In the second of our healthy city guide series, we look at Manchester, a city which has seen a sudden explosion in healthy fashion, cool classes, and refreshing places to eat out. Editor Heleana Quartey investigates.
Manchester is emerging as the ‘dark horse’ of the wellness scene – everyone knows about certain parts of England known to be great for healthy pursuits like Brighton for food, Kendal for climbing, Cornwall for surfing and let’s not forget Aviemore for snowboarding/skiing… but Manchester? What can a wellness loving city breaker enjoy there?
The answer: Lots! In fact it looks like our beloved ‘second city’ may soon be starting to snap at London’s heels in terms of the growing diversity of exciting active and healthy things to enjoy – from getting your stretch on at the city’s own Bikram Yoga centre, or ruining yourself (in the best possible way) at Spartan Race.
Places to eat out
Housed in a former garage just behind Alderley Edge village Yard on the Edge, which opened in December 2012, incorporates a fresh and healthy juice bar, a food shop, a greengrocers, a cafe and an events space with a great atmosphere and a unique charm of its own.
Also based in nearby Cheshire, this juice bar looks like it could have easily been plucked out of West London, with its warm reclaimed wood furniture, bright airy space, plant-driven snacks and colourful juice combinations – they also have a individual and group cleansing programmes to suit your needs, and they also cater events if you fancy putting on a healthy spread. The founders – business graduates Perri and Habiba Awan – plan to launch in Manchester city centre later this year.
West Didsbury, with its charming independent shops and ‘villagey’ feel, has had little in the way of healthy-eating offering until now. This is now changing as A Taste of Honey on Burton Road has started stocking Superfood snacks along side their bright and refreshing salads and the richer fare that you would expect at a traditional deli. They’re also holding an event on Saturday (13th June) in partnership with Nutric8 – purveyors of delicious superfood treats – where they’ll be crafting smoothies using Kaizen Living’s superfood powders.
With its bright and cheery yet warm decor, an affirmation-based cold pressed juice menu, an ample plant based spread for breakfast lunch and dinner topped off with a killer organic wine list, this jewel of Hale has been recommended to us as a mecca for health loving foodies. If you had any lingering doubts that Manchester could create a health food scene to compare to the capital’s… dispel them now.
Places to work out
Manchester now has its own answer to London’s Boom Cycle, 1Rebel and others – Spin Factory – which is just a stone’s throw away from Salford Central station. Recreating the lively atmosphere you’d normally expect in a club (colourful lighting, pumping music, enthusiastic trainers) but specially designed for the spin studio, what makes this place great is the lack of (frankly expensive) contracts. You can just turn up and and pay as you ride! Fun times.
The Yoga lounge is located in the Great Northern Mews on Deansgate. They offer a diverse range of classes such as Hot Yoga, Hot flow yoga, Hot yin yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Iyengar Yoga as well Pilates classes and workshops.
They also use the (superior) Infra Red (IR) technology to support the heated practice. Aside from the well-documented health benefits that IR heat is said to convey, it that warms the body from the inside out. Similar to the rays of the sun, radiant heat warms objects rather than air which means you can go deeper without finding it hard to breathe. So if you’re a fan of classes at the likes of Triyoga and Good Vibes, this is the place to go for a similarly refreshing and detoxing class.
What to wear
Zaazee is Manchester’s first and only home grown activewear brand for ladies (sorry boys). I discovered them at Be:Fit London and ever since I’ve been a fan of their bright, fashionable and feminine clothes that enable you to easily transition from the fitness studio to the street and still look fabulous. Even if you’re not Manchester based, they’re online, so there’s no need to worry about commuting just yet.
We asked some of the city’s prolific wellness industry folk on why they think Manchester is great for fitness fans:
Deborah Todd – Founder, Zaazee
“Manchester has amazing sporty events and facilities. As a family we all take park in Skyride & The Great Manchester Cycle (13miles). I go to the gym (different ones) several times a week for Body Combat, Boxing and other fun classes. My husband runs and uses the Clayton Vale Mountain Bike Trail. My kids swim, play tennis, do athletics and ski. There’s always sport happening in our household.”
Kate Hepworth – Co-founder, Nutric8
“The healthy- eating scene in Manchester and its suburbs has seen some exciting new additions in the last 12-18 months such as Succo Juicery and The Garden in Hale and Love Juice in Chorlton.
However, at Nutric8, we’d like to see more healthy options in the less well-off areas of Manchester and that is one of the reasons that we have chosen to produce our Superfood snacks at the Message Enterprise Centre – a social enterprise that supports people that have just come out of prison with employment –based in Sharston. In addition, we are helping them to open a juice and smoothie bar in the Centre, something that is becoming common place in more affluent suburbs like Hale and Chorlton but less heard of in more disadvantaged areas like Sharston!” – Kate Hepworth, Co-founder of Nutric8 Superfoods