I love having people visiting me in Manchester: It's a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and discover new neighbourhoods, restaurants and sights. I try to plan a day tour, which includes brunch, walks, dinner and drinks. With Neighbouring's new series 'A Day Well Spent' I want to share those tours and give some inspiration if you want to explore or re-discover the city.
I had to start with this one! Ancoats is the neighbourhood I live in and it is one of my favourite districts in Manchester. I love the combination of new architecture, old mills, the canal, and special eateries. One can easily spend a whole weekend mooching around Ancoats. Here’s how I would spend a day in Ancoats:
It is hard to choose from the variety of outstanding brunch places in Ancoats. With Trove having opened just a couple of weeks ago the choice got even tougher. However, my go-to location is Pollen Bakery – a fantastic eatery, which used to start out as a small stall under a bridge arch of Picadilly station. Now, it is located opposite Cottonfield Park. The handmade bread is outstanding, the minimal interior design is perfection. Order a savoury dish from the regularly changing menu, add a wonderfully fluffy baked croissant and a perfectly brewed coffee from the lovely staff behind the counter and enjoy the views over the Ancoats Marina. If you’re lucky Maru – the owners‘ super-fluffy chow-chow – will be greeting you. There is no better way to start your day.
Fueled for a mooch? You could take a walk along the Ashton Canal. Start around the beautiful houseboats in the Ancoats Marina. From here it takes about 25 minutes to get to the Etihad Stadium. Even if you’re not interested in Pep Guardiola’s workplace: the route is a good way to escape the busy city life. If you prefer urban surrounding get lost in the cobbled labyrinth of Ancoats. Learn more about the district’s important role in Manchester’s industrialisation from the explanatory panels standing on Cutting Room Square.
It’s time for a pint: If you’re up to a traditional pub experience head to the Crown & Kettle. Order a craft beer of there weekly changing selection (you can try before you buy) and grab a board game from the lounge or just stare at the ceiling – honestly, this pub is famous for its ceiling. If beer isn’t your thing: The Crown & Kettle has a great Gin menu, offering a spirit of the month with suitable tonic water and botanicals.
Uff, it is tough to pick one of the many brilliant restaurants in Ancoats. There’s Viet Shack offering Vietnamese street food, Sugo serving the best pasta in town, the Portuguese eatery Canto or the fine dining venue Mana – you honestly can’t go wrong. My personal favourite though is Rudy’s at Cutting Room Square. Three words to convince you: Best. Pizza. Ever. I love sitting close to the oven and watch the busy bakers juggling the dough. On weekends it can be quite hard to get a table. My tip: Sign up for a table, go to Ancoats General Store just around the corner and have a beer there while you’re waiting. Check out the shops varying programme – they sometimes offer doodle or quiz nights, which will help making time flying by.
Fancy a mini holiday? Why don’t you stay on one of the houseboats in the Ancoats Marina for a weekend? I had a big group of friends over who slept on one of the wide beam boats and it was a very rememberable experience indeed. Check out Airbnb for recent offers.