It is now quite common for groups of women to spend long weekends away together on shopping holidays. Although some go abroad to places like Milan and Paris, many decide to stay in the UK and travel to various cities. One of my favourite shopping cities is Manchester as it blends designer with high-street brands in three separate shopping areas.
The first area is the Arndale Centre which is situated in the heart of the city. This shopping mall was decimated in the IRA bombing in 1996 but has since undergone massive transformation to accommodate over 240 shops. The Arndale Centre has something for everyone. My personal clothing favourites are Top Shop, which features both cutting-edge style as well as a vintage-inspired department, New Look who offer affordable fashion and H&M who have always been as a the forefront of high street fashion. For those looking for jewellery, I’d recommend Beaverbrooks for diamonds – always a girl’s best friend, and Ernest Jones who offer wonderful gold jewellery amongst other things.
Obviously shopping can be exhausting so you’ll need to relax and replenish your body. The Arndale Centre has a dedicated food court which offers a wide variety of eating establishments including fast food chains like McDonalds and KFC which sit alongside slightly healthier options like Spud U Like and Subway. Plus if you and your girlfriends can’t make a unanimous decision on where to eat, you can sit in the communal seating area and enjoy different meals.
The second specific shopping area of Manchester is King Street which is also located centrally within the city. Originally the financial capital of the North-West, King Street has some elaborate buildings. However instead of banks, these buildings now house a multitude of shops selling designer labels. Amongst them is American brand DKNY which blends designer clothing with fabulous accessories, Diesel who offer well-styled denim amongst other high-end clothing and Italian brand Emporio Armani, who are famous for their accessories which include watches and sunglasses.
I’d recommend starting at the east end of King Street and working your way westwards. This ensures that once you have seen all that King Street has to offer, you can chill out at one of numerous cafes, bars or restaurants on famous Deansgate. One of my favourites is trendy bar Living Room which offers contemporary styling and a relaxed atmosphere. If you’re feeling a little hungry, why not try La Tasca – the tapas is delicious.
The third must-see Manchester shopping location is the Trafford Centre. Located out of town, this dedicated shopping and entertainment centre is completely unique. It houses a blend of department stores including Debenhams at the west-end, John Lewis at the east-end and Selfridges in the centre of the shopping mall. There are also an array of high-street stores including Zara and HMV, designer stores including Calvin Klein Jeans and stores that fall in between such as Coast and Jane Norman.
With so many shops to look at, you’re sure to be in the Trafford Centre until after dark so treat yourself to a meal such as pizza or pasta from Pizza Express, a burger from Exchange Bar and Grill or something Italian from Est (keep an eye out for Manchester vouchers and offers online for cheap eats at the Trafford Centre). Most of the restaurants are also licensed so you can unwind with a glass of wine or indulge yourself with a cocktail. Plus the Trafford Centre also hosts a multi-screen cinema which shows the latest films.
Image credit: Haversack