Epernay. Graduation Day Manchester

Graduation Day Guide

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Whether you can’t flipping wait, or would rather put off the looming reality of ‘real adult life’, graduation season is coming around fast. A high-intensity – preferably fizz-fuelled – blur with family to please, cameras to smile for, and names to clap until your hands grow sore; don’t get caught in a black-caped flap without a plan. Check out our fool-proof (grad-proof?), Manchester-focused guide to navigating that oh-so-special day. Hold onto your silly-shaped hat and prepare for the ride.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Gorilla

    Gorilla, Whitworth street Manchester

    Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 5WW - Visit now

    Line your stomach early with a proper breakfast/quell your nerves with a Bloody Mary at Gorilla, just around the corner from Oxford Road train station.

  • 2. Eighth Day

    image courtesy of On the Eighth Day

    Eighth Day, 111 Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 7DU - Visit now

    Or grab a quick, delicious vegetarian/vegan bite from Eighth Day, conveniently located less than 100 yards from both MMU and Uni of.

  • 3. Whitworth Park

    Whitworth Park, Manchester

    Whitworth Park, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9NL - Visit now

    If, by some miracle, the sun is out and you’ve time to kill, enjoy a few moments of calm in All Saints Park or Whitworth Park.

  • 4. The Whitworth

    The Whitworth, Photo: Alan Williams

    The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6ER - Visit now

    In the more likely scenario of rain, head to Whitworth Art Gallery where an exhibition featuring a series of almost-holographic sculptures by Alison Wilding, and Isaac Julien’s critically acclaimed, nine screen film installation Ten Thousand Waves are both on show. Follow with a delicious caffeine fix overlooking the park at the gallery’s stunning ‘café in the trees’.

  • 5. Manchester Museum

    Manchester Museum

    Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9PL - Visit now

    Alternatively, keep within the academic theme of the day with a visit to Manchester Museum’s current exhibition, inspired by the 1st century AD Roman writer Pliny the Elder’s encyclopaedic work The Natural History. The family-friendly museum is also perfect for any younger members of your grad-day party. Be sure to stop for a much-needed slice of celebratory Rainbow Cake at the award-winning Tea Cup café on your way out.

  • 6. Museums in Manchester

    Image courtesy of Museum of Science and Industry

    Check out our guide to the best museums and art galleries in Manchester for more parent-pleasing cultural inspiration.

  • 7. The Refuge

    Slow-cooked Ox Cheek, Massaman Sauce

    The Refuge, Oxford Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M60 7HA - Visit now

    Following the actual ceremony itself, you *may* be in need of a drink. We recommend The Refuge near Oxford Road train station for a suitably classy place to raise a glass. (Other great watering holes, both shabby and chic, available here.)

  • 8. Épernay

    Image courtesy Épernay.

    Épernay, Great Northern Tower, Unit 1A, Watson Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4EE - Visit now

    Or cut to the chase and totter straight to Épernay, where the largest collection of champagne – served by both the glass or bottle – in the North awaits. (Let’s be honest, who’s going to be ordering by the glass?)

  • 9. Roof Terraces in Manchester

    Image courtesy of Great John Street Hotel.

    Again, in the unlikely event of sun, make a bee line for one of Manchester’s somewhat select handful of roof terrace bars. Then sit back, mojito in hand, and relish the sweet taste of freedom.

  • 10. Afternoon Tea in Manchester

    Afternoon Tea in Manchester
    Image courtesy of Ian Jones

    For the teetotal, what better form of sophisticated celebration is there than cucumber sandwiches and icing-laden cakes? Manchester has more than it’s fair share when it comes to stellar Afternoon Tea offerings.

  • 11. The French

    The French - One of Manchester's finest restaurants - Creative Tourist
    Photos by author

    The French, The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M20 2DS - Visit now

    If you’re looking for a multi-course, ‘fine-dining’ experience to round off the day, impressing friends and family with each bite, try The French – Manchester’s most highly regarded restaurant – led by talented head-chef Adam Reid.

  • 12. Wood Manchester

    Ian Jones

    Wood Manchester, Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester, M15 4RA - Visit now

    Or keep things more chill with Wood Manchester’s top-notch, unintimidating fine dining offer, headed by locally-loved Masterchef 2015 winner Simon Wood.

  • 13. 1847

    Image courtesy Bistro 1847.

    1847, Chapel Walks, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 1HN - Visit now

    For veggies and vegans, it’s got to be Greens or 1847. Explore our Vegan and Vegetarian Guide to Manchester for more non-carnivorous ideas.

  • 14. The Deaf Institute

    Pimped Fries

    The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 7HE - Visit now

    While, for a more budget-friendly (yet still parent-proof) celebratory meal, the conveniently located Deaf Institute serves up an excellent range of vegan and non-vegan options alike in a laid-back setting.

  • 15. Restaurants in Manchester


    Still in need of a few more food-related ideas? Explore our tried-and-tested pick of grazing spot favourites.

  • 16. Bars in Manchester

    Image courtesy of Flok

    Or, more importantly, our go-to selection of city centre bars in which to either continue the party, or wind down after a hectic, but hopefully memorable day.

Things to do right now

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Everyman Rock 'n' Roll panto The Snow Queen
Families 24 November 2018–19 January 2019, from £15.00

Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto: The Snow Queen at Liverpool Everyman

Cheese Making at Food Sorcery
Activity 19–20 January 2019, from £100

Cheese Making at Food Sorcery

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA Manchester
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 20 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery

Cinema 7 December 2018–20 January 2019, from £5

Slapstick Film Season at HOME

HOME at Christmas
Festivals 13 December 2017–20 January 2019,

HOME at Christmas

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME
Festivals 11–26 January 2019,

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME

Exhibitions 29 September 2018–27 January 2019, FREE


Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester
Food and Drink 1 November 2018–1 February 2019, from £30

Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester

Exhibitions 12 January–1 February 2019, FREE

Motion Sickness at STOCK Gallery

The Producers - A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange
Music 30 November 2018–2 February 2019, from £10.00

The Producers – A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange