Whether you’re in the first flush of romance or have been together forever, trying to find the perfect gift for your other half can be stressful.
You want to get something special, to show that you’ve put thought into it. But who’s got the time or inclination to traipse round the shops for hours, battling the crowds and the harsh wintry weather?
There’s help at hand. You probably know that The Royal Exchange Manchester has been the home of premium jewellery for over 125 years. But you’ll find much more for your loved one there, from sweet treats to seductive scents – all under one very elegant roof.
If you’re after luxury jewellery, you’re in the right place. The Royal Exchange has been the place to go for over a century, and there’s something for all tastes and budgets.
Arthur Kay Jewellers, on the corner of St Ann’s Square and Market St, is one of Manchester’s longest established jewellers and full of classic pieces.
Jenny Jones in the Arcade has been at The Royal Exchange for over 40 years, having started life in the shopping centre in the basement of the building selling vintage and antique jewellery. It’s perfect for one-off bespoke pieces and beautiful rings – ideal if you’re planning to pop the question.
Other options for a unique engagement ring, all in the Arcade, include Diamond Heaven, specialists in diamond engagement rings, eternity and wedding rings; Wave for contemporary designer jewellery and bespoke diamond rings; and Mays Jewellers for both pre-loved and brand new engagement rings.
Swiss Watch Shop has a range of rings from classic diamonds to Manchester bees, as well as jaw-droppingly beautiful Rolex and Cartier watches for him and her. And Swarovski has sparkling crystals galore, from earrings and brooches to stylish pendants, as well as some cute phone cases adorned with love hearts.
Sweet treats and warming whiskies
If you’re looking for something more modest than glitzy gems, then another surefire way to the heart is via the stomach.
Chocoholics will be like a kid in a sweet shop at Hotel Chocolat. They’ve got everything from luxurious hampers and heart-shaped tokens of affection to a showstopping sculpture. They do vegan chocolate, too.
If you prefer your chocolate in liquid format, Whittard of Chelsea have brought back their blueberry cheesecake hot chocolate for Valentines again, thanks to its popularity last year. It’s also a one-stop shop for fancy teas and freshly-ground coffees – great if you’re planning a romantic breakfast in bed.
If you prefer your drinks harder, The Whisky Shop is home to one of the UK’s largest and most varied collections of Scotch, Irish and world whiskies. Forget flowers – say it with a single malt.
L’Occitane specialises in luxury skincare, bodycare and fragrance made from natural ingredients – think rich, heavenly-scented body butters, facial oils and shower gels – while you’ll find everything from Himalayan charcoal face masks to black musk treats at The Body Shop.
Lush is the place for naughty but nice fragranced goodies and pampering treats, with products such as an aromatic clove and orange massage bar that you can use together. Please note that it’s a ‘naked’ store, meaning no single-use plastic packaging, so please keep your trousers on – at least until you get home.
Molton Brown have several gift options for him and her, including gels, lotions and room diffusers fragranced with rhubarb and rose or spicy black peppercorn and tobacco. Lanigan & Hulme is a good shout for men’s grooming products, including beard care kits for the more hirsute partner.
You’ve found the perfect gift – but forget that Valentine’s card at your peril. Scribbler is a good shout for something funny and risqué, or try the wide selection of cards and gifts at award-winning Unit 7 inside the arcade.