A clocktower against a blue sky

Where to eat, stay and explore in Manchester, England

The U.K.'s second-largest city is filled with hidden gems.

All eyes are on Manchester right now as its culture and food scenes get richer, and folks are moving there from London and elsewhere in the country for a more balanced life. The fact that it’s the gateway to the Lake District – and the many culinary wonders at chef Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume – helps too. Add these spots to your itinerary and start exploring. 


A patio on a rooftop with buildings and sunlight in the background

This rooftop restaurant quickly gained attention – and a booked-solid reservation list – after its opening last year thanks to its fulsome wine list and daily changing menus. You won’t stumble upon Climat; its entrance, through an office building, is nondescript, but once you exit the elevator on the top floor, you’re greeted with stellar views of both the open-concept kitchen and the heart of the city. This is a wine-led restaurant, with French-influenced plates small and large created to complement the more than 400 bottles in its cellar. A sampling of chef Luke Richardson’s dishes might include beef-fat hash browns with crème fraîche, grilled leeks with butter beans, hazelnut and truffle and tandoori-spiced cuttlefish. 


The Jane Eyre

A contemporary bar

An unassuming neighbourhood bar in Ancoats, The Jane Eyre is run by two brothers (the spot is named after their mom, not the Brontë novel), and the space’s family feel comes across as soon as you open the door. The small menu is Spanish-influenced – croquettes, padrón peppers, sea bass ceviche – to pair with the cocktail list, which runs from sweet (like the Port to Port: sherry, maraschino, mint, star anise and ruby port) to herbaceous and bitter (like the Negroni Primavera: basil gin, Aperol, Bénédictine and Mondino). If you’re there over a weekend, consider its Sunday roast for a chic take on English comfort food. (There’s a veg option too.)


Scranchester Food Tour

A public food hall
Mackie Mayor

Led by Mancunian Rob Kelly, the Scranchester Tours’ foodie journey is an ideal way to get your bearings in the city, learn some history and explore some of the delicious bites around town. Scran is the local slang for “food,” and there’s plenty to enjoy during the four-hour journey, including a pork, honey and mustard roll with ’nduja ketchup, a scoop from the city’s most famous ice cream parlour and a glass of mead. Other stops include storied landmarks, such as Mackie Mayor, a food hall in a beautifully restored building that dates back to 1858 and was originally home to the city’s fruit market, and Afflecks, dozens of independent fashion and vintage boutiques in another historical building.


Kimpton Clocktower Hotel

A clocktower against a blue sky

The building that houses Manchester’s landmark hotel dates back to the 1890s, when it got its start as a stately office building. There are touches from several eras of the city in the property – from its Victorian facade to the art-deco and industrial accents in The Refuge (the hotel’s main dining room) to the artistic, whimsical decor in the spacious suites. Its location – in the heart of the city centre, just a block away from Manchester Oxford Road rail station – can’t be beat.


Dakota Hotel

A bedroom in a hotel

The Dakota is located a short walk from both the Northern Quarter and Ancoats, both buzzy neighbourhoods filled with chic cafés, speakeasies and galleries. Ancoats, in particular, is known as a hub for the city’s booming food scene. The sophisticated hotel is on a quiet street, and some of the lush suites have terraces, adding to the neighbourhood feel.

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