Despite living in Liverpool up until I went to university, I haven’t done much exploring of the SECOND best city in the North West. I’ve travelled to Manchester a few times but I definitely haven’t seen even a fraction of what the city has to offer. In a previous blog post I wrote about my 7 Hours in Birmingham when I visited earlier this year. Day trips in UK cities seem to becoming a bit of a theme in my life so I thought why not feature them on the blog too. This time I haven’t strayed quite as far from home and decided to take a trip over to Manchester. I am so happy to announce that this post is in collaboration with National Express.* In exchange for a feature on my blog I was given free return travel. All opinions are, of course, my own.
Travelling with National Express
If you aren’t familiar with them already, National Express are a leading transport provider across the world who are best known for their coach travel. They are the largest operator of scheduled coach services in the UK, offering over 900 different destinations and 24/7 coach services to all major UK airports.
As someone who often travels by train throughout the UK, I was definitely a bit sceptical about travelling by coach instead. However after this journey with National Express, coach travel is something that I’ll be doing again. I was travelling from Liverpool to Manchester so I hopped on the coach at Liverpool One and arrived in Manchester Chorlton Street an hour and 20 minutes later. The coach journey itself was so chilled, definitely a lot less stressful than train travel. There were only a handful of people on the coach which made for a super relaxing ride. Plus, given that it was a warm day (a shock for the usual UK climate!), the air con and large seats were much appreciated!
One of my favourite things about National Express coach travel is that you’re always guaranteed a seat. When I’ve travelled by train in the past (usually to and from university) I’ve found myself stuck in a position where I’ve had nowhere to sit. Quite often trains don’t allow you to book a seat which leaves me so stressed when it comes to the day of travel in case I can’t find anywhere. Especially if I’m carrying a lot of luggage! Knowing that you will always have a seat and somewhere to put your luggage takes a lot of stress off your travel.
In all of my trips to Manchester in the past, I had never had a rain-free visit. Until this time that was! The weather was absolutely glorious and made for such a chilled and lovely day in the city. Here’s what I got up to in my 7 ish hours there.
Ezra and Gil, 20 Hilton Street, M1 1FR
Ezra and Gil is a café that I’d seen appear in a fair few blog posts during my research about Manchester. As I was strolling through the Northern Quarter I stumbled across it on the corner of Hilton Street. So, of course I had to go in and see what all the fuss was about.
Upon entering the space I felt an instant sense of calm. I think this has something to do with the industrial-style decor on the inside. Think bare brick and plenty of wooden furniture. Pretty much my dream decor.
When it came to ordering I opted for one of their green smoothies which included mint, lime, avocado and more. At only £2.50 for a large glass I was so impressed! Next time I head over to Manchester I’ll definitely be stopping by again for a smoothie and maybe even some food as well.
Hare Street, M4
Let me just start by saying that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wall this beautiful! I think ever since I started blogging I’m always on the look out for any sort of photo opportunity. When I stumbled upon this insane multicoloured brick wall I HAD to stop and get a snap or two…or six.
Tucked onto the corner of a little side street, this wall would have gone completely unnoticed if I had decided to walk in the other direction. I’m so glad that I spotted it though! There’s something about the fact that there’s a double yellow sign in front of it that adds an extra element to it. The central yellow colour on the wall ties in perfectly with the horizontal stripes.
Shop the post
Magma, 28 Oldham Street, M1 1JN
One of my favourite little finds of the day was Magma in the Northern Quarter. Full of magazines, books, cards and crafts Magma had such a huge range of high fashion magazines. It reminded me of one of my favourite newsagents back in London, Charlotte Street News, where I regularly pick up a magazine or two.
My favourite book in the shop however had to be Boys with Plants. It was literally just a book of images of men and their prized possession plants next to them. Each photo had a link to their Instagram accounts and after a quick search I realised that Boys with Plants has an account of their own! (you can thank me in the comments)
Blue Rinse, 29-31 Oldham Street, M1 1JG
If you’ve read My Vintage Coat Collection post then you’ll know that vintage clothing is my jam. Whenever I visit a new city, checking out what they have in their local vintage shops is a must. I feel like you can really get a sense of the style of a city when you visit their vintage stores. And Blue Rinse definitely did not disappoint.
First of all, the name Blue Rinse is just bloody amazing. The clothes inside lived up to the name as well. There was such a huge array of different styles and decades of fashion. Of course, me being me, I was on the hunt for a bit o’ 70s chic.
I could not contain my excitement when I found this rack of SUEDE TROUSERS. Honestly I have never seen anything so amazing in a vintage shop. Vintage suede is a favourite of mine (I even have 2 suede coats) but I’d never seen any trousers in the material. It’s fair to say my mind was pretty blown by this. Although I didn’t pick any up, they’re definitely on my to-buy list!
So that concludes my little day in Manchester! Once again thank you to National Express for sorting out the travel aspect of what turned out to be a lovely day out. Manchester will definitely be a city I’ll see myself returning to frequently. And, at only just over an hours coach ride away, I have no excuses not to head back again soon!
What are some of your favourite places in Manchester? Do you have any recommendations for my next trip there? Leave a comment!