For 23 years I have lived less than an hour away from Manchester by train. In the last 23 years I have walked around Manchester a grand total of 1 times. Sure I’ve been to pretty much every major venue in the city for gigs of all shapes and sizes, but I don’t know Manchester.
So obviously when Rhi and I were invited to spend a weekend in Manchester by Accor Hotels and Mercure as part of their #ExperienceMercure campaign, we obviously bit their hands off!
It was one of those weekends where we felt like we crammed everything in even though we literally spent 24 hours in Manchester – here’s what we got up to whilst we were there!
We arrived in Manchester Piccadilly just after 2pm and made our way to the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly hotel (one of a few Mercure hotels in the city). It’s a super central hotel and only a 10 minute walk (if that) from Piccadilly station. It’s also part of City Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Manchester, so it certainly helps to find the hotel if you get lost amongst the busy Manchester streets!
Rhi and I typically stay in more boutique-style hotels so the Mercure was a bit of a new experience for us, but it was a wonderful stay. The room was everything we needed for an overnight stay, with a super spacious bathroom, clean room, comfortable bed and stunning skyline views of the city. It always helps when you’re greeted with prosecco and cake, too!
After a quick meet up with other bloggers taking part in the campaign, Rhi and I headed over to Eventcity by the Trafford Centre to check out Manchester’s Winter Wonderland. Whilst it was definitely aimed at those with families, it was still good to know that the Trafford Centre (which is bloody huge, by the way!) was only a 15 minute über away from our hotel.
During the evening we decided to stay at the hotel and try out their restaurant. The bar and restaurant area is located on the 4th floor with floor to ceiling glass windows, offering us absolutely stunning views of Piccadilly Gardens – the perfect accompaniment to our evening meal! I had pressed ham and black pudding to start, fish and chips for my main, finished by an incredible sticky toffee pudding for my pudding. My food was divine and I was left really impressed. I managed to have a sneak peek at a few other dishes as well and I have to say, everything looked and smelt beautiful. We ended up spending the whole evening at our table – with fantastic company, beautiful wine and stunning views, we couldn’t have asked for a better night.
We started our Sunday morning the only way you can – with a hotel breakfast! Our train back to Leeds was booked for 2pm so we’d timed it perfectly to spend a few hours in Manchester. As I said earlier, I’ve never really explored Manchester, so this was definitely what I was excited for.
We checked out and left our bags with the concierge and headed into the city. The hotel is as central as you can get, so after walking across Piccadilly Gardens we were where we needed to be! We wandered through the Arndale Centre (where we met Gerard Way of MCR fame a few years ago) and decided to hit the Manchester Christmas Markets.
The markets were definitely the highlight of our trip. Dotted throughout the city with the main site being in Albert Square, the markets were incredible and were WAY better than the Leeds equivalent. We treated ourselves to a baileys hot chocolate and enjoyed a delicious burger whilst wandering between the stalls. I think a Manchester Markets trip is definitely going to become a new tradition for us!
With our trip coming to an end we picked up our bags and headed to the station, and had a cup of tea whilst we waited for our train (because Yorkshire). It was amazing that our literally 24 hour trip felt like a full weekend away. We got so much done in a different environment and it felt so fresh. It’s definitely made me realise that a weekend is so much time and that I want to have more short city breaks in 2017 – I’ll add that to my list of resolutions and goals!!
I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to Accor Hotels, Mercure Hotels and Talented Talkers for inviting me to join in with their campaign. I’d also like to thank all the staff at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly – they were all faultless and so so helpful. Now we’ve stayed with Accor once before we’ll definitely be looking at them again in the future (especially since there’s plenty of offers to be had on their website…) – I’ve got my eye on the beautiful Aberdeen House Hotel!
All the photos in this post are taken by myself or Rhianna!