Northern Quarter cult favourite Affleck’s Palace is officially reopening its doors on Saturday – with large crowds expected to swarm to the venue after a three-month hibernation .
An “emporium of eclecticism,” Affleck’s is known as the go-to spot for a retro-style shopping experience in Manchester – housing numerous outlets that both embrace and emulate the city’s values whilst pushing the boundaries.
A quirky, alternative, indoor market of metropolitan fashion and lifestyle, the venue has become a treasured part of Mancunian culture.
But what’s the story behind it?
Before becoming the indoor market we know and love today, the Affleck’s building was occupied as a drapery business named Affleck & Brown, gaining a successful reputation as a place to find a variety of fabrics and furs.
The company was bought by Debenhams in the 1950s, but was forced to close in the seventies due to difficult economic conditions in the area.
In 1982, the building was rebranded by James and Elaine Walsh – who wanted to offer an affordable space for Manchester’s creative collective.
In the 1990’s, in what is referred to as the ‘Madchester’ period, Affleck’s Palace came into its prime as the place to buy oversized band tees of the Rolling Stones or Oasis and a pair of flared jeans to match.
It slowly morphed into the Camden Market of the North, attracting visitors from all around the globe who wanted to rummage through vintage stores, record shops and discover the labyrinth layout of Affleck’s for themselves.
Today, Affleck’s houses eclectic brands such as Thunderegg, Pop Boutique and The Manchester Shop as well as tattoo store, massage parlour and K-POP store.
Independents have never needed support more than they do right now. And Affleck’s is the place to find them.
The Torrs Millennium Walkway – a stunning Peak District walk that hovers above a huge gorge
On first glance, New Mills may seem like any other Peak District town: small, picturesque with little-much-to-do. Venture just a few steps towards the River Sett, and you’ll find yourself in another landscape entirely.
Just below the hustle and bustle of the main shopping centre lies New Mill’s (not so) hidden gem – The Torrs Millennium Walkway.
Having done this route a few times, each time we’ve been amazed at the natural gorge that lies below.
The spectacular gritstone gorge was previously impassable to walkers, but the walkway built at the turn of the millennium, nicknamed the ‘steel spider’s web’, has transformed the dramatic landscape.
The Torrs Millennium Walkway is a 175-yard aerial walkway spanning the cliffsides above the River Goyt and River Sett, with links to many walking and cycling routes across the area.
If you’re new to the area, the heritage centre provides maps and guides for several nearby walks, including the iconic Kinder Trespass Trail.
Below, Getlostmcr has mapped out a couple of walking route options, one of which soaks in all the best bits of Stockport’s forgotten history.
And if you plan your walk to finish in New Mills, you can nip in to the dog-friendly, traditional local pub, The Pride of the Peaks, for a swift pint of Guinness by the real fire.
For those short on time, we recommend this route by Getlostmcr – a short, four-mile, out-and-back loop around the walkway and along the Sett Valley Trail. This route starts in the town of New Mills, easily reached via train or by car, with ample parking space at Market Street Carpark in the town centre.
And for those looking to get the extra steps in, why not extend the route by starting at nearby Marple?
History buffs, this one’s for you: Getlostmcr have mapped out a lengthier walk that takes in the best of Stockport’s forgotten history.
Starting from Marple, you’ll head towards The Roman Lakes, past the site of Mellor Mill Ruins: once a shining start of the Oldknow Empire. Back in its heyday, Mellor Mill was the biggest spinning mill the world had seen.
What remains of the site has since been taken over by the natural world, making a perfect pitstop on the first leg of your walk.
From here, you’ll make the ascent to Mellor Cross close to Cobden Edge. Mellor Cross was originally erected in 1970 by a group of local church goers who carried the individual pieces up the steep hill to ensure the cross overlooked the community.
Once you’ve marvelled at the size of this landmark, it’s time to head towards Mellor Moor where you’ll be rewarded with views right across the western edge of the Peak District and the Cheshire Plain.
The moor’s umpteen tracks date back to prehistoric Old Mercian trackways, said to be the route of monks and pilgrims way back when. Next, you’ll follow the trackways until you reach New Mills, where you can stop off to marvel at the walkway above. As for the return? That’s up to you!
You can follow Getlost’s out-and-back route here, or simply get the train back to either Piccadilly or the starting point in Marple if you drove down. For those following the half route, this is the link you need.
We parked in New Mills’ Market Street Carpark, £2 for 4 hours. 44 spaces.
New mills Carpark: Market Street, New Mills, High Peak, Derbyshire, SK22 4AA.
For those starting in Marple, there is ample free street parking near Hibbert Lane, SK6. There is also a carpark just off Hibbert Lane.
Marple carpark: Marple Memorial Park, Hibbert Lane, Stockport, SK6 6BD.
There are plenty of cafes in both New Mills and Marple. For those following the short loop from New Mills, Sett Valley Café is en route and have a 10/10 selection of homemade and vegan drinks and snacks.
We went to Pride of the Peaks in New Mills, but there are plenty to choose from in both New Mills and Marple, depending where you choose to start.
There are various options to suit different walking abilities. For those wanting to do the out and back from Marple, we’d recommend walking boots.
It’s also worth noting the ascent is all in one short stint so decent level of fitness is required. The short loop from New Mills is perfect for a Sunday dog walk.
Inside the Manchester restaurant serving ‘India’s answer to a Wigan kebab’
When it comes to finding new and innovative ways to enjoy the humble potato, it’s fair to say that we Brits pretty much have the art down.
From creamy mash to deep-fried chips, crunchy hasslebacks, hash browns, and the all-time classic that is bubble and squeak, you name it, we’ve tried it.
Still, somehow it took the arrival of Indian street food favorite Bundobust for us to be introduced to the concept of a mashed potato burger – and we are forever thankful.
Comprised of a deep-fried potato dumpling placed inside a brioche bun, accompanied by two house-made chutneys and a whole green chili pepper, since its introduction to the Manchester food scene in 2016 the Vada Pav has become one of Bundobust’s most iconic dishes.
Also known as a Bombay burger, the vegetarian fast food snack sells in its thousands back home in Mumbai and has now become something of a signature dish here in Manchester too.
We recently popped down with Deliveroo for an episode of Takeaway Champions to try the dish, and after one taste our reviewer immediately called it the ‘Indian answer to a Wigan kebab’. It’s simply carbs on carbs on carbs, and we’re here for it.
That said, it’s not the only thing worth ordering when you visit.
Other longstanding menu staples at Bundobust include its barbecued paneer, mushroom and pepper tikka kebabs, sweet and crunchy Bundo chaat, and crispy okra fries; whilst new dishes include the Ragda Pethis – a north-meets-east combination of mushy peas and potato cake, sev, tomato, onion, and tamarind chutney.
Having first opened in Manchester in 2016, today Bundobust has two sites in the city centre. Its original home still sits underneath Piccadilly Gardens, with a second restaurant and in-house brewery residing over on Oxford Road.
The restaurant – initially born in Leeds before making its way to Manchester – has always had a strong reputation for sourcing excellent craft beer, but since quietly opening its own brewery during the Covid lockdowns it’s only gone from strength to strength.
Housed in a unique 100-year-old space within the iconic Grade II listed St James building, the Manchester-based brewery is a custom-built 10-hectolitre facility capable of producing 20,000 pints a month.
Today, alongside beers from other respected brewers, the restaurant serves up a list of specially-made house beers, all designed to complement the flavours of its dishes.
These include a coriander lager, a masala chai porter and a tropical pale ale, as well as its latest concoction: a mango lassi beer created in collaboration with brewers at Northern Monk.