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How to spend a day in Manchester

Manchester Art Gallery - photo credit Visit England/Marketing Manchester

The largest city in the North of England, Manchester has a whole host of things to see and do that could keep you entertained for weeks, from watching a match at Old Trafford to catching a show at the famous Royal Exchange Theatre. However, if you’re only passing through of the day you can still get a taste of Manchester’s best and brightest and the city’s a great stopping point en route to the Lake District from London. Here’s our guide on how to make the most of what this great city has to offer in just one day…

Leaving Victoria Station, head alongside the peaceful Cathedral Gardens, past Chetham’s Library, an incredible Medieval relic dating from the 1600s, and take a moment to step inside Manchester Cathedral. This beautiful building is the perfect place to take a pause, breathe and enjoy the peace, gathering your thoughts after your journey to Manchester, and set yourself up for the day ahead! While Chetham’s Library is closed to visitors at the weekend, library lovers who visit from Monday to Friday should definitely pop in and take a look around.

Manchester Cathedral

We’ve all experienced football fever this summer thanks to an exciting World Cup, but if you live and breathe the beautiful game, head over to the National Football Museum, which lies just on the far side of the Cathedral Gardens.

Food is a prominent feature in Manchester’s cultural scene and in this blog, as you will see… Discovered by a happy accident, Lunya, an amazing Catalonian deli, restaurant and bar can be found in the beautiful Burton Arcade not far from Victoria. Housed in the stunning Victorian arcade, it’s the perfect place to browse and buy delicious cured meats and marinated olives to take away or settle in with a glass of wine and a plate of something mouth-watering off the menu.

John Rylands Library, Manchester

Some people worship in churches, others in football stadiums, but for the bookworms among us, the library is our house of god and the magnificent Cathedral-esque architecture of Manchester’s John Rylands library certainly lends itself to this idea. It’s a wonderful place to wander around, admiring the beautiful architecture, exploring the collections and fascinating exhibits. It’s certainly true of the John Rylands library that the beauty is in the detail so make sure to look out for the roses in the stained glass and the dragons watching from above!

Here be dragons...and roses

By now you’ll probably be in need of a sit down and some refreshment, so take a wander to Mackie Mayor in the Northern Quarter and you won’t be disappointed. This fantastic food hall has a whole range of vendors selling everything from amazing pizzas to tasty bao buns and crispy-battered fish and chips. Wash it all down with a craft beer, a gin cocktail or a glass of fizz and enjoy the great atmosphere in the hall as you dine.

Bao at Mackie Mayor, Manchester

Once you’re feeling fully fortified take a stroll around the corner to the Manchester Craft & design Centre where talented local artisans create and display their wares, including textiles, ceramics, jewellery and more – it’s a great place to pick up a unique gift or souvenir. Continue your cultural tour with a mosey around Manchester Art Gallery, which hosts changing exhibitions as well as a stunning permanent collection including paintings by Pre-Raphaelite poster boy, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Manchester’s own L.S. Lowry. 

Manchester Art Gallery - photo credit Visit Britain/Diana Jarvis

Being a tourist is thirsty (and hungry) work so it’s definitely time for more food and drink. Head across town to GRUB at Mayfield, located just behind Piccadilly Station. This great street food venue, its fabulous bar fully stocked with the city’s best beverages, provides a space for Manchester’s finest vendors to pedal their tasty treats, and with covered outdoor seating you don’t have to worry about the North West’s sometimes inclement weather. GRUB is the perfect place to relax and reflect on your day with a nice drink and some great food, before hopping on the train and bidding Manchester farewell.

Arancini from GRUB, Manchester

To start planning your trip to the UK give us a call on 0344 847 5004 or send en email to Find out what else there is to do in and around Manchester or continue browsing our blog for more inspiration.

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