Manchester is really well positioned - you have the Lake District to the North West, Yorkshire to the North East, Derbyshire to the South East and Cheshire to the South West - all of which are day drives.
There are literally hundreds or thousands of great Pubs: try Monsal Dale in Derbyshire (http://www.monsalhead.com/) or the Nags Head in Edale (http://www.peakdistrictonline.co.uk/peak-district-pubs-the-old-nags-head-edale-i230.html)
The Art scene in Manchester is pretty poor in comparison to London although there is a vibrant music scene with everything from concerts to punk. There is also the excellent Royal Exchange Theatre which won't be like anything in London: http://www.royalexchange.org.uk/page.aspx
Coming from Manchester, I think you'll find shopping choices to be pretty poor. almost 7 years ago