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Manchester (UK) In One Day: What To Do/see?  
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 623 posts, RR: 5
Posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2872 times:

This coming Friday I'll be in Manchester (UK) with a friend for the day. Normally I'm into walking all day long through (more or less) random streets, but I hear the weather has no plan to cooperate on Friday.

Any tips from Mancunians here on what to do on a rainy Friday in Manchester? I'm normally not into museums unless it's something really major (or aviation related, but then again my friend is not into aviation). I don't mind the rain that much, but it would be nice to have one or two indoor plans just in case it's really pouring down.

All other tips to occupy a full day (from 9am to about 6pm) in town for two first time visitors are welcome.

Sure I can (and will) try and find by myself, but nothing beats tips from insiders.

Oh and one last thing, we'll probably try some local brews so if locals have some advice regarding pubs (and lunch places) that will be appreciated.

Regards
BrusselsSouth

30 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineidealstandard From France, joined Apr 2009, 400 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2863 times:

Get a car, train, plane whatever and get out of there.

User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2852 times:

Quoting idealstandard (Reply 1):
Get a car, train, plane whatever and get out of there.

   It isn't that bad.

There are museums (Air and Space is good) as well as shopping centres (Trafford Centre, Arndale).

Depends what you're into?


User currently offlineRussianJet From Kyrgyzstan, joined Jul 2007, 7633 posts, RR: 23
Reply 3, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2833 times:
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Quoting idealstandard (Reply 1):
Get a car, train, plane whatever and get out of there.

This guy read my mind. See the train station, get on a train and head to somewhere at least slightly interesting. Perhaps Liverpool?



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineidealstandard From France, joined Apr 2009, 400 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2789 times:

If you like shopping there are plenty more better shopping centres available at other, better cities in the UK. Rent a car and drive into the surrounding countryside maybe - although you probably need to drive for at least an hour to escape the place.

User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 25
Reply 5, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2729 times:

If you have to kill one day, consider to head for the Airport Hotel & Pub on Ringway Rd. Leaving MAN Terminal 3 turn right and walk for about 15 minutes; pub will be on the right with its spotting garden facing the end of runway and taxiway to it. This location can't be beat, even by the official Avaiation Viewing Park, or whatever it is called these days.
This is the place the annual MAN Meeting is being held first weekend of July.

In the city center there is the Museum of Science and Technology. It (partly) is housed in the first ever train station built; there is an annex across the road with a number of aviation-related exhibits.
But it also has an excellent exhibition on the historic drainage works in Manchester.
IIRC and unless it has not changed, entrance is free to the museum.

From the museum it is possible to walk into Manchester's city center if you don't want to use a Tram.
En-route you will pass a few older buildings, but nothing to point out specifically.

In any case, if heading downtown get a dayticket for the public transport. See details on gmpte.com

Another option would be to hop onto a Transpennine Train to Blackpool North (takes 90 min from the airport, IIRC) and explore the very heart of British domestic tourism.
check train times (and fares) on http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ from "MIA" to "BPN" (these are the codes of railway stations in the U.K. but not IATA-codes).

Depending on when you leave, you might combine a visit downtown Manchester with a late-afternoon visit to the said Airport Hotel. Brews served are not especially local, IIRC, and the kitchen serves the usual pub grub - but it is the location that counts ...
You can use the day pass to take bus no's 19 and 369 to the airport hotel (4 minutes from The Station) alighting at "Ringway Rd/Airport Hotel". This is the first stop after the bus has drive along the perimeter fence on your right for like 200 meters and the view onto the apron is being blocked by some bushes.

-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlinePs76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2717 times:

Hi!

I'm no expert on Manchester but just thought I'd mention if it's raining and you're into shopping the Trafford centre is very good. From what I remember it's very big and nice and airy inside and has different themes in places like Chinatown and a cruise ship bit. It's about 20 minutes by bus I think from the centre of town. There are some good cinemas in there too if you feel like watching a movie and I think restaurants too.

Hope it might help.

Many thanks,

Pierre


User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2714 times:

Quoting HT (Reply 5):
Another option would be to hop onto a Transpennine Train to Blackpool North (takes 90 min from the airport, IIRC) and explore the very heart of British domestic tourism.
check train times (and fares) on http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ from "MIA" to "BPN" (these are the codes of railway stations in the U.K. but not IATA-codes).

OH GOD NO GOD NO GOD NO, I live about 20 minutes drive from Blackpool North, stay away from Blackpool, Manchester is like heaven compared to Blackpool. Blackpool is tacky, full of thugs/drug addicts and to be honest I avoid the place like the plague.

