Manchester isn’t that far away from me, it only takes me an hour on the train and if I book tickets in advance then I can get a really cheap fare as well, but I almost never visit! The weekend before Christmas, Rachel invited me along to the Mercure Piccadilly to visit the Manchester Christmas Markets and explore the city.
In typical Hayley fashion, I’d forgotten a few of the essentials when I was packing for my weekend away, so as soon as I got to Manchester Piccadilly station my first stop was Boots to buy a toothbrush, toothpaste and eyeshadow while I waited for Rachel’s train to get in. We then had quite a bit of time before we were due to meet everyone at the hotel, so we dropped our suitcases off and headed to the Northern Quarter for some food from Almost Famous.
The Mercure Piccadilly is a five minute walk away from Manchester Piccadilly train station and is in the heart of Piccadilly Gardens, which makes it the perfect location if you want to visit any of the shops in the Arndale Centre or have a night out in the city centre. We checked in to our room which was on the 11th floor and offered a city view. We had a bottle of prosecco and a few sweet treats waiting for us in the room along with a Christmas card each which was such a great touch and so welcoming.
Our room had two twin beds, which were amazingly comfortable. There was also plenty of storage space for our luggage, a well equipped bathroom complete with a bath which is often unusual for a city centre hotel, there was also a kettle and tea and coffee supplies which is always an essential.
Once we were all checked in, we were given a tour of the hotel and got to see all of the facilities including the conference rooms and gym. We were then treated to some amazing welcome drinks in the hotel’s restaurant which looks over Piccadilly Gardens and there was a lot of prosecco! Some of us then went on to Manchester’s Winter Wonderland (but the less said about that, the better!) while others went on to explore the city.
At 8pm we headed up to the restaurant for our three course meal. The menu had been created especially for us bloggers. I went for some savoury pancakes for my starter, steak for my main and a cheese board for my dessert which was amazing! I do love a good cheese board. The restaurant manager bought us over some cocktails which he had created himself, he wouldn’t tell us what was in them and instead made us guess. My cocktail was very bitter and all I could taste was lemon, I was convinced that the manager was trolling me and had just squeezed a few lemons into a glass but apparently there was gin in there too!
Instead of going out as we had planned, we decided to stay in the restaurant as we were both so tired. We had a few drinks and a chat with Terri before finally heading to bed (and trying to take some outfit photos) just after midnight.
On Sunday morning we were up bright and early for breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, which was so delicious. They had an amazing hot buffet with potatoes (I kind of fell in love with breakfast potatoes when I was in the US), bacon, eggs, sausages – all of the usual suspects and a continental buffet too. We made sure we were full before heading back to our rooms to get ready for the day ahead.
Once we’d made ourselves look presentable and had packed our things away, we checked out of the hotel leaving our bags behind and headed to the famous Christmas Market. I was so excited to see the Zippy Santa that I’ve been hearing about for years and he didn’t disappoint. It was the last day of the market, so it was pretty busy with everyone trying to get their last mug of mulled wine before Christmas but we managed to have a look around and I had a Baileys hot chocolate. I was a bit disappointed that they had obviously ran out of mugs and were using ones from 2014, I really wanted to keep one as a souvenir!
We then headed back towards the hotel, stopping off at the giant Primark along the way so I could get some headphones for the journey back (I broke mine as soon as I stepped off the train at Manchester Piccadilly!) and then we made our way to the train station.
I had such a fantastic weekend in Manchester, it really is somewhere that I should visit more often. Thank you to Talented Talkers for organising it and Rachel for inviting me along! If you’re looking to stay in a Mercure hotel, they have some great offers on at the moment which you can check out here.