Whenever I think of Manchester I say, in my head, “COME ON THEN I’LL ‘AVE YA” Gallagher brother styles. I always think of the place as being in yer face, buzzed out, hyped up, Britpop fuelled fury. But in real life, whenever I have been there, I have found it to be simply stylish and fun and crammed to the rafters with retro capers.
I used to have to go to Manchester for work meetings all the time and I always used to book a late train back to London, not just to avoid the on peak train expenses- which can be the difference between a £15 fare and. £150 far, absurdly, but in order to make the most of being in such a fun city.
I have cool memories tucked away of meandering around the city centre, enjoying the Christmas lights whilst wishing I had another jumper, spending my pennies in the excellent second hand shops (on an extra jumper), enjoying the alternative vibes and ending with some of the best cheap noodles I’ve ever tasted in their China Town.
If you have a spare weekend over the coming weeks do consider booking a thrifty hotel with Hotel Direct and relishing all the good freebies and cheapies Manchester has to offer.
Here are five reasons to visit Manchester in December:
This could be number one to five for me. It is awesome, retro inspiration and there is no other place in Britain like it! Vintage clothing, antique trinkets and retro games. Loooooove. I bought my first ever pair of vintage sunnies here back in the early 2000’s and haven’t looked back. You will be able to pick up all your Christmas pressies in this one spot, I reckon. (Although vintage sunnies might be a bit unseasonal.)
Skip the mad, busy Southbank or the faraway markets of Germany for this perfectly compact and lovely Manchester Market. Everything you’d hope for in a Christmas Market, with the added benefit of being close to the station and much cheaper than London! Manchester do Christmas lights with aplomb too- be bedazzled and amazed with the array of bedangling kitsch.
The Oxfam Emporium in Manchester is by about 7000% the best Oxfam in the UK. It rocks. It is slightly more expensive than other Oxfams, but only just, and it is worth it as they have selected the absolute best of retro garb. There is also a record shop and book shop- all three of which make Manchester worth a visit for second hand lovers! (Lovers of second hand that it, ermmmm.) Oxfam staff have lovingly sorted through the jumble and these shops feel much more ordered than the usual charity shop. If you have a list of people you need to buy for, I’m sure they are the (second) IDEAL place to get all your Christmas pressies!
The Great Outdoors
Manchester is a gateway to some of the most lovely parks and reserves in the North. Daisy Nook (hello, cutest name evs) has a river for paddling, birds to spot, meadows to roll in and trees to climb. Take a day exploring this lovely place, and let nature therapeutize (WHAT?! Spell check hasn’t underlined that word?! I totally thought I had made it up?!) you.
It would be remiss to begin with the Gallagher brothers and not mention the rich musical heritage of Manchester. We have that city to thank for SO MUCH musical beauty. And, the cool thing, is that local musicians are often happy to share with the public for free! For example, Festwich, is an annual festival, open to all and it doesn’t cost a penny. There are also tons of free events, particularly festive ones, at the Manchester Cathedral.
*sung to Alanis Morisette* Thank you Manchester!