MFDF 17 and Late Rooms Takeover
So, lucky little me was asked to visit the Manchester Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) on Sunday 1st October 2017 to show off such a fascinating event, in collaboration with LateRooms.com #lateliving campaign. I also took this opportunity to show what Manchester truly has to offer to tourists (and locals alike!).
On a whole, as a society we do love holidays! Whilst a lot of people try to book and plan every detail nearly a year in advance, this is not always possible with our busy lives! Late Rooms allows you to go on last minute city breaks without literally breaking the bank to do so. Also, it gives you the flexibility to change your plans whilst on your travels if you haven’t quite planned your route yet.
But why Manchester? The North of England has so much to offer, yet often gets overlooked by London. London is a fabulous city, I can not argue with that but its not the be all and end all of England. There are so many hidden gems, diamonds in the rough areas, beautiful untouched nature reserves and interesting places all over England. Manchester being one of them.
I decided to start the day with one of my favourite and ever popular tradition of weekend brunch. Yes, we do love a hearty full English in the north but there are so many independent cafe’s in the Northern Quarter, offering so much more. I headed to the beautiful Evelyn’s for their amazing buttermilk pancakes with honeycomb butter and blue latte’s in a green house feeling decor. I then spent a few hours wandering around the busy ‘market street’ and enjoying watching the children play in Piccadilly gardens fountain and window shopping at the Maker’s Markets, which pop up all over the city every weekend.
Myself and my friend Tanesha Jade then headed to St Peters square to see the Central Library (above) and with it being lunch time and us being such foodies, we made a sharp bee line for the MFDF down at Albert Square, in front of the beautiful town hall. Anyone who has been lucky enough to visit the Manchester Christmas Markets, would know that this is the main Hub, which gets looked upon each year by a giant, yet beautifully lit Santa.
Anyway, back to the most important bit… the food! I did my usual indecisive trick of seeing what each stall had to offer, whilst being tempted by all the different, fragrant smells coming from all over the place. We decided to go for the Halloumi fries from the Walrus stall accompanied by a gin from the fabulous fevertree stall whilst my non drinking self had a simple but tasty fevertree tonic.
Now we were fed and happy, we decided to explore a little bit more of what else Manchester has to offer. Growing up, I would always get the train into Manchester centre and pass the interesting Urbis building and square, facing the ever popular printworks and newly updated Corn exchange, it makes for a great place to sit and people watch.
With myself being such a foodie and my friend a fashionista it was only fair to balance out all of the eating with some shopping! The nearby Arndale offers the usual favourite high street shops with the more specialist Selfridges and Harvey Nichols just across the way. There is also a huge House of Fraser and King Street with the designer shops that are perfect for spending hours window shopping at.
Also, it is worth adding that after shopping you could held up towards oxford road and nearby you will reach the canal that is running through Manchester and makes for a great place to watch people boating before visiting the popular gay village (canal street).
Afternoon Tea with a Twist
We Brits love afternoon tea, although the traditional cake stands; full of finger sandwiches and hearty sponge cakes and scones, are incredible. We decided to try something different and have the Menagerie dessert wheel. It promised ‘all the fun of the fair’ and whilst novel, it definitely did impress us. We had this alongside some bar nibbles, a French kiss cocktail for my friend and non- alcoholic lychee mocktail for myself.
Time for a Tipple?
Now then, one of my favourite bars for a beautiful day in Manchester has to be the Oast House in Spinningfields. They usually have some kind of live music on inside and in the summer they have a Spinfest concert in their huge outside terrace, which becomes home to beautiful tee-pees in Winter time. At any time of year you can find a lively atmosphere and if you want to make it a bit of a classier affair you can head to the nearby Alchemist or Australasia for some of the most amazing cocktails that I have ever tasted! (back when I used to drink alcohol of course). There is also Manchester House, which has a spectacular view, perfect for sunset. Or Cloud 23 in the Hilton can fulfil this requirement too, with its wide spanning and incredible views (just one view shown below).
A bit of Culture
John Rylands library was the next stop. This functional reading room doubles up as a beautiful place to hide out from the manchester rain and see a classic piece of history right next to the very modern Spinningfields.
Whilst we were on our wanders I knew I had to show off the beautiful Whitworth Park and Gallery. For those wanting a bit of culture, there is always an interesting exhibit on and the park nearby makes for a beautiful picnic stop. Located close to the universities you can really get a feel for the student culture that is so present in Manchester and a stones throw away from the curry mile it demonstrates the diverse yet integrated culture Manchester has to offer.
Don’t forget the Mobike
Move over Boris, the Mobikes are the new trend for amateur cyclists in Manchester, simple download the app and find a bike literally anywhere and go for a cycle!
I have lived in Manchester all of my life, born and bred, as some might say. However, sometimes I feel like I underestimate it and do not make the most out of what this city has to offer. I really enjoyed being a tourist in my own town and it was made even better with the fact that I had the knowledge of where to find out what is going on and of the best areas. Whether its Manchester or anywhere in England, I think we should all consider trying to spend a bit more time seeing and appreciating what is on offer!