This long-neglected and under-appreciated gem of industrial architecture in Manchester city centre will have new life breathed into it in 2022.
The Grade II-listed Castlefield Viaduct is being turned into an elevated urban park, much like New York’s High Line, by the National Trust.
Phase one will open to the public in the summer – read more here.
One of the biggest hospitality names in the world will make its way to Manchester in 2022, taking over the upper three floors of the former Granada Studios building.
It will be a key operator in the new St John’s neighbourhood, which will also be home to MIF’s The Factory from 2023.
It’s expected to include a rooftop bar and pool as well as dining rooms, lounge areas and a Mollie’s Motel & Diner concept.
Band on the Wall
Gosh, we’ve missed this place – the historic gig venue Band on the Wall will finally reopen in the spring.
It’s been undergoing a big renovation while we’ve all been nipping in and out of lockdowns, expanding into the Victorian Cocozza building that’s been derelict at the back of the venue for decades.
Another reopening here – the much-loved Manchester Museum closed back in the summer while it grows into its £13.5 million extension.
When it reopens late in 2022, it will have a new two-storey extension, a new exhibition hall, the South Asia Gallery, and Chinese Culture Gallery.
Rugby League World Cup
Old Trafford might be famed for its football pedigree, but in 2022 it will turn its attention to the world of rugby.
The rescheduled 2021 Rugby League World Cup, and Women’s Rugby League World Cup, will take place in October and November.
The Wheelchair Final will be held at Manchester Central, and additional fixtures are taking place at the University of Bolton Stadium and Leigh Sports Village.
Decadent Mayfair restaurant Sexy Fish, owned by The Ivy’s Richard Caring, is taking over the old Armani unit in Spinningfields.
It first opened in 2015 and is famed for its luxurious dining environment and will be one of the most talked-about restaurant openings of 2022.
This is a new event – a multi-sport games created to support the mental health of emergency service and NHS workers.
It will be held at venues across Greater Manchester in April and May. Spanning 20 sports – including both traditional sports such as athletics, cycling, swimming, as well as niche sports like angling, lawn bowls and squash – it’s a chance for our emergency services and NHS to have fun, enjoy the benefits of sport and for the public to thank them for the amazing work they do.
Oldham’s ambitious eco-project, which will see the UK’s largest urban farm built just outside Oldham town centre, is moving forward.
The 160-acre Northern Roots will include hand-on community projects like beekeeping, animal husbandry and growing plots, as well as a bike hub, mountain biking trails, arts, culture and events, and a natural amphitheatre and swimming pond.
Famed Ancoats bakery is expanding with a second location, this time at Kampus.
The new location will offer an expanded brunch menu as well as more room for baking their sell out breads and pastries, with a chance for customers to see the kitchen working.
Capital & Centric’s Jenga-inspired hotel is well on the way and due to open in spring.
The £35m development, in the heart of Piccadilly East, will be draped in plants and plans include a ground-floor restaurant, cafe, and external terrace connecting to a new public square.
Cheshire’s UNESCO attraction Jodrell Bank will welcome its new addition, the £21m First Light Pavilion, in May.
It will be a new gallery dedicated to telling the story of Jodrell Bank, with an immersive projection space and auditorium, and a new education hub and café.
The long-vacant 18th century buildings of Wigan Pier will finally be brought back to life, as a waterside destination.
It was made famous by George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier in 1937 – but its new life will include a gin distillery, microbrewery, events venue and cultural hub.
Manchester has a rich history of being used as a filming location, including Peaky Blinders, Captain America, The Crown, and It’s A Sin.
The Locationist tour is set to launch early in the year and will show off the city’s top locations.
There’s been painstaking work going on in Stockport, where the historic Winter’s building on Little Underbank is being turned into a new French restaurant.
Bistro Marc will be a 70-cover restaurant spread over two floors that will serve French favourites, with a focus on using fresh local produce from Stockport Indoor Markets and other local suppliers.
Treehouse Hotel Manchester
That big brutalist Renaissance Hotel on Deansgate is being turned into a 206-bedroom hotel.
Forming part of the wider £200m redevelopment of the area, there’ll also be new retail space and room for pop-up food and drink vendors alongside the River Irwell.
The magnificent Royal Exchange theatre has a packed year-long programme that will celebrate the joy of theatre, with bold plays, new writing and cast-iron classics.
Maxine Peake will star in a new show Betty! A Sort of Musical, while Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie will also come to the stage.
Queer Contact has been a staple of Manchester’s cultural calendar for more than a decade, but this will be its first year in its newly-transformed home.
Contact theatre on Oxford Road has undergone a £6.75m refurbishment.
The event in February will again be a celebration of queer culture and LGBTQ+ talent, including drag kings, comedy, variety, ground-breaking performance and the annual Vogue Ball.
Claus the Musical
There’s a world premiere in store for Salford, with a brand new Christmas musical debuting at The Lowry.
From the writer of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz comes Claus the Musical, telling the story of Claus and how he became an icon of our hearts and the skies.
The walls of HOME’s gallery will again be filled with work from the region’s artists, with more than 400 residents taking part.
Following on from 2020’s award-winning exhibition, almost 2,300 artwork entries were submitted for judging for its second outing and the resulting show promises to deliver an unmissable insight into the city-region’s local artistic talent.
The complete guide to the restaurant and bars at Kampus, Manchester’s greenest neighbourhood and foodie hotspot
In what feels like the blink of an eye, Kampus has become one of Manchester’s most exciting hubs for restaurants and bars.
After work, at weekends, at lunchtimes and for breakfast, the various businesses who have popped up around its central garden are packed, with people travelling from all over the city centre (and beyond) to visit the canal-side neighbourhood.
What started as some abandoned university buildings and a couple of warehouses has soon shaped up into some of the city centre’s best accommodation.
And then the trees around the garden began to flourish, and with it so did the collection of food and drink operators opening at Kampus.
For those who have chosen Kampus as their home, they’re blessed with having Manchester’s best independent restaurants and bars quite literally on their doorstep.
But for the rest of us, we can make do with the very easy walk from Piccadilly.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen some familiar names move in, joined by some exciting new faces.
Local favourites like Pollen Bakery and Nell’s (created by the team behind the institution that is Common) were the first to announce they’d be moving into the Kampus neighbourhood.
Then they were joined by the likes of Seven Brothers Brewery, and Great North Pie Co.
Then businesses started making the move over from neighbouring cities, like Madre, who chose Kampus for their first proper Manchester restaurant.
Now, this is a neighbourhood where you can grab a slice and a pint in your gym kit, where you can bask in the very last of the summer sun on a terrace with a cheeseboard, and where you can dress up to the nines to drink exceptional cocktails – without ever having to cross a street.
Here’s our ultimate guide to the restaurants, bars and cafes of Kampus in Manchester.
Massive 22-inch pizzas (or 11-inch slices if you’re not feeling quite that ravenous), happy hour margaritas, a photobooth and great beers. That’s the vibe at Nell’s.
This huge site has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Kampus garden and canal, perfect for people-watching and soaking in the sun.
Head on up the stairs from the garden and you’ll find a little slice of paradise, especially if you, like us, are a wine drinker.
Beeswing has a great selection of small plates and cheese boards, plus plugs outside on the terrace so you can take your laptop and fire out emails while firing olives into your mouth.
Colourful, fresh stacks of dim sum and some truly enormous portions of Chinese food that are great value for money are the order of the day at Yum Cha.
This neon-soaked restaurant serves fiery dishes like Singapore vermicelli and king prawn or char siu firecracker, alongside the likes of sweet and sour chicken, dan dan noodles and grilled chicken satay.
We probably don’t need to tell you about Pollen Bakery, it’s such a local institution.
But in case you’re unfamiliar, this place is renowned for its pastries – freshly-baked croissants, cookies, cruffins and more – and its loaves of bread and excellent coffee.
It’s all served in its sunny garden-side cafe space where you can watch the kitchens in action behind more huge glass windows.
Great North Pie Co.
Us northerners love a pie and you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than Great North Pie Co.’s.
This cosy pie and mash cafe prides itself on using quality ingredients from the north west, like classic Lancashire cheese and onion pie, made with Dewlay’s tasty Lancashire cheese and caramelised onion, and 14-hour braised beef and ale pie, with Manchester Union Lager and redcurrant jelly.
Already establishing itself as one of Manchester’s best bars is Red Light, a queer cocktail bar just off the cobbled Little David Street.
The brainchild of Deana Ferguson, it’s all about refined cocktails, natural wines and locally-brewed ales, soundtracked by disco beats.
This well-known local brewery has taken up a Kampus unit that fronts out onto the Kampus garden, and it’s got to be one of Manchester’s best-looking beer gardens.
You know the drill here – Seven Brother’s huge range of beers, with occasional live music and lots of great vibes.
The newest kid on the Kampus block is Madre, but it’s familiar to a lot of us already – it’s been spoiling Liverpool with its incredible Mexican fare for years.
It’s got a menu of mouth-watering tacos, wood-grilled seafood and steaks, fresh oysters and ceviche, not to mention ice-cold margaritas.
Inside the underground Manchester noodle bar serving Chinatown’s spiciest scrans
Over in Chinatown, there’s a relatively new little noodle bar that’s been making a big, spicy stamp on the city’s dining scene.
