So you’ve got the parents up and are looking to impress. You’re no longer a dependent kid who has to call Mum to pick you up if something goes wrong. Now you’re standing on your own two feet, and eager to prove you’re the kind of cool, put-together student who totally has a meal plan, and definitely hasn’t lost their student card twice already this term. Maybe your parents are close enough to drive here & back in a day, but if you’re like me (read: Southern), then you’re looking at a weekend trip. To really treat your parents and show our city’s best side, here’s our Parent’s Guide to Manchester:
Where to stay:
This is a definite no. The reasons barely need to be listed, but whilst the floor of your halls might work for a friend, a parent is a no-go for your peace of mind as well as theirs. Whilst a 2nd or 3rd year house might seem more suitable, it’s still going to be a downer when you have to tell your housemates to really keep it down at 11pm.
Moxy Manchester is my recommendation for the perfect, parent-friendly stay. The new Spinningfields ‘hangout’ is hip, with just enough of the ordinary to keep everyone happy, and most importantly: free drinks on arrival. Nearby to popular hotspots Blues Kitchen and Rudy’s pizza, the hotel is ideally situated for a city break, but pocketed away from the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly Gardens area. Our tip is to splash out for a late checkout, to really enjoy the lavish breakfast spread Moxy provides. I had the pleasure of visiting Moxy recently and found its young-professional/low-key party vibe a change from the usual bread-and-butter hotels you can find if you’re unfamiliar with the city.
Sashas Hotel is also a viable option. Described by our Music editor as a “true northern experience,” it’s a much cheaper option. Located on the way to Afflecks, Sashas may remind you of AHS’s Hotel Cortez or LA’s Cecil Hotel … take that as you will. All your basic needs will be met with their mid-2oth century decor. Grandma would love it.
Where to go:
Manchester Art Gallery is always a great day out, with a wide range of artwork including a quintessentially Manc Lowry display. The current Derek Jarman exhibition is a beautiful, heart wrenching, furiously political tribute to Jarman’s work. His collection of music videos for the likes of The Smiths, Orange Juice and Pet Shop Boys is sure to absorb you as much as your parents. Make sure to catch it before the 10th of April!
Curry Mile can sometimes be neglected when visiting Manchester, particularly coming from a part of England without a wide range of Indian food. It’s not just the route into Uni though: Curry Mile boasts dozens of quality restaurants, my current favourite being Chit and Chaat which is close to Platt Fields too.
Didsbury is only a bus journey away and can offer a welcome break from the business of Oxford Road. It has a wide range of charity shops (we recently found an enormous human-sized bear for sale for under £5 – safe to say, he’s now taking up space on our sofa). There is also a strip of pubs and restaurants, including the Didsbury Pub currently has pub lunch offers on, with starters & puddings as low as £3.
Need some more inspo? Read our cheeky bus route guide.
What to eat & drink:
Six by Nico offers 6 plate menus, with regularly changing themes. Last week, I experienced the Fairytale themed menu which was a sensory delight, and ended with a delicate dessert in the shape of Belle’s red rose.
The Wharf is one of Manchester’s finest Old English pubs, a cosy but slightly pricey place to drink.
The Old Wellington is a city centre must-try and a historical artefact, having been moved literally brick by brick after the Arndale Centre bombing.
Hatch has something for everyone! Parmogeddon is one of my favourites, serving up delicious (and with vegetarian options!) parmos- cheesy, creamy and pure stodgy delight.
Hosted at the Deaf Institute, This Charming Naan is relatively cheap and what could be better than Smiths-pun curries?
Cask is a great mid-range option for drinks, but is still characterful and lively. The Northern Quarter has mass appeal, and there are many pubs that do food as well: Quarterhouse is a particular favourite of mine, especially in Summer.
The food market stalls around Piccadilly Gardens are excellent and usually fairly cheap. Other cheapish haunts include Wolf at the Door (£1 tacos & bao buns!) and Golden Lake Chinese is the cheapest we’ve found- with generous and delicious portions.
Friendship and The Orion both serve up cheap as chips pints, and great atmospheres to really show your family the height of Fallowfield/Withington living. If they live down South, they’ll probably be amazed at the pints costing less than half of those in and around London.