Manchester is fine, though I would agree there are better places however just not doable in a day from there. You have the Trafford Centre (massive shopping centre, can easily kill a rainy day there) closer to the airport, airport pub, viewing park, if you want to go into the city, there's the Arndale centre for shopping, and the "Museum of Science and Industry" which is interesting and I think it is still free entry.

But do not go to Blackpool, you will be disappointed you spent (A LOT) of money on the train ticket there and back to see a run down tower, people staggering drunk on the streets and very little remains of it's past "heritage" as a 'British Seaside Resort" - if you want to see one properly, Brighton would be a better choice but that's wayyy down south and you couldn't do that in a day from Manchester! The only semi-decent thing in Blackpool is the airport and the shopping centre, but even the airport isn't that exciting and it's shopping centre will have the same shops as the ones in Manchester except the Manchester ones are bigger.


User currently offlineRussianJet From Kyrgyzstan, joined Jul 2007, 7633 posts, RR: 23
Reply 8, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2684 times:
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Quoting planejamie (Reply 7):
But do not go to Blackpool

This is, to put it very mildly, extremely sound advice.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineidealstandard From France, joined Apr 2009, 400 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2661 times:

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 8):

The only decent thing about Blackpool (and trust me when I say it's a good thing) is the M55 (Eastbound)


User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 623 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2645 times:

Thank you all for the suggestions so far.

Quoting idealstandard (Reply 1):
Get a car, train, plane whatever and get out of there
Quoting RussianJet (Reply 3):
This guy read my mind. See the train station, get on a train and head to somewhere at least slightly interesting.
Quoting idealstandard (Reply 4):
Rent a car and drive into the surrounding countryside maybe - although you probably need to drive for at least an hour to escape the place.

Wow, while I was aware that Manchester was not exactly the #1 tourist destination in the UK, I somehow didn't expect those reactions. I should have mentioned that places out of standard tourist routes carry an extremely high degree of appeal to me. In that context, I see the above quoted replies as an additional reason to visit. My hometown (Charleroi, Belgium) suffers from such a negative image that it's sometimes considered as the "ugliest place in Europe", yet I know of many nice attractions (granted, nothing worth a dedicated trip) in the area.

Surely, as the UK's second largest city, Manchester cannot be THAT bad?

For starters, the photos on the Wiki page (I know, I know) make it look decent enough: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester.

I'm not that much into shopping, my ideal plan would have been to spend the day walking around the city, looking at the buildings and enjoying its atmosphere, stopping at random pubs here and there. But weather reports call for other options.

The Science & Technology museum sounds good. The Airport Hotel & Pub seems about right too, although as mentioned my friend is not really into aviation.

Anyway, thank you for your replies, if anything, the negative reactions of some posters regarding Manchester are already an indication of what to expect: a city whose attractiveness must be looked for outside of the usual "tourist" attractions range. I'm looking forward to being there.

Keep them coming.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlinefaddypainter From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2010, 129 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2640 times:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 10):
Surely, as the UK's second largest city

Woah there, that's quite a can of worms you've just opened.  

But seriously ignore all the comments about there being nothing to do. There is plenty to do in all of the UK's big cities and Manchester is no exception. There are also plenty of beautiful civic buildings such as the Town Hall and around the university. There is also the regenerated areas around the canals with lovely brick ex-mills and bridges.

None of the industrial "Northern" cities have your typical tourist packed London-esque gimmicks which adds to their charm in my opinion, they are more "authentic" in a way.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 10):
My hometown (Charleroi, Belgium) suffers from such a negative image that it's sometimes considered as the "ugliest place in Europe",

I know exactly what you mean about this. I hear it about Birmingham all too often. "Ugly, concrete, hellhole blah blah" mostly ignorant comments from people who have never visited.

Whatever you end up doing in Manchester I'm sure you will enjoy it.



I ♡ Farnborough LARS (West)
User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 11929 posts, RR: 25
Reply 12, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2639 times:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 10):
Wow, while I was aware that Manchester was not exactly the #1 tourist destination in the UK, I somehow didn't expect those reactions.

To a degree, you will get some of that kind of reaction to pretty much anywhere.

From what I know, Manchester's history very much is about industry, so don't expect Paris, and of course Paris has its grimy bits too.

My experience with the MAN area is pretty limited, but what little I saw of it suggested "industrial Northern European city" to me.

