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Exploring Manchester’s Independents

 

Manchester Fred Aldous

My Big Bruv, Dan, betrayed his Yorkshire roots a couple of years ago and moved to Manchester, but since I’ve got a little soft spot for the city myself, I have forgiven him. He lives near the airport too, so I’ve got a guaranteed hotel room and taxi to the airport for those early morning trips I’m always taking. He’s a pretty awesome Big Bruv.

My favourite thing to do in Manchester is explore the independent scene, which is far better than the one here in Leeds, so I headed over there last week to show you round their awesome small businesses. The spending money was kindly gifted by Hotels.com, so I could really show you the sights, but of course all my opinions are my own. If you don’t have your own Big Bruv bed and breakfast, check out their hotels in Manchester.

Manchester Indie Magazine Shop

Manchester is huge compared to Leeds, so there are lots of different areas to explore. My favourite, though, is the Northern Quarter, full of kooky shops and indie cafes and bars you could spend more than just a day out here. Grab a coffee at Fig & Sparrow to set you up right for the day and check out their range of gifts inside.

From Fig & Sparrow you can shopping spree the entire of Oldham Street, from Cow Vintage to Thunder Egg for all your clothing needs. If you get thirsty you can pop into Night & Day Cafe for a couple of beers, but be careful how many you sink as it may make those pennies slip out of your purse far too easily – not that I’m speaking from experience.

Piccadilly Records has a whole world of music for your ears, ranging from indie, to synthpop and reggae, all the way down to cosmic and “weirdshit”. The staff are totally great, too, which I find a luxury in some record shops. No one is too cool for any of your music tastes.

Manchester Craft Art Shop

Then onto Magma, the mecca for my English Literature schooled Big Bruv who can spend hours exploring the indie magazines in there. My favourite is their range of odd business books and beautiful illustrated books for kids, though. I bought a really fun copy of “How To Swear” with a bright yellow cover.

When you’ve exhausted Oldham Street, there’s more to see nearby in Afflecks – the Debenhams of Indie. Afflecks in a rabbit warren of independents and small businesses. Sprawling through the huge building is a bead shop, jewellery, ice cream parlour, another location for Thunder Egg (if the store didn’t have your size!) and piles of vintage clothing.

Manchester Mackie Mayor Pizza

 

Finally, my absolute favourite place in Manchester has got to be Fred Aldous, the indie God of craft shops. We have a Fred in Leeds, but the one in Manchester is it’s huge older brother with floors of gifts, paints, books, tools and a laser cutting studio in the basement. You could literally spend hours here and a fortune.

When you’re all tuckered out you can head to Mackie Mayor for a feed and some cocktails. Sadly I was starting to get the flu by this point in our trip, so I enjoyed a fresh homemade lemonade there instead and a giant pizza drizzled with honey called ‘Save The Bees!”. Those Manchester folk love their bees.

Have you been to Manchester? What are your favourite independents? x xx

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