101 GuidescityTravel

manchester guide

by Grace Bonney

today’s manchester city guide is special themed guide courtesy adelle robinson and justin keefe, owners of h is for home. adelle and justin are taking us through their favorite spots- with a special focus on the vintage and hand-crafted scene- so i hope you’ll enjoy their guided trip through manchester! [image above, manchester civil justice center, via dezeen]

CLICK HERE for the full manchester guide after the jump!

We’re taking a look at the vintage and hand-crafted scene in Manchester, concentrating on the Northern Quarter area situated in the city centre.

The area has a nice collection of shops & stalls to tempt the vintage and hand-crafted enthusiast.

Let’s start with Manchester Craft & Design Centre. It’s a wonderful old building – a Victorian former fish & poultry market.

Spread over 2 floors, it houses a number of fabulous designer/makers, each with their own workspace cum retail outlet.

There are lots of gorgeous jewelery, clothing, home furnishings and accessories on sale.

Special mention must go to Calico Angel at Holm, owned by Susan Kane & Clinton Pilkington.

Not only are their products beautiful but the display was really imaginative – it’s an inspiring space.

There’s also a lovely little coffee shop, Café Aromat, on the premises. On a recent trip we had the best homemade muffins we’ve ever tasted!

Sticking with the hand-crafted theme, we move to Manchester Fashion Market

It’s held on Saturdays at the Piccadilly end of Tib Street.

It’s a group of about 10 outdoor stalls, many of which sell clothing, bags, accessories and homewares – many using recycled fabric and materials.

Continuing on with vintage…

…there’s a great selection of vintage and retro shops in the area.

We love Pop Boutique on Oldham Street.

It always has a few tempting things in the window.

Once inside, you’ll find retro fashion upstairs and vintage homewares downstairs – along with a bustling café.

Across the road is Den Furniture

…which has a mixture of contemporary & period vintage furniture including reupholstered pieces given a new lease of life.

Next door is Ryan Vintage – a real rummager’s paradise – both men’s & women’s fashion and very popular with Manchester’s student population.

Also on Oldham Street is Oxfam Originals

… a great selection of clothes, bags, shoes and ties… and of course, the money goes to charity!

A short walk around the corner – back on Tib Street – is Rags to Bitches

…it stocks a discerning selection of vintage clothes & accessories.

They also run lots of fashion-related talks & events in their shop.

Then there’s Cup on Thomas Street – homemade cakes & vintage crockery – what could be better?

Close by on Church Street, is Affleck’s Palace, something of a Manchester institution.

Three floors of fashion, vintage and alternative culture.

Also in the area and worth a visit are American Graffitti, Bluerinse Vintage and Retro Rehab – and some good art & craft supply shops like Fred Auldous and Abakan Fabrics, Hobby & Home.


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  • So many great spots. I love your city guides. I just used one of your guides on a recent trip to NYC and it was very helpful. I’ll have to remember this one too…

  • Oh i love Manchester, the Craft Centre is well worth a visit yep. And there are so many great vintage shops too! I need to go again soon!

  • I used to live in Manchester, its great to see all the places I used to visit (and some new ones). I try to go at least twice a year, mainly for the shopping, and I will certainly be using this guide to find some new places. I thought thay Afflecks had been knocked down though?

  • Oh, this just makes me nostalgic for manchester! I spent 3 months there as an international student during my college days and I loved every minute of it. It is such a great city, oh how I long to make a trip back!

  • ohhh I miss Manchester! I studied abroud for 6 months in college and it was a seriously awesome city. I know it is a chain, but one we can’t get things from in the US so be sure to check out Habitat, brilliant home store.

    11-16 St Ann’s Street
    M2 7LG
    United Kingdom

    i always go when I can find one. also… their is a pretty awesome Daniel Liebskind museum:

    The Quays
    Trafford Wharf Road
    Manchester M17 1TZ

    its on the river, if my memory serves me correctly there is an opera house accross the water.

    Urbis is an excellent museum too and it is walking distance from all the places listed above.

  • Thanks so much for this guide!

    I haven’t ventured too far into Manchester, as it’s such a confusing city, in my opinion. When I was last there I walked for two hours in the rain and went home. =[ It doesn’t help that if you ask anyone in the street for directions, no one ever actually lives there [note for tourists, plan ahead].