Its owner, Wendy Ren, hails from the Chinese province of Sichuan – a region that’s home to giant pandas, traditional Sichuanese opera, and some of the spiciest food going, thanks to its famous Sichuan pepper.
Also known as the Chinese prickly ash, the citrus-like peppercorn leaves a tingly numbness in the mouth and on the lips that you’ll either love or hate.
It’s an acquired taste, by all accounts – but those who love it can’t get enough. In fact, on my visit during a packed-out Wednesday lunch service, Wendy stopped to chat with an Italian family holidaying in Manchester who had been in to eat three days in a row. Now that’s an endorsement if I ever heard one.
She’s opened the restaurant alongside her Cantonese husband, Ken Chen, but the recipes are all hers – and on our visit she laughs with us about how it has taken him some time to get on board with her spicy food, saying: “he found out pretty quickly that he either eats it or he doesn’t eat at all.”
For big fans of spice, this is fast becoming the absolute go-to spot in Chinatown – and for those who aren’t so tough, don’t worry, because Wendy’s put some things on the menu for you too (and possibly, also, for Ken).
Called Noodle Alley, the restaurant is tucked away underground on Faulkner Street and beautifully decked out in red and green with little nods to the famous wide and narrow alleys of Chengdu.
Formerly home to China City, a real old-school Chinatown legacy restaurant, the space has a special place in Wendy’s heart.
She tells me that she and her husband used to come and eat here “all the time” when they first started dating, so the location really means a lot to both of them.
Chinatown restaurants aren’t exactly known for their glamorous interiors, and China City, Wendy jokes, was one such place – with the same old carpet, and the same old tables that had been used for the past twenty years.
Now the space is her own, though, it’s markedly different – lovingly decked out in cheerful colours, with little green windows, hanging lanterns, and bamboo rattan paneling on the walls.
Her story of getting into the restaurant business is something of an unusual one. Prior to opening Noodle Alley, she tells me, she spent nearly two decades working at The Marriott Hotel.
After seventeen years of service and the birth of her second child, she asked to go part-time but her request was refused – so she quit the very next day, and began building her own route to independence.
It was during the Covid lockdown, she says, that she really got into cooking group meals – making meals for her friends and spending hours in the kitchen busying away happily over her stove.
A friend with several restaurants in Chinatown suggested she start her own business, and the rest – as they say – is history.
Dish-wise, her menu spans a mouthwatering selection of dry noodles, soup noodles, street food, and small plates, including the likes of deep-fried wavy potato chips with chilli and Szechuan pepper and steamed beef strips wrapped with chilli paste, numbing Sichuan pepper, and five-spiced rice powder.
Dan Dan noodles, the Sichuan dish we probably all know the best, don’t feature – they’re a bit old news now, apparently, and Wendy has some cooler alternatives for us to try.
One is her Su Jiao Mian, a mixture of minced pork, sesame sauce, and house chilli oil, the other is the Wan Za Mian, a fiery mixture of spices combined with minced pork, soft yellow peas, and more chilli which Wendy says is “one of the most popular noodles in Sichuan.”
Apparently, if you’re eating with the cool kids in Sichuan, you should order this. Not one to argue, I dig in – and it’s safe to say her food is pretty damn exceptional. Almost immediately, I’m planning my next trip back.
Other signature dishes here include Wendy’s steamed beef strips, which can be eaten alone or dipped into one of her noodle soups, and a dish of ‘saliva chicken’ – a crunchy, cold, textural dish with steamed chicken, fresh chillis and ribbons of cucumber that sit swimming in a bath of homemade Sichuan chilli oil, so named because it literally makes your mouth water.
We also opt for a dish of pork knuckle with butter beans in an umami-rich pork bone broth. Not one for the faint-hearted, even Wendy seemed a little cautious to recommend this one, but as fans of ‘the weird stuff’ we insist – and it really ends up being a highlight of the meal.
We end up needing a little help with it. It’s a slippery bugger and I end up wearing a fair bit of the broth. before she returns with a knife and fork to cut it up properly for us.
That broth it’s in, though, is so beautiful I could happily bathe in it. Some might say I did, to be fair. As for the soft, succulent pork meat? When sliced into tiny morsels and dipped into an extra special Sichuan chilli oil she retrieves from the kitchen, is something else entirely.
If this is Sichuan heaven, then I’ll happily stay here forever. From plump hand-made dumplings stuffed generously with flavourful pork and drenched in chilli oil, to chicken giblet soup noodles, there’s so much on the menu I will be coming back for.
And for those who really can’t handle the spice, I guess I’ll be recommending the scallion oil noodles with soy sauce and crispy egg. No matter what you order here, I don’t think you can go too wrong.