“ Address: Manchester Arndale / Manchester M4 3AQ „
The original Arndale Market was contained within the bigger Arndale Centre which was destroyed by an IRA bomb in 1996. Part of the planning permission was that they keep the Arndale Market and so they did.
It's a funny little area tacked onto the Arndale Centre with its own entrances but also an entrance from Arndale itself. The first thing you notice when you wander into the Market is the food area and probably why people go there.
Theres food from all around the world available. My absolute favourite, and I have been known to go there just for this place, is Wings. It's a Chinese place and does the best chicken udon in the whole of the city. Better than any of the Japanese restaurants and Wagamama.
There's also Brazilian, Greek and More. There's an exceptionally popular Milkshake bar, you know one of those places that takes lovely ordinary milkshakes and turns them into something vile with the aid of a Double Decker! It gets horrendously busy with the young people, slurping away and being loudly giggly until they trot off to Topshop to try and spot a WAG! A new micro-brewery has also opened up but doesn't seem too popular so far. The smaller food places tend to come and go and food choices change all the time.
There are also places that sell sweets, cheese, nuts, olives and fresh fruit and veg. The only problem is the lack of seating, there are quite a lot of tables and chairs but the food court is so popular you're likely to end up sharing with someone else. It's extremely clean, there's a team constant clearing the tables and wiping them down.
There are an excellent butchers and fishmongers. The fishmonger has the largest selection of fish and shellfish I've ever seen. It's always fresh and the prices seem reasonable. The butchers also has a wide range of meat, you can get your beef but on occasions ostrich and the like as well. They make a point of having local meats (with the exception of the ostrich!). It's not always the cheapest, but consistently good quality.
The rest of the market is a bit of a mish mash, much like any market local to you. There are a couple of shoe places, clothes that are the usual cheap party going mini clothes, last time I looked there was also a horrendously expensive fancy dress shop. There's a couple of shops selling hair treatments, extensions, etc, shops that sell those awful cheap glass models, brash fake jewellery, a nail bar and the obligatory mobile phone counter.
Facilities wise, if you need the loo you need to go into the Arndale Centre which is a bit of a pain, especially if you've popped into the Market to escape the madness.
It's hard to really quantify the Arndale Market. It's really 2 separate entities, the retail are and the food court.
The food court I'd recommend for lunch during a work break, a break during shopping or even a casual first date, most definitely not a business lunch or formal date! The range and quality of the food make it a definite place to go in you're in Manchester. Why people bypass it to go to the likes of Greggs or McDonalds I've no idea!
The fresh food retailers is not somewhere I'd deliberately take the time out to go and visit, its more a place to go on the way home from work.
The rest is just a place to have a wander when you've time to kill. Apart from the shoe place I can't see anything else to buy!
It would be far more interesting to have some quirky independent places. Maybe art, ceramics, handmade jewellery, etc. It would add a whole new atmosphere to the place.
So, the Arndale Market, it has its good, bad and indifferent points. Don't be fooled by its previous reputation but take a look as part of a visit to the Arndale Centre