3 Ancoats UK, Manchester

Hip Culture Outpost
Creative Capital
Traveller Value
Hip Hangout Score 27

Best spots for a caffeine hit

Ancoats Coffee Co., based within a Grade II-listed former cotton mill, provides the perfect space to not just sip coffee, but experience it. Seeing the coffee roasting process through from bean to cup, the cafe serves only the best Arabica coffees, all sourced ethically and seasonally. Caffeine addicts can be seen propping up the wooden tables seven days a week, all to the backdrop of an industrial chic interior design.

Most instagrammable places to visit

Stroll along the canal and you’ll be inundated with scenic spots which highlight the juxtaposition of the old and new parts of the quarter. Bonus points if you manage to make it there for sunrise or sunset!

Mouth-watering must-eats/drinks

From lemon drizzle cake to homemade brownies, the cosy Cafe Cotton offers plenty of delicious treats. The Scandinavian-style cafe is popular with nomadic freelancers as well as nearby office workers who queue up around the block for a lunchtime Cotton sandwich. Head to Rudy’s Pizza for pizza classics and panuozzo recipes, with each dish lovingly created from scratch.

Key facts

  1. Transport links: A ten minute walk to Shudehill Light Rail Station, with trains to Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria
  2. Famous for: Its role in the industrial revolution as "the world's first industrial suburb". 
  3. Avg cost of hotel room per night: £79

Ancoats is to Manchester as the influential cultural hub of Williamsburg is to New York. Having undergone a major overhaul in the last 20 years, Ancoats is quickly eclipsing the neighbouring Northern Quarter as the hippest area in Manchester, popular with both local students and bohemian creatives looking for artistic inspiration. Here they find it in spades, with every street corner dripping with street art, independent shops and quirky cafes. The city’s old textile mills are still present, however, serving as a potent reminder of Manchester’s historic importance during the industrial revolution. More recently they’ve been converted into stylish apartments and studios, but there’s no shortage of modern-builds for families, professionals and students.

There are several artistic hubs in Ancoats. Cutting Room Square is probably the area’s most well-known space, a wide open area that’s home to five giant monoliths created by Ancoats’ artist-in-residence Dan Dubowitz. Hope Mill Theatre is another point of interest, an avant-garde theatre housed within a Grade II-listed old mill, which plays host to a wide range of productions, from retro musicals to cutting-edge drama. Even if not watching a production, visitors can still relax in the vintage surrounds of The Engine Room cafe and bar, with its exposed brickwork, shabby sofas and hanging singular lightbulbs.

One thing you’ll find nowhere else except Ancoats is The Peeps, a public artwork spread across the area. The work incorporates ten brass eyepieces set into walls which provide a glimpse into (well-lit) historic spaces that have been sealed up for years – among the sights are a tunnel, a toilet, a bell tower and part of a mill which has remained closed up since the war. If all that searching for eyepieces has left you a little worn out, then don’t fret – Cha-ology, a creative tea room which serves Japanese tea and delicate sweets in minimalist surroundings is the perfect chilled place to relax.

Emily Ray, The Cosy Traveller

Ancoats is one of Manchester’s most historically rich neighbourhoods. As one of the world’s first industrial suburbs, it was at the forefront of the city’s rapid growth into a global trade hub. Then, having fallen into decline towards the end of the 19th century, the area long lay untouched.

Now, as the city continues its renaissance, Ancoats is busy with new life. Today there’s an incredible spirit of creativity and opportunity in the area, reviving the energy that made it such a prominent location centuries ago.Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester
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