In London, the abundance of iconic department stores, prestigious brands, trendy boutiques and renowned consumer brands offers a huge choice. At the same time, Manchester continues to grow with an increasing number of luxury department stores.
Shopping in Manchester
The best department stores in the city
In the past, you had to travel to London to find some exclusive brands, today Manchester boasts two department stores imported directly from the capital. The glass façade of Selfridges houses the best in luxury, electronics and beauty brands, while just a stone’s throw away, in a silver building, Harvey Nichols presents an international range of designers from Isabel Marant to Missoni and Moschino. Check www.the-shops.co.uk/ and learn how to find the shops easily. After this shopping session, enjoy a resolutely British tradition at the second-floor brewery to savour afternoon tea, served with mini cucumber sandwiches, homemade scones and a kind of thick, lumpy crème fraîche, and a few mignardises.
It’s time to put on your punkiest outfit, get into a spiky hair style and head to Affleck’s Palace, a hotbed of individualism, where looks count, and throw yourself into Manchester’s “metrosexual” world. Inside the red brick emporium, stroll through the countless independent boutiques, offering fancy, vintage, or skater outfits, or make a more permanent purchase at the tattoo parlour. If esotericism appeals to you, take a trip to Freak Boutique for a tarot card reading. The more gourmet will find all sorts of sweets, both sticky and sweet, in the charming Chocolate Ape Retro Sweet Shop.
Good addresses in Northern Quarter
The North Quarter is a characterful downtown neighbourhood, home to some of the city’s best independent shops. At the Manchester Craft & Design Centre, shop for ceramics, textiles, jewellery and other specialities from regional designers. And if you’re interested, sign up for one of the monthly events organized to showcase the creative process of a local artist. Continue on to the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Arts, which showcases Chinese culture in its two galleries. Its nearby boutique offers an interesting selection of handicrafts, jewelry and stationery. Home accessory enthusiasts should visit the Urbansuite store, which sells contemporary European pieces in sophisticated shapes and colours.
Manchester Shopping Centres
Imagine a mix of Baroque architecture and Egyptian Revival style and you get the Trafford Centre, a huge shopping mall whose ornamental pillars, pastel tones and caramel-coloured marble slabs would be the pride of music-hall pianist Liberace. The Trafford Centre, which attracts more than 35 million visitors each year, houses hundreds of shops and a central food court in a style reminiscent of a 1930s ocean liner. For those who would hesitate to venture outside of Manchester city centre, Arndale Centre is a must-see shopping centre, with over 200 shops offering the best in consumer fashion since the 1970s. For a more upscale experience, the Spinningfields Centre is home to Mulberry, DKNY, Brooks Brothers and many other brands, as well as an art gallery, cocktail bar and several friendly restaurants.