A Lovely Little Jaunt To Manchester

Earlier this month we celebrated our anniversary. As we helpfully got married on the same date we met, this was eight years of knowing each other, and two of being man and wife. With our big holiday on the horizon in early autumn we didn’t want to do a huge trip for our anniversary, but we did want to have a little break, so we decided to head up to Manchester for a few days.

We travelled up with Virgin Trains and splashed out on first class seats. It’s so nice when you can get the two seat pods together. We dranks lots of tea, caught up on some admin (cheers, wifi), and before we knew it we were up in the glorious north.

We stayed in the Hilton Deansgate, a hotel we’ve enjoyed before. The building is large and roomy, and the executive rooms are spacious with great facilities. As well as the awesomely comfy bed and the beloved Nespresso machine in our room, I also enjoyed the fantastic, deep bath with spa jets. It was so good I had to go to Lush just to get a bath bomb for the occasion!

And then there are the views, for miles and miles in every direction.

If you choose one of the exec rooms, you also get access to the exec lounge on the 23rd floor. Here there are more amazing views to enjoy, plus snacks, hot drinks, cold beverages, and between 6 and 8 pm a range of alcoholic drinks and canapés – a lovely pre-dinner treat!

We arrived a little early for our room (and wound up having to wait for almost two hours anyway, a little trying!), so the lounge was a godsend – I curled up in a comfy chair with a couple of mini pastries and a good book.

I am always so pleased to see tea!

After we were able to access our room and freshen up, we headed out to meet our friends Victoria and Ryan for a curry and drinks. We had our meal at Akbar’s, where we had the most amazing (HUGE) naan, before heading around to The Wharf for a couple of drinks in the garden next to the canal. It was so lovely to catch up with this lovely couple!

On the Monday of our visit we had breakfast at the hotel (decent) before heading off for a leg stretch into the city. Manchester is such a beautiful space, I’ll never tire of exploring and finding new streets to wander.

After a lot of wandering in late-twenties temperatures, a drink had been earned. So we popped up to San Carlo Bottega, the sweetest little bar and restaurant in Selfridges. Don’t you just love those blues and marbles?

After that we went to the National Football Museum where we had a lot of fun exploring the beautiful game! It’s a great museum with tonnes of really interestinga artefacts, and we had a great time looking around. Whether you’re a die-hard fan like Matthew or just a keen football watcher like me there’s plenty to enjoy, and tonnes of interactive things for children (and big kids!) too. Entry is free, with a suggested donation.

 After that Matthew went to meet our friend Cro for a couple of pints, while I repaired to the hotel to get on with some work…while enjoying the wine and canapés in the executive lounge. Definitely the way to work, if you have to work on holiday! When Matthew returned we decided to forgo a fancy dinner, and instead went to The Cask, a lovely little pub Miss Pond had recommended. There we supped on cracking real ales, while eating fish and chips from the chippy next door!

One place we managed to visit on all three days of our stay was Cloud 23, the cocktail bar in the Hilton. High abouve the clouds you can watch the world go by (and the occasional overexcitable seagull enjoying the thermals).

So many marvellous, innovative cocktails!

Even the loos have an impressive view!

We had planned to stay up in Manchester for the whole of our anniversary, but work called us south. So we booked an evening train home on the 16th so we could maximise our time for fun and relaxing – after a lie in and long, sumptuous showers and baths we headed out for a delicious lunch at one of our favourites, Hawksmoor.  We are big fans of the brand and hadn’t been to the Manchester location yet, so it was a clear choice for our lunch. Over steak, wonderful Malbec and superb cocktails, we toasted another year together. And I only took one picture, because annivesary!

All too soon (and after a brief post-steak nap), it was time to head south. Once more the Virgin Trains staff were delightful, and before long we were back home to our kitties, ready for some more busy, London times!

Have you been to Manchester? What’s your favourite thing to do or see?


  1. Maggie - Planes & Champagne
    31st August 2016 / 7:39 am

    Congratulations on your anniversary Claire!! Manchester is my home town and I love going back as often as I can. It's changed so much in the last 10 years – the Hilton is a gorgeous hotel and love love love Cloud 23! It looks like you had a wonderful time! xx

    • Claire
      31st August 2016 / 9:20 am

      What a lovely place to have as your hometown – I adore the city!

  2. Alex Shebar
    31st August 2016 / 7:49 am

    See, now I love Manchester more and more every time I visit it, and it's for reasons just like this. Great post and congrats on the anniversary!

    • Claire
      31st August 2016 / 9:21 am

      Thank you, Alex – I always have time for Manchester! Excited that if/when we move north I'll be able to see even more of it.

  3. Anna Nuttall
    31st August 2016 / 8:06 am

    Congrats on your anniversary Claire. *hug*. My husband does a lot of business in Manchester and always tells me what a cool city it is. I really need to visit. xx http://www.annanuttall.com

    • Claire
      31st August 2016 / 9:22 am

      Oh Anna, you really should – it's such a beautiful, warm and welcoming city!

  4. Angie Silver
    31st August 2016 / 8:11 am

    I've been and stayed in Manchester loads as my best friend is from there and Mr S went to uni there so still has friends up there. Always fun to visit a more laid back version of London!

