Manchester is a busy city, there’s no escaping that. There’s always something going on, and that’s the way we like it.
Sometimes, though, it’s nice just to take a step back and enjoy a moment of rare tranquillity – whether it’s a walk in the park, a glass of wine with a breath-taking view, or an indulgent afternoon at a spa.
Here are 12 great ways to escape the bustle of the city and relax.
As well as being a great independent bookshop, Chapter One in the Northern Quarter offers excellent coffee and feels like a home from home that encourages you to relax, meet friends, and discover something new. Comfy sofas, a stress-free atmosphere and free wifi make this shop a pretty cool place to hang out, as well as to shop for new titles, browse, or attend one of their many events.
19 Lever Street, M1 1BY – Twitter
The Spa at The Midland
— Spa at The Midland (@SpaAtTheMidland) October 11, 2015
For a spot of indulgence if you have the budget, check out the luxurious Spa at the Midland. Head down the spiral staircase to an astonishingly calm space, where you’ll also find three sleep chambers crafted to remove background noise – perfect for an afternoon nap. Check out the four hanging cocoons that can fit one or two people each – just slide in, curl up, and read or snooze. There’s also a heated relaxation pool, and a salt infusion aromatherapy steam bath, helping you breathe more easily, relax and clear the mind. Ahhhh.
The Midland, Peter Street, M60 2DS – qhotels.co.uk
— NT Urban Gardener (@NTUrbanGardener) March 10, 2015
This garden situated off Canal Street is a little oasis of calm and greenery in the centre of Manchester, surrounded by by the Manchester College Shena Simon Campus on one side and Whitworth Street, Sackville Street and the Rochdale Canal and Canal Street on the others. Sackville Street Gardens is also home to a life size silicon bronze memorial to computer pioneer Alan Turing, and you can take a seat next to him on his bench whilst you reflect.
Sackville Street, M1 3WA – manchester.gov.uk
The Quiet Room
Inner Space is an initiative that provides a reflective and calm environment, right in the heart of the city, helping you to find a moment of peace and tranquillity. As well as a range of free talks, courses, workshops, meditation sessions, and tips and tools to help you unwind, there’s also the peaceful oasis of The Quiet Room – sit back in a comfy chair and take time out from your busy day, with relaxing music in the background or just quiet if you prefer.
14 Byrom Street, Spinningfields, M3 4PP – manchester.innerspace.org
The Whitworth’s Café in the Trees
— John Meehan (@JohnMeehan61) December 9, 2015
Founded in 1889 as the first English gallery in a park, the Whitworth has been transformed by a £15 million development which has seen the gallery double in size. They won Museum of the Year 2015, and it’s easy to see why. We love the art garden designed by Sarah Price, the sculpture terrace and orchard garden, the landscape gallery, the learning studio, and a café in the trees – the perfect spot to unwind and relax with a legendary organic brownie.
The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, M15 6ER – whitworth.manchester.ac.uk
— Jenny Vivaldi (@jennyjelly) December 20, 2015
This Nordic inspired coffee house is also a welcoming creative space in the Northern Quarter – perfect for bringing your laptop to do a bit of work, or meeting up with friends or colleagues with a North Projekt espresso and an organic, locally sourced lunch such as Welsh Rarebit made with First Chop Brewing Arm IPA. There are excellent single origin coffees from The Barn in Berlin, and Takk source some of the best coffees available in Europe. There are good cakes, too. A lovely place to catch up on some work outside the hectic office environment.
6 Tarriff Street, M1 2FF – takkmcr.com
The John Rylands Library
— John Rylands Library (@TheJohnRylands) March 25, 2015
The John Rylands Library – one of the best example of neo-Gothic architecture in Europe and indisputably one of the finest libraries in the world – holds an impressive collection of rare books, manuscripts and archives spanning 5,000 years. The Deansgate building has undergone a £15 million programme of repairs and conservation in recent years, and we just love The Reading Room, a soaring, cathedral-like space which perches 30 feet above street level.
150 Deansgate, M3 3EH – library.manchester.ac.uk
Nice walk in Heaton Park. Lots of families enjoying the unseasonal weather! pic.twitter.com/dtufavERBL
— Chief Editor | MG (@ChiefEditorMG) December 20, 2015
Take a stroll round the huge 600-acre Heaton park to blow away the cobwebs and recharge. There are rowing boats if you fancy taking to the water, and an animal centre in the old stables. Or check out the range of running and walking routes for all abilities. There are also weekly Stargazing astronomy sessions run by the Heaton Park astronomy group.
Middleton Road, Higher Blackley M25 2SW – manchester.gov.uk/heatonpark
— Vikas Shah (@MrVikas) November 1, 2015
One of the largest conservation areas in Manchester, and the UK’s first Urban Heritage Park, Castlefield’s focus is the Roman fort from which it derived its name. Beautiful old warehouses have now been converted to flats, offices, galleries and studios, and new buildings include a stadium with a tensile skin roof for viewing spectacular events. Once a hub of industrial activity, Castlefield is now a peaceful, relaxing spot in the city.
— Louise Rhind-Tutt (@lrtpublicity) September 29, 2015
A 47-storey landmark, completed in 2006 at a cost of £150 million, Beetham Tower is the highest building in Manchester and the tallest residential building in Europe. Take the lift to the Cloud 23 bar on the 23rd floor, grab yourself a drink, and fall in love with one of the best views of the city, as well as the Peaks, the Pennines and the Cheshire plains. It gets busy in the evenings, but try visiting during the afternoon for a quieter, more indulgent experience.
Beetham Tower, 303 Deansgate, M3 4LQ – cloud23bar.com
— Dave Wood (@liverpoolimages) October 16, 2015
Following a £50 million makeover to restore its gorgeous Grade II listed neoclassical structure to its former glory, Central Library is a building which makes your heart swell with pride. There’s a Reading Room with seating for 300 people, you can compose, play and record your own music at the Henry Watson Music Library, or spend a rainy afternoon at the British Film Institute Mediatheque, with highlights from the world’s greatest and most diverse collection of British film and television.
St Peters Square, M2 5PD – manchester.gov.uk
Salford Quays waterfront
Photo: Tobias Alexander
A picturesque waterfront destination, take the metrolink to nearby Salford Quays for wonderful views of The Lowry building, the large Plaza, the terraced areas down to the canal, the Lifting Footbridge leading to Trafford Wharfside and the Imperial War Museum North as well as MediaCityUK. You might even catch sight of the bridge rising to allow one of the Mersey Ferries along the Manchester Ship Canal – take a boat trip if you really want to relax on the water.
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Main image: The Spa at The Midland / Facebook