My boyfriend got a new job and he has one week of training in Manchester. We have never been there so we decided to explore the city for a weekend. He left London on Monday morning and I joined him on Friday morning.
I got a train at Euston Station and 2 hours later I was sitting at Caffe Nero at the corner of the Piccadilly Station, sipping my English Breakfast tea and waiting for him to finish his final exam.
The first thing I have realized how cold it was. Even though, I had my winter coat and boots I was freezing. It was not Manchester’s fault, but I identified winter is here.
First, we checked our accommodation, called North Dwelling at North Road. Unfortunately, the room was not exactly what was promised, but couldn’t complain a lot. It was clean and rather quiet but it was not proper heating so we were cold, and had to convince ourselves to start the shower before going to bed. Apart from a few misleading information (we could have requested a private parking place but was not in the description), we liked to stay there.
On Friday we had only a few hours until was getting dark. We headed to the Central and were walking around. Surprisingly, we had found some Christmas Markets already without looking for it, but Christmas has definitely arrived in Manchester so we could find many of them in different locations. We had a delicious mulled wine to get warm and we a mug for a £3 deposit. We kept it, but I think it is an amazing idea not selling drinks in plastic anymore and actually do something to save our Planet.
The first impression of the city was great. We had an enjoyable dinner and time at Vapiano, where we spend a few hours and were happy about being together.
On Saturday, we had more time spending around. We visited the Central again in daylight, see the Town Hall, Albert Square where we found more Christmas Markets. The square is huge and well organized with cafes and shops around. We checked the National Football Museum and the Cathedral only from outside, then we walked towards Chinatown. I expected a bit more from it but only a gate and a few shops.
We went to the Science and Industry Museum as well. It has 3 huge places where you can explore around, but they were under refurbishment so it was a bit difficult to find their temporary entrances but we didn’t give up. My boyfriend was interested in cars and plains so we spent more time in their rooms. We also went to the Art Gallery and Manchester Museum. Both of them were smaller than any museum in London so it didn’t take much time to walk around.
We liked Castlefield, an area along the river, with many trees and building nearby. At this point, we started to be hungry and it was drizzling rain so was time for a dinner which we had at Nandos in one of our favourites restaurant in UK.
The best thing I loved in Manchester is being less crowded. Coming from London I actually could have a fresh breath. Streets, restaurants, coffees, museums are more reachable in distance and fewer people are around so you actually can have your private space and nobody is sitting in your lap. Also, tourist attractions such as museums and galleries are smaller than usual (compare to London) so we didn’t get bored ever.
We had one mystery thing only. We bought a public transport ticket at a tram stop but we were not allowed to use it on buses. Actually, we did because nobody told us apart from one bus driver who denied our journey on that route. I have tried to check this information but never found exactly how this is works but anyway you can buy a ticket on the bus, so not a big deal at the end.
Manchester has 3 free different bus routes which go around the city. We caught one of them and went around even we saw almost everything before but we still hadn`t had enough of the city and was warm on the bus. You can also use it instead of public transport, just check where you would like to go.
I would definitely recommend Manchester for a long weekend to experience a vibe of it. Also, I might consider living there in the future. You could find all the shops, restaurants, services than in London but everything is less crazy.
Have you been to Manchester? What experience do you have?