There’s lots of fun to be had for two in Manchester, whether it’s a cosy breakfast, a sharer cocktail, a romantic stroll, or something a little more…competitive.
From everyday inspiration in the city to serious treats for a special occasion, we’ve picked 25 romantic things to do for couples in Manchester.
1. Share churros and chocolate for breakfast
— Ibérica Manchester (@IbericaMCR) February 8, 2016
You can’t get a more romantic breakfast treat than churros, coated in crunchy sugar and dipped into hot, bittersweet, thick and creamy dark chocolate. Iberica use a secret family recipe dating back to the 17th century for their chocolate, which is thick enough that it coats and holds on to the churro, but still liquid enough to drink. You may need to order a portion each so there’s no fighting.
2. Push the boat out with romantic fine dining
Fish course on our £30 tasting menu – confit salmon belly – black tortellini goats cheese – quinoa – ikra – orange pic.twitter.com/HvBqpxthxa
— JamesMartinMCR (@JamesMartinMCR) January 4, 2016
It’s not something you could afford every day, but for a special occasion you can’t beat the fine dining experience of Aiden Byrne’s incredible cooking at Manchester House, an elegant modern British dinner at James Martin Manchester, or Simon Rogan’s stunning tasting menus at The French.
3. Watch the sunset with a gin and tonic
Photo: Tobias Alexander / Grey Trilby
You don’t have to dine at Manchester House to take advantage of one of the best views in the city. Head to the bar on the 12th floor, and relax with a gin and tonic on the terrace as you watch the sun go down.
4. Dine under the trees
No, not outside – this is Manchester city centre, after all. But dining under the iconic tree and cascading wall of plants at Mr Cooper’s House & Garden, or sharing dim sum under Tattu’s spectacular four-metre high cherry blossom tree, is the next best thing.
5. Spend a night in Gotham
Photo: Hotel Gotham
The gorgeous Art Deco-themed Hotel Gotham on King Street boasts some showstoppingly decadent rooms, perfect for treating that special person in your life – think dark wood and leather, faux fur, and striking black and white floors. You’ll feel like you’re on your own film set. There are great views from the opulent Club Brass bar, too.
6. Cocktails with a view at Cloud 23
Photo: Cloud 23
It’s no Eiffel Tower, sure, but the 47-storey 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 classy cocktail, and fall in love with one of the best views of the city, as well as the Peaks, the Pennines and the Cheshire plains.
7. Relax at the Spa
Photo: The Spa at the Midland
With a heated relaxation pool, an elegant swan neck fountain, a salt infusion aromatherapy steam bath, and hanging pods that can accommodate two people, the Spa at the Midland is a lovely place to relax and unwind together.
8. Go for a long, romantic walk
— EAT DRINK SHOP (@EATatHEATONPARK) December 7, 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.
9. Take a cookery class together
— Monica (@TheSpiceClub) November 17, 2015
Cooking and eating together is one of life’s great pleasures. If you could do with learning a few more skills or want to try your hand at some new dishes, check out a cookery course such as The Spice Club so you can learn together.
10. Go for a boozy brunch
— Gaucho Manchester (@gauchomcr) February 2, 2016
If you fancy a leisurely lie-in, skip breakfast and go for a leisurely, boozy weekend brunch instead. Try eggs Benedict and champagne at Harvey Nichols, fluffy pancakes and bacon with Mimosas at Black Dog NQ, or steak and eggs and Bloody Marys at Gaucho’s Electro Brunch.
11. Catch a classic film
— Hold Fast NQ (@holdfastbar) November 9, 2015
12. Drink on the South Terrace
— Chris Greenhalgh (@ilovemcrchris) February 6, 2016
Head to the heated south-facing terrace with overhead canopy on the 6th floor of King Street Townhouse for a drink with unparalleled views of the spires and clock tower of Manchester Town Hall. Dreamy.
