What to do for a weekend in Manchester
Manchester is a thriving city, brimming with things to do and places to see. However, getting around the UK can be a bit of a nightmare at the best of times, trains may be slightly quicker but prices are extortionate. So, I opted for a cheaper – and in my opinion – far more comfortable alternative. If you are wondering what to do for a weekend in Manchester, read on…
Departing Oxford just after 8am, I boarded my National Express coach to Manchester. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised, all National Express coaches come with leather seats, air conditioning, power sockets and toilets as standard. They offer a downloadable entertainment system VUER for free, which offers films, TV programmes and magazines.
If you have ever been on a long coach journey before without a charger and toilet – and I have – it is not a fun time. The coaches are modern and comfortable, with adjustable leg rests, spacious seats and supported headrests – just perfect for a little mid-journey snooze. With a brief stopover to switch coaches in Birmingham, we were off again and before you know it, we were in Manchester, ready to explore the sights.
We arrived in Manchester city centre at around 1pm and were ready to kick start our weekend of cafes, culture and cocktails galore. Here are my top 10 things to do for a weekend in Manchester:
Top 10 things to do for a weekend in Manchester
Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester
We needed an infusion of culture so headed to the Manchester Art Gallery. The gallery is spectacular, housing an assortment of classic and contemporary pieces. A particularly interesting exhibition space was dedicated to the relationship between art and mindfulness. And Breathe… allowed guests to stop and pause for a moment, appreciating the connection between the two.
You could spend an entire day in and around the Northern Quarter, soaking up the area before strolling through Afflecks indoor market and many a quirky shop. There are lots of retro, nostalgic and vintage treasures to be found and bought in Afflecks. It’s a lot of fun to rummage around the many shops and I have to admit, it reminded me of Camden Market on a much smaller scale.
John Rylands Library, Manchester
The John Rylands Library was founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her husband and is housed in an impressive Neo-Gothic building. Step inside, and you will discover its grand history and architecture, alongside its vast collection of treasured books and manuscripts. We were lucky to stop by as the Women Who Shaped Manchester exhibition was on. It detailed the journeys of incredible women, past and present. Women who used their wits and determination to overcome many societal challenges.
National Football Museum, Manchester
I am not a fan of the great game but the National Football Museum is impressive. My other half was delighted, heading around the various exhibitions and it was a highlight of his trip. Inside, discover a diverse range of worldwide memorabilia and interactive skills-based challenges. The penalty shoot game ever featured the old Wembley goal!
eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester
The eXchange Food and Drink Lounge is a rustic restaurant that does not fail to impress. Within, discover a restaurant area, bar, sports screens and even a kid’s area. Perfect for all the family, the eXchange Food and Drink Lounge offers incredible dining, spectacular cocktails and an evening of chatter and memories. Read my review of my experience here.
The Liars Club, Manchester
While in Manchester, we proved to be frequent patrons of The Liars Club. It is a tropical tiki bar with an enviable selection of global rum and a vibrant and funky interior. The cocktails were incredible and good-value for money. You could lose hours sipping away listening to Reggae tunes aplenty. They even offer a two drinks for £10 happy hour on weekdays!
Sunset by Australasia, Manchester
Sunset by Australasia is an Instagram dream. It offers a stunning pastel pink and gold interior, alongside an outside terrace embellished with vibrant flower walls and plush seating and cushions. Sunset by Australasia is gorgeous – but the cocktails are even better. So, grab a frozen Prosecco sorbet blend and let the world go by for a few hours.
Sugar Junction, Manchester
Sugar Junction is a coffee, cake and cocktail lovers’ dream. This vintage venue in the Northern Quarter offers lots of wholesome and homemade produce. I had a cake (gluten-free, which was a nice touch) alongside pink lemonade – which was beautifully decorated. My other half opted for a rather filling and well-presented sandwich, which was accompanied by chips. You can enjoy breakfast, brunch throughout the day and afternoon tea – or a cocktail or two, if you feel inclined.
Home Sweet Home, Manchester
Looking for the best pancakes in town? Home Sweet Home offers an American breakfast and brunch in a cosy and quirky location. The pancake stacks are huge, doused with fresh fruit, cream and sauces – there are some savoury options too, so don’t fret. Do be wary though, if you get there at the weekend and are looking to quash your comfort food cravings, there may be a bit of a wait.
Manchester Cathedral, Manchester
We spent some time in Manchester Cathedral, appreciating the many Bee in the City bee’s dotted around its interior. Although Manchester Cathedral is rather small, it was as expected, beautiful. It is the perfect place to take a few moments away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre.
So, if you are looking for a fabulous UK city break, look no further! There are plenty of things to do for a weekend in Manchester.
You can book your next journey to Manchester (or the rest of the UK) with National Express here or give them a call on 0871 7818181.
National Express travels to over 900 destinations nationwide and offers thousands of tickets for £5 or less (plus a booking fee). The best bit? Travelling by coach proves to be the most environmentally friendly form of public transport!
Where would be your first stop in Manchester? Have you travelled via National Express before?
This post is in collaboration with National Express