Crafty guide to Manchester’s Northern Quarter

I arrived in Manchester very keen to explore but not really knowing where to start, as I hadn’t done my usual amount of planning and research.   I was, therefore, delighted to find a copy of Where to Go: Manchester in my room at The Velvet Hotel.  This handy little guide was filled loads of interesting places to visit. However, as I was only there for one night I knew that I needed to be selective.

The Manchester Craft & Design centre  immediately caught my attention, two floors of contemporary craft studios housed in an old Victorian fish and poultry market sounded right up my street.    So I quickly headed off towards the Northern Quarter.

The light filled atrium of the Manchester Craft & Design Centre

The centre is home to over twenty studio/shops where a wide range of artists, jewelers, ceramicists, and other craft folk make and sell their wares.  My favourite shop was &made, this beautiful bright and airy space on the upper floor was filled gorgeous homeware and accessories, designed and made by the lovely Andrea Lord.  Using traditional traditional skills and materials, combined with a sophisticated colour palette, she has created a cosy yet modern range of very desirable products.  I wanted everything in the shop, but was especially keen on the little knitted cactus pin cushions.

The Manchester Craft & Design centre is located in the vibrant Northern Quarter, described as the creative heart of the city.  The surrounding streets are filled with exciting places to eat, drink, shop and explore.

A number of people had recommended that we visit Home Sweet Home bar & kitchen,  and we are very glad that we followed this advice!    We knew that it is was very popular brunch venue and that we would probably have to queue for a table.  Arriving just after 10am on a Saturday morning we were seated right away, but the spacious restaurant filled out pretty quickly and there was a queue out the door by the time we left.

The menu features a mouthwatering selection of sweet treats and American diner favourites.  Never one to shy away from a big breakfast, I ordered the House Hash with Steak and Eggs, and I was not disappointed, it was absolutely delicious!   My husband, who is big fan of milkshakes, was spoilt  for choice.  He ultimately went for the 5 Dollar  Shake, he just couldn’t resist the name!   We didn’t have any room for desert, but the cakes looked amazing!  I was particularly drawn to the Exceedingly Cheeky cake, as I have a nostalgic fondness for French Fancies and Battenberg cake!

Another place that is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area is remarkable Fred Aldous, an enormous family run art and craft shop, that has been in business since 1886!

The spacious ground floor has two vintage photo booths and a fantastic range of cards, stationary, gifts and homeware. The basement level is almost twice the size and stocks everything that you could possibly need for any art or craft project.   There are even more supplies in the sub basement as well as studio spaces where they host a range of workshops run by the Ministry of Craft.




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