The Top 10 Things To Do in Manchester

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to spend some time in Manchester, England in partnership with Virgin Atlantic, Visit Britain, and Marketing Manchester and I loved it.  A review of will quickly teach you that there is so much to see and do in this wonderful, often overlooked city.  I often find it hard to narrow down a list of things to do in any given city (thanks people on Pinterest for those “100 Things to Do in [insert city]!” posts) which is why I have kindly decided to share with you my list of 10 things you cannot miss in Manchester ;)

Note: my trip to Manchester was sponsored by Virgin Atlantic, Visit Britain, and Marketing Manchester but all opinions shared here are my own.


1. Altrincham Market

Here you will find some of the region’s best food and drink, making it the perfect spot to spend your morning.  At the market you will see, depending on the day, a little bit of everything - fresh fruit, cheese, meat, bread, flowers, jewelry, crafts, and more!  It is a great place to spend some time walking around, shopping, and photographing.  Think Seattle’s Pike Place Market but (much) smaller.  The Market House next door is quickly becoming one of Manchester’s top foodie destinations and any restaurant there is a great choice for brunch, lunch, dinner, or even just a drink.



2. The John Ryland’s Library

Despite technically being a library, the John Ryland’s library feels more like a museum and looks more like a castle.  It was built in the 1890s and is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. The collection includes the oldest known piece of the New Testament, the St John Fragment.  You can’t visit Manchester without stopping by here!


3. The Street Art in the Northern Quarter

The Northern Quarter is a popular neighborhood in Manchester with a lot of interesting history and equally interesting street art.  You could walk through it on your own but if you were to do that you would learn nothing of the history nor about the street art, so I would recommend taking a tour.  I did mine with Hayley Flynn, a local writer and tour guide. She is the creator of, a popular blog covering architecture and urban development.  She is an expert on the neighborhood and has researched the street art extensively - even interviewing or speaking personally to many of the artists - so it really is the only way to go! Find out more and book your tour here


4. The Whitworth

The Whitworth underwent major work to extend and double the public space of the gallery into Whitworth Park, reopening in 2015. It quickly went on to win the prestigious Art Prize for Museum of the Year 2015 and is now considered to be one of the finest galleries in Europe.


5. Day Trip to Liverpool

One of the best things about Manchester is it’s close proximity to so many wonderful places, such as Liverpool which is a quick 45 minute train ride away!  I spent a full day in Liverpool and found myself with a pretty good problem to have: too much to do and not enough time to do it.

  • Walk around Bold Street, a popular street in Liverpool, and check out the many shops, cafes, restaurants and bars
  • Visit the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, Britain’s largest cathedral.  It was designed by the same guy that designed the iconic red telephone booth!  It offers great views outside, inside, and upstairs on the rooftop where you’ll find city-wide panoramic views
  • Stop by Albert Dock on the waterfront.  It is home to many must-visit attractions, including The British Music Experience, The Beatles Story, Tate Liverpool, The Maritime Museum, and more!
  • If you are a football fan, do the Liverpool Football Club Stadium Tour
  • Stay the night at Hope Street Hotel if you stay overnight - it was wonderful

6. Manchester United Museum & Tour

Football fan or not, you cannot go to Manchester and not visit the Manchester United Museum. As Marketing Manchester described it in my itinerary, "The story of Manchester United is unlike any other club in the world. Beginning more than a century ago, it combines eras of total English and European domination with some of the greatest adversity faced by any football club. Only at the Manchester United Museum & Tour can you experience the story in all its glory, and immerse yourself in a legend still being made."


7. The infinity pool at King Street Townhouse Hotel

I love King Street Townhouse Hotel for many reasons, one of which is the infinity spa pool overlooking Town Hall. It is heated and the most relaxing (and beautiful) way to start your morning!  One catch: you must be a guest in order to use it.  But I do recommend staying here for reasons other than just the pool, which you can read about here


8. The Refuge

The Refuge by Volta, located inside The Principal Manchester, is one of the most unique and gorgeous restaurant venues I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.  It’s so big (10,000 square feet) that it has a handful of different spaces, ones so different that you feel transformed into a different place entirely.  There is a dining room, a beautiful public bar (a great place to work at, surprisingly!), a den, a private dining space, and my favorite - the winter garden.  Whether you go for food, a drink, or to work on your laptop over a cup of coffee, make sure to bring your camera and to give yourself a tour of all the different spaces.


9. See a gig at Albert Hall

Albert Hall is one of Manchester’s most amazing live music spaces! It was originally a chapel until 2013 when it was converted into an events venue.  Check out upcoming shows here.


10. Shambles Square

Shamble’s Square is a place I stumbled upon on my own and found to be particularly fun on a sunny day.  It is home to The Old Wellington, a pub in one of the oldest buildings in the city, and Sinclair’s Oyster Bar, a popular pub and restaurant.  On a nice day their very lively outdoor beer garden is a great place to enjoy a drink!