You know the feeling. It hits you every year around about this time. That gut-wrenching feeling when you realise that Mother’s Day is just around the corner and you’ve not made any arrangements. Don’t panic, we’ve got your back with ideas that are guaranteed to put a smile on the face of the most important woman in your life.
Get your scone on
There’s no way we can start an article like this without covering off afternoon tea. Is there any better way of showing your love than through a combination of scones, cake, tiny sandwiches and bubbles?
If you’re mum’s a traditionalist we reckon you can’t go wrong with The Midland Hotel where billowing scones have been a fixed staple since the hotel opening its doors in 1903. The offerings at The Lowry Hotel, Radisson Blu Edwardian, Great John Street Hotel and The Sculpture Hall at Manchester Town Hall also fall into a similar fancy/traditional category.
But there are also many non-traditional options. Yang Sing’s afternoon tea is based around signature dim sum and beautiful Chinese teas; Cloud 23 at The Hilton is known to mix things up with special themes such as their experimental science-inspired offering during Manchester’s year as European City of Science; you can be served it aboard a historical steam train on the East Lancashire Railway; and unsurprisingly, the main feature of afternoon tea at Hey Little Cupcake! is cupcakes!
For more afternoon tea ideas, take a look at our dedicated section.
Stop and shop
Feelings about this one might vary between sexes, but if there’s one guaranteed way to make mum happy it’s a combination of spending quality time with you and getting a gift at the end. How you want to tackle this though will largely depend on budget…
Big spenders need look no further than the clusters of designer stores between Exchange Square and King Street. Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and House of Fraser all make good starting points for what could be a very long day navigating the streets of central Manchester, whilst out of town options Cheshire Oaks Designer Village and intu Trafford Centre put everything in one place with just as much choice.
Those with less to spend can still impress by heading to the Manchester Craft and Design Centre. Here mum can deliberate over thousands of unique, hand-made items that she is guarantee to cherish and if you take her to lunch at the centre’s onsite Oak Street Café, she’ll be treated to free cake. Whilst in the area we also recommend popping in to Fred Aldous or Oklahoma. Alternatively, The Makers Market will rock up in Salford outside the Lowry Outlet Mall on Sunday 26 March where you can treat mum to locally grown and baked foods, original artworks and creative gifts perhaps followed by a look around The LS Lowry Collection.
For more shopping ideas, take a look at our dedicated section.
Let’s face it, as rewarding and fulfilling as it is, being mum is hard work and a little pamper power will go a long way to alleviate the stress and strain that have built up in since Mother’s Day 2016.
Traditionalists should look to the region’s hotels for some of the best spa experiences. The Lowry Hotel, Midland Hotel, Radisson Blu Edwardian, Malmaison Manchester and Macdonald Manchester Hotel and Spa offer every type of treatment you can think of…
…That is except for cryotherapy. This innovative, and frankly terrifying-sounding treatment, utilises liquid nitrogen-based freezing technology to trigger a physiological reaction to cold temperatures. The treatment – which is only available at The Ainscow Hotel and Spa (the first of its kind in the UK) – promises everything from weight loss to pain reduction and an unrivalled feeling of euphoria.
That’s not one for everyone’s mum we’ll admit, so if you think she’d prefer something in between it’s worth taking a look at the high-tech offering at Mottram Hall Club and Spa which includes an alfresco ‘thermospace’ and innovative Brechelbath and Stonebath thermal rooms.
For more spa ideas take a look at our dedicated section.
We’re not saying your mum’s nosey, but who wouldn’t want to spend a day having a rummage around someone else’s house? Greater Manchester is full of old stately homes and manors to explore with mum and many of them have great cafes and farm shops which means: cake for everyone.
Our perfect day starts with brunch at Altrincham Market (hint: the food at Little Window is everything) before jumping in a taxi and to 18th century Dunham Massey where you can spot deer and see the House which has been recently transformed to tell a tale of love and loss in Dunham's Lost Years: a Victorian Tale of Love and Abandonment.
If that sounds a bit heavy make a beeline for Bramhall Hall in Stockport. It’s just reopened after an extensive £1.6 million restoration to its historic rooms and architecture. Or what about Hall i' th' Wood Museum, a Grade I listed, 16th century half-timbered hall in Bolton? A little further afield, of course, is Tatton Park, one of the most complete historic estates in the country packed with plenty to keep mum happy including the Gardener's Cottage tea room.
For more stately home ideas take a look at our dedicated section.
Throw it forward
God forbid a scenario where you‘re not actually around to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday 26 March. Luckily, as spring turns to summer, some of the best events take place in the region, so bagging a pair of tickets now will come good later in the year.
Our top pick is the Manchester International Festival. The full line up for this summer’s festival has just been announced and it features some absolute corkers. What if Women Rules the World? seems fairly apt but we also love the sound of Cotton Panic! an ‘industrial musical drama’ featuring Jane Horrocks. The free festival opener What Is the City but the People? also sounds pretty special; an ensemble of individuals from across Manchester traversing a 100m runway through Piccadilly Gardens in a mass celebration of our great city.
A little later in the summer the Rochdale Feel Good Festival will be back on Saturday 12 August, celebrating its 10th birthday with live music across indoor venues and a main stage against the backdrop of the stunning Town Hall. Then in September the beautiful town of Ramsbottom will come alive with an eclectic mix of music and great art and family shows at the Ramsbottom Festival.
If musical theatre is more mum’s thing Singin' in the Rain by the RNCM Young Company is a strong choice with its brilliant choreography and iconic songs. Also promising is Wonderland, an enchanting musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, coming to the Palace Theatre in April. Or how about grabbing tickets for mum and the grandkids to see Elf the Musical? It’s coming to The Lowry this Christmas.
You can’t go wrong with tickets to see mum favourite Robbie Williams - he’s playing two nights at the Etihad Stadium in June. Or what about showing her the brand new Stoller Hall? Part of Chethams School of Music, the venue opens in April and has a fantastic opening season planned. And if you simply can’t decide, theatre vouchers are available at most venues throughout the region.
For more what’s on ideas take a look at our dedicated section.
And for something completely different…
We’re big fans of doing things differently here in Manchester, so you’ll notice that we’ve missed out the traditional lunch suggestions – if you want those, take a look at our jam-packed food and drink section for inspiration. But if you want something especially memorable maybe take a look at our list of brand new experiences to do in Manchester – which includes gin making, axe throwing and go karting. Hey, all mums are different!
And if you’re bringing mum to Manchester for the weekend, you’re going to need a place to stay – how about one of these brand new places for 2017? We’re pretty sure your mum will love spending a weekend with you and the family on a house boat in Castlefield…