Words by Asia Lanzi & Nadia ten Hove

Manchester offers a perfect blend of relaxation, culinary delights, cultural richness, and vibrant nightlife. In just 48 hours, we immersed ourselves in the city's LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere, embraced its friendly locals, and explored its diverse offerings in art, fashion, architecture, history, and music.

Arrival and Accommodation

Upon our arrival, we were impressed by the fast and efficient transportation from the airport to the heart of the city. Our base for this Manchester adventure was Native Manchester, a top-notch destination featuring 162 luxury serviced apartments within the historic Ducie Street Warehouse. This historically significant protected building seamlessly connects you to everything Manchester has to offer. Native Manchester boasts an array of amenities, including a lounge, restaurant, bar, deli counter, takeaway shop, cinema, outdoor terrace, and fitness classes. It’s worth noting that this gem earned the title of “The Sunday Times Best Hotel, North of England 2019.” The two-bedroom apartment we stayed in was spacious, complete with two bathrooms, a well-equipped kitchen, a generous living room, and two TVs. It felt like a home away from home, offering two king-sized beds and an abundance of natural light through its large windows.

Exploring Manchester by Day

Our daytime explorations took us through Manchester’s architectural marvels, cultural landmarks, and lively neighbourhoods. The city’s rich history and vibrant creative scene make it a paradise for art enthusiasts and history buffs. We ventured into the Northern Quarter, a trendy neighbourhood boasting charming cafes and breakfast spots, all within walking distance of our hotel. This area is renowned for its vibrant street art, bohemian bars, and independent record stores. It’s also home to bustling restaurants and some of the city’s liveliest music venues. 

During our visit, we were drawn to explore Afflecks, a vibrant and eclectic market teeming with independent traders who pour their passion into their products. Established in 1982, this iconic independent shopping emporium has become an essential stop for both locals and tourists seeking a taste of Manchester’s creative spirit. Stepping inside, we were welcomed into a world of eclectic wonders. With over 60 small shops, you can find everything from tattoo artists to punk-inspired outlets, charming maid cafes, and fashion boutiques. It’s more than just a marketplace; it’s a thriving hub of creativity, providing a sanctuary for entrepreneurs, artists, and makers to bring their visions to life.

Embracing Manchester’s Nightlife

As the sun set, we ventured into Manchester’s lively nightlife scene, easily accessible from Native Manchester with just a short 10-minute walk. Our visit aligned with The Warehouse Project’s opening show at Repercussion, an iconic Manchester institution celebrated for its legendary dancefloor experiences and diverse line-ups. This year’s Repercussion Festival took over Depot Mayfield with a staggering 8-stage takeover, transforming the event into a full-fledged one-day festival. The lineup featured an impressive array of artists, catering to every musical taste. Highlights included Bicep’s debut of their Chroma show, Moderat’s first live performance in Manchester since 2016, and Kerri Chandler’s Reel-To-Reel set.

Amidst the vibrant Manchester nightlife, our journey was elevated by several extraordinary musical acts that left a lasting impression.

  • Jayda G, with her infectious energy and profound musical knowledge, delivered an exhilarating set that had the entire crowd swaying to the beats of amapiano, afro tech, and pan-African rhythms. Her joy-filled, life-affirming performance resonated with the audience, making it a memorable highlight of the night.
  • DJ Boring lived up to his name but in the best way possible. His focus on the raw elements of dance music and emotional depth brought forth an unforgettable set. DJ Boring’s music compelled everyone to dance with abandon, fueled by his infectious smiles and evident enjoyment behind the decks.
  • Jyoty, the Amsterdam-born DJ phenomenon, curated a mixtape of rap, R&B, neo-soul, house, garage, grime, and more. Her eclectic selection had the crowd grooving to the diverse beats, creating an electric atmosphere that kept us moving throughout her set.
  • Dan Shake and Sally C joined forces in a captivating b2b performance that left us yearning for more. Their seamless transition between tracks and their ability to control the energy of the outside stage was awe-inspiring. 
  • And then there was 4am Kru, a drum and bass band hailing from the UK. Their fusion of old-school jungle, hardcore, and early ’90s rave music was a testament to the origins of DnB. The crowd’s unrestrained enthusiasm and energetic dance moves reflected the profound impact of UK-originated music on the global stage.

The Warehouse Project Legacy

These personal highlights, each offering a unique musical experience, highlighted the diversity and richness of Manchester’s nightlife scene. Music transcended boundaries, forging connections and leaving cherished memories. The diverse music genres and infectious crowd energy created an unforgettable night of dancing, unity, and appreciation for UK-originated music styles. It was a night of pure connection, where music lovers let loose, danced freely, and reveled in the joy of shared beats.

Since its inception in 2006, The Warehouse Project has consistently pushed boundaries, transforming unique urban spaces into epicenters of musical energy. From its early days at Boddingtons Brewery to its current industrial rave hub at Depot Mayfield, The Warehouse Project continues to lead the way in redefining Manchester’s nightlife.

Delving into Manchester’s Culinary Scene

Dinner at Albert’s Schloss

We embarked on a culinary journey fit for royalty at Albert’s Schloss, nestled in the heart of Manchester. This enchanting restaurant brings the spirit of Prince Albert to life, offering an immersive experience with roaring fires, live performances, and a menu inspired by German, Swiss, and Austrian cuisines, each dish creatively reimagined.

Our evening at Albert’s Schloss was memorable, characterised by a warm ambiance and lively entertainment. The attentive staff and live singers added to the vibrant atmosphere, enhancing our dining experience. The menu, carefully curated, showcased a fusion of European flavours, elevating our taste buds with every bite.

Breakfast at Ducie Street and Lunch at Freight Island

Day two began at Ducie Street Warehouse, a bustling community hub in Manchester. The breakfast menu, guided by seasonal freshness and local ingredients, reflected the city’s rich culinary heritage. Indulge in a proper English breakfast, complete with all the traditional favourites, vegan or non-vegan. Additionally, health-conscious choices abound, such as warm oatmeal made with fresh ingredients, providing a nourishing and wholesome start to your day. 

Later, we explored the diverse offerings at Freight Island, a dynamic food hall resembling a bustling stadium. With a variety of restaurants to choose from, we enjoyed a satisfying lunch, appreciating the array of flavours Manchester has to offer. From Korean fried chicken to cheesecake on a stick, the food stalls presented creative twists on street foods from around the world as well as some comfort meals. Additionally, the bar offered an impressive selection of cocktails and drinks, adding to the overall experience. The bustling atmosphere and diverse food options made Freight Island a fun stop before going to Repercussions next door.

Sunday Roast at Ducie Street Warehouse

On the third day, we embraced the tradition of a classic English Sunday roast at Ducie Street Warehouse. The meal featured proper British delights, including Yorkshire pudding and tender meat, creating a culturally immersive experience. The venue’s inclusive approach, offering vegan options, added a thoughtful touch to the traditional feast.

In summary, our culinary adventures in Manchester were marked by diverse experiences, from the regal ambiance of Albert’s Schloss to the vibrant food hall atmosphere at Freight Island. Each venue celebrated Manchester’s culinary diversity, offering a range of flavours and dining experiences.

Closing Remarks

In conclusion, our whirlwind 48 hours in Manchester were a testament to the city’s vibrant culture, welcoming atmosphere, and unmatched musical heritage. Manchester, with its eclectic blend of history, art, culinary delights, and nightlife, ensures that every visit is a memorable journey of discovery and connection.

Published by Asia Lanzi