things to do in manchester and preston

Unmissable Things to Do in Manchester & Preston

We couldn’t wait to get on our £3.50 Megabus to the north. Around just 5 hours later we arrived in Manchester’s Shudehill Bus station and weren’t quite ready for the larks that would follow…

Here’s our favourite things to do in ‘Mad for it’ Manchester and partytown Preston.

Manchester

Manchester was positively thronging with life when we visited and the UK’s second biggest city has loads to offer in terms of cult activities, mouth-watering morsels and proper clubbing.

Our mouths dropped to the floor when we saw the epic juicy burger menu at Almost Famous. Rare ingredients like frazzle dust, pop-tarts and even fried Mac n Cheese balls were all present in these jaw-dropping, big burgers. The sides were delicious too and it feels like you’re above it all on the third floor looking down on the peasants from burger heaven. Hungry? Unmissable.

Our giddy guides Julia and John made this tour of the shiny new MediaCityUK memorable with funny almost sitcom funny moments as we toured the studios that make up the BBC’s northern powerhouse. We got a glimpse into radio production in the 6music studio, the robotic cameras and hidden hairbrushes of BBC Breakfast and even discovered what a semi-anechoic chamber was. Recommended.

We came to HOME a new arts centre extraordinaire to see a rather odd choice for a Friday night; A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer. It challenged us and was hugely entertaining at the same time. This is the sort of events HOME is great at and we look forward to returning for their festival of emerging talent Orbit 2016.

Explore their season until March 2017 here

Not forgetting…

We also loved:

  • Staying in The Mitre Hotel which boasted a gorgeous view of Manchester Cathedral and was a great bargain to stay so central.
  • The look of Blue Caribou Poutinerie which is ‘chips n graavy’ to you and me.

Preston

Preston is the unsung hero of independent northern culture with a riot of live music, bars and a banging street festival; Preston Guild City.

Winedown was a subterranean wonderland filled with the best things in life; WINE and CHEESE. We loved the atmosphere the owners had lovingly created. This was made for us by the cavernous ceilings, gorgeous scrawls naming wines all over the place and some kooky bric a brac to amuse you while you choose your next tipple. A must for wine buffs and beer hounds.

The Ferret is a quirky rock and roll pub with Strawberry Fields bright red cider (a highlight of our trip). We came to see our friend Simon’s band The Capital and they absolutely rocked the roof off the joint. I’m sure I was pogo dancing in the mosh pit like no one was watching (Not sure if I’d get away with it in the Shoreditch triangle).

This was our first experience of a northern cream tea and it was SOUND. The three storey platter featured soup, a slider burger and sausages as well as the usual stuff like scones and jam. We loved following the pretty peacocks and shopping for foodie treats in their deli shop.

Not forgetting…

Our Preston also includes:

  • Johnny Pearson’s Northern Soul Night in Bamber Bridge is the only place to watch amazing soul dancing of yesteryear.
  • Lancashire Encounter was on while we were there and it was great to see the city come to life with fire, music and life. It reminded us of Latin American street parties.

There’s so much more to Manchester and Preston than we had time for in our weekend up north.

So please do comment below with your top place to help us expand the article… 

Rupert Dannreuther

About 

I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.