Love this City: Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham

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MANCHESTER

Paris Esalat,  STA Travel Cares Assistant Manager

Manchester is one of the most vibrant and open-minded cities in the world. Just walk down Market Street and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Each corner of the city has a different vibe. Think London, but walkable!

SATURDAY DAY - Spend it in the Northern Quarter, an area of Manchester full of street art and one-of-a-kind vintage shops. Be sure to check out Affleck’s Palace. A Manchaster institution, this place is a multi-story emporium of eclectic fashion, indie boutques and independent stalls. There are also plenty of places to drink. Trof is my personal favourite – good food, cocktails, open mic nights and an outdoor area where you’re bound to strike up an unlikely fiendship with a random northerner! And for music, the Soup Kitchen is a true Manchester gig spot – underground and intimate.

SATURDAY NIGHT – Head for the Oast House in Spinningfields. The area is pretty upmarket, but pulls in a fun and mixed bunch. There’s a huge outside space and always live acoustic music, with a small stage in summer and fairy-lit teepees in winter. From there you can stumble over to Mojos. Open until the early hours and playing everything from Oasis to the Rolling Stones, this is a must for a classic Manchester night out.

SUNDAY MORNING - Need to cure the hangover from hell? Head to China Town for your pick of great eateries. Try Thai is a famous favourite.

LIVERPOOL

Lauren Graham, STA Travel Expert

Come to Liverpool, and get ready for the warmest of welcomes! This city is famous not just for its history, sport, culture and unrivalled music legacy, but also its incredibly friendly locals and fantastic nights out.

SATURDAY DAY – Take a good stroll around the city. Visit the two cathedrals, take your pick of museums and galleries (we do have the most outside of London, after all) and spot famous movie locations in the Georgian Quarter. Stop for a pint at the Cavern Club (birthplace of the Beatles) or in any bar along the historic Albert Dock before heading to Bold Street for your pick of global cuisine. My personal favourite is Mowgli’s for amazing Indian street food.

SATURDAY NIGHT – Start at the Alchemist and try one of their crazy cocktail combos, usually in a test tube. Later on, head to Seel Street where there’s everything from grunge bars to Chinese opium dens. Try a tiki-themed Iuau, a Cuban church cocktail bar or look for an unmarked door with a shining green light (it’s a hidden absinthe bar).

SUNDAY MORNING – Grab a big breakfast from Love Thy Neighbour or Barley and Beans, then head back to the pub. We can’t prove it, but we’re pretty sure Liverpool invented hair of the dog!

BIRMINGHAM

Clare Hunt, STA Travel Store Manager

Thanks to a world-class regeneration scheme, Birmingham’s grey reputation is well and truly behind it. It’s now known for great shopping, museums, leafy parks, more canals than Venice (we’re very proud of that one) and a to-die-for Balti belt.

SATURDAY NIGHT Head for the Digbeth Dining Club. It’s a cool, industrial location and is crammed with street food, random stalls and street art. The Jam House is one of the city’s best live music venues, and my favourite drinking holes include The Alchemist (make your own drinks) and Be At One, a hidden gem opposite New Street.

SUNDAY MORNING – Head to Bill’s in the Bullring shopping centre for brunch, or away from the city centre, make for Boston Tea Party – Brum’s best coffee shop.

WAIT, THERE'S MORE

MANCHESTER

The Mitre A central hotel right by Exchange Square and Manchester Cathedral, start your night out at the hotel bar before hitting the town. Fr £29

LIVERPOOL

Beatles Walking Tour Get the lowdown on one of the world’s biggest bands with a walking tour of their home city, with a certified Beatles Expert none the less (probably not your nan, someone else). Fr £18 Overnight Beatles Independent Rail Trip Magical mystery tour, anyone? This two-day coach tour includes all the sights that inspired the band, free entry to the Cavern Club, Beatles-inspired exhibitions at the Albert Dock, and return train tickets from London. Fr £218 Tune Hotel Stay right in the city centre in this build-your-own hotel. Pay for your room, then just add on what you need. Our kind of genius. Fr £22

BIRMINGHAM

Nitenite City Hotel This budget boutique hotel in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre has creative cabin style rooms , cool architectural features and a vintage feel. Fr £29

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