You’ll feel like you’ve discovered a secret garden when you stumble across these delightful botanical gardens in Didsbury. The rock gardens are the perfect spot for a quiet stroll and to admire the trees, while the adjoining woods and meadows allow the opportunity for longer walks, linking up with the river Mersey. Ensure that you also pay a visit to the Parsonage Gardens and the stunning Old Parsonage building, tucked away behind the wall opposite The Didsbury pub. A riot of colour in spring, the gardens are filled with blossoming trees including cherry blossom and magnolia, while the Parsonage itself regular hosts small exhibitions and relaxing yoga classes.
Be transported back in time to an age of elegant tea parties in this vintage-inspired Northern Quarter tea room. A far cry from the neighbouring hipster haunts, Sugar Junction is filled with vintage sets of china, cosy little tables and retro memorabilia, providing the perfect place to while away several hours over cups of tea and slices of cake with friends. This quaint little café is open late, and gin-fuelled cocktails can be enjoyed alongside an evening tea session if you’re looking for an alternative to typical bars and pubs.
If Sugar Junction is full, never fear! Richmond Tea Rooms is only a short taxi ride away, nestled in the heart of the Gay Village. The delightfully over the top décor pays more than a passing reference to both Alice in Wonderland and the works of Tim Burton, creating a fabulously twee environment in which to enjoy triangle sandwiches
If you’re tired of navigating Market Street and fighting your way through the Arndale Centre, just head to the bohemian suburb of Chorlton to discover the picturesque shopping street that is Beech Road. Just twenty minutes out of the city centre, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to a pretty little village as you peruse the independent shops, bars and cafes that line this leafy street. If you’re visiting in summer, grab a drink from the Horse & Jockey and take it onto the Green to really capture that village ambience.
Situated just a short drive out of the city centre, on the border of Altrincham, Dunham Massey estate is one of the best places to escape the city streets. History buffs can explore the Georgian manor house, admiring the lovingly preserved interiors while nature lovers will thrive in the extensive grounds, perhaps even stumbling upon a flock of grazing deer.
Even in the centre of Manchester, you will continue to be surprised by retailers who have broken the mould and retreated to delightfully old-fashioned ways of selling. Flourish have taken up residence on Tib Street and St Anne’s Square, selling a variety of bouquets of flowers, house plants and cacti from their pop-up stalls. Reminiscent of something you’d see in a small village, it’s a pleasure to buy a plant from their cheery and knowledgeable stall holders.