Manchester City Shopping
Written by Suzanne King
From designer brands at the Manchester Exchange to vintage fashion at the Outdoor Markets, and boutique shops of the creative Northern Quarter, Manchester offers an intoxicating mix of shopping.
Manchester knows how to put together a mall. The Arndale Centre is the UK’s largest inner-city shopping centre, with brands as diverse as Swarovski rubbing shoulders with Ted Baker and Bose. The Trafford Centre (located near Manchester United’s legendary football ground) is almost a destination in itself; download their VIP iPhone app which entitles you to exclusive offers, and free consultations.
A short walk from the Arndale is Selfridges&Co, who can also be found at the Trafford Centre (which houses some 300 shops and restaurants in three miles of malls). Sefridges&Co’s Shoe Gallery and Accessories Hall are essential shopping stops – both stock luxurious ranges from the likes of Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, and Tom Ford. Also check out the food hall – ideal for a coffee and cake to refresh yourself – which is stocked with a wonderful array of foods and flavours from around the world; and lots of great gift ideas, all wrapped up in that iconic yellow paper bag.
Other British department stores that verge on the institutional are House of Fraser, Harvey Nichols, John Lewis, and Marks & Spencer, while in nearby Bolton there’s Whitakers.
Sited between Piccadilly and the Ancoats, Manchester’s creative, urban heart is home to countless independent fashion stores, record shops, cafés, bars and restaurants, and the world-famous Afflecks Palace. Try Café Pop, a vintage shop with a small downstairs café, the Manchester Craft & Design Centre, housed in the beautifully restored former Victorian Fish and Poultry Market, while Retro Rehab – a vintage clothing boutique – offers gorgeous and unique vintage and hand-tailored clothes and accessories.
Uncle Joe’s Emporium (The Toffee Works, Wigan), perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Oak shelves bulge with myriad glass jars filled with a kaleidoscopic array of traditional and modern sweets, such as pear drops, humbugs, sarsaparilla drops, and jelly babies.
Hotel Chocolate is also a must on the shopping circuit. Housed at the Arndale Centre, the chocolatier and cocoa-grower has its own West Indian cocoa plantation which provides the wholesome source for their delicious range of artisan chocolates. Try the 46-piece selection of Signature Collection or simply take inspiration from their range of cocoa recipes.
Old Trafford Museum and Stadium Tour
Manchester is home to possibly the most famous football team in the world – Manchester United – so it’s no surprise that the ground is a place of pilgrimage for soccer fans from around the world. For a peek behind the scenes at the famous stadium, book an Old Trafford Museum and Stadium Tour, which allows you to stand in the manager’s spot in the pitchside dug-out, sit under your favourite player’s peg in the home changing room, and walk through the players’ tunnel to the pitch.
At the end of the tour, you get to visit the Old Trafford museum to learn about the club’s history, try out interactive exhibits, and admire the many trophies United has picked up over the past 130 years. Tours usually run every day (with exclusions on and around match days) and cost £13.50 per adult; visit www.manutd.com for details.