    Pop Boutique is great. There’s also a shop in Liverpool [about 45 minutes west on the train, which is worth visiting if you’re in Manchester] and one in London.

    Oooo, you know, I’d love to do a Liverpool guide. x

  • Wow, makes me want to visit there. The civil justice center is cool, but the large cantilevers probably won’t work here in California. But very cool!

  • Hurray for Manchester! I LOVE the craft and design centre, it’s such a gem. Absolutely love the shop within a shop in Den (think it’s called Gods and Monsters) that sells really cheap vintage-y furniture. I’ve had to stop going in though as I kept buying tables!

    Elaine- there was talk that they were going to get rid of Affleck’s but it’s been saved for now.

    Sydney- you have trouble getting directions from locals? That really surprises me. I find shop assistants are normally helpful for that sort of thing (though having a tour guide for a boyfriend means I know the city a bit too much these days)

  • Love to see the place where I live in such a lovely light. I practically live in the Northern Quarter, the Museum of Science and Industry is a must for anyone visiting too, and John Rylands Library on Deansgate is definitely not one to be missed! xXx

  • EJ-

    I found that if you ask anyone on the street that they’re never from Manchester! I believe I was in the business district [near the Industrial Museum & the Hilton] so it was mostly tower blocks. I don’t recall many shops, and all the cafes were chocka with business folk. [My boyfriend/tourguide is scouse.]

    I’ve found that other friends and such from Merseyside [where I lived until recently] also agree with me on the oddity of people generally on the street not being local… so I would just advise visitors to have a map and an idea of where they’re going. I’d never experienced that in any other city before. =S

  • Manchester is not too far from us in Sheffield so we go once in a while and there is always lovely shops – I normally find new ones each time I go. Is Oklahoma still there? That was a good kitschy shop with a cafe attached, near the Craft & Design centre. I also always go to Magma, the Art and Design bookstore when we are there (I know its a small chain too) but great for inspirational design books and magazines.

    Oh, and definately Hunters, we always go there and sometimes even go all the way to Manchester just to go to Hunters – Normally kebabs are pretty nasty affairs reserved for eating after about 6 pints on a big night out but this place does the most amazing indian kebabs that you can eat during the day without being tanked up- its won a load of awards and for good reason! its amazing!

  • Was delightful to browse through this – I am a Mancunian and proud of it even though I left more than 40 years ago!

  • Theres a lovely new vintage boutique that has just opened in the Northern Quarter called The Secret Boudoir which is definately worth a visit.
    It has a little cafe in the back with a giant stack of gold tvs and plenty of id and vogue magazines to read whilst sipping on an eclectic range of teas.
    They even have a plasma screen to watch fashion tv on, probably to get inspiration along with an in-house look book.
    I really love this shop, its what manchester needed. Enough of al of these jumble sale shops!! Aha!
    Oh and their prices are fair, everything is under £25. I was impressed to say the least!!!!!!!!!


  • Wow I came across this site by accident but will be recommending you to anyone wanting to see the best places in cities. I love manchester they have really tried hard to mix classic architecture with contemporary design.

  • Try and give The Secret Boudoir a cursory glance. Was very disappointed and couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. The other shops in the area are fantastic – this one just seemed to be very pretentious and not quite getting it right – I’d rather shop at Oxfam on Oldham St – at least then I know I’m getting quality for my money which goes to a good cause.

  • Just returned from a visit to Manchester and was happy to have seen your City Guide prior to my departure. I made it over to the Craft Center – so adorable!

  • I’ve only recently discovered the city guides (yeah, don’t ask me how or why) and I love seeing my city on it! It’s been two years since I moved to Mumbai, cannot wait to go back home and shop at these places again!

  • I will be living in Manchester for a year starting in September and was very excited when I found out there was a guide on Design Sponge but unfortunately I am not able to see the pictures. Is it just me who has this problem? I would really like to see them. Any suggestions?

  • I’ve finally gotten the chance to take a trip here and I was really looking forward to reading the guide. You do such lovely work gathering authors from all over the world with these city guides! Wish all the images weren’t broken in this post :( I’m using Google Chrome on a mac if that helps…

  • If you are ever visiting manchester, call onto drisccolls antiques as we have a superb selection of antique and vintage furniture for sale. we can arrange delivery worldwide. we have over 300 pieces all in our super showroom!

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