Manchester is a city that when spoken about amongst Londoners, has them scoffing at the thought of any tourist actually wanting to check it out.
At least, that was what I encountered when I went there a few weeks ago but I didn’t let the negative words or laughs at my attempt to explore the UK stop me. I hopped on a Virgin train into the vibrant city that was once the shining gem in the UK crown.
Manchester is a beautiful city that is typically undermined by the rain and grey mist of clouds that hover over. There’s a large amount to do: restaurants, shopping centers, theater, nightlife and more.
The photo above is a shot of Deansgate. It’s a popular street home to a lot of pubs and a few clubs. You can basically walk this long endless road and run into a variety of options to party your night away. I ended up at one club (the name of which is escaping me but is in fact on Deansgate) that required me to pay an entry fee that went into the double digits. I decided to fork over the cash as I wanted to have a good night and I was promised all the drinks I could swallow before 10 PM (I powered through four large glasses of champagne in an hour). The music was ok and the venue was a nice space but it was literally empty for the entire time I was there. I stayed from like 9 PM until 11:30 PM. I guess I could have stayed longer but when you’re at a club by yourself for more than 2 hours and no one is there to really talk to, things get old quick. I did text a few friends at home in the states but again, it gets old.
I probably chose wrong in regards to club but it was generally a good deal since I had a lot of drinks and there were free snacks. I do know that you can have a good time in Manchester though for way less money than is required in London. Just make sure you choose better than me!
Manchester food. I was starved my first day and ended up at Byron which I thought was a local burger joint but later realized it was a chain restaurant all over the UK.
Byron Burgers was freaking awesome! The burger was so tasty and the mac and cheese, DELICIOUS! It’s a must eat if you ask me and the price isn’t terrible. The restaurant was also a nice way to hide from the rainy mist that came down the first day I arrived. Just think, had it not rained, I would have never bothered to try Byron Burgers. I think Manchester earned loads of cool points just for that fact. Thanks rain!
Later on in my trip, I went to this cute cafe for breakfast on my last day called Teacup. They had a huge selection of teas and beautiful decor. I ordered a breakfast scone with rose tea and imagine my delight when they came out with a tea timer to ensure I had the perfect cup of tea! I was a bit confused as to how it worked but super delighted by it. It made me feel as if I were at a tea party thrown by the girliest girl known to man. Overall it was a nice breakfast. A definite must try if you have a super sweet tooth. Very sugary scone.
I also tried to have some local fare which was a meat pie. Um, I should have went back to Byron. I mean it was ok (I went to a place called Pie & Ale) but wished it was better for the price I paid. I also ordered potato skins with bacon and cheese and what I got, maybe I’m just used to American skins. I would not recommend ordering.
The city is rich with history! I went on an unofficial tour of Manchester hosted by a guy who is from the city and recently graduated from university. The tour is listed on Facebook and is free but he does ask for donations if you enjoy the tour and what he shared. The guy is Really good! He takes the whole group around Manchester shedding light on the music scene, the gay district, the history of Vimto, where Victoria and David Beckham had their first date, museums and more. It’s great and a really nice way to spend a few hours in Manchester as well as get to know the area. You literally walk everywhere. At the end of the tour I went to a show recommended by the guide in this special round theater . The show was full of inside jokes about being from Manchester and the UK as the play chronicled the life of a growing boy in Manchester and his obsession with ping pong. I was able to catch on to the inside jokes fairly quickly but I’m glad I made myself check out the show.
As for where I stayed, I was at the YHA hostel. It was clean and good for just a basic place to rest your head. Nothing to run home and tell mom about especially seeing as our room had this really weird porto toilet but again, it was fine to sleep in for the weekend.
I feel like my negative points or notes on what I didn’t like about my trip might be outshining the overall post but Manchester was really great. I learned so much about how Manchester played a part in the slave trade, the influence on the music scene and just the general bustling nature of the city. Lots to do but everyone isn’t in a rush.
If you want pop into a European city, check out Manchester. I promise Londoners are just a little full of themselves here. haha