24 hours in Manchester, UK

As you know I love travelling, I’ve been so lucky to have spoken at events across the world, but nothing beats a short commute and a day out somewhere local. So this time, we took a day out to visit Manchester, somewhere I spend a lot of work time, but this time… it’s play time!

It’s Sunday, we’ve driven into Manchester from Lancashire today, but you could have stayed overnight somewhere like Media City which is Salford way, or in a block of serviced apartments Manchester city centre based. For me, for a 1 night stay, it’s either somewhere as a simple and clean bed for the night to rest our heads before heading out again, or it’s somewhere with a nice spa, restaurant and luxury furnishings and the overnight there *is* the experience.

For this “24 hours in” blog, the spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own, so here’s what I’d recommend to do in Manchester if you only have 24 hours!


Cheesy Breakfast/Brunch in Manchester

Depending on what time you get up, and if you choose an overnight stay with Breakfast included, you must check out cheese-monster-lovers-heaven Northern Soul Grilled Cheese.

They’ve had an open shop front location in the Northern Quarter for quite a while now, but the new more standard café-style venue is now on the Piccadilly Station approach (so you could always grab a toastie on the way to/from your train!)

Here we started the day in Manchester with an “Italian” and a new menu item “Pulled Pork and Slaw” with sides of crisps. A yummy cheese overload that is worth the wait!


Trendy Shops and Cafes in Manchester

Can you really say you’ve been to Manchester if you haven’t wandered round the Northern Quarter?

A definite must to sample to quirky and arty area, including fabulous graffiti art, independent retailers and a multitude of cafes, restaurants and bars offering everything you could imagine.

If you’re into arts and crafts you must check out Fred Aldous, if you’re a manga or sci-fi fan check out Forbidden Planet, and if you want to pretend to have grown up in Manchester in the 90’s you must take a stop-off at Afflecks Palace (note you will end up spending quite a bit of time in here if you like new age gifts!).  

Bonus Find – See if you can find the little hidden staircase in the outside wall at the Art and Design Centre.

Manchester Art Gallery

There are many art galleries and museums in Manchester and with only 24hours you won’t have chance to go round them all, so if you’re into Science I’d recommend MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry), if you want to learn more about human history you need to check out the Peoples History Museum and if you want to soak up some artwork the closest city centre gallery is the Manchester Art Gallery. As with most galleries, they have some fixed galleries and some rotating artworks, so check out the website before you go to pick your favourites.

On till later this year, one of my favourites is “And breathe..” a gallery connecting art with mindfulness – you are encouraged to sit in one of the comfy chairs in front of a painting and do what is know as “slow art” – sit and ponder, wander with your eyes, soak in the art, wonder what it means. I love this sort of focus!

Bonus Find – If you have time wander round the corner and see the new Emaline Pankhurst statue too!


Coffee Time in Manchester

By now you’re probably after a brew! Wander over to Home Manchester for a relaxed vibe and some cool artwork on the walls.

They also have a main gallery which has rotating exhibitions, when we went it was a fabulous yet weird collection from film director David Lynch with artworks like this…

Cocktails in Manchester

No day would be complete without trying a cocktail, and Manchester has lots of fabulous bars where it’s all about the theatre of the cocktail creation as much as it’s about the style and flavour, so make sure you sit at the bar as your bartender crafts your drinks. One of my favourite places for cocktails in Manchester is the Alchemist. And if you fancy it they have loads of tasty bar snacks to compliment.


Cheesy Dinner or Supper in Manchester

There has ended up being quite a cheesy theme today on our outing, but there are other alternatives at these lovely establishments, it’s just sometimes only cheese will do.

We finished out day of wandering, finding new things to see, eating, drinking and generally being merry… with an Oast House Cheese Fondue. It’s served with chicken skewers, mini chorizo, seeded falafel, boiled potatoes, garlic mushrooms, crudités, thick cut crisps and granary croutons and for every Fabulous Fondue sold, The Oast House will fund a nourishing meal for a local person in need at Mustard Tree. How awesome is that!


There are loads of things you can go, see and do in Manchester, but if time is tight this is hopefully a good guide to see some of the best bits. For those of you who disagree, comment your suggestions below, we’d love to hear from you too!