As the name says, eat all you can for one fixed price. Good on veggie food and Indian cuisine. Cheap drinks make it ideal for a group.
The cafe at Jodrell Bank is used not only by those who've gone to explore the Observatory but also as a pit stop for passing cyclists in the Cheshire countryside. The decor includes clocks telling you what the time it is on Mars, Venus or in a black hole. It has an appetising array of cakes with lots of gluten free options too. Not only that but they serve you a huge pot of tea with whole milk from the local farm and, even better than this, the waiter came over and offered to top up the hot water for us- absolute bliss!
Jodrell Bank Observatory, the University of Manchester, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 9DL
+44 (0)1477 571321
Michael Herbert runs a regular programme of historical walks, which as the name suggests, focus on Manchester and Salford's radical history from Peterloo to the present day. The programme includes introductions to Manchester and Salford as a radical city, women's history, votes for women, trade unionism and literary Manchester. The walks last about two hours. Michael is a very knowledgeable guide with a background as an historian and a trade unionist in UNITE. He is the author of a number of books on Manchester's history.
We recently did the gangs of Manchester tour. Starting at the Barton Arcade on Deansgate, Emma Fox, the tour guide takes you round sites relevant to the stories of The Victorian Scuttler Gangs and tells you tales of violence, poverty and squalor. She manages to recreate a sense of the time through her accounts, tales and poetry and having been resident in Manchester for 18 years, I ended up in areas just a few miles from home that i would never had known about. The tour finishes in the wonderful Marble pub just right for a thirst quenching beer!
+44(0)161 431 7030
Castlefield in Manchester is a great starting point for waterside walks in Manchester. It’s across the road from Manchester Science and Industry Museum, an exciting place to visit even before you start walking! Follow the Bridgewater Canal south west as far as Old Trafford (where a stadium tour is available), and then walk across to the Manchester Ship Canal. On the Trafford side there is the Imperial War Museum, or cross the footbridge to visit the Lowry Gallery and theatre complex (and outlet shopping mall). If you don’t want to walk back, you can always take the tram. In the other direction from Castlefield, follow the Rochdale Canal to walk under central Manchester’s busiest streets whilst watching barges negotiate locks. There is plenty of choice for refreshment with the bars and restaurants at Deansgate Locks and along Canal Street. At Piccadilly Basin you can either return to Castlefield by walking through the city centre, visiting museums, art galleries (or shops) along the way – or continue walking along the towpaths of either the Rochdale Canal or the Manchester and Ashton Under Lyne Canal. The latter leads to Manchester’s other football stadium.
Museum of Science and Industry:
Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4FP
+44(0)161 832 2244
Google map: bit.ly/qiM1Hu
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ
+44(0)843 208 6000
Google map: bit.ly/oTOCEe
Imperial War Museum North
The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester M17 1TZ
+ 44 (0) 161 836 4000
Google map: bit.ly/pDppEq
The Castle Hotel is a charismatic and very welcoming pub in the heart of Manchester city centre. It specialises in real ale and quality ciders and also has some fantastic bar food on offer.
Greens is a fantastic vegetarian restaurant tucked away in West Didsbury, Manchester. Part owned by TV chef Simon Rimmer, it has a brilliant selection of imaginative veggy dishes which goes beyond the typical goat's cheese tart that always feels like the runner-up prize on a restaurant menu.
The restaurant specialises in a vegetarian take on popular dishes - their version of black pudding is especially delicious!
What I like best, however, is the fact that you feel like you're in a proper restaurant with mood lighting, table cloths, the works! Could definitely take a hot date OR your reiki-practicing, hemp-wearing hippy mate.
Simon Rimmer's Greens, in the suburb of West Didsbury, has long been Manchester's go-to veggie venue, but it (finally) has city centre competition from DetoxRetox. Now open Weds - Sun its ex-Vanilla Black and Malmaison staff offer trad options like bangers and mash and a haloumi-based take on fish and chips, and interesting twists on meat-free standards like a cauliflower barley risotto. All served in friendly and attractive surroundings - a very welcome addition to Manchester's dining scene.
