Where to stay, eat and visit in Manchester

Night shot of the Royal Exchange. Old Victorian building, all windows and pillars lit up.

Royal Exchange Shopping Centre, Manchester - Credit: Royal Exchange Manchester

Eat: Don Giovanni 

Lamb shank in a pan being basted with bubbling jus

Lamb shank served on a bed of mashed potato and lamb jus, at Don Giovanni, Manchester - Credit: Don Giovanni

This institution has been dishing up bone fide Italian in the city since 1984, from a collective of cooks hailing from the boot but living in the former Little Italy of Ancoats. Chefs buzz about its open kitchen, pounding dough into pizza and handling delicate strings of fresh pasta – all of which are served to diners in the glittering space on Oxford Street. Carnivorous types should turn their attention to its excellent steaks, sourced from grass-rearing farms in and around Macclesfield. Just ensure you save room for its glee-inducing puds, from rich and deep chocolate fondants, to classic, coffee-spiked tiramisu. dongiovanni.uk.com 

Stay: Kimpton Clocktower 

Contemporary four-poster bed, with black sofa in front with yellow cushions. Very beautiful.

A Heritage bedroom at Kimpton Clocktower Hotel - Credit: Kimpton Clocktower

The much-anticipated Kimpton overtook the former Principal on Oxford Road just as COVID took hold, and this lively outpost of the US cult brand is now one of Manchester’s favourite late-night spots for hip urbanites. Guests arrive in the cavernous lobby, gazing skywards to its magnificent, stain glass dome, before checking-into its slick rooms with original art and velvet armchairs. Location-wise you’re bang in the centre of town on Oxford Road, close to the Whitworth Art Gallery, the Manchester Museum and the John Rylands Library. Though for globally-inspired dishes taking north-west ingredients, head to the hotel’s all-day dining spot, The Refuge for livening cocktails and a thrumming sense of fun. kimptonclocktowerhotel.com 

Do: Royal Exchange shopping arcade 

Formerly the hub of the world’s cotton trade, this eclectic shopping centre is a destination in its own right. Find yourself on St Ann’s Square and you can’t miss the Grade-II-listed building lording over you, luring shoppers inside with the promise of designer gear and browsing in immaculate surroundings. There’s high street favourites including Lush, Molton Brown, Whittard of Chelsea, and Sostrene Grene. Plus Swedish outdoor brand Fjallraven – the first stand-alone UK store; quirky footwear and accessories brand Irregular Choice; and the oldest shop at the Royal Exchange, Arthur Kay Jewellers that’s been in the building for 125 years.

Traditional afternoon tea in Manchester, with cakes, sandwiches, tea and two glasses of champagne

Enjoy Afternoon Tea at Annie's. Royal Exchange, Manchester - Credit: Jay Cain Photo

When you need to refuel, head to Annies – a wildly popular tearoom from Jennie McAlpine (Fizz from Coronation Street). Or for something more salubrious, there’s plant-based vegan joint Vertigo and The Remedy Kitchen with its dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free menu. And of course, there’s the Royal Exchange Theatre, whose stalls are alive and kicking once more. theroyalexchangemanchester.com