Struggling for inspiration with this year’s Christmas shopping? If you’re feeling stuck, or just doing everything you can to avoid crowded high streets, Manchester’s seriously impressive collection of wildly talented independent makers and retailers will gladly step in and lend a hand.

Whether it’s hot sauces and cooking ingredients, small batch whisky, jaw-dropping artwork or gorgeous artisan coffee, we’ve picked out some of our favourite local sellers that are well worth your support over the festive period.

Rare Mags

Stockport’s Rare Mags specialise in hard-to-find and international magazine titles, along with other fiction and non-fiction titles from an array of indie publishers. Whether it’s obscure photo journals, or the perfect coffee table decoration, odds are they’ll have you covered.

5 Lower Hillgate, Stockport SK1 1JQ
Our favourite local coffee roasters

Manchester’s coffee scene has grown incredibly strong these past few years, and so it’d be impossible for us to pick just one. Instead, we’ve picked out a few of our favourites from in and around the city…

Batch Coffee subscription

Yep, more coffee. Having launched in 2020 in Chorlton, and now residing down the road in Cheshire, Batch Coffee Club is a speciality coffee subscription that showcases indie coffee roasters from all around the UK. Everything they stock is fair trade, ethically sourced and plastic-free, with all packaging also being home compostable.

Elliot Eastwick's World Famous Hot Sauce

If you’ve logged into Twitter at any point in the last couple of years, odds are you’ve seen a bottle of Elliot Eastwick’s hot sauce knocking about. The former Hacienda DJ has built something of a cult following via his unlikely career change, and with good reason too, it’s seriously great gear.

The Cheese Hamlet

The Cheese Hamlet is a family-run independent business that started trading in Chorlton in 1960, evolving from bakery to cheese and fine foods in 1972. These days you can find around 200 different kinds of cheese cascading around the shop’s shelves in Didsbury Village, each more delicious than the last. The team are lovely too and are always willing to lend their expert opinion on what goes best with what.

706 Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2DW
Manchester Craft & Design Centre

With 35 impossibly talented independent makers spread across 18 studios, Manchester Craft & Design Centre offers the perfect stop-off for anyone on the hunt for a unique gift you won’t find on the high street.

Visitors can peruse an endless array of handmade treats that span jewellery, ceramics, homeware, textiles, knitwear, accessories, prints, cards and everything else in between.

17 Oak Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 5JD

While Oklahoma’s colourful store in town is sorely missed, you can still grab those bold, vibrant home accessories online, with  hundreds upon hundreds of unique creations from indie brands and individuals now stocked online.

The Epicurean

Known affectionately across Manchester simply as ‘The Beer People’, this is your go-to for all things hops. Whether it’s low-alcohol sessions, or huge, silly abv stouts, there’ll be something for any and all tastes in their fridges.

226 Burton Rd, West Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2LW / 157 Heaton Moor Rd, Stockport, SK4 4HY / Unit D, 102 Manchester Rd, Chorlton, M21 9BG
The Northern Type

Yep, we’re following up a beer shop with another beer shop, it is Christmas after all. Nestled on the high street in Eccles, the team behind the Northern Type certainly know their beer and we couldn’t recommend them more. You can even pull up a chair and have a pint while you peruse.

23 Church St, Eccles, Manchester M30 0DF
Ad Hoc

For those after something more grape-based from their festive drinks cabinet, few wine spots can outdo Ad Hoc’s ever-changing bottle lineup. Funky pet-nats, traditional Primitivos, silky smooth Malbecs, it’s all there, just tell the guys what you’re vaguely looking for, and they’ll pull out something special to suit.

28 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HN
Dave Draws

Most notably known for his doodle maps of a city impressively created by just his trusted Posca pens, Dave Draws has become something of a Manchester icon. Mapping key spots including Chorlton, Salford and the Northern Quarter—Dave Draws’ work comes in the form of prints perfect for any walls and even face masks, because that’s a thing again.

Northern Lights

One for the foliage fans, Northern Lights opened just before the pandemic and despite the relative untimeliness of that, the store has quickly become a Manc institution. All of their plants come from sustainable practices and their gorgeous arrangements make for a wonderful gift at any time of the year. They also stock a select range of clothing and other homeware.

