Back in December I nipped to Manchester for a weekend with my boyfriend. It was my first visit, and I'm smitten. The Northern Quarter is packed with tiny coffee shops, indie boutiques and music venues. I'm itching to go again!
My highlight was a trip to the Manchester Craft and Design Centre. I've been following them online for a couple of years (even before I left Australia, I believe!), so it was a real thrill to finally visit in person.
In the heart of the Northern Quarter, the centre is home to 30 resident artists & makers, including potters, jewellers, painters and designers. Needless to say, I was in creative geek heaven. Along with the gorgeous makers' studios and shops, there is also a cafe, workshop room and small exhibition space! These guys really have their heads screwed on. Oh, even the building itself is beautiful - a converted Victorian market building, complete with many of its original and quirky fixtures and fittings! The place just gave me butterflies.
A few other Manchester recommendations...
Oxfam Original Shop: I picked up a 100% merino jumper here for just £15! They have a brilliant hand-picked selection of clothes, shoes and accessories for men and women.
Night and Day: Music venue that serves great food during the day (it's across the street from Oxfam Originals!)
Takk: an excellent Icelandic-inspired coffee house on the edge of the Northern Quarter. I rarely drink coffee as I'm VERY fussy with it, but their blend was delicious AND they know what a piccolo is.
Bonbon: A tiny hole-in-the-wall artisan chocolatier and café, making the very BEST hot chocolate that I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. It's even dairy-free?!
The Deaf Institute: Spread across 3 floors, with 3 bars, a kitchen & a roof terrace, this venue absolutely delighted me. We saw a Bill Ryder-Jones and Saint Saviour gig - the music hall is on the top floor, in what looks like a big attic room, complete with kitsch wallpaper and chandelier! After hearing the good people at BBC Radio 6 Music talk about the Deaf Institute for so long, it was seriously fun to be there. (The music was great too!)
Trof: Under the same ownership of The Deaf Institute, the Trof is another rambling venue with several floors of vintage and reclaimed decor. We only had breakfast, but it sounds like fun throughout the week, with open mic nights, quizzes and a Sunday roast!
Oooh...take me back...