22 Apr 2017

City Guide | Discovering Independent Manchester, with Topman

 Topman Printed Shirt | Topman Straight Fit Trousers | Converse 70s Sneakers | Fair Ends Cap

Having only just bought our first proper house, in a pretty small town that is tucked neatly away on the North West coast of England, you'd think that I'd be spending all of my given time working from home. But if I look back at the past five months I can only pinpoint two of weeks where I haven't been travelling - I guess it's just the way I like it. For me, that's the freelance lifestyle that I crave.

My latest trip was to the city of Manchester - I place pretty well indeed. Back when I was trying to break into the fashion industry I worked several internships + marketing jobs, clocking up a good five years in around the Northern Quarter. Topman reached out to myself + Jordan to see if we'd be up for helping them produce a guide to the city, to coincide nicely with the reopening of their Topman Trafford Centre store.

We hit a few of our regular favourite spots, as well as taking a couple of new recommendations from Manchester-native + photographer, Jake Millers. It wouldn't be a proper city guide without a decent dose of coffee, art, design + culture, and the added bonus of one of the city's most beautiful hotels:

Foundation Coffee House
Sevendale House, Lever Street,

We can’t create a Manchester city guide without Foundation Coffee House. An expansive unit – something few and far between in the capital – Foundation is perfect for both work and a quick coffee pit stop. With spaces to suit each and every coffee drinker, make sure you swing by to sample their beans.

Grindsmith Coffee Pod 
Victoria Bridge St, Salford, Manchester, M3 5AS

Located in one of the city centre’s busiest streets you’ll find this curious little concept coffee shop. The Grindsmith Coffee Pod is not only a unique use of space which creates an intimate atmosphere, it also comes in with a great selection of speciality coffees, and feels like a nice break from the madness of the high street.

58 Mosley St, Manchester, M2 3LQ

Food is always on the agenda when you’re up for visiting a new city, and the best ones usually come recommended by friends. Our photographer, Jake Miller’s gets the props for urging us to try 1847 for lunch. Just across from the Manchester Art Gallery you’ll find this inviting, modern vegetarian restaurant. The menu is jam-packed with tasty dishes, - we’d definitely recommend trying the Battered Halloumi.

Manchester Art Gallery
Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL

Manchester is blessed with a strong creative community and close links to the design and art industry. There’s no better way to soak a big portion of this in than a visit to the Manchester Art Gallery, located 5 minutes from Piccadilly Gardens. The gallery’s traditional paintings, ceramics and design pieces are mixed with a constant rotation of contemporary art, photography and design innovations.

Piccadilly Records 
53 Oldham St, Manchester, M1 1JR

Somewhat of an institution in Manchester, Piccadilly Records is the best spot for those of you looking to pick up the latest vinyl releases. Head in there when you’ve got some time to kill; chat to the staff, ask for recommendations and uncover those records that will soon become your favourite new albums.

Fred Aldous
37 Lever Street, Manchester, M1 1LW

Now be prepared to step into a two-tier store packed with plenty of stationary, interiors and design gifts to tie you over for a lifetime. For those that just want to capture their Manchester trip in the photo booths or geek out over paper with the Fred Aldous gang, then this is the place for you.

 Jordan wears Topman Skinny Jeans | I'm wearing Topman Original Fit Jeans | Sneakers by Harrys of London
The craziness that was the Topman Trafford Centre store launch. Photography by Jake Millers

Principal Hotel + The Refuge
Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA

You'd be hard-pushed to find a hotel + restaurant in Manchester more beautiful that the Principal Hotel + The Refuge, just opposite Oxford Road train station. The bedrooms have some of the tallest ceilings going, with each room (all slightly different) fully equipped to give you a solid night's sleep. The Refuge is the hotel's bar + restaurant - we can't recommend this place enough. Come for the incredible interiors, but stay for the food and drink. Order a few small plates and share with your friends.

You can see more from our City Guide to Manchester on Topman's blog here.

This blog post is has been co-created by myelf, Jordan Bunker + Jake Millers for Topman.


  1. All of these photo capture such a fun component of the space! Itching to hop on a plane back to England!

  2. Stuart10:48

    Some great pics there,I live just down the road in Prestwich and I always enjoy a trip into Manchester,sadly the council have deemed it fit to knock down some great buildings and replace them with some monolith monstrosities,luckily theirs still some cracking buildings/places to visit..

  3. I was wondering which coffee shop you'd settle on for this - two excellent choices. Grindsmith is on my daily walk to work, it's a hidden gem! Takk in the Northern Quarter is definitely worth checking out too if you've never been.

    Matt | It's Matt Thompson

  4. Thanks for sharing with us so good information. I can engage with so many new blog website and i read & know so many things.

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  5. What a robust guide! Love all the photography. I was only in Manchester on my way to Blackpool but wanted to stop for longer and explore...

    Kosta | Cool Gear Cavalier

  6. top pictures! i need to go there!

  7. Cheers Krystal! I can't remember, have you been to the UK before?

  8. Cheers Kosta! Feedback is always welcome. I think you'd like it, it's very different to Blackpool, and much more to see and do.

  9. Good to hear from you my man! Manchester is a fun place, I reckon you'd dig it.

  10. I think out of all of them Takk is my fav in terms of taste but I was keen to get on the coffee pod as I hadn't seen much about it online. Made sense to keep it fresh!

  11. Which buildings are you referring to? Would love to hear.

  12. Stuart20:14

    John rylands,royal exchange,town hall,have a drink in the bar in Beetham towers and have a look at the views,with the added bonus that you can't see beetham towers.

  13. Been to that art gallery! Manchester is such a lovely city I'd love to visit again.

    Katrina Sophia

  14. robert09:50

    in love with your hat!

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