This unsuspecting gem of a deli must be one of the best places in Rusholme to get delicious Gujrati, Punjabi and South Indian food. Family-run, so cheap you will probably buy more than you can carry away with you and with very friendly staff happy to help you decide between their extensive savouries and chaat selection, there is no reason why you shouldn't be at their counter right now.
217 Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, Manchester
Opening times: tues-sun 12.30-8.30pm
+44(0)161 225 6742
Google map: bit.ly/9VsMTX
Once a cotton spinning mill in Salford, now a product of gentrified Greater Manchester among a run down high street, it would be almost too easy for this gig venue, bar, art space and recording studio to attract the most pretentious 'scenester kids' that Manchester has to offer. Yet somehow the crowds are always friendly and welcoming and never without a healthy amount of grizzled music journalists in their midst, all just eager to hear the best gigs being performed in their city. Putting on acts from Beach House to Lightning Bolt to The Ex, music fans will find themselves walking the long walk from Manchester city centre back to this venue time and time again.
If you're a vintage addict the Northern Quarter is where to head for your daily dose. Always the creative heart of the city, the number of vintage shops has blossomed in recent years catering for all tastes. For girly, try Retro Rehab, bargain basement- Ryan Vintage, altruistic- Oxfam Originals or full on, whacked out craziness- American Graffiti. Not to mention many more hidden backstreet gems. Failing that head straight to Afflecks Palace possibly the world's only punk/goth/vintage/alternative department store.
Retro Rehab: Oldham St 0161 839 2050
Ryan Vintage: 46 Oldham street, M4 1LE,
0161 228 1495 Google map: bit.ly/9QThm8
Oxfam Originals: 51 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR
0161 839 3160 Google map: bit.ly/cZ2NBy
American Graffiti: 10-14 Hilton St, M11JF
0161 228 3677 Google map: bit.ly/bFLjIj
Afflecks Palace: Northern Quarter
52 Church Street, M4 1PW www.afflecks.com
0161 839 0718 Google map: bit.ly/9TmKTn
This is truly one of Manchester’s hidden gems, tucked away in the city’s Northern Quarter. Housed in a Victorian Police station, built in 1879 and in use until 1979, the Police Museum contains one of the finest collections of police paraphernalia in the country. The museum’s array of police vehicles, equipment and uniforms are a particular draw, with most visitors unable to resist the temptation of trying something on.
The building has retained its original Victorian cells, complete with wooden pillows and a birching stool, giving visitors a glimpse of the less celebrated side of Manchester’s history. Parents can rest assured that children will be on their best behaviour, as those that are not may face the discomfort of having a pair of historical handcuffs demonstrated on them.
This place is great for adults too. While the children are busy locking themselves up, adults may also find themselves in cramped surroundings – the Greater Manchester Police Archives are held at the museum and an interesting afternoon can be spent researching your family’s criminal past.
Admission is free, but the museum is only open on Tuesdays, 10.30am - 3.30pm. Last admission is at 3pm. It is recommended to allow 1.5 hours for the visit.
GMP Museum & Archives, 57a Newton Street, Manchester, M1 1ET.
+44 (0)161 856 3287
Even if you don't want to do the whole length of the trail, a proper hike from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, try a quiet afternoon wander from Didsbury to Chorlton Water Park in search of wildlife, or a pub meal by the open fire in the historic Jackson's Boat, where they will even fix your bike for you, or hire you a new one.
The Midland's 'informal' restaurant and bar is casual, yet classy. History oozes from black and white photos of sporting activities and teams on the green-painted wood panelled walls. Its limited menu of simple dishes is well executed, decent value and delicious. Get a window seat overlooking the Central Library, a Mancunian architectural gem.
Each year Manchester has its German style market with lots of hot mulled wine Bavarian beer and bratwurst, but it can be a bit pricey and if shopping for your Christmas dinner, the range of food is limited.
For just £3.50 you can hop on a tram and get a return ticket to Bury. Only 20 minutes away where you will find a fabulous traditional market on a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
There is a meat and poultry food hall where you can find Burys local delicacy, the black pudding as well as venison, rabbit, duck the more exotic meats such as kangaroo. There are plenty of fruit and veg stalls as well as a Greek deli katsouris for a vast range of cold meats and olives. It also does lovely coffee. If you get tired there are many small cafes dotted about, some are tiny and quite intimate and a good way to get to know the locals. There is also a flea market with books, toys, clothes, homeware and even a stall selling fossils ! Its a great day out and right next door is a indoor shopping centre with many big names such as M&S, Next and Boots
Sprawling beneath the Gothic grandeur of Manchester town hall, Albert Square's city Christmas market is packed full of bustling wooden food stalls selling all kinds of delicious wintery goodness. Head to the central bratwurst stall where you can wolf down a mammoth German sausage cooked on a huge smoking swing grill. If you're lucky you can eat whilst listening to festive carols performed by gifted students from the nearby Royal Northern College of Music. Those who want to remain faithful to the region, the neighbouring stall will happily serve up a hearty portion of Lancashire hotpot. Flat caps optional.
Albert Square, 18th November to 22nd December
Every year I return with my daughter, now aged six, travelling near two hours to capture the Christmas spirit and to buy some great Christmas presents from log versions of Rudolph the Reindeer to make a great winter garden feature, to moroccan raffia and leather shopping baskets.
It ranges from a traditional German Market to European Market and an arts and crafts market.
Travelling with children works wonders, share a bratwurst sausage in Albert Square while admiring the nodding Reindeer. Agree that they can choose one treat from one of the 200 stalls; Angelica chose a husky dog keyring this year and in return they help you with the bag carrying and the decision making. Keep the energy up with snacks along the way like delicious chocolate marshmallows sticks and you have a fantastic festive day out.
There are 200 stalls across six different sites in the city centre - Albert Square, St Ann's Square, Brazennose Street, New Cathedral Street, and Exchange Street
Manchester's Christmas Markets open on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 and run until Tuesday, 21 December 2009
For me, the best Christmas markets in the UK are the Manchester Christmas Markets. I would guess that most Christmas markets in this country have the same basic sort of stalls. Certainly those I've seen have had. After all, people want familiarity and their favourites.
So Manchester gets lots of stollen, glühwein, beer, and handicrafts. Many stalls come from our northern European neighbours, but the Manchester market is big enough to have a good selection of domestic stalls. Plus, the quality really benefits from the creativity that thrives in the conjoined cities of Manchester and Salford.
On some days the whole market atmosphere gets a further boost from a Farmers' market, selling delicious food from the region and beyond.
The real icing on the Manchester stollen though is the way that it really fits snugly into its Manchester glove. The city's architecture really helps here, being warm and red with enough size to be impressive, while remaining on a human scale that stops it becoming impersonal. Most importantly though, the markets benefit from the way Manchester's squares have been laid out, and the overall size of the city. Like its architecture, Manchester is just the right size, a place that can be walked with ease, where a section of the markets is never too far away, and where the human side is never lost to grey commercialism.
They are creative, they are warm, they fit hand in glove, they are the best Christmas Markets in the UK, they are the Manchester Christmas markets.
Squares across Manchester's main shopping area.
I’ve never visited a Christmas market on the continent – but feel as though I’ve visited several! Manchester boasts not one, but seven Christmas markets. In reality there are two large squares filled with a market each. These two markets overspill into nearby streets, and as they do so their characters morph. There is a large variety of food and drink available, as well as a wide choice of Christmas gifts. My favourite is the German market in Exchange Square (for me this has more of an authentic atmosphere than the larger, more mixed market in Albert Square). As you walk toward the Arndale Centre, the German market gives way to a number of contemporary art and craft stalls. There’s certainly something to suit everyone and if you wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the markets and shops, you can view the crowds from above by taking a ride on the Wheel of Manchester!
Manchester city centre - Exchange Square, Albert Square and nearby streets.
This is a fantastic local Chinese restaurant in my hometown Cheadle. I'd like to recommend it as I've been there numerous times, with my boyfriend, family, friends and for a takeaway meal, and I just cannot fault it. It's great for family and kids, and have many special offers and events throughout the year. There are many vegetarian options available too.
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org