    • Claire
      31st August 2016 / 9:22 am

      Isn't it just! So glad to hear you like the city too, it's a beauty!

  5. LuxuryColumnist
    31st August 2016 / 10:46 am

    How handy that you got married on the same day that you met, very easy to remember!

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:46 pm

      It's incredibly handy 😉

  6. Elizabeth S
    31st August 2016 / 11:05 am

    What a super break away! I've only been to Manchester once and my first experience of it, when the train doors opened, was of a man having a fit on the station floor and everyone walking by and ignoring him! Such a big, busy city – not my kind of place at all, but this looks like a super trip you had.

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:47 pm

      Oh what an awful introduction! I hope the guy was okay.

  7. Sarah-Louise Bailey
    31st August 2016 / 11:44 am

    It sounds like you had an amazing time, I love the look of your hotel! x

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:47 pm

      Such a lovely spot, really beautiful and comfy.

  8. Liz Mays
    31st August 2016 / 12:03 pm

    The train accommodations seem so nice! What a lovely getaway!

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:47 pm

      It was so nice to have a chnage of scene for a couple of days!

  9. Joanna Victoria -x
    31st August 2016 / 1:10 pm

    Sounds like a fab anniversary.we went to Manchester end of July for a night but stayed at a b&b which is know here nice as the look of this hotel.

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:48 pm

      There's always time for a cute B&B too – love the homecooked breakfasts!

  10. Dannii Martin
    31st August 2016 / 3:50 pm

    I live in Manchester and you went to some great places. Cloud 23 is always a favourite of ours for a cocktail with a good view.

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:49 pm

      It's such a lovely bar, we were very taken with it. Their twist on the old fashioned is a big fave of my husband's.

  11. Samantha Rickelton
    31st August 2016 / 5:33 pm

    Oh I've visited cloud 23 but not stayed in the hotel. It is right by my friends house. I LOVED the cocktails and the view but the hotel makes a weird noise when it's windy – it's as if it whistles in the wind!

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:49 pm

      How strange! I'm glad I wasn't there on a windy day!

  12. Jessica McDonnell
    31st August 2016 / 5:38 pm

    Congratulations on your anniversary, it looks like you had a wonderful time.

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:49 pm

      We really did, thank you!

  13. ana de jesus
    31st August 2016 / 6:09 pm

    Congratulations on your anniversary lovely glad you had a lovely time. The cocktails look epic.

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:50 pm

      They were – I love a good, innovative cocktail!

  14. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes
    31st August 2016 / 7:22 pm

    Manchester is such a great city! Love it there.

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:50 pm

      It's so great – loved swapping cities for a little break!

  15. Rhian Westbury
    31st August 2016 / 8:20 pm

    Happy second wedding anniversary, it's so nice that you both managed to get away x

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:51 pm

      It was such a treat – our schedules don't always marry up as well (haha, pun not intended, but appreciated!).

  16. beautyqueenuk
    1st September 2016 / 11:58 am

    Happy anniversary and yay for being able to go away and spend some time together x

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:51 pm

      Yay indeed – I think it's so important to celebrate the little milestones!

  17. Emma Julia
    1st September 2016 / 12:51 pm

    I want to visit just for that bath!! Snapchat has me properly envious!

    • Claire
      1st September 2016 / 12:52 pm

      It was so good. I took three baths in as many days! #obsessed

  18. Trona S
    2nd September 2016 / 10:30 am

    I've never been to Manchester but always fancied going same with Liverpool. Very underrated cities I think 🙂 Happy Anniversary!

    • Claire
      6th September 2016 / 12:21 pm

      Both cities are well worth a visit – so much to see!

  19. Talonted Lex
    2nd September 2016 / 1:57 pm

    Happy anniversary! I've never been to Manchester properly and would love to. Some great places to add to our to-do list here!

    • Claire
      6th September 2016 / 12:22 pm

      Oh I hope you get to go and that you really enjoy yourself!

  20. Christine Dodd
    2nd September 2016 / 2:17 pm

    Oooh this is posh – we go to Manchester quite often and stay at the Macdonald hotel next to Manchester Piccadilly. I admit to doing mostly shopping and theatre when I visit!

    • Claire
      6th September 2016 / 12:22 pm

      It was such a treat – we like to do the nice stuff from time to time!

  21. Nayna Kanabar
    2nd September 2016 / 8:16 pm

    Happy anniversary. The trip looks great and the hotel is gorgeous.

    • Claire
      6th September 2016 / 12:23 pm

      It's such a beautiful hotel – I'm a sucker for a great room!

  22. Melanie Ed
    3rd September 2016 / 11:01 am

    Happy anniversary, it's lovey you got some time away alone. The hotel looks great.

    • Claire
      6th September 2016 / 12:25 pm

      It was such a treat – slept like a baby in that comfy bed!

  23. PhillIp Joseph Palmer
    3rd September 2016 / 8:34 pm

    Woo congratulations! I work in Manchester and know how amazing it is. Never been to the bar myself but drive past Beetham Plaza every day and it looks amazing.Phill – http://www.corporatedad.co.uk

    • Claire
      6th September 2016 / 12:25 pm

      It's such a great city – we always have such a wonderful time when we visit!

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