By Matthew Connaughton - TheWriteGuy
Well, we couldn't start this piece without a nod to the real hidden gem; the, er, Hidden Gem in Manchester city centre. Tucked away on Mulberry Street, which is between Albert Square and Deansgate, the Hidden Gem (or St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, as it was originally called) was first consecrated in 1794 and is so called because it's, well, hidden - well. The Hidden gem held the funeral of Tony Wilson, former boss of the seminal Manchester record label, Factory Records and is well worth a visit if you're in the city centre with half an hour to spare. More info.
The Portico Library is the second oldest in the city. Though you do have to pay for membership, entrance to the Gallery area is free and open to everyone and tea/coffee and cake are available to buy in the Gallery from 11.30am-2.30pm. The building itself is beautiful from the inside - it leaves you wondering how they tuck it all away behind/above a pub!! There are exhibitions and events throughout the year, all open to the public - but pay attention when going there, you might miss the Portico's inconspicuous main entrance altogether. More info.
Arguably one of the cornerstones of the Manchester music scene, Piccadilly Records first opened in 1978 on Oldham Street (also home to the Drybar, Pop Boutique and Affleck's Palace) and continues to serve Manchester well. In most independent record shops you might encounter staff that are elitist music snobs a lá High Fidelity - but not here. Piccadilly Records' wide range of music has something for everybody - especially for those seeking their music on something called vinyl (we jest!!!). More info.
Traditional, unspoiled and sitting almost defiantly in the shadow of Manchester's more modern architecture, the Peveril of the Peak is an unpretentious little place that, when you hear people speak of "proper" pubs, you'll think of here - well worth a visit. Situated opposite Rain Bar on Great Bridgewater Street, you won't be able to miss the Peveril of the Peak - it's the kooky looking green building standing on its own. More info.
Elizabeth Gaskell's House in Manchester was the home of the famous author and her family. Her novels include Mary Barton, Cranford, North and South, Ruth and Wives and Daughters and are enjoyed on television, stage and radio. This beautifully restored home is now open to the public. It has spectacular period rooms and garden and a tea room for visitors to enjoy. More info.