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
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’.
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.
Check out our guide to the best museums and art galleries in Manchester for more parent-pleasing cultural inspiration.
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.)
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?)
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.
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.
Adam Reid at 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.
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.
Still in need of a few more food-related ideas? Explore our tried-and-tested pick of grazing spot favourites.
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.