Pack your bags for a long weekend in Manchester

Manchester is the real heartland of Both Barrels, but what is it about the city that cements its appeal not only for those who call it home, but also for those who come as visitors to the area all year round?

There’s an old joke that if you ask a Brummie which is England’s second city, they will say Birmingham, but if you ask the same question to a Manc, they will say London.

Here are just a few of the ways to spend a weekend in Manchester that we think will make a little piece of your heart Mancunian forever more.

What to Pack

Dress for comfort – we’re not a city that’s too concerned with formality and even most nightclubs will let you in wearing smart jeans and even trainers if they’re smart, clean and well maintained.

Manchester is like one big village, so if you’re taking a Thirty Six holdall for the weekend, consider a Twelve backpack for daytime essentials while you’re out and about.

You can comfortably walk between most locations in the city centre in 10-15 minutes, and even Salford Quays is within about 20 minutes along the canal, so a sturdy pair of shoes can keep you on the move while avoiding any scrum for public transport at peak times.

When to Come

There’s never a bad time to visit Manchester. In the summer, head down to Castlefield and enjoy a refreshment on the outside seating by the canal basin, or find a hidden roof terrace on a city centre bar.

At Christmas the entire city is taken over by the Christmas markets – unlike other cities in the UK, they’re not penned into one location, but can be found around every street corner from the Town Hall right along Deansgate, through St Ann’s Square and into Exchange Square.

Or check for the many sport, music and other cultural events that take place in Manchester throughout the year – if you’re taking your Twelve backpack along make sure bags are allowed past security, but the high-contrast purple cotton lining should see you through any visual checks as quickly as possible.

Where to Go

The city centre is where it’s all going on, from the main shopping areas on Market Street and upper-class King Street, to the art galleries and museums you’ll find dotted in amongst the central hotels, Town Hall and Library.

For a taste of a different culture, visit Chinatown, found in the corner between Piccadilly Gardens and Portland Street, for a photo opportunity under the paifang archway, or Golden Arch.