Inside Affleck’s: the heart of independent Christmas shopping in Manchester
With over 50 different independent stores inside, Affleck's in the Northern Quarter is a must if you're trying to shop small this Christmas
It’s official, Christmas shopping season has arrived. The mad dash is very much on to get all your presents purchased, wrapped and safely under the tree in time for Christmas Day – and we’ve got just the place for you to go, Affleck’s.
Whilst we know some will already be well ahead of the game we expect that most, like us, have still got a few bits to go – so we wanted to champion the benefits of shopping independently whilst there’s still time.
So this Christmas, we decided we’d check out one of the longest-standing hubs for independents in Manchester – indoor NQ market Affleck’s (formerly Affleck’s Palace) – and try and get all of our Christmas presents in one go.
Spoiler alert, we were quite overwhelmed by choice – there are over 50 traders to discover here, plus a tattoo parlour, piercing studio, nail salon, and a host of cute, quirky cafes.
A veritable treasure trove for any gift-giver, but especially the last-minute shopper, if you need to find a present in a hurry we find it hard to believe that Affleck’s could let you down.
A fixture in the city for over 40 years, it’s got it all. From an array of quirky mugs and cards to vintage clothing items, local artwork, figurines, jewellery and more, no matter who you’re buying for there’s definitely something here to be discovered. All you have to do is look.
Keep reading to discover some of our top picks for independent Christmas shopping at Affleck’s in Manchester this December.
Vinyl Resting Place
The home of all things vinyl at Affleck’s, whether you’re looking for rare 7″, old LPs or some bootleg remixes of your favourite track, this is the place to hunt for it. Everything in the store is pre-loved and has been hand-picked by its owners over the course of 15 years.
We spent quite a decent amount of time scouring the folk section, which is extensive, but all genres are covered here – from rock and pop, to hip-hop, house, techno, americana, low-fi, gospel, soul, funk and everything in between. There’s also a big rack of CDs to get stuck into.
The LGBTQ+ Book Store
From autobiographies and biographies of famous LGBTQ+ people, to feminist literature, contemporary fiction, children’s booksw and so much more, there’s a section for everything at the LGBTQ+ book store.
A relatively new addition to Affleck’s, it’s definitely a welcome one – and standing in it makes you realise just how many amazing queer authors we have to celebrate. From fictional romance and thrilllers, to true real life stories of queer experience told to you straight by the people that’ve lived them, we could easily lose a few hours in here.
Earth Friendly Rocker
The heart of sustainability, Earth Friendly Rock has everything you need to make your lifestyle a little bit greener. Stocking everything from bamboo toothbrushes and eco-friendly soaps, to sustainable candles, shampoo bars, bath bombs, fudge and more, if you want it chances are they’ve got it.
Present-wise, we spotted some pretty-looking slabs of vegan fudge (called Slab, conveniently), huge glass jars filled with cookie mix, bars of oat milk chocolate, self-help books to inspire your new sustainable lifestyle and more.
Mad for Art
First begun as a hobby by its Middleton-based owners back in 2017, today Mad for Art can be found on the first floor of Affleck’s selling a whole host of vintage prints ranging from vintage films and pin-ups to iconic old Vogue covers, adverts for Martini, Campari and luxury perfumes, plus images of music legends, classic cars, food, travel and more.
Honestly, we could’ve spent hours digging in here – there are so many brilliant pieces to uncover.
Inspired Life CBD
CBD seems like it’s everywhere now, but if you’re looking for the best quality products on the market Inspired Life CBD on the first floor of Affleck’s is a shout.
Selling 100% organic, natural products, you can find everything from tea and chocolate to CBD-infused massage oil here – with a friendly owner on hand to explain all the nuances of each product in detail. Great for easing stress, anxiety and better sleep, it’s an all-natural remedy (and yes, it’s made from Cannabis but it’s won’t get you high).
Head to the top floor of Affleck’s to find Sour Cherry – the prettiest, quirkiest little jewellery shop. Whilst there are so many jewellery-makers in the market to discover, each with their own niche, we were particularly taken with Sour Cherry, which sells quirky earrings, necklaces and more in fun shapes like gingerbread men, fruit and animals.
One of the first shops you’ll enter on your way in, Luna has it all for the last-minute Christmas shopping dash. Mugs, beanies, jewellery, patches, accessories, you name it – it’s here.
We picked up a brilliant mug, but the team here is really known for their pin badges, all of which are made by the team in-house.
Feature image – The Manc Group