I hope you can find something interesting and off the beaten path to do.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineRussianJet From Kyrgyzstan, joined Jul 2007, 7633 posts, RR: 23
Reply 13, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2635 times:
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Quoting faddypainter (Reply 11):
But seriously ignore all the comments about there being nothing to do.

Hehe, I was semi-joking it has to be said. You are of course right that as with most cities of size, Manchester will have plenty to see and do. I wasn't joking about Blackpool though.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 623 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2628 times:

Quoting faddypainter (Reply 11):
Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 10):
Surely, as the UK's second largest city

Woah there, that's quite a can of worms you've just opened.

Ouch, should have known better! I got misled by MAN being the UK airport with the largest pax numbers outside London area airports.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2204 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2626 times:

Quoting faddypainter (Reply 11):
I know exactly what you mean about this. I hear it about Birmingham all too often. "Ugly, concrete, hellhole blah blah" mostly ignorant comments from people who have never visited.

Can I add one? "You can't even understand their accent, it's like they speak a completely different language"

That's what I think when I hear Birmingham  
Quoting Revelation (Reply 12):
From what I know, Manchester's history very much is about industry, so don't expect Paris

That's a good thing, I suppose. I wouldn't want to go Manchester and find Paris there. That'd be disappointing.

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 13):
I wasn't joking about Blackpool though.

LOL


So, aside from London, what city in England would you guys recommend to visit? In other words, what would be the 2nd most interesting city to visit in England?


User currently offlinefaddypainter From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2010, 129 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2623 times:

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 13):
Hehe, I was semi-joking it has to be said.

No problem I'm not even from Manchester I don't take it personally.  

Yeah I wouldn't touch Blackpool with a barge pole. I think I last visited as a small kid maybe circa 2001. I didn't like the place apart from the fact I won a pack of cards out of one of those 2p machines in some tacky amusement arcade. (This amazed me as I had never won anything before ever lol.)

Blackpool Pleasure Beach though...   



I ♡ Farnborough LARS (West)
User currently offlinePs76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2587 times:

Hi!

I have had many good times walking around Manchester when I've been there for a day. It's not too bad at all. Here are some pics if interested:













Hope it might help.

Many thanks,

Pierre


User currently offlinedanielmyatt From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2011, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2558 times:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 10):
Surely, as the UK's second largest city, Manchester cannot be THAT bad?

Manchester is only the UK's 9th biggest city beleive it or not, behind London, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Edinburgh, and Liverpool.

Being a resident Brummie (someone from Birmingham) we have a healthy rivalry with Manchester. I think it's a bit of a dump, but there is stuff to do there to kill a day, the shopping is good and the beer is OK, nowhere near Belgian standard though. Whenever I'm in Manchester though I take a visit to Stalybridge Train station (only 2 or 3 stops from the Main Manchester station) as its a preserved but working train station pub from the 1880's, serving up some good local brews and some good foreign ones too (including belgian beers) but the food is awesome too. Traditional northern food like meat and potato pie, black peas and gravy or corned beef hash, it's delish.


User currently offlinegingersnap From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2010, 892 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2536 times:

Quoting danielmyatt (Reply 18):
Manchester is only the UK's 9th biggest city beleive it or not, behind London, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Edinburgh, and Liverpool..

Indeed. The Mancunians like to try and shoehorn in the Greater Manchester area as part of the "city" of Manchester. Yes nice try Manchester  

As a Brummie by birth (although I moved away many years ago now), I haven't been to Manchester often. I have visited the Trafford Centre a few times and it is good shopping there I will admit. Massive food court will extremely adequate facilities (but this was back in a time when Birmingham had poor shopping areas). Oh I've also used the airport, but only twice in 20 years.
If I'm honest I've never heard of tourism spots or areas within Manchester itself, but I'm sure there is plenty to do. Good pubs and food no doubt but from what I've seen of Manchester it's a bit of a dump (but then have you seen the area directly outside Birmingham City Centre? Now that's a dump).



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User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 11929 posts, RR: 25
Reply 20, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2530 times:

Quoting danielmyatt (Reply 18):
Being a resident Brummie (someone from Birmingham) we have a healthy rivalry with Manchester. I think it's a bit of a dump, but there is stuff to do there to kill a day, the shopping is good and the beer is OK, nowhere near Belgian standard though. Whenever I'm in Manchester though I take a visit to Stalybridge Train station (only 2 or 3 stops from the Main Manchester station) as its a preserved but working train station pub from the 1880's, serving up some good local brews and some good foreign ones too (including belgian beers) but the food is awesome too. Traditional northern food like meat and potato pie, black peas and gravy or corned beef hash, it's delish.

