Things to eat and do in Manchester when you’re not at WarhammerFest

Maybe you’re attending WarhammerFest with a friend or significant other who isn’t interested in Warhammer, or you’re just looking to take a break from the convention centre and make the most of your visit. Personally, I’m attending WHF with my wife who is a vegetarian coeliac, and I’m vegan. This can make finding places to eat pretty tricky and I figured if I was doing this research anyway I should share it with you wonderful people.

Manchester has a strong industrial heritage including the manufacture of fabric, amongst other things, and my wife is a keen sewist. She’s pulled together a list of stores, museums and heritage properties she plans to visit over the weekend and I’d like to share those here too.

Getting around

A quick note on getting around Manchester. Like many of the larger cities in the UK you can use CityMapper to plan routes and pick your travel options. It’s proved invaluable to me when getting around in cities I’m not familiar with and is well worth taking a look at if you haven’t used it before.

Things to eat

It’s obvious, it’s safe and it’ll probably be pretty busy but Pieminister has vegan and gluten free options along with at least one vegan and gluten free option. It’s a shame they don’t have a second vegan or vegetarian gluten free option but one making an appearance is nice to see. Sadly none of the desserts are vegan or gluten free, so this might be okay for a lunch time visit but if you’re looking for a couple of courses then you may want to skip the ‘minister.

Cibo – Italian restaurant, they have a specific vegan menu and all of their dishes can be made with gluten free pasta on request. Annoyingly the menu PDF isn’t marked up for vegetarian dishes, aside from a single item which leaves me with some questions about everything outside the vegan menu. Italian food is usually on the trickier side of things for the diets I was working with so this isn’t too much of a surprise, but I wanted to include them as they’re fairly close and they do still have some options.

Sangam – Indian, 10 minute walk from the convention centre. Indian is always a fantastic option when you’re trying to find something vegan or vegetarian that’s also gluten free and Sangam is no exception. It’s a 10 minute walk from the convention centre and they also offer delivery via Deliveroo or Uber Eats and if you collect your takeaway you’ll get 15% off. If you’re  planning for a sit down meal it’s probably a good idea to book a table in advance, especially if you’re in a large group.

The Allotment – A vegan restaurant 15 minute walk from the convention centre, offering a range of plant based meals with beautiful presentation. All of their dishes have gluten free alternatives so this is a great option if you’re trying to hit multiple dietary requirements. This looks like it’ll be a personal highlight for me and I’ll definitely be booking a table.

Things to do

Alright so this first one is actually my choice, and where I’m personally planning to go once I’m all Warhammered out. The Science and Industry Museum, which is a 5 minute walk from the convention centre, offers a range of exhibits showcasing Manchester’s history of industry from early rail through the Industrial Revolution and beyond. Having worked in a science museum myself, I would say don’t let the word museum put you off if you’re with young kids as they’ll have a range of interactive displays and activities for all ages.

Ten minutes from the convention centre is the People’s History Museum, charting the course of democracy in Britain. A family friendly exhibition centre where you can learn about historical workers strike actions, climate activism and local advocacy. According to their which radical are you quiz, I’m Thomas Paine.

Abakhan is “an Aladdin’s cave of haberdashery and sewing supplies” and only a twenty minute walk from the convention centre. When my wife mentioned she was going to Manchester a friend in the hobby immediately asked her if she was visiting Abakhan. I guess it’d be a bit like visiting Nottingham and not going to Warhammer World.

If you’ve made the journey up to Abakhan, it isn’t the only interesting shop to check out. When I shared my wife’s rough itinerary in Discord, Ghaunt was kind enough to make a few more recommendations including the Manchester Craft and Design Centre which has a mix of jewellery and fabric along with workshops, a cool art shop called Fred Aldous and Afflecks, which is an alternative department store.

If you’d like to travel further afield Quarry Bank is a National Trust property set in stunning gardens in a large woodland estate. It has one of the countries few surviving eighteenth century cotton mills where the Industrial Revolution sits in juxtaposition to stately British countryside.

I’m pretty sure I won’t be visiting all of these, or even getting the opportunity to try all of the food options I’ve found, but it has got me wanting to visit Manchester again so I can check everything off this list!

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