Unit GO8, 35 Radium St, Manchester M4 6AD
James Hartwell Art

James creates incredible sketches of buildings and landscapes in pen and ink, with famous Mancunian hotspots often the focal point. You can buy prints of his existing work, or if you’ve something more specific in mind, commission him to draw something a little more personal.


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Chorlton Whisky

Limited-run whisky independently-bottled right on our doorstep? Yes please. Along with producing some of the most exciting, sublime whisky you’ll try, Chorlton Whisky also host events and tastings that’d be a perfect gift for any whisky aficionado.

Nell's Pizza merch

Along with their famed 22″ pies, Nell’s Pizza also offer merch so you can rep your favourite NYC-inspired pizza spot even on the days you aren’t stuffing your face with those insane slices.

Stan Chow

Stan Chow’s unmistakable artwork has been scattered across various spots throughout the city for some time now, whether it’s the walls of Night & Day, the foyer of the Great Northern Warehouse or on the cover of cult football mag, United We Stand. Stan is a legend of Manchester in his own right and we’re massive fans of what he does.

Spirit of Manchester

Over the course of five years, Spirit of Manchester has grown from a dining room distillery to a genuine master of their craft, and one of the best in the region. Their award-winning offering spans gin, vodka, rum absinthe, vermouth and most recently, whisky.

Watson Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4LP
Dormouse Chocolates

Multi-award-winning craft chocolate makers, Dormouse, champion new, transparent trading methods in place of commodity cacao, so not only are you getting the absolute best chocolate out there, you’re doing so from a team who are making a genuine difference in the industry.

Unit O, Deansgate Mews, Manchester M3 4EN
Piccadilly Records

Few names are held with as much affinity in Manchester as Piccadilly Records. The first port-of-call for any music fan, the indie record store has been bringing the biggest and best releases to the city since 1978.

53 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR
K's Wors sausages

Specialising in ‘top-notch’ bangers made with best-in-class British meats, and doused in South African spices, K’s Wors is the brainchild of Zimbabwean-born Delight Mapasure, and South African-born Keitumetse Eugene Ngwenya. The small-batch sausages come in various tantalising flavours, but the chilli boerewors are particularly special.

Chorlton Cheesemongers

Recent winner of Retailer of the Year at the Manchester Food and Drink Awards, anyone who has stepped into the dairy-based utopia that is Chorlton Cheesemongers will vouch that they’re well worth that crown. The team work closely with all of the cheesemakers they stock, ensuring not only is everything the highest possible quality, but that everything is ethically and sustainably sourced.

486 Wilbraham Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9AS
Didsbury Gin

Fittingly launched by two mates after a conversation in a bar, Didsbury Gin’s forte is 100% natural fruit-infused, vegan-friendly gins that push the boundaries of what flavours can be plucked from botanical combinations. And boy, are they good.

Conavon Court, 12 Blackfriars Street, Salford, M3 5BQ
Elite Bistro restaurant kits

Got a mate who fancies themselves as a budding master chef? Elite Bistro’s cook-at-home kits are ideal for those who want to shine in the kitchen and create (almost) restaurant-quality meals at home. Each kit is expertly-designed and prepared by the Elite Bistro chefs, making the cooking process seamless and pain-free by the time it reaches your doorstep.

Emerald Gin

Set up by two brothers-in-law, Emerald Gin operates out of a garden shed distillery which they built themselves — a brilliant story in itself. The guys currently produce three different flavours, London Dry Gin, Pink Gin and for those wanting a little extra kick, 57% Navy Strength Gin.

The Modernist

A proper beaut of a store, The Modernist is the only bookshop in Manchester specialising in architecture and design. They stock publications focusing on modernist architecture, graphics, typography, transport, furniture and product design, alongside a specially-selected range of modernist products from cushions and mugs to chocolate and spoons.

58 Port Street, Manchester M1 2EQ

A hidden gem from the folks behind one of Manchester’s best clubs, The White Hotel, Peste is part bar and live venue, part bookshop and record store. An emporium of rare reads, books of varying sizes and topics line the walls — musical discographies, weird and wonderful travel handbooks, historical texts, niche wine guides, the collection is at times bizarre as it is fascinating.

