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24 hours on Manchester’s culture (& foodie) trail

A beautifully illustrated guide to Manchester’s arty & foodie hotspots.

Buy Art Fair, the organisers of the north’s leading art fair which is coming to Old Granada Studios later this month, have produced a handy guide to 26 key cultural locations around the city which is sure to nourish both body and soul.

Designed by Manchester artist David Gee, this artful ‘doodle’ map features Buy Art Fair’s top picks for dining and discovery in the heart of the city’s and a few gems further afield.

“Everyone I meet
who is passionate
about art is
equally fanatical
about food”

Thom Hetherington, CEO of Buy Art Fair, says: “As well as Buy Art Fair, we run a number of major restaurant events and regularly judge and review for national hospitality awards and food guides. Everyone I meet who is passionate about art is equally fanatical about food, so this seemed the perfect opportunity to pair our two specialisms into one beautifully illustrated guide to Manchester’s cultural hotspots.”

Discover the art and gastronomy of Manchester this September, from iconic destinations to unsung hidden gems, with this handy map from Buy Art Fair.

Buy Art Fair’s Manchester Culture Trail

Cut up through Spinningfields and in a few minutes you will find yourself at The John Rylands Library (150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH). One of Visit England’s 101 things to do before you go abroad, this stunning neo-gothic building houses one of the world’s finest collections of rare books and manuscripts. The library also hosts historical and contemporary exhibitions, and the historic reading room is open to the public.

Right by the library is Australasia (1, The Avenue, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3AP). Hidden beneath a glass pyramid mimicking the Louvre, diners feast happily on Australasia’s slick and sceney pan-Asian food. Stop for their small plates and a top-notch cocktail bar.

Also nearby is Hawksmoor (184 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3WB), regularly proclaimed “the best steakhouse in Britain.” This grown-up restaurant also offers excellent seafood, outstanding cocktails, great wines and wonderful service. No wonder it has become a regular haunt for the art crowd.

From Deansgate, a short stroll up Market Street will bring you to the vibrant Northern Quarter and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (Market Buildings, 13 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1EU). Formerly the Chinese Arts Centre, this venue is leading the UK in exploring a changing international dynamic with Chinese Century and Chinese contemporary art and visual culture fast gaining momentum. The CFCCA also has a gift and book shop selling work by local designers.

Almost Famous (100-102 High St, Manchester M4 1HP) is a Manchester institution serving unfeasibly sauced and stacked burgers and fries with rock and roll music and an attitude to match. If the Scandi-cool and clean lines of Ply (26 Lever St, Manchester M1 1DW) are more your scene, expect excellent sourdough pizzas fresh from an authentic Italian wood-fired oven.

Head south across Piccadilly Gardens to Manchester Art Gallery (Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL), one of the country’s finest art museums. A blend of historic and contemporary architecture that echoes an innovative artistic programme, the gallery mixes works from wonderful historic collections with the best international contemporary art to bring fresh perspectives to familiar images, create visual dialogues and encourage conversation and debate.

Manchester Art Gallery backs onto Manchester’s historic Chinatown, but the food offer here stretches far beyond Cantonese. Yuzu (39 Faulkner St, City Centre, Manchester M1 4EE) is a small and humble Japanese restaurant serving up some of the most authentic sashimi outside of Japan. If you fancy something closer to home, head to nearby Booth St for a spot of Beef and Pudding (37 Booth St, Manchester M2 4AA), dishing up modern interpretations of hearty British dishes.

Continue across St Peter’s Square and past the Bridgewater Hall to HOME (2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester M15 4FN), formed in May by the merger of two of Manchester’s best-loved arts organisations, Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company.

First Street Manchester 007

HOME’s café is well worth a culinary diversion, or for a longer affair nip back to The French (The Midland, Peter St, Manchester M60 2DS) for Simon Rogan’s signature style of intelligent English fine dining. The restaurant was last year named as the UK’s twelfth best by the Good Food Guide.

Unless you are a keen walker, hop on a bus for the 10 minute ride to The Whitworth Art Gallery (The University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, Lancashire M15 6ER). 2015’s Museum of the Year, The Whitworth Art Gallery was founded in 1889 as the first English gallery in a park. Recently transformed by a £15 million development, this is a gallery whose contemporary exhibitions programmes have given new life to international collections, and whose risk-taking curatorial team has gained global attention.

The Modern Caterer at The Whitworth is the perfect spot to stop for coffee on your trail. Located in the elegant glass and stainless steel extension designed by MUMA and a highlight of the new Whitworth, the café overlooks Whitworth Park and a newly designed art garden. With floor to ceiling windows, you can enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather.

Two minutes’ walk into the bustle of Rusholme brings you to Mughli Restaurant + Charcoal Pit (30 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester, Lancashire M14 5TQ), a family-run restaurant serving home-style Mughlai cuisine since 1991. The main restaurant is set around an open charcoal pit and tandoori clay oven, and its modish street food menu is catnip to food geeks.

Works from over 500 established and emerging artists will fill the exhibition space of Old Granada Studios from the 24th to the 27th September for Buy Art Fair. Live works and interactive artist studios will bring the fair to life for seasoned collectors and art-curious individuals looking to dip toes in to the world of art buying. Register for free tickets here.

For further information on all of the featured galleries and artists visit or

@buyartfair @mancontemporary

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