Finally, a bit of on-topic info! 
Quoting gingersnap (Reply 19):
Indeed. The Mancunians like to try and shoehorn in the Greater Manchester area as part of the "city" of Manchester.

Purely OT, but I've always wondered where Mancunia is...



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2512 times:

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 13):
Hehe, I was semi-joking it has to be said. You are of course right that as with most cities of size, Manchester will have plenty to see and do. I wasn't joking about Blackpool though.

Neither was I haha! It is genuinely a shit hole, I've been to many towns and cities around the world but none have been as bad or anywhere close to being as bad as Blackpool

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 15):
So, aside from London, what city in England would you guys recommend to visit? In other words, what would be the 2nd most interesting city to visit in England?

Bath, I lived near there for a while and it's got a lot of character, history and is generally a nice little city. That and possibly Bristol (though again a bit industrial), Edinburgh is apparently rather nice (I've never been though) and Southampton is another nice little city to visit (if you're into sailing related stuff)


User currently offlineHOONS90 From Canada, joined Aug 2001, 2947 posts, RR: 53
Reply 22, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2495 times:
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Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 15):
So, aside from London, what city in England would you guys recommend to visit? In other words, what would be the 2nd most interesting city to visit in England?

I really enjoyed Liverpool and Southport. There's the Beatles museum and the Tate museum which were quite interesting. Great waterfront too, and friendly people!



The biggest mistake made by most human beings: Listening to only half, understanding just a quarter and telling double.
User currently offlineextspotter From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 992 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2483 times:

Southampton is not that nice. The most "Touristy" cities outside of London would probably be Oxford and Cambridge. If you're going a bit furthern north then York is supposed to be quite nice. Edinburgh is nice too. I am sure there are places I have missed (smaller cities like Warwick, Durham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Slough (lol joking)).


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User currently offlineeurowings From UK - England, joined Sep 2011, 298 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2463 times:

It's very British trait to make out anywhere that isn't picture postcard is a "dump". I find it a bit juvenile to be honest. Manchester is an industrial city and therefore it's not pretty but has its highlights which can be explored in the city centre - the Museum of ScIence and Industry, John Rylands Library, the old Corn Exchange (now called the Triangle) with the oldest pub in the city next door, the Cathedral, the Town hall, the Printworks e.t.c e.t.c. Take a wander through the very nicely modernised areas which were bombed by the IRA - the area surrounding Exchange Square is great. As for drinking, the Mark Addy pub is popular for food and beer. You can also take the Metrolink tram out to Salford Quays, which is a new waterfront development with the new BBC Studios, Lowry and Imperial War Museum - a mini version of the London Docklands.

I grew up near Blackpool, yes it's not a wealthy town and it's tacky but that is kind of the point. It's not as bad as some would have you believe (especially those who live in the villages near the town!), but it's understandably not everyone's idea of fun. The seafront area has been extensively modernised with art installations like the "comedy carpet". It's pretty rowdy on Friday and Saturday nights, but it's not a hot bed of crime compared to some places (lower level crimes committed by drunken visitors pushes up the statistics somewhat and not gun crime and gang violence like areas of Liverpool have). Not of any interest to a tourist, but it also has some surprisingly green and pleasant suburban areas inland such as Stanley Park, which most visitors don't see. Some of the towns near it are also nice, the British Open Golf is being held in Lytham this year.

Oh and if I had to choose between Birmingham and Manchester as the second city, it would not be Birmingham!!

[Edited 2012-06-13 17:16:24]

25 jwhite9185 : I quite like MAN too - prefer it to London actually. [quote=]Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 15): So, aside from London, what city in England would you g
26 Post contains images gkirk : Get drunk. That is all
27 BrusselsSouth : Thank you all for your replies. Apparently the weather should not be glorious, but I am looking forward to visiting the city tomorrow. I will report i
28 mhodgson : Actually, the Robinson's beers are brewed just up the road in Stockport, and have a decent reputation - though some would say serving them in a plast
29 HT : Good to know. I stand corrected then. Any beer served in a plastic beaker is a sacrilege. Okay, for some beers it doesn't really matter how they are
30 Post contains links dandaire : Just 35 mins drive from MAN is the ancient walled city of Chester, founded by the Romans in 79AD. Plenty to see here including Roman ruins and the un
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