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Guide

Freedom of expression: gorgeous places for journalling in Manchester

1 month ago

There’s an art to finding the perfect place to update your journal when you’re out and about. Our personal favourite is a window seat on a fast train (the forward motion somehow helps the flow). But coffee shops, libraries, parks and quiet daytime pubs can be equally well suited to the modern-day diarist. 

In Manchester, there’s no shortage of such spots; here we’ve chosen the ones where you’ll feel most at home. These are writer-friendly locations where you’re welcome to linger a while. They’re known for their quiet corners, chilled staff, and creative atmosphere.

The three libraries listed are all near Manchester Central, and all have beautiful spaces where you can sit and journal. Head to the domed Reading Room at Central Library, or settle in one of the Hogwarts-esque nooks at the Neo-Gothic John Rylands. Private members library The Portico is open to the public and is the ideal spot for some peaceful reflection and calm creativity.

If the weather’s good, get a G&T and a terrace table at Rain Bar to write with views of the canal. Or wander over to Castlefield Viaduct – Manchester’s mini version of the High Line in New York – where the elevation and greenery will take you out of yourself, or into yourself, whichever way you want to go.

We’ve also included the iconic art shop Fred Aldous because if you love journalling, it goes without saying that you love stationery shopping. And if that’s you (it’s certainly us), make sure you check out JournalFest at Manchester Central on 29 June – it’s our kind of party.

#bankholidayweekend

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    Bars

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  • The interior of the Britons Protection pub in Manchester.
    Manchester City Centre

    The Britons Protection

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  • Spring flowers in the rain at Castlefield Viaduct - a new garden ran by the National Trust in Manchester city centre.
    Castlefield

    Castlefield Viaduct

    Parks & Gardens

    Castlefield Viaduct is the National Trust’s newest opening in the region – and it’s a bit of a departure from their usual country houses and rural landscapes.

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    Northern Quarter

    Chapter One

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    Chapter One is an independent bookshop and café with a huge selection of fancy drinks, vegan-friendly cakes and a well-curated selection of literature.

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  • Ducie Street Warehouse
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    Ducie Street Warehouse

    Bars

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  • Fred Aldous, an art and craft shop in the Northern Quarter
    Northern Quarter

    Fred Aldous

    Art, Crafts and Stationery

    Fred Aldous is the shop you need, whatever you’re making. If you’re getting artsy or craftsy, or know someone who is, there’s no more comprehensive store than Fred Aldous with three floors of loveliness, from oil paints and wool to everything you need to make your own lampshade, set of earrings or candle. And looking at the neatly ordered full spectrum of coloured pencils is always a soothing experience.

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  • Outside HOME in Manchester city centre
    Manchester City Centre

    HOME

    Cinemas

    With five cinemas, two theatres, a bookshop, and over 500 sqm of gallery space, HOME is one of Manchester’s biggest and most dynamic arts venues. 

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  • Study alcove in John Rylands Library in Manchester city centre
    Spinningfields

    John Rylands Research Institute and Library

    Libraries

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  • Statue of a woman reading at Manchester Central Library
    Manchester City Centre

    Manchester Central Library

    Libraries

    Officially, The Lowry is the most visited attraction in Greater Manchester, but only because the official list for some reason doesn’t include Central Library. It recorded a staggering 2m visits in 2019/2020, making it the busiest public library in the UK. 

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    Night & Day Cafe

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  • The reading room at The Portico Library in Manchester.
    Manchester City Centre

    The Portico Library

    Libraries

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    Rain Bar

    Bars

    Rain Bar is a pub from JW Lees in an old umbrella factory. It’s a beautiful building and looks even better now after its recent refurb. The jewel in the crown though, or the spoke in its brolly, is a large outdoor area to the rear overlooking the Bridgewater Canal.

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  • Oxford Road

    Takk Oxford Road

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  • The rooftop beer garden at YES in Manchester city centre.
    Oxford Road

    YES

    Music Venues

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