70 Oldham Rd, New Cross, Manchester M4 5EB

Uskees specialise in long-lasting workwear-inspired garments, blending heavy-duty durability with gorgeous, eye-catching aesthetics. While their range spans everything from basic tees to cord trousers, it’s their stunning overshirts that have really put the brand on the map, offering the perfect outer layer to just about any outfit.

Wine & Spirit Education Trust wine course

Ideal for anyone wanting to take their wine knowledge up a notch, the WSET Level 1 Award in Wines is aimed at beginners, and can be completed entirely online, or at one of the wine schools in Manchester. The course is a great way of igniting a passion for wine and can open up a route to more advanced training. That, or they can just impress their mates next time they’re out at dinner.

Suite 4b, 113-115 Portland St, Manchester M1 6DW
People's History Museum shop

Whether it’s totes, illustrations, tees or tea towels, the People’s History Museum shop is stocked full of gifts inspired by its historic archive and contemporary collections, with income generated by the shop directed back into the museum’s mission of creating a fairer society.

Left Bank, Manchester M3 3ER
Salford Rum

The award-winning team at Salford Rum have built their brand as a celebration of the history, heritage and people of Salford Docks throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, which was one of the UK’s largest ports welcoming rums, fruits and spices from the Caribbean. Whether it’s a bottle or two of the excellent honey rum, or a guided experience at the Dirty Old Town Distillery, keep these in mind for any near and rum fans.

33 Viaduct St, Salford M3 7WX
The Happy Candle Collective

Each piece from The Happy Candle Collective is one-of-a-kind, hand-poured and uses 100% biodegradable soy wax. A local passion project, the team produce a wonderful, ever-changing array of designs that are almost a little too gorgeous to be burned…

Fred's Hot Ones

There’s no such thing as too much hot sauce, and Fred’s Hot Ones’ small-batch condiments are some of the best in the business. The range of sauces is constantly changing, so if you see something you like, it’s almost definitely worth acting fast and grabbing it.

The Wild Grill Experience at Millington Hall Farm

The Wild Grill Experience invites attendees to unleash their inner grill master while celebrating farm-to-table living and quality local produce, all while soaking in acres of idyllic valley views. That, and a steady stream of charcuterie and drinks from local Cheshire producers.

Throughout the session, the farm’s butcher and grill chef take participants through a series of guided meat prep and cookery masterclasses including half pig butchery, meat and sausage seasoning, sausage-making, flame cooking methods and a Nordic long table feast.

Millington Hall Farm, WA14 3RN
Introduction to Astrophotography at Jodrell Bank

Learn the basics of Astrophotography at Jodrell Bank in a fascinating introductory workshop co-presented by the observatory’s Dr. Anthony Holloway. You’ll learn how to use your DSLR or Compact System Camera to get started and be guided on the best ways to capture different images of the night sky, from planets and constellations to the colours of stars and star trails.

Bomish Ln, Cheshire, Macclesfield SK11 9DW
E&M Glassware

Originally established in 1995, E&M Glass is a family-run business renowned for its innovative yet traditional glass creations. Spanning two decades, this Cheshire-based studio, originally founded by Ed and Margaret Burke and now led by their son Charlie and his wife Amy, specialise in bespoke glass products that blend supreme craftsmanship and contemporary design.

Discovery experiences at the Science and Industry Museum

While much of the Science and Industry Museum can be enjoyed free of charge, two of its current major exhibitions come with a well worthwhile entry fee, making the perfect gifts for any budding scientists. Power Up is a celebration of five decades of gaming, offering visitors the chance to play the best titles across an endless array of consoles from yesteryear through to present day. Also currently on display is Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You, inspired by the hit children’s show, the special exhibition takes guests on a fascinating immersive journey through the human body — vouchers for Operation Ouch, along with other merch, are available to purchase here.

Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4JP
The Amp Whisperer

Stockport-based maker, Mark Phillips AKA The Amp Whisperer, miraculously transforms old radios into stunning, portable bluetooth speakers. Mark is an amp engineer and musician, so all speakers in his collection have been specifically designed for great sound. He also takes commissions for anyone looking to revamp old beloved items into beautiful new audio gifts.

Tue 21 Nov
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Mon 18 Dec 2023