Manchester is one of my favourite cities in the UK, namely for its musical legends, quirky bars and variety of things to do from dachshund cafés to sing-a-long cinemas. Manchester is the ‘King of the North’ of northern cities, and is only a short 45 minute train from Stoke-on-Trent,
There is so much to do and see in Manchester, and I am yet to complete my checklist of places to go and things to see. There’s the big shop hop from Primark to Urban Outfitters and the Arnedale Centre, to Oliver Bonas and Zara. There is also the bar crawl from the indie Northern Quarter down to Spinningfields and Deansgate.
You might laugh at the thought of going on ‘holiday’ to Manchester for a few days, but it’s such a cool city with so much charm, you’ll inevitably keep coming back again and again.
I headed up with my mum, sister and her friend Alex for my sister’s 30th birthday celebrations and tried to squeeze in a bit of everything – fun, food and fashion.
Firstly we headed to Treetop Adventure Golf in The Printworks. Mum and I loved it so much last time we were there and wanted to try out the Ancient Explorer course after having done the Tropical Trail last time. The team gifted us this experience, but it would have cost £9.50 each had we have paid. We collected out clubs and balls and headed over to the course and the second we got to the first hole, the competitiveness kicked in.
The course is 18 holes, with a bonus hole at the end where you can win your team a free game.
The Tropical Trail is filled with birdsong and monster leaves, whilst the Ancient Explorer trail is complete with golden monkeys and serpents. Each player gets six attempts to get the ball in the hole, and therefore whoever has the lowest score at the end is the winner.
We made our way around the course, with some holes harder than others featuring little tunnels to hit the ball into, or aiming to get it in the mouth of a Moai. We had a great time snaking through each one and you really do get immersed in the experience due to the surroundings and the sounds projected through the speakers. Tree Top have made it a super fun experience that has you creeping around corners and startled by the interactive features.
After our game, which took about an hour and a half, we were invited into the bar area, where they serve food and drink. We each ordered mocktails, opting for Jungle Coolers and a Treetop Sunrise. It was a welcomed refreshment on the hottest day of the year so far, and the venue was a shelter from the sweltering heat outside, where it was quite literally too hot to do anything (other than the typically British thing and moan about it being too hot).
We headed out into the heat and down to Deansgate where we had booked at table at The Botanist, which is one of my favourite spots to grab a cocktail. We decided to stay for lunch and Mum, Alex and I each ordered their well-known and loved hanging kebabs, whilst my sister went for fish and chips – perfect choice for a summer’s day.
I ordered the halloumi kebab and mum ordered the chicken so we could swap a piece each and switch up the flavours. The kebabs are served hanging over your chips, so that when you pour your garlic butter over your kebab, it runs down and soaks your fries in garlicy goodness.
We also ordered sides of onion petals and pork scratchings, which were so delicious, but also make the perfect bar snack it you’re just going out for drinks.
Regarding cocktails – I always ordered the Peach and Apple Pot, but it appears to have been pulled from the menu. I decided to try out the Miracle Bulb, and I may just have found my new favourite cocktail.
The £9.95 cocktail features Empress Gin, jasmine and pomegranate syrups, green apple liqueur, lemon juice, yuzu sake and lemonade. It comes served in a glass ball with two spouts where you pour half your drink from one side and half from the other, watching it change colour before your eyes.
The drinks are so creative and in-keeping with the botanist theme which I adore, and the food is always second to none.
We had our fun, we had our food and now it was time for the final f – fashion.
I was in need of finding my graduation dress, and my sister had some birthday money to spend. Thankfully, it didn’t take me long to find the dreamiest dress in Oliver Bonas, which I will share more details of in a Graduation blog post, but for those of you that follow me on socials, I’m sure you will have already seen it.
We also took on Boots, Urban Outfitters, New Look and Paperchase. I came away with my dress, some earrings and a new academic diary for work. In New Look, we each personal shopped for my sister, pulling out items of clothing she wouldn’t usually pick up herself, but we thought would look cute.
We left Manchester around 5:30, meaning we had managed to pack quite a lot into five short hours, but I could have happily spent a few more hours pottering around the shops if it wasn’t so humid. We had the best time though and it’s the perfect way to spend a free Saturday!