Travel

Why visit Manchester? How to have a fun weekend in Manchester

I prefer city breaks to beach holidays. They are generally a lot more interesting and insightful. There are no beaches in Manchester so it couldn’t have possibly been a beach holiday. Besides, I went there in the middle of winter. And it wasn’t exactly a city break because the sole purpose of the trip was to attend a Django Girls workshop (aka a coding event for girls). Despite spending the whole Saturday coding, I still managed to see most of Manchester in a short space of time.

The city centre is quite small and although there’s a tram and a free bus going around the centre, everything is in walking distance. Some parts of Manchester look so much like London and you’ll know that if you’ve been to London before. In terms of weather, Manchester isn’t much colder than London even though the city is situated further north. It’s a two-hour train journey from London Euston if you take a speedy Virgin train. I felt slightly queasy when the train was taking a turn at an angle. This is something to keep in mind, if you, like me, suffer from travel sickness (which I personally didn’t know about until started feeling nauseous halfway through the journey).

Salford Quays

Salford Quays is an area of Greater Manchester and a must go to when visiting Manchester. The most fun way to get there is on the tram. Alight either at Salford Quays and walk to MediaCityUK or do it the other way around. There are parks, food places and shops. However, the main reason why this place attracts the public is its famous tenants – BBC and ITV head offices, Manchester United Stadium, Imperial War Museum and Lowry Theatre.

It was quiet and peaceful there on Friday when I visited (as you can gauge from the picture). But I bet it gets super busy at weekends.

Manchester Art Gallery

The reason why I prefer city breaks to beach holidays is the abundance of cultural activities available. And although Manchester is known as a party town, it boasts many cultural institutions such as the Opera House, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Craft and Design Centre, the Dancehouse Theatre, Museum of Science and Industry and, of course, Manchester Art Gallery. The best way to describe Manchester Gallery is to say that it has the nature of National Portrait Gallery combined with Tate Modern. In other words, there’s a great combination of historical collections and contemporary art to satisfy anyone’s taste.

I was particularly curious to see a small exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing. In fact, we queued up for 30 minutes to get in. That’s how popular it was.

Selfridges

I have a habit. Wherever I travel, I go to Selfridges. Well, there are only four stores in the whole United Kingdom – one is in London, one is in Birmingham and the other two are in Manchester. I’ve been to all apart from Manchester Trafford as it’s quite far from the city centre. For those who don’t know what I am talking about, Selfridges is a big department store with lots of designer labels. And it’s not just shopping, it’s the whole experience.

Party Nights

Manchester is all about parties and nights out. On a Friday night bars are swarming with people. The same repeats on a Saturday night. On Sunday, however, Manchester goes into hibernation as revellers are getting ready for work.

On Saturday night my husband and I decided to try out Manchester nightlife by going to a restaurant. We were seated by the window which was a perfect position to watch revellers falling out of an Uber ready for a great night out. I saw lots of girls dressed up tip to toe and guys in jeans and t-shirts queueing up to get into nearby nightclubs. Manchunian ladies take nights out very seriously whilst men just enjoy themselves.

Restaurants and Bars

Finding a good restaurant or a bar in Manchester isn’t a problem. But finding a table might be one if you don’t book in advance. Manchester is a very social city, remember?

If you’d like to go somewhere for food and drinks, then check out some of these restaurants: Australasia, Fazenda and 20 stories. In terms of bars, check out Revs de Cuba, Lost in Tokyo or Neighborhood.

Exploring other areas

The way Manchester is positioned enables travellers to explore other beautiful parts of England including the Peak District, Lake District or even taking a trip to Scotland. So why don’t you book a long-awaited holiday and go on a road/train trip exploring the northern parts of Britain?

*The main picture was downloaded from flicker and the credit belongs to Stephen.

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