Manchester is the ideal city to escape to for a weekend away from London. Thanks to Virgin Trains super speedy service, it is possible to reach the northern city in just two hours, zooming through the countryside from London Euston straight into the centre of town, Manchester Piccadilly. I spent three years living here studying at Manchester University and yet returning now I feel there is so much more to discover in this cosmopolitan, cool and constantly evolving city.
Bakerie – Fresh bread, lovely wine and delectable sharing platters make this restaurant the ideal place to go at any time of day for good food and great atmosphere.
Dough – The best pizzas in town, made lovingly with the freshest ingredients. Choose from white, granary or gluten-free bases and indulge with extravagant toppings for your perfect personalised pizza.
Australasia – A stunning underground restaurant offering exquisitely refined and beautifully presented dishes. A unique menu blending Pacific Rim flavours, European cooking traditions and Southeast Asian influences.
Teacup – The ultimate tea room. Located in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the Northern Quarter, sit at the big windows and watch the world go by as you enjoy a subtle brew of rosebud tea.
Kahlua Coffee House – KAHLUA, the Mexican coffee liqueur company, has teamed up with Manchester’s The Liquorists, The Coffee Circle and Teacup to launch ‘Kahlúa Coffee House’. The bright and cheery cafe is inspired by the heritage of Veracruz, Mexico and makes a great flat white.
North Star Bakery – This friendly delicatessen in Chorlton is great for a spot of breakfast or lunch. Reasonable prices, attentive staff and a selection of lovely gifts available to buy.
North Tea Power – Cafe of the moment, North Tea Power is known to be the best place for tea and coffee in the Northern Quarter. Remember your laptop and headphones and join the trendy crowd on Tib Street.
Apotheca – The best cocktail selection in Manchester. The cool and collected bar staff put time and effort into every drink here, making delicious concoctions with creative flair.
The Alchemist – Stylish, smart and sensational, I’m in awe of the cocktails here. The smokey old-fashioned gets my winning vote.
Opera House – Currently showing record-breaking hit musical CATS there is more reason than ever to visit Manchester’s Opera House.
The Palace Theatre – This centrally located theatre always has a great show on stage. The Lion King, Save the Last Dance for Me and Giselle are all coming up.
Bali Health Lounge – Manchester’s most luxurious spa. Located in the Chinatown, Bali Health Lounge is a calming retreat to relax and indulge.
Spa Satori – This spa offers an impressive list of treatments including specialist ones like Hopi Ear Candle therapy. The thoughtful staff will ensure your visit is memorable.
Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled with Virgin Trains.
Typical journey time between London and Manchester is just 2h 7m on one of the state-of-the-art tilting trains, six days a week. Engineering works slow things down a little on Sunday mornings, but by lunchtime they’re operating services – at 2h15m – just a shade slower than Monday to Saturday. Trains every 20 minutes, six and a half days a week.
Booking in advance and travelling off-peak is the best way to get great deals – including some fantastic First Class bargains. Single fares start at: Advance Standard £12.50 and Advance First £38.00, book here.