Having come out the other side of the Christmas period, it’s easy for us to feel shattered already, especially when going into the city to work and getting the mundanity of life back underway. Luckily for us Mancs, there’s lots to ease that pain in our wonderful city, from getting fresh air to our lungs to perusing the stunning architecture Manchester has to offer. Here are our top picks on offer in the lovely region of Greater Manchester to help you switch off and relax.
1. Meditation at Manchester Buddhist Centre
For many, meditation will seem intimidating or quite silly at first glance, but the mindfulness practice goes back centuries and gets to the very core of what it is to be human. Often whatever is tiring or stressing us out is made worse by our own minds, and meditation works to control the controllable in our heads. To participate in classes at Manchester Buddhist Centre, you don’t need to be a fully fledged Buddhist, or have ever meditated before, as there are classes for all levels both on a drop-in basis and blocks of courses. The centre even offer lunch time classes, so you can get that meditation in no matter your schedule!
Manchester Buddhist Centre, 16-20 Turner Street, M4 1DZ.
2. Coffee at Feel Good Club
OK, not necessarily coffee, but whatever your tipple you’re bound to be comfortable at Feel Good Club. When Kiera and Aimie started Feel Good Club their mission was, and still is, “to create online and physical spaces where people feel safe, comfortable and feel good being themselves”, and that’s what permeates from every part of Feel Good Club. Pop along and read a book, listen to your own tunes, have your morning coffee, make sure you’re staying hydrated; do whatever you like as long as you’re feeling good!
Feel Good Club, 26-28 Hilton St, M1 2EH.
3. Take a break in the park
Although, yes, a city, Manchester now boasts countless parks and green spaces, providing some respite from the chaos of the urban atmosphere. Whether you can get out for a natter with a friend, a leisurely walk with your favourite music or podcast, or fancy a run, getting out in the open will perk you up for however much of the day you have left, and will ultimately dull down any stresses and allow you to sleep better at night. Many parks around Manchester and beyond are home to parkrun, free community group running sessions, including Salford’s Peel Park, Platt Fields Park and Alexandra Park, with loads more around the Greater Manchester area. All you need to do is register once online, and you can jog on! If parkrun isn’t for you, there’s still plenty of green spaces in Manchester to relax at, walk or sit in, with Mayfield Park being the newest, which will ultimately benefit you both physically and mentally.
4. A walk around John Rylands Library
The gorgeous gothic John Rylands Library has stood its ground throughout the entire building-up of Deansgate thus far, yet many of us often walk by without giving it a second look. Today, John Rylands serves as a research institute and library, with a permanent collection of research material and artefacts, as well as special archives and exhibitions ranging from the British Pop Archive to the Transitions In Print exhibition. Whether you have a particular interest in any of the myriad collections they have or not, the library boasts some of the most intriguing, delicate architecture in the city, so even a walk-through on its own is worth the visit. Take half an hour out of your day to relax, take your mind off things, gazing at the beautiful carvings, amazing art and ancient artefacts at this historical Manchester spot. John Rylands Library is open Wednesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm, no booking required.
John Rylands Research Institute and Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.
5. Yoga Soul
Often categorised with meditation, yoga has a long history of helping to relax, both physically and mentally- so why not give it a try in Manchester? We often forget that stretching in its simplest form improves our physical abilities, but adding the time taken out of your day to focus on yourself, and a hint of mindfulness into your practice makes yoga amazing for your mental health too. Yoga Soul in Manchester offers an array of classes for even the most novice yogi. From hot yoga and yin yoga (the art of stillness), to rocket yoga and mandala yoga to challenge your body and mind, there’s something for everyone. A friendly team and an open, welcoming space allows for you to forget all your troubles and focus on composure, ultimately relaxing your entire self.
Yoga Soul, 49a Newton Street, Manchester, M1 1FT.
6. Peruse Manchester Art Gallery
Manchester Art Gallery often hosts some of the most infamous exhibitions and pieces of art, previously being home to Greyson Perry’s Art Club pieces and some of L.S. Lowry‘s most prized masterpieces. The gallery is also a trailblazer in giving a platform to local and important causes such as ‘The Lost Gardens of Manchester’ and ‘Crossing The Borders’. Whether it’s an activity that’s on, the gallery café, or the immense collection of art Manchester Arts Gallery has to offer, there’s something to take everyone’s mind off the stresses of life, or even confront them head on.
Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL.
7. Visit a Manchester book shop
The world’s your oyster when choosing a book shop to peruse in Manchester, but whichever you pick, getting lost in the spines and authors can do you a world of good. Being in a literary environment in itself inspires a dreamer in us all, allowing minds to wander and excitement take hold when you find a rare copy of your favourite book. We recommend Paramount Books in Shudehill, because whilst the shop itself is comfortingly classic with its rickety interiors and books piled high, the selection is all second-hand, giving a nod to sustainability but also ensuring each book has a history, making them all the more special. There’s also the shiny new House of Books & Friends, created with combatting loneliness in mind. If you feel you want to chat and socialise, the café and activities put on there are great, but there’s no judgement if you just want to sit, read, and be alone in a room of others. Sometimes that’s all you need.
Paramount Books, 25-27 Shudehill, Manchester, M4 2AF | House of Books & Friends, Manchester Club, 81 King Street, M2 4AH.
8. Discover HOME
HOME has been an entertainment staple in Manchester for a few years now and has established itself as one of the premiere arts destinations in the city. Not only does it boast cinemas, a theatre and an art gallery, but HOME has its own bar and restaurant where you can let your eyes get bigger than your stomach and enjoy a tipple. Although any trip to HOME would likely help you to switch off and let your hair down, they also have amazing, unique activities to take part in such as a playreading group who meet monthly to discuss plays related to HOME’s programme, and ‘Mothers Who Make’, supporting creative and passionate mothers through art, as well as exclusive film screenings and Q&As.
HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, M15 4FN.
9. Plant shopping at Nice Things
Manchester boasts a vast selection of plant and flower shops where you can take in the oxygen and feel the soft touch of the greenery to your heart’s content, but we particularly recommend Nice Things. As the name would suggest, the entire experience of Nice Things is a pure joy, from their selection of beautiful foliage to their pink clad, neon light concept. Everything about it is just so pretty and is sure to make your heart sing – why not take a pic and make the joy last? If you do end up walking away from this Manchester plant shop with your very own green friend, it can certainly help you to relax and breathe better at home, as plants emit oxygen, giving you cleaner air every day!
Nice Things, 3 Central Hall, Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JQ.
10. Walk the cobbles of Castlefield
The Venice of Manchester, Castlefield is possibly the most serene you can get within the city centre, making it the perfect spot to relax. Sit and watch the boats float on the canal or the trains and trams pass over the iconic arches of Castlefield, or take a walk down one of the many canal paths stretching out from the basin. To sit amongst trees and water allows for time-out, and gazing at the contrast between this and the industry of the bridges and cobbles that adorn the area reminds you that this has been here a long time, and that your own stresses are perhaps less significant than you had thought. There are plenty of bars and restaurants dotted around Castlefield, too, including Dukes 92 and The Wharf, which are perfect for a pint or a bite to eat after a stroll around. The National Trust also transformed Castlefield’s derelict viaduct into a sky park, so from 18th February you can book a free slot to go up and view what Manchester has to offer from above – and lends itself to some very deep breaths!
Castlefield Viaduct, Manchester, M3 4LG.