Manchester Student Special

Manchester Student Special

Manchester Student Special

Our Freshers’ Week guide to off-the-beaten-track Manchester.

Home to over 105,000 students, the Manchester city region has one of the largest student populations in Europe, and September will see the arrival of around 25,000 new faces. Student hotspots like Fallowfield and the Curry Mile will be buzzing again as hoards of youngsters with newly found “spends” explore everything the city has to offer.

Freshers’ week: an opportunity to make impressions and friendships that will see you through the next three years. If it’s not your style to follow the herd, ditch the wristbands and £2 vodbulls; follow our guide to hidden Manchester, impress your new mates and carve out a rep as the oracle of cool in your halls of residence.

Places to visit in Manchester

Afflecks A cornucopia of funky stalls, vintage eclecticism, indie clobber and downright fabulous weirdness. While away the hours browsing the stalls and visit The Black Milk Cereal Dive - Manchester’s first cereal café where you can choose from over 50 varieties, served in chocolate bowls and - for the adventurous - lashings of squid ink milk.

Afflecks: a cornucopia of funky stalls and vintage eclecticism. Thanks Afflecks for the image.
Afflecks: a cornucopia of funky stalls and vintage eclecticism. Image courtesy of Afflecks.

Sinclair’s Oyster Bar  A slice of Manchester history for you; this bar was rebuilt brick by brick following the 1996 IRA bomb which destroyed much of the centre of the city. This buzzing drinking spot also offers some of the cheapest beer in town.

Funkademia  A Manchester institution; something for everyone, playing four decades of soul funk, hip hop and disco every Saturday night at the Mint Lounge.

Christies Bistro at The University of Manchester. If you fancy something a little more civilised and erudite, enjoy a coffee in this former library alongside portraits and busts of Manchester’s great and good. Take your parents there when they come to visit. They will be reassured.

Christies Bistro at The University of Manchester.
Christies Bistro at The University of Manchester, for when you're feeling studious. Image courtesy of Christies.

Things to do in Manchester

Hunt for a speakeasy What do a launderette, a pawnbrokers and a public toilet all have in common? They are the facades of some of Manchester’s best kept secret bars: WashHouse ; Dusk til Pawn and The Temple offer truly unique drinking experiences. You just have to find them first!

Explore Chinatown  Here you will find a host of cheap and vibrant shops, supermarkets and restaurants, including the Siam Smiles Thai Café. A real hidden gem, this café slash supermarket in the heart of Chinatown is making a name for itself as the most authentic dining experience this side of Bangkok, and with mains starting at £6.50, it won’t eat up your student loan either.

Siam Smiles, Manchester Uk Siam Smiles, Manchester. Until recently the preserve of food bloggers only, this hidden gem is well worth a visit. Image courtesy of Hungry Hoss.
Siam Smiles, Manchester. Until recently the preserve of food bloggers only, this hidden gem is well worth a visit. Image courtesy of Hungry Hoss.

Canal street the area of the city home to a host of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) -friendly bars and clubs; welcoming to all for a night out of fun and fabulousness and perfect for people-watching when the sun is shining. If you’ve never been to an LGBT bar before, Tribeca is a good place to start and its subterranean nightclub has a unique take on relaxing seating (clue: it’s called B.E.D).

Northern Quarter is where the hipsters live, work and play and the coolest alternative bars, shops and eateries can be found. You’ll be spoilt for choice here but seek out Terrace N.Q for a night of dancing or The Fitzgerald for something a bit different.

The Castlefield canal basin is a conservation area and home to some of the earliest apartment developments; it's also a fantastic enclave of eating and drinking establishments, Dukes 92 and Barca are our personal favourites.

Castlefield is an inner city conservation area of Manchester in North West England. The conservation area which bears its name is bounded by the River Irwell, Quay Street, Deansgate and the Chester Road.
Castlefield canal basin: when the sun is shining, there is nowhere better in the city to sit back and enjoy a cold beer

Branch out to the leafy suburbs. Take the Metrolink to Chorlton where you will find lots of green space, a water park (think nature reserve, not flumes) and a plethora of independent bars, pubs and foodie-friendly restaurants. If  locally sourced, homemade food is your thing then the award-winning deli Barbakan and cooperative supermarket Unicorn will definitely appeal. In the evening head to village local The Horse and Jockey where Sunday night plays host to one of the best pub quizzes around and Monday nights are a student-friendly 2 for 1 on main meals. On the way back to the Metrolink, music trivia fans among you might want to take a detour past 51 Keppel Road, where the Bee Gees lived as children in the 1950s.

Look out for…

  • Trams - they are quiet and won’t stop for you!
  • Kebabs come in Naan bread here. Don’t ask us why, just don’t say “where’s the pitta?”
  • Mancunian music legends Bez and Badly Drawn Boy – both can often be found in the bars of Chorlton.
  • At a house party “Someone’s calling the dibble / the five-o” means it’s probably time to leave.
  • Keep it fun, stay in a group, never catch unlicensed cabs and don't walk alone at night.


Talk like a local: some phrases you might hear when you're out and about in Manchester
Talk like a local: some phrases you might hear when you're out and about in Manchester. 

You might hear…

  • Hanging = Disgusting, “That kebab looks hanging”
  • Spends = Money, wages
  • Chuddy = Chewing gum
  • Snout = Cigarette
  • Cock = Term of affection “alright cock” = “Greetings my friend”
  • Bobbins = Rubbish
  • Mint = Brilliant
  • Lamp = To hit someone
  • Mither =  To fuss or moan about something “stop mithering” Also, “it’s no mither” = it’s no bother; “I can’t be mithered” = I can’t be bothered.
  • Daft Apeth = A foolish person
  • Ginnel = The walkways connecting streets together. You probably say “alley” if you hail from south of Birmingham or “snickelway” if you’re from Yorkshire.
  • Scran = Food “I’m pure clempt (hungry) let’s get some scran!”



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