13. Go to the fair
Photo: Fun Fairs UK / Facebook
Behave like big kids and indulge in all the fun of the fair, from rides to candyfloss. Check out the Valentines Fun Fair at Heaton Park, running until 26 Feb.
14. Share some tapas
— Emma Cottam (@emmacottam) February 5, 2016
Lunya’s elegant bar, in the beautiful Barton Arcade, offers the UK’s largest array of Spanish gins, whilst the upstairs restaurant focuses on inventive Catalan style tapas dishes – perfect for sharing. The candlelight is super-flattering, too.
15. Go on a skiing trip
Well not quite, but you can have some real snow fun together at Chill Factore, the UK’s longest real snow slope.
16. Play ping pong
Photo: Twenty Twenty Two
If you’re a competitive couple, go head-to-head at ping pong at Twenty Twenty Two in the Northern Quarter.
17. Try some different wines at Salut
— Salut Wines (@salutwines) January 29, 2016
If a bottle of the house red just won’t cut it with your other half, then check out Salut wine bar which offers an unsurpassed choice of 42 wines by the glass. You can try a range of interesting and unusual options from their state-of-the-art Italian designed Enomatic wine serving system, in 50ml, 125ml or 175ml servings. .
18. Go for a picnic
— Salvis Mcr (@SalvisMcr) January 6, 2016
What could be more romantic than dining alfresco with your loved one? Pick up some wine from Hanging Ditch, some Italian cheeses and meats from Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar, and head into the great outdoors – or maybe just back to your flat for an indoor picnic if the weather isn’t on your side.
19. Get fizzical
— Épernay Manchester (@epsmanchester) January 28, 2016
Épernay Champagne Bar, with its low-level lighting, smooth jazz music, excellent choice of cocktails and over 100 champagnes – including plenty of options available by the glass – is just perfect for a romantic drink or two.
20. Find a secret bar
Whether you’re looking for subterranean drinking dens, secret entrances, or disguised shop fronts leading to cool hideaways, there are plenty of secret bars or hidden gems in Manchester for you to discover together. Try Dusk Til Pawn, The Washhouse, Corbieres, The Fitzgerald, or Under New Management in Salford.
21. Stroll the waterways of Castlefield
— Craig Murfin (@Craig_Murfin) January 6, 2016
One of the largest conservation areas in Manchester, Castlefield’s focus is the Roman fort from which it derived its name – and it’s a lovely spot to walk along the waterways and dine alfresco. If the weather is bad, take shelter in The Wharf, with its many nooks and crannies and over 100 malts.
22. Admire the Pre-Raphaelites at Manchester Art Gallery
— James (@J_Harmer_Artist) May 15, 2013
There are many excellent exhibitions to check out at the Manchester Art Gallery, but it is best known for its collection of works by 19th century British artists, particularly the Pre-Raphaelites.
23. Drink cocktails for two
Great picture taken by @olivianicolesilk of our Mad Hatter's Tea Party Sharer Cocktail.. It's one of our favourites! pic.twitter.com/3QTkKSaGMg
— The Alchemist Mcr (@AlchemistMcr) August 6, 2015
Make the most of drinks offers such as two cocktails for £11 until 8pm at Liqourice, two cocktails for £12 at Apotheca, or a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party sharer cocktail designed for two people at The Alchemist.
24. Go bowling – with booze
If you fancy a late night bowling session, Dog Bowl in the Northern Quarter have five full-length lanes, and you can bowl until 2am whilst indulging in The Big Lebowski themed cocktails. Or check out the 50s style glamour of All Star Lanes and take advantage of 2-4-1 cocktails (Sun – Thurs, 9pm – 11pm).
25. Take a canal trip
Photo: Tobias Alexander / Grey Trilby
Cruise the 35-mile-long inland waterway linking Manchester and Liverpool, with a trip on the Mersey Ferry along the Manchester Ship Canal.
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Main photo: Cloud 23