The nice thing about living in England is that you can easily plan trips to the beautiful countryside or other cool cities. Like two weeks ago when we spent a weekend in Bristol and Bath. Last weekend we decided to drive all the way up Northern England to visit another famous city: Manchester.
Not only known as the hometown of two of the world’s most iconic football clubs: Manchester United and Manchester City. But also as the start of the industrial revolution and a beautiful history in science, politics, music, art and sport. Thanks to its central location in the wool-producing countryside, Manchester flourished during the industrial revolution. In a relatively short period of time, the population of Manchester grew explosively by farmers from the surrounding countryside looking for chances in the wool processing industry in the city.
When you think of Manchester, you might imagine a grey city. However, the city has been part to development in the last few years and has increasingly became a popular destination for living, working and recreation. We experienced the latter during our two-day city trip and visited some cool places in the city.
For example, the famous Football Museum, where a huge collection of information, prizes, photos and shirts of top players can be seen. You’ll also find the ball of the World Cup final in 1966 and there are various activities that you can do such as games and penalty shooting. – Urbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG
After being finished in the museum you can visit the nearby John Rylands Library, named after an English entrepreneur and philanthropist from the 19th century. The library, which strongly reminds you of a Harry Potter film, has one of the largest collection of books and manuscripts from the Middle Ages in the United Kingdom, among others. – 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH
A little further you’ll pass Manchester Cathedral, dating back to the Middle Ages, this cathedral is located on the site of the city’s first Christian church. The building is made in a Gothic style. From the outside it looks a bit like the Manchester Town Hall, but on the inside it is more reminiscent of the John Rylands Library. Weekly church visits are still held in the cathedral, but it’s also open to visitors. – Victoria St, Manchester M3 1SX
In the middle of the center you’ll find Albert Square, the largest square in the city. There is always a lot to do and see here during the year and that’s why it’s a nice place for both residents and tourists. The square is surrounded by beautiful Victorian buildings and there are regular events, concerts and food festivals.
The city center is a nice place to walk around, the atmosphere feels a bit like London but it’s more quiet and clear, which I think is very pleasant. In addition to many shops, the center of Manchester also has a large restaurant department with a total of sixty restaurants. Definitely something to find for everyone!
The restaurant where we had made a reservation is a well-known in the city, (Bib Gourmand) El Cato Negro Tapas located on King Street in a beautiful building with three floors. The menu presents a variety of tapas dishes and a wide selection of cocktails and wines. The atmosphere is cozy and the service good. Great to visit with children. – 52 King St, Manchester M2 4LY
Because we had early dinner, we decided to explore the neigh-boring Northern Quarter after. You could say that this neighborhood is a bit of ‘the place to be‘. The streets are richly decorated with street art and you’ll find, next to well dressed locals, lots of nice shops, trendy eateries, pubs and hidden clubs.
With a child maybe not the best place to go to after 8pm in the evening, but one beer at a local pub will be fine.
As we wanted to see as much of the city as possible during our stay, we had made a full schedule for the second day. We started at the beautiful Museum of Science and Industry. The museum is housed in one of the first train stations in the world and offers different exhibitions about technology and various inventions. You’ll learn everything about the industrial revolution and the textile industry in Manchester. On the second floor there is a special room for children where they can do experiments and go on discovery. – Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4FP
From the museum you can easily continue your walk along the canals of the city, where longboats are surrounded by warehouses, new build and in the background cranes and skyscrapers. A beautiful image of the city as you can describe its best. You can explore the canal by foot but also by bike or boat.
From the canals we moved back to the city center where we had planned a lunch at Peter Street Kitchen. A luxury restaurant with a combination of Mexican and Japanese influences on the menu. Our recommendation: the lunch menu with matching cocktail and sake flight. – Free Trade Hall, Peter St, Manchester M2 5GP
When we plan a city trip, we always like to alternate the city center with its sights and cool developed districts with nearby neighbourhoods with a more up-and-coming vibe. Charlton-cum-Hardy is such a neighbourhood, located on the edge of the city, but with an Uber you’ll be there in no time. The streets are lively and decorated with various eateries, pubs, community gardens and small boutiques.
We decided to close the afternoon at The Drop, a trendy Caribbean street food restaurant where we toast with a local brewed ipa on the sunny terrace. – 356 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester M21 8AZ
In the evening we had dinner at La Casita, a few doors next to The Drop, a great Mexican restaurant where you can enjoy delicious dishes with a matching mezcal or cocktail. The owner of the restaurant got so excited that Ralf ordered a mescal flight that he came to our table full enthusiasm to tell something more about the production method and Mexican traditions. – 372 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester M21 8AZ
Maybe Manchester is not the first city that comes to mind when you want to plan a trip to an English city. However this independent and vibrant city has a lot to offer for everyone. A perfect destination for a weekend away I would say!