if you’re looking for things to do in Manchester or want something slightly out of the ordinary for your Manchester itinerary, look no further! If you fancy making a full weekend of it, then I seriously recommend treating yourself to couple of nights stay in a hotel in Manchester city centre. There’s so many amazing hotels to stay at, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
START THE DAY WITH BREAKFAST
Okay, I know this is a given. But with so many amazing brunch spots in Manchester, it’d be rude not to mention it as a must do when visiting.
Since the days of being a university student (wow, I’m getting old…), Home Sweet Home has been one of my favourite places to go for food in Manchester. Whether that’s going for breakfast, lunch or just a slice of the biggest cake you could ever dream of.
For this day trip, we decided to head their for breakfast at 10am. I’m a sucker for anything sweet and savoury so I opted for the Chicken and Waffles whilst Callum went for a classic choice of a Big Brekkie (with the black pudding included of course!). It didn’t take long for our food to arrive or for us to start tucking in.
To wash down my delicious chicken and waffles, I had a Rhubarb and Rosehip soda which, by the way, is now potentially my favourite soft drink ever!
VISIT SOME SHOPS
I felt obligated to include shopping in a post about visiting a city centre… I mean, it’d be rude not to, right? As we cut through the Arndale Centre to get to the other side of the city, I couldn’t help but notice how many more shops had cropped up since I last visited.
The ‘death of the high street’ is something that I think about a lot so it was refreshing to see some new stores open their doors in the Arndale Centre. Though, being the outdoors-lovers we are, we mainly stuck to looking at outdoor pursuits shops.
If you are looking for some quirky shops then you should definitely head towards the Northern Quarter. It’s by far my favourite corner of Manchester. We picked up a sheet of wrapping paper featuring a grey illustrated map of Berlin – I figured it would look brilliant framed and placed in my front room to accompany the existing gallery wall.
EXPLORE THE EDUCATIONAL SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY MUSEUM
Manchester is full of history and with a wide choice of museums, libraries and landmarks to visit, you’re bound to find something to suit you. From the Imperial War Museum to Manchester Art Gallery, there really is an array of historical and interesting places to add to your itinerary.
Personally, I’ll visit a Science museum at any chance I can so whilst on our short day trip to Manchester, the Science and Industry Museum was at the top of my list. Entry to the Science and Industry Museum is free but a small donation is appreciated.
There’s plenty to see and do at the Science Museum. The temporary exhibitions mean it’s always changing so even if you visit multiple times throughout the year, there’s always something new and fascinating to learn about.
Like the big kid I am, the Experiment gallery was one of my favourite parts of the museum. But honestly, what adult doesn’t want an excuse to get involved in some interactive, fun science experiments like creating music simply by dancing?
TAKE A COFFEE BREAK IN THE NQ
After a couple of hours of brain-stimulating educational fun at the Science museum, we were in need of another coffee. Knowing that the Northern Quarter is the place to be for coffee, we made our way back to the NQ and headed to Foundation Coffee House.
Foundation is Manchester’s largest coffee house and with it’s bustling environment, it’s clear that it’s a popular one.
Foundation was filled with a mix of people clutching coffee cups as they leant over their Macbooks, deep in concentration and groups of friends laughing and sharing stories over coffee and food.
As we kicked back and relaxed at Foundation, I opted for a mocha which was the chocolatiest thing ever and definitely put a big smile on my face.
VISIT MACKIE MAYOR FOR POST-COFFEE CAKE
In Manchester, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice when it comes to picking somewhere to go for coffee and cake. So, after filling our tums with coffee at Foundation Coffee House, we decided to continue our walk to Mackie Mayor to see what sweet treats they had for us.
Mackie Mayor resides on the edges of Manchester’s NQ, bringing a market style food hall to the city. Based in a Grade II listed building, it really is a beautiful space.
The long, welcoming diner style benches create a friendly atmosphere and the fact that it’s dog-friendly is a huge bonus, if you ask me.
Filled with a variety of food and drink vendors, Mackie Mayor is the perfect lunch-time spot if you’re day-tripping with a group that can’t all decide on one thing. Including the likes of Honest Crust Pizza, Baohouse and Atkinsons amongst other independent traders, the offerings at Mackie Mayor are nothing short of amazing.
Not yet feeling hungry enough to devour a large meal, we settled for a lunch-time dessert from Wolf House Coffee instead. I went for a rich and indulgent raspberry cheesecake brownie whilst Callum went for an amazing mince pie cinnamon roll. Though, I think I could have happily eaten both of them.
HEAD TO DEPOT FOR A BOULDERING SESSION
Remember how I started this post by mentioning my love of the outdoors? Well, a trip to Manchester wouldn’t be complete without popping into Depot for a quick bouldering session.
Depot isn’t in the city centre so if you want to visit, you’ll have to head over to Trafford Park. But it’s just a short drive, tram or bus ride away and it’s well worth a visit.
The great thing about it’s location is that if you find you’ve worked up an appetite climbing, then you can just head over to the Trafford Centre for some amazing post-climbing food.
Depot Climbing Centre is also just down the road from Total Ninja, another amazing place to visit if you’re looking for some fun activities to get stuck into whilst in Manchester.
In the past year, bouldering is something that I’ve really grown to love and Depot Climbing Centre is somewhere that I know I can visit that will instantly challenge me and allow me to push myself further.
If you’re new to bouldering, you can hire some shoes and get the wall for a fun day out with friends. There’s also an auto-belay area and even somewhere for the little monkeys to climb if you’re looking to take the whole family! Bouldering is such an open and accessible sport, meaning almost anyone can get involved and have a laugh whilst trying to reach the top of the wall.
We spent the evening working on some projects and testing our techniques on the walls of Depot before eventually deciding to call it a night and head back home for a cosy night in front of the log burner, reflecting on our day exploring Manchester.