We’re mad for Manchester. Here are three reasons to visit now!
The grass is greener. The City of Trees movement, which aims to plant a tree for every person in the city (that’s three million) over the next 25 years, is now well underway (cityoftrees.org.uk). There are new hot hotels. Top of the mini-breaker’s list should be The Principal (right): a glorious Gothic revival building designed in 1891 by architect Alfred Waterhouse (also the brains behind London’s Natural History Museum). It has been transformed by 3D Reid Architects and interior designer Michaelis Boyd, but the original Victorian tiling remains, as does the domed stained-glass ceiling above the lobby (doubles from £119 per night; theprincipalhotel.com). Meanwhile, on the riverside is five-star The Lowry, housed in a vast glass building. It has a clutch of extremely chic newly refreshed suites (right) by interiors practice Arney Fender Katsalidis. Expect to find lighting by Flos and Santa & Cole, fabrics by Rubelli and abstract artworks by Mancunian painter Alan Rankle (doubles from £169 per night; thelowryhotel.com). It’s bloom time at the Whitworth. There’s no better month to check out the GROW project at the Whitworth Museum (far right). Wander around The Art Garden in the gallery’s grounds. Funded by sales of Jo Malone’s charity candle, the lovely ‘Peony & Moss’ (£46; jomalone.co.uk), it has been designed to celebrate texture, colour and scent, and plays host to a programme of wellness events (whitworth.manchester.ac.uk).