Tom Stockwell a RoamRight Blog Author

Five Fun Experiences in Manchester, England


Known across the globe for its two world-class football (soccer) clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City, the Lancashire town, often dubbed as ‘the Capital of the North’, has a lot to offer visitors. A myriad of international flight connections make Manchester an attractive starting point for many coming to the UK who don't want to cope with London's often confusing subway system or Heathrow's notoriously tedious immigration lines right off the bat. Friendly folk and even friendlier prices mean that Manchester shouldn’t be overlooked on your UK itinerary.

1. Affleck’s Palace

Manchester is a shopper's paradise, with all of the UK’s most famous brand names occupying many square meters of retail space. However, if you're looking for something a little quirkier, then you need to head to Affleck’s Palace. Before you get disappointed, it's not an actual palace, but rather a shopping complex located in a brick building over several floors, and it's crammed full of quirky fashion and goodies from independent retailers. Want pink platform boots to complete your Cosplay outfit? Got it. T-shirts of your favorite metal band? You can find it here. A shop completely dedicated to condoms, or a retro ice-cream parlor? Yup, it has both of those as well.

2. Canal Street

Known as a hub of gay and lesbian culture, Manchester has lots of bars and cafes to keep its pink population happy, and they’re located down, or just off, Canal Street. Canal Street has iconic status among gay people in the UK, and you'll find people from all walks of life out there enjoying a refined lunch in the daytime, or partying like there’s no tomorrow at night. The setting for the (original) UK version of Queer As Folk, Canal Street has also popped up on the likes of popular UK soap opera Coronation Street, too.

3. John Rylands Library

It may look like just another old building from the outside, but you'll be scraping your jaw off the floor when you head into the John Rylands Library. The interior is the most awe-inspiring in Manchester, and you'll feel like you're in some kind of Victorian crime thriller as your footsteps echo through the hallways, down the staircases and around the arches. If you're looking for a little bit of England in days-gone-by, then make a beeline for this place.

4. Albert Square

No, I'm not talking about the setting of EastEnders, the rival to Manchester-based soap opera Coronation Street. Albert Square is the setting of Manchester’s rather grand city hall, and is the perfect place to plonk yourself down and people watch. The perimeter of the square is dotted with some great spots to grab lunch, with my favorite being pan-Asian restaurant Tampopo.

5. Northern Quarter

The Northern Quarter is to Manchester what Williamsburg is to New York or what Shoreditch is to London. A creative center, the Northern Quarter is replete with independent shops, tattoo parlors, crumbling-yet-cool dive bars and clubs where local bands try to kick start their careers, and cute cafes and coffee shops serving up everything from curries and cupcakes to Korean food and cappuccinos.

Have you been to Manchester? What should we add to this list?

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.


About the Author

Tom Stockwell

Tom Stockwell, a RoamRight Blog Author Tom has always had the travel bug and, after quitting his call centre job in the UK, he packed up and moved to South Korea to teach English for almost four years. Since moving on from South Korea, he's been travelling the world and loves exploring city streets, trying delicious new food, meeting great people and taking way too many selfies with his phone, although he'll disagree with you on that last point. Read about Tom's adventures on his blog, Waegook Tom, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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