Manchester is a fun place for shopping and in recent years the number of retail tourists has dramatically increased because it has such a great range of shops. The Arndale Centre and Intu Trafford Centre are well worth visiting as are Exchange Square and Market Street in the city center. If you are after fun boutiques and quirky shops check out King Street, Spinningfields and New Cathedral Street. There are some great markets too including Levenshulme and Bury markets.
1. Delight in buying something home-made
The Northern Quarter Manchester Craft and Design Centre is a fun place to visit and is just five minutes from the High Street in an old Victorian fish market. It is home to 35 different craft artisans who make amongst other crafts, jewelry, ceramics, and textiles. It is a great chance to actually meet the craftsmen and to learn their story, admire their work and to buy a unique souvenir to treasure for years.
2. Grab yourself some top fashion bargains
What better than visiting somewhere with all the great fashions and all the big names at really good prices? The Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet Centre has 145 boutiques that all offer massive price reductions on their stock.
3. Treat yourself to a worker bee
The worker bee has been the symbol of Manchester since the Industrial Revolution and can be found adorning a wide range of souvenirs from the city. Manchester Souvenirs is a company run by four enthusiastic Mancunians and their stock features (amongst others symbols) the worker bee. There are polo shirts, baseball caps, sweatshirts, and many other items decorated with this popular emblem.
4. Get all the football gear
Manchester United is one of the most famous football teams in the world and has a megastore in its home ground – Old Trafford. The megastore is situated under the East Stand and is the largest store in the world that is totally devoted to football! There is every souvenir imaginable including mugs, pens, football scarves, football shirts, and 800 other lines to choose from! If you are a Manchester City fan on the other hand, then head to the team’s souvenir shop in the city’s Arndale Centre.
5. Pack a couple of bottles of Vimto
Vimto was invented by a local wholesale pharmacist and herbalist in 1908. It was launched as a herbal tonic called ‘Vimtonic’ and in 1912 was actually registered as a medicine. It has been popular in the city ever since and there is actually a Vimto statue behind the University of Manchester buildings in Sackville Street. Vimto is available in strawberry and cherry flavors, still and sparkling and as ice lollies and in sweets.
6. Enjoy some Mancunian foodie treats
There are a number of foods that originated in Manchester that can be popped in your suitcase to enjoy when you get home. Black Pudding is a plump black sausage that is made from pigs’ blood and although this isn’t to everyone’s liking it tastes great fried with an egg or cooked on the barbecue. Bury is the home to the Black Pudding so look out for authentic brands! Mushy peas are a local treat enjoyed with chips and gravy. They are made from marrowfat peas that are slow cooked and have the nickname Manchester Caviar. Meat & Tattie pie made with stewed beef, onion gravy and potato is another big favorite and Eccles Cakes are small tasty sweet pastries filled with currants and dusted with sugar.
7. Discover the taste of Mancunian coffee
If you enjoy a good cup of aromatic coffee made with really excellent coffee beans, there are several producers of roasted coffee beans in the city – Heart, Graft, and ManCoCo are three names to watch out for.
8. Some homemade soap or delightful homeware?
If combining some relaxed souvenir shopping with a cup of coffee sounds a great idea, the Fig & Sparrow in Oldham Street offers both! As well as being a really good café there is a lovely selection of gift ideas by local artisans including art, home-made soaps and some attractive homeware by Emma Lonsdale.
9. A bottle or top of really good beer…
Manchester is known for its excellent craft breweries so what better idea than to pop a couple of bottles in your suitcase (unfortunately this doesn’t work if you are traveling with hand baggage only!) Marble Beers is one of the best known and the beers have been made in the city since 1997 and the full range can be bought and tested in The Marble Arch in Rochdale Road. Beer Nouveau is one of the smallest commercial breweries in the UK and is brewing historic and contemporary styled beers. Its beers are growing in popularity, particularly it’s Satanic Mills which is a 6% stout with a really good taste. Its other beers include Challenger, Sister to Nun and Peterloo.
10. Some superb hand-crafted chocolate
Dormouse chocolate is fabulous chocolate made in the heart of the city for chocolate connoisseurs! Isobel Corse makes her beautiful chocolate in Deansyard Mews in what was part of the Granada television studios. She makes the chocolate in the traditional way by hand grinding the beans and tempering the chocolate on marble, beforehand molding it. The result is superb silky chocolate that has a clean, clear flavor. The best selling Dormouse chocolate is the Toasted Madagascan White, but the range includes something for everyone and is truly hard to resist!