Manchester – The Capital of the North

‘This is Manchester, we do things differently here’ – Anthony H. Wilson

Coming to Manchester to attend an Open Day soon?  Well, not only is this a good opportunity to check out our wonderful University, but it’s also a super chance to explore the greatest, boldest, and most fabulous city in the North!

Mancunians are famously proud of their city, culture, and football club, and having lived here for a few years it’s easy to see why.  Not only is Manchester one of the UK’s most culturally diverse, exciting and famous city (narrowly beaten by London), but it has sights and activities to suit all tastes.  With wild nights out until sunrise, a world full of cuisines, and a multitude of museums and more, Manchester has something for everyone.

If you have time on your Open Day, there are loads of things you can see and do within walking distance of the University to have a taste of what Manchester has on offer.And_on_the_sixth_day,_God_created_Manchester

If food’s your thing

Foodies flock from all over to sample the one million and one different cuisines available in Manchester, so be sure to treat your taste buds when you visit!

The heart of Manchester’s South East Asian community is found in Chinatown, a few minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre.  For top-notch Vietnamese food, I recommend I Am Pho for their delicious noodle soup.  Or if you have a sweet tooth and fancy a twist, get a green tea or lychee dessert from Wasabi.

Closer to campus you can find the famous Curry Mile where you can find flavours from all over the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and the Indian Sub-Continent.  As well as offering food for all tastes there are also options for all budgets, from mouth-watering £2.50 shawarma from Atlas to elaborate Indian banquets at Mughli.


Shopaholics’ Anonymous

If you’re keen for a shopping experience that takes you beyond the usual chain shops, the Northern Quarter has an eclectic selection of boutiques, independent cafes and record stores.  As Manchester’s beating bohemian heart, it’s also home to some of the most avant-garde bars, underground music spaces and galleries.

NQ market

If you only have an hour or so, I whole-heartedly recommend a quick tour of Affleck’s Palace.  In this multi-cultural bazaar, you can browse a marvellous mix of alternative fashions and knick-knacks, and experience the indie-vibes that make Manchester so Manchester.

Feed your brain in Manchester’s museums

Another reason why Manchester is the best city ever is the vast number of free museums and art galleries found across town.  The Museum of Science and Industry is a must-see if you’d like to find out why Manchester is such a hub of scientific excellence and innovation, with fascinating exhibits on how Manchester became the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, Alan Turing’s computers, and graphene.


Avid football fans should consider a visit to the National Football Museum near Victoria Train Station – not only can you learn some fun facts about the city’s renowned teams, but you can also gain a fascinating insight into the history and global impact of the beautiful game.

The University’s own Manchester Museum is an award-winning institution situated in a beautiful Neo-Gothic building in the heart of campus.  If you only have a short break in the day between classes this is the perfect place to ogle at the museum’s beautiful collection of natural history and anthropological artefacts.  Get involved with their hands-on activities and expert talks, and check out my favourite exhibit – the frogs!  (They’re so cute and colourful.)

MCR art gallery

If you’re more of a da Vinci than a Darwin, then the Manchester Art Gallery has a number of world-class collections showcasing the work of some of the world’s most renowned artists.  Here you can view classical masterpieces as well as modern art, and also admire the work of Manchester’s own L. S. Lowry.

Closer to campus you can find the University’s own Whitworth Art Gallery for an eclectic variety of artwork and avant-garde exhibitions.  Its café is also a beautiful spot for lunch with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lush greenery of Whitworth Park.  Their salads and cakes are absolutely delicious too!

john rylands

If the main UoM campus doesn’t sate your appetite for stunning Neo-Gothic architecture, then the John Rylands Library on Deansgate Road is a must see.  A veritable cathedral of books with its lofty ceilings, exquisite stained-glass and dark wood bookshelves, it’s not surprising that this is one of Manchester’s top visitor attractions.  As a student at UoM you’ll have full access to the Wi-Fi and resources available here – I like to study in the main reading room and pretend I go to Hogwarts!

See you soon!

An Open Day here can be so much more than just looking around campus.  Take the time to explore Manchester, discover its eccentricities, and get excited for a jam-packed few years studying in this wonderful city!



Corn Exchange – Manchester’s new Restaurant Hub

At weekends when you’ve been exploring the city centre, shopping with friends or showing your visiting parents around the time is bound to come when you’re ready for a bite to eat. When I first moved to Manchester 3 years ago it was trickier than you would think to find somewhere to eat close to the shops – the Deansgate restaurants were numbered (though there are a lot more these days!), the Spinningfield restaurants were just a bit too far away and Harvey Nichols/Selfridges both usually require a booking (but definitely worth a visit for a special occasion!). Safe to say however that finding somewhere to dine in the city centre is no longer an issue due to the recently revamped and reopened Corn Exchange.


Women in STEM groups in Manchester

If you’re thinking about coming to Manchester for a science course and are keen to promote women and minorities in what is often a male-dominated area, then Manchester really is the place for you! The University is renowned for promoting equality among research staff and students and has been the recipient of the Athena Swan Silver award because of its contributions to the cause. If you’re looking for an inspiring role model who better than our Vice Chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell who runs not only a successful research lab but also the entire University!

“If you love science, learning new things and meeting new people then Manchester certainly has lots to offer you”


(Craft) Lager and Lyme

My highlight of the last month was finding a day that was so miraculously fair and free of Mancunian downpours that I could venture out a into the nearby countryside. Despite the reasonably clear and dry weather, I was wise enough to go prepared for mud underfoot, with walking boots and waterproof trousers.

I had a book to return to Stockport Library, so hopped on the 42 bus and was there in about 20 minutes or so. After depositing my item I then set out from the centre of Stockport, past the landmark tower of the Hat Museum and the world famous Bamboo Club  towards Lyme Park, which nestles on the edge of the Peak District, about 7 miles outside Stockport and 14 miles from the centre of Manchester.


Tea speaks of hospitality

For an international student, living in a new environment can be challenging. However, there is one thing that you have in your culture that can be shared, offered and taken from other cultures without much hesitation. Yes, that’s it -‘Tea!’ Tea speaks of hospitality. Tea brings cultures closer.


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Wohooo we are nearly at the end of the semester and christmas is upon us! I was bit sceptical about spending Christmas in Manchester as its the first time I’ve been away from my family during the festive period BUT I had no need to worry! Amongst essay submissions and Chinese oral exams I have managed to visit the christmas markets, go ice skating and even attend a masquerade ball! Oh the student life!


Christmas Lunch In Manchester

This Christmas is my third Christmas in Manchester which means I have had ample opportunity to sample the Christmas lunches from a range of restaurants. One benefit from having 2 PhD supervisors and lab groups means at least 2 Christmas lunches out each year! 😉 In Manchester you really are spoiled for choice when it comes to picking a great restaurant! If you’re looking to organise a group dinner with your colleagues or housemates here is a look back at some of my favourites as well as the places I am looking forward to trying this year…