Travel and Hospitality

Exploring Manchester: The Top 9 Must-Visit Places

Places to visit in Manchester

Manchester, the UK’s second-most populous city and home to Manchester United, has something for every type of traveller. Whether you enjoy history, art, gastronomy, or culture, you’re in for a treat. 

Perhaps you’ve yet to think about going to Manchester because you only had time to spend in London. I got it. London is ‘the’ city to visit; therefore, visiting lesser towns such as Manchester may not be on the list of things to do. But if you’re like me and want to see the world’s tiny, hidden beauties, try visiting Manchester.

So, whether you’re a local or a visitor planning a two-day vacation to Manchester, what are the greatest things to do there? I’ve compiled a list of the top things to do in Manchester during a two-day stay, including incredible meals, memorable tours, and discovering more about the city.  

What is the ideal time to visit? 

The ideal season to visit Manchester is between June and August. These months are jam-packed with events because it is the warmest time of year. Warm weather also means that rooftop season has returned, and there are too many outdoor parties and community gatherings to attend.

I travelled to Manchester for two days in the final week of May, and the weather was fantastic. It wasn’t shorts and blouse weather, but I was quite content enjoying the day in leggings, a tank top, and a denim jacket in the evenings.  

Best places to stay in Manchester 

I couldn’t have wished for a better stay than at the Kimpton Clocktower. The hotel is in the centre of Manchester, within walking distance of helpful shopping, several restaurants and cute cafes, busy bars, the train terminal, and much more. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the building, and the accommodations are simply beautiful. If you do not want to wait for the lift, you will enjoy strolling down the spiral steps. 

There were so many opportunities for pictures throughout the hotel that it was difficult to put the phone down. My favourite photo spots were downstairs in the lobby and The Refuge, the Kimpton Clocktower’s dedicated restaurant. It’s a large eating area where you can have every meal of the day and get free drinks throughout your stay.  

How much time in Manchester is sufficient? 

There are so many activities to do in Manchester that even if you only have a few days, you’ll want to return because there is so much to do. However, if you’re passing through Manchester and only have one day to see the city, that’s plenty of time to see many of its highlights.  

9 Great Things to Do in Manchester

Travelling to Manchester was my first visit to the United Kingdom, and it will not be my last. Before my vacation, I did not know what to expect from my weekend visit, but after going on in-depth guided tours and dining at excellent restaurants, I left, eager to return. There is a lot of history to learn; I did not know how amazing the culinary scene would be, and I enjoyed how walkable the city is.

Explore the John Rylands Library.

The John Rylands Library gives brief insights into the past, with literary gems strewn throughout the library. This historical library houses a wide range of books and manuscripts that are unlikely to be found elsewhere in the entire world. Admission is free, and it is in the city’s heart. Even if you don’t plan on studying, visiting the John Rylands Library will be a highlight of your trip because there is so much history, and the interior is simply stunning. 

This library is notable since John Ryland’s wife erected it in his memory following his death. He was also renowned as Manchester’s first millionaire.

Walk around the Northern Quarter. 

Walking through the Northern Quarter, which is filled with beautiful boutiques, eccentric cafes, and one-of-a-kind street art, will cause you to pause and enjoy the raw creativity created by artists all over the world. Walking through Manchester’s Northern Quarter became one of my favourite free activities because the streets were so vivid and colourful that you could easily get lost walking around the city’s hippest neighbourhood. This bohemian area of the city also features a plethora of restaurants that provide outdoor seating throughout the warmer months, while every corner appears to have a tale waiting to be discovered.

Explore The Refuge.

Whether you stay at the Kimpton Clocktower, seeing The Refuge is a great idea. Walk into this boutique treasure, which was previously a Victorian warehouse. The early mornings were my favourites because the setting was so peaceful, the breakfasts were delicious, and the evening cocktails kicked off the night perfectly.  

Walk through the RHS Gardens.

RHS Gardens, located 15 minutes from downtown, is a garden filled with the most stunning roses and lilies. This botanical wonderland encompasses 154 acres and features breath taking scenery, rich flora, and accessible paths. A visit to the RHS Gardens is a terrific way to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle and enjoy leisurely walks with the sights of a castle.

Albert’s Schloss hosts a Sunday brunch.

If you’re visiting from the US and have never tasted Yorkshire pudding, you’ll be in for an experience brunching at Albert’s Schloss. Although the restaurant is open every day, attempt to dine there on Sundays because there is a special menu available just that day.  

Spend time in the Manchester Art Gallery. 

The Manchester Art Gallery offers a broad selection of current exhibitions and fine art. Whether you want to see local art or tick off all the top things to do in Manchester, this will be one of them. 

Plan for a Day Tour to North Wales 

To all my nature enthusiasts, get away from the city and enjoy the day exploring North Wales. If you do not have a full day to tour Manchester, I recommend going to Wales because the scenery is breath taking. See mediaeval castles and admire the magnificent Snowdonia National Park.

Plan a cheese crawl. 

Have you ever imagined what it’s like to munch on while walking through an entire city with cheese? I had just learned that it was possible when I took part in Manchester’s Guided Cheese Crawl. This is one of those adventures that will bring out your inner cheese nerd because you will watch the local cheese makers work their magic and produce some of the best cheese in the UK.

Visit St. Anne’s Square. 

Walk through St. Anne’s Square, Manchester’s most bustling square, and enjoy entertaining afternoon activities provided by outside vendors and stores and fast snacks from street food sellers. During summer, you’ll also see people drinking outside, since this was one of the busiest spots I saw in Manchester during my stay.


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