The range of shops in Manchester city centre is huge - from luxury jewellers and designer shops to independent boutiques and high street favourites, there’s a lot to choose from. Which is why we’ve put together this handy itinerary for a day shopping in the city with your friends and family. It features some of the very best shops in Manchester, with award-winning beauty, top food and drink retailers, fashion and children’s toy stores all covered - as well as including suggestions for lunch and a restorative afternoon tea.

Start your day on Manchester’s King Street, home to over 50 shop and sometimes dubbed the ‘Bond Street of the North’. It’s worth looking out for the King Street Festival, which takes place here annually in June. Year round, you could spend a whole day wandering the length of this vibrant thoroughfare, dropping in on shops including Loake Shoemakers, DKNY and The White Company - but we recommend making your first stop at Patagonia, an outdoor clothing and equipment store that has put the climate emergency at the heart of its business. The company is inspiringly eco-friendly, and it’s the perfect place to shop if you’re of an adventurous bent - or know someone who is.

Next up is Cath Kidston, the much-loved homewares brand that all started with a dull grey ironing board cover - and the idea that household items could be pretty as well as practical. Inside are brightly-coloured bags, accessories, homewear, kids and fashion inspired by vintage England. Further down the street towards Deansgate is Neal’s Yard Remedies, which specialises in award-winning natural and organic health and beauty products and has some impressive ethical credentials. The company’s blue bottles have given the brand an iconic look - but few people know that the colour helps to protect the contents from harmful U.V. rays, meaning that Neal's Yard can deliver products with fewer preservatives.

To one side of Neal’s Yard Remedies is St Ann’s passage, which is a nifty shortcut through to Rapha, a cycling shop with a workshop for bike repairs on the ground floor, café and shop on the second and gallery on the third. This is the go-to shop for cycling fans, stocking clothing and accessories for beginners and WorldTour professionals alike. Round the other side of the beautiful St Ann’s Church is another clutch of excellent shops, including sportswear and yoga clothing specialist lululemon and outdoor clothing and equipment company Fjällräven, which means Arctic fox in Swedish.

After ticking off an already lengthy list of retailers, it might be time for some lunch. Manchester’s stunning Barton Arcade, which was built in 1871 and is semi-hidden between St Ann’s Square and Deansgate, is home to two great options. Pot Kettle Black is a specialist coffee shop that also serves meals and snacks - look out for the trademark red mugs that the hot drinks are served in. Lunya has a luxurious deli and bar on the ground floor, as well as a restaurant serving delicious Catalan and Spanish food on the first. While at Barton Arcade, don’t miss Classic Football Shirts, which stocks over 3,000 football shirts, from recent classics to legendary strips.  Alternatively, Sam’s Chop House is also close by: this bar and restaurant was once frequented by L.S. Lowry (there’s a bronze statue of him behind the bar) and is renowned for its classic British menu. 

Whisky and spirit connoisseurs should make The Whisky Shop their first stop after lunch: the staff here are phenomenally knowledgeable, with hot tips on whisky’s heritage as well as the flavours of the brands they have in stock. It always proves to be a fascinating visit, whether you’re a fan of single malt or not. Firm fashion favourite & Other Stories is next on the agenda: here you’ll find elegant, striking designs at a quality and price that’s hard to find elsewhere. The shop also stocks fantastic jewellery, shoes and accessories, all beautifully laid out on white rails and tables.

If the mention of whisky has tickled your culinary instinct, then it’s worth dropping into tea and coffee specialist Whittard of Chelsea and chocolate shop Hotel Chocolat at the bottom of Market Street, before choosing somewhere for afternoon tea and a well earned break. Beauty and skincare enthusiasts may also want to step into Lush and L’Occitane, which are also on this strip; famous for its bath bombs, Lush has introduced its first packaging-free shop to Manchester, and L’Occitane (pronounced 'Lox-ee-tan', apparently) sells natural cosmetics including skincare, bath and hair products.

Manchester’s two premier department stores both serve an exceptional afternoon tea. The San Carlo Gran Cafe is on the lower ground floor Selfridges and serves decadent desserts and ice cream (including sundaes) as well as cream, afternoon and champagne teas. Harvey NicholsSecond Floor Bar and Brasserie offers a choice between a luxury and champagne afternoon tea, each featuring sandwiches, miniature cakes, scones and unlimited leaf tea or coffee - all served in a stylish, relaxed environment. For something less extravagant, head to the newly revamped M&S Cafe, which sells some of the best from the M&S food range.

The final stop for the day is Manchester Arndale - an entire shopping complex in and of itself, but with a particularly good range of shops for children and teens. For kids both little and large, there’s the charming Build a Bear Workshop, with a choice of over 30 animal friends to create, the dizzying array of toys at the Disney Store, and Manchester’s dedicated LEGO shop, home to a product that has been voted ‘Toy of the Century’ twice. For teens, we recommend the fun and fashion-forward products at Smiggle, jewellery and accessories shop Accessorize, the hypnotic decorations inside hip clothing shop Monki, Pandora’s special charm bracelets and the extraordinary range of books at Waterstones. And there you have it - and exemplary day of shopping in Manchester!

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