As exam dates and coursework deadlines approach you’ll probably find yourself spending more and more time at a desk studying. This could be in the library, at home or in the Learning Commons; however it’s also a good idea to escape campus now and again and treat yourself to a change of scenery.
Learning in different environments can improve our abilities to retain and recall information, and spending time in a variety of locations can help refresh our weary minds. Manchester city centre has an amazing selection of study spaces, including cosy cafes, trendy bars and historic libraries, so why not explore and give some a try?
Here are 5 of my favourite city centre study spaces:
- North Tea Power
36 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LA
One of Northern Quarter’s most highly acclaimed coffee shops, NTP is a favourite haunt of young-professionals and students. With award-winning espresso, a great deli and a chic, relaxed atmosphere, this space is great for enjoying the classic Northern Quarter culture whilst making the most of their speedy Wi-Fi, plentiful power sockets and cosy corners to work in. The large workbenches are a great place to mingle with other coffee lovers and get motivated by those around you. If you’re hooked by their delicious teas and coffees you can by the beans in bulk too.
- Central Library
St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD
As well as being one of Manchester’s most iconic buildings, the beautiful Central Library is positioned in the heart of the city, next door to the Manchester Town Hall. Here, you can browse the UK’s second largest public book collection, have a quiet study session beneath the Pantheon-like dome of the Great Hall, and make use of their extensive archives. There are miles and miles of book shelves both above and below ground, and also a huge selection of fiction which you might struggle to find in your typical academic library.
- Fig and Sparrow
20 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JA
F&S is a cute coffee shop tucked away on Northern Quarter’s Oldham Street, and offers artisan coffee, loose-leaf tea and a big selection of tasty treats, as well as selling teapots, candles and other trinkets. F&S can feel quite intimate due to its small size, but it’s also well-lit and airy, and its large tables which you can share with others, give the place a nice warm community vibe which I find very motivating.
- John Rylands Library
150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH
John Ryland’s in one of the University’s finest cultural assets and is also one of Manchester’s architectural highlights. Built in the late 19th century, you can marvel at the Neo-Gothic building style whilst being nestled amongst dark wood bookshelves, red carpets and ancient texts. The main reading room is a beautiful space illuminated with stained glass windows and old-fashioned lamps, and captures a quiet tranquillity that’s a wonderful contrast to the hustle and bustle of Deansgate Road outside.
In this cathedral-like atmosphere it’s easy to imagine that you’re centuries in the past, however the omnipresent UoM Wi-Fi and aroma of espresso in the entrance hall make the most out of old and new.
During your study breaks, explore the Harry Potter-esque halls and check out the exhibitions spread about the library, which often cover art, literature, linguistics and history. My top tip is to come here in the week – tourists flock here on the weekends!
- Last, but not least: Foundation Coffee House
Sevendale House, Lever St, Manchester M1 1JB
FCH is my favourite study spot. Its minimalistic décor, spacious layout and big windows provide plenty of natural light and lots of space to spread out your notes. Its chilled-out music also really helps getting my brain into study mode.
FCH also offer a wonderful range of coffees, cakes, smoothies, sandwiches and breakfasts, with vegan and gluten-free options – I’m a big fan of their brownies. FCH combines the airy lightness of an art gallery with cosy coffee shop sounds and aromas, producing a fantastic study space which you can enjoy with all your senses.