28 Jan

I have always had a great affection for the city of Manchester, the city of my father’s birth.  A city that continues to reinvent itself and always remain one step ahead of the pack.

Dad used to say on a daily basis, partly to me and partly to himself.  “What Manchester thinks today the world does tomorrow” the oft repeated quote from Sir Robert Peel.  It is good to know that this quote is as true today as when Peel was alive and Manchester was the industrial powerhouse of the world.

I often visit Manchester, living only just an hour away and every time I do I find something new or unique to experience or see.

Obviously Manchester has many wonderful and much vaunted museums, galleries, shopping arcades, theatres.  But in this blog I want to talk a little about some of the fantastic things to do that area little less publicised and just that little bit quirky.

Manchester along with it’s great rival northern city Liverpool been responsible for some of popular musics greatest stars.  Whereas Liverpool’s star shone mainly in the sixties, it has to be said Manchester took the stage in the eighties and nineties and is still twinkling.

If you love the Manchester/Madchester sound; The Smiths, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Oasis, Joy Division, Factory Records then the Manchester Music Tours are the just the thing for you.  Winners of a Manchester Tourism award in 2012 these tours were established in 2005 by Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill. Drawing on his first hand experiences he pieced together a walking tour of landmarks synonymous with Manchester music scene.  For myself personally as a devoted Smiths fan, there is nothing that can rival the excitement of standing outside the Salford Lads Club made famous on the the cover of The Queen is Dead album.  What better way to spend a Saturday in Manchester than wallowing in musical nostalgia.  For a list of tours, times and prices check out the website:

With the BBC somewhat controversially, relocating a lot of it’s activity up to Manchester and also the film companies moving into the Salford Quays, the city is fast becoming a media centre to rival London.  But then those of us soap fans will know that Manchester has long been the centre of the universe for television.  Home of Britain’s most popular soap, ‘the’ longest running soap opera in the world and a programme that is still at the top of the television charts sixty three years after it was first broadcast on Granada Television on 9th December 1960.  That programme is of course Coronation Street.  Granada stopped the tours of the street in 1999 when the programme increased it’s output and of course, ‘Corrie’ will be moving shortly to media city itself.  But that doesn’t mean there is not plenty to see if you are a fan of the ‘Street’.

There are a few companies that operate location tours, one being a coach company that operates from Yorkshire but this is the one I recommend if you are already in Manchester.  The Coronation Street Locations Taxi Tour operated by a seasoned extra from the show.  You never know, you just may be lucky and catch some filming.

There are plenty of other things to do if you are a Corrie fan, how about popping into Annie’s restaurant at 5 Old Bank Street near St Ann’s Square.  This newly opened restaurant owned by Corrie’s Jennie McAlpine (Fiz) and her partner.  Celebrity owned restaurants do not always have a good track record but with Annies never fear.  Their speciality is northern food with a modern twist.  The food is a wonderful unique take on hearty northern favourites, black pudding, pies, Manchester Tart and of course lighter bites and Vegetarian specials too.  There is an extensive cocktail menu and their afternoon cream teas are wonderful.  If you are lucky you may well be served by Jennie herself!

Another must do for any Corrie fan with sufficient funds is a stay at the Great John Street Hotel, this sumptuous hotel situated just opposite the Granada Studios gate has a wonderful roof terrace bar with a hot tub which overlooks ‘the Street’, you just get a glimpse of the Kabin and it is the only place outside of Granada you can see into Weatherfield.  So why not order a glass of bubbly, sit in the hot tub and look out for Norris.

If  live theatre is more your passion, the wonderful Lowry Theatre in the Salford Quays always has something interesting and fabulous going on.

Somewhere unique to Manchester is the marvelous Lass O’ Gowrie pub in Charles Street.  An award winning real ale pub that was the 2012 Supreme Champion pub of Great Britain no less.  But the Lass is also one of Manchester’s premier arts and entertainment venues.  Specialising in the very best in new fringe theatre, they even have their own annual fringe festival the ‘Lassfest’ held every January.   They are also a founding member of the multi-venue  Greater Manchester Fringe Festival which is held every July.  So there is no better place to sink a quality pint and come over all thespian.

Something else Manchester is rightly proud of is it’s links to the suffragette movement.  Emmeline Pankhurst was born in Moss Side, Manchester in 1858.  60-62 Nelson Street, which was the home of Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters is considered the birthplace of the Suffragette movement.   This is now known as the Pankhurst Centre, there is a blue plaque and a small museum at the building.  If you want to learn more about the suffrage movement and it’s links to Manchester there is a great walking tour that runs throughout the year.

With all these walking tours, I suggest you fill up with a good breakfast before setting off and The Koffee Pot in the Northern Quarter has just about the best breakfasts you can find anywhere.  It is also a great place to do some trendy celebrity spotting.  Last time I was there having a Veggie fry-up, Guy Garvey from Elbow was at the next table.  Be prepared to wait for a table though this place is excessively popular.

Obviously I have only scratched the surface of this ever changing metropolis, but I hope I have given you a few ideas of some interesting and uniquely Manc things to do.



  1. Jason B January 28, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    Fab! Definitely gonna try Annie’s Restaurant next time!

    • angelacollings January 29, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

      You will love it, a really nice atmosphere there. Let me know how you go. x

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