England: Making The Most of a Shopping Trip to Manchester

England: Making The Most of a Shopping Trip to Manchester

Manchester is one of those cities that we will never get tired of visiting. Over the years we have lost count of the times we have spent a night or two in this magnificent and extremely proud city. Our visits have always been for a number of varied reasons – sports events, concerts and gigs, drunken debauchery with friends (probably the least said about those weekends, the better), a stay before flying from Manchester airport, discover the amazing street art and even just to visit hotels in Manchester (of which there are loads to choose from) or even new restaurants. In fact, I’d go far as to say Manchester is our favourite city in England (barring our home city of Hull, naturally) and we jump at any excuse to pack up the car and head over the Pennines.

Manchester, England

Street in Manchester City Centre, England


Our most recent trip saw us heading to Manchester on Black Friday for some retail therapy. As soon as we arrived in the city the hustle, bustle and pre Christmas excitement hit us full force and we loved it. Plus we were extremely lucky that the weather was fantastic for November, in fact, we were even treated to blue skies. If you love shopping as we do, the eclectic mix of shops and shopping areas in Manchester makes it a city that you need to visit.

Trafford Centre

Many people head to the Trafford Centre, which is just on the outskirts of Manchester. Now, don’t get me wrong the Trafford Centre is amazing and super easy to get too from the city centre, if you don’t fancy driving you can jump on the express X50 or 250 bus from Piccadilly Gardens, a few minutes’ on foot away from Manchester Picadilly (the city’s main) train station, but it is just that – a shopping centre, which could, in reality, be anywhere.

High Street Shops

Arndale Centre, Manchester, England

We hit the ground running and headed straight to the Manchester Arndale Centre, home to over 200 high street shops selling almost everything you can think of. Basically, you will find something for all the family here. As it was Black Friday it was packed with people eager to grab a bargain. However, everyone seemed to be very well behaved. There was no pushing or shoving like other places we saw on the TV. Other high street shops can be found on Market Street, one of, if not the main street running through Manchester city centre. We picked up a few bits from the Arndale Centre before heading across Exchange Square to Harvey Nichols.

Designer Stores

Harvey Nichols, Manchester

Selfridges & Co. Manchester, England

Living close to a city where the ‘best’ shop is the soon to close House of Fraser, this was a wonderful treat for us as we browsed the womenswear and menswear respectively. However, the clothes in Harvey Nichols seemed quite ‘loud’ and possibly suited to a younger and/or more trendy crowd. Still umming and arring about what we wanted to spend our hard earned cash on we headed to Selfridges & Co. Now, this shop is where you will find the stuff of dreams, with the price tags to boot. Needless to say, we were in our element wandering through the designer clothes concessions. We did pick up a couple of things and our bank balance took a hit, but if you’ve got to treat yourself once in a while – right?

The Northern Quarter

The next stop on our planned shopping route was supposed to be Thunder Egg in the Northern Quarter. It’s a great quirky retro shop which sells wonderful women’s clothes. I was introduced to it by a friend when I visited Manchester earlier this year. The Northern Quarter is also home to a number of other unique and independent shops. They are well worth looking around if you fancy something not everyone else has. Unfortunately, our bank accounts were bare, our feet were aching and we were ready for a drink and something to eat.


Cathedral Quarter, Manchester, England

The Old Wellington, Manchester

Pubs in The Cathedral Quarter, Manchester

There are more pubs and clubs in Manchester than you can shake a stick at and I’ll be honest we have tried a lot of them – from swanky cocktail bars such as Arcane to the back street pubs where pints are £2 and karaoke is the entertainment (you know the ones I mean). We tend to migrate to the Northern Quarter if we are looking for a laid-back vibe and cool music. The Crown and Kettle, the Allotment Bar and the Port Street Beer House are three of our favourites. If visiting with friends we often head to Deansgate Locks which is packed with trendy bars and loud music – perfect for dancing the night away in.

Corn Exchange Manchester, England

Banyan in Manchester, England

However, as we didn’t want to head too far we opted for a quick on in The Old Wellington in the Cathedral Quarter. Basically called that because it lays within the shadow of Manchester Cathedral. Here there are a few bars all located next to each other, which on a summer’s day makes the perfect place to head for some mid-afternoon al fresco drinking. These pubs are what I would call old school boozers – you know the ones I mean – proper pubs with wooden beans and perfect for getting a proper pint. There are a few modern bars like Banyan just next door in the Corn Exchange building which has recently been refurbished if a cocktail is more your thing.


Tram in front of The Printworks, Manchester

The Printworks, Manchester

Not only is the Corn Exchange home to some bars but also home to some wonderful, mostly chain but a few independent, restaurants. My favourite of which is Salvis, a wonderful and authentic Italian, that I have eaten at a couple of times. Failing that, just across the road is the Printworks. here you will find more chain restaurants – Nandos, Chiquitos, Frankie & Bennys and our all-time favourite Hard Rock Cafe. Wherever we are in the world and there’s a Hard Rock Cafe – we’ll be there. For unique and independently owned cafes, coffee shops and restaurants, again you need to head to the Northern Quarter. Here you will find eateries such as Elnecot, The Pen & Pencil and the RBG Bar & Grill.

Festive Champagne Afternoon Tea at Harvey Nichols, Manchester

Festive Champagne Afternoon Tea at Harvey Nichols, Manchester

Festive Champagne Afternoon Tea at Harvey Nichols, Manchester

We, however, opted for something quintessentially British and headed back to Harvey Nichols for a delicious festive champagne afternoon tea. We were given one of the best tables in the house overlooking Exchange Square. Afternoon tea is kind of our thing and something we love to indulge in as often as possible. This one was particularly great and we would highly recommend it. With a glass of champagne, we toasted to a wonderful day. We then happily chatted until our afternoon tea was delivered to our table. With delectable finger sandwiches and wraps, scones with jam and lashings of clotted cream topped off with delicate petit fours. It was the perfect way to complete our shopping trip to Manchester.

Mr ESLT and I at Harvey Nichols, Manchester

I’m sure it won’t be long until we return again……

  • Collaborative Post – The spending money for our afternoon tea was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are our own.


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  1. Nov 25, 2018 / 7:13 pm

    I’ve got to say, as a Southerner(!), I’ve never even thought of putting Manchester on my travel list, and have only ever managed a quick visit for an event.

    Maybe I should give it some more thought!

    • Eat Sleep Love Travel
      Nov 25, 2018 / 7:21 pm

      You’re not the first to say that. On a photo of Manchester we put on Instagram someone (also a Southerner) said they had never visited. Maybe we’re a bit biased being Northern ourselves but it is a fantastic city with lots to offer. If you ever do make the journey and need any recommendations – hotels, restaurants, bars etc that aren’t mentioned in this post, please just ask 😊

  2. Nov 28, 2018 / 6:04 pm

    Manchester is wonderful for shopping! You can find pretty much anything you want or need. I’m loving the Christmas Markets at the moment… have you had a look round them in Manchester yet?

    • Eat Sleep Love Travel
      Nov 28, 2018 / 7:43 pm

      Oh, it really is!!! We want to go back already (although our bank balances need time to recover). We had all intentions but just didn’t have time to venture into the depths of the Christmas markets. We did wander around the few stalls in Exchange Square. Even at 2.00pm on a Friday afternoon, they were packed. I can only imagine what they are like on a Saturday afternoon! We like Leeds Christmas market too, but again we will not have time to visit this year and Birmingham has been recommended to us too – hopefully next year 🙂