People say whatever experience travelers are chasing during their travels, for instance culture, sport, shopping, nightlife, Manchester won’t disappointed them. We too couldn’t strike this city off our list..!!! Manchester was the first industrialized city and since then it has become one of a thriving business district in the United Kingdom. Not to forget to mention, it is the city of Manchester United and Manchester City, two world leading football clubs that are responsible for a diverse UK tourism. It has also been voted as one of the 10 best cities to visit in 2016 by ‘lonely planet’.
Before you visit:
- Utility supplied voltage is 240V in the UK, so most of the appliances from other countries will need specific adapters.
- Take warm clothes even in the summer for evening hiking, tours and open air recreation. Also, it may start raining all of a sudden.
The trip begins:
We started early morning from Edinburgh Waverly station and arrived at Manchester Oxford Road in three and half hours. The cross-country rail journey from Edinburgh to Manchester is scenic, better than air travel and could be as cheap as 26$ if booked in advance.
Day 1: Manchester
The Curry Mile
Castlefield Heritage Park
Manchester town hall
Our abode in this city was ‘Luther King House’ hotel which is located near Wilmslow’s road. It was an interesting, lush and peaceful hotel, perfect for relaxation! While checking in, luckily our receptionist informed us about the Curry mile which was not even 10 minutes from our place.
STOP 1: Curry Mile
Though technically not a mile long, is a street lined with sari shops, jewelry stores and award winning restaurants. Manchester has a lot of South Asian immigrants, and you will find great Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi food and curries here (hence the name). The area is quite popular with students and is busy esp. at night with many restaurants open until 1 or 2 am or even later. An ideal place for food lovers! After a lovely meal at Punjab Tandoori Restaurant, we spent rest of our day strolling across the streets of Manchester. There are also a lot of bus services in the Manchester area that offer daily passes which can save a lot of time and money on your transportation. A typical day pass can vary anywhere from 7-15$.
As we started exploring Manchester, what stroke us the most is the city’s rich and imposing architecture. The city has fine buildings from all periods of history and is well known for its warehouses, roadways, bridges and canals which demonstrate an era of industrial growth. Other than the usual museums, universities, retail stores, cafes and bars, some of the interesting places that we came across were:
STOP 2: Castlefield Heritage Park
Britain’s only Urban Heritage Park that aims to preserve the character and history of the area. Unlike other conventional parks, it is a conservation area that is designed and built over ancient Roman ruins. The site was originally a Roman fort, but later with the construction of a canal, iron bridges and train station, got converted to an industrial hub. As of today, it’s a beautiful place where you can take a walk along the canal or just grab a drink from a local pub and enjoy the view from outdoor tables. P.S. The canal is very deep and in some areas there are no railings, so do watch your steps.
STOP 3: Manchester town hall
It’s a Victorian building on Albert Square which is famous for its impressive architecture – both inside and out. It has a great hall and a tea room inside which are worth a visit. Also take some time to spot the mosaic pattern of bees on the corridors outside the building. The building has been used numerous times for shooting films e.g. Sherlock Holmes, usually to represent parliament. You could either take a complete tour of the building if you have time or just appreciate the beauty from outside. Someone has rightly said – Beautiful buildings are all around us if we take some time to actually notice them!
STOP 4: Levenshulme Market
A great local market, right next to Levenshulme train station. With over 50 stalls and lots of varieties for street food, clothing, crafts, plants and gift items, this place is a lovely way to spend few hours in a friendly atmosphere and to interact with local community. The place is open every Saturday from March until December.
STOP 5: Manchester Cathedral
It is gorgeous inside with great acoustics. The stained glasses are definitely the highlights. Also make sure to check out the Hanging Bridge from the basement of visitor center.
There are a lot of other places in this city which are worth a visit such as the Old Trafford, MediaCity, Old Wellington and Gay village which is a perfect place to end your trip. As you discover the city, you find that there’s certainly more to Manchester than music and football.
Day 2: Liverpool
Robert Albert Dock
International Slavery Museum
The Beatles story tour
The Three Graces ( Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building. )
Magical Mystery Tour
Since we were staying in Manchester, we started off early on day 2 and boarded the Northern line train from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool at around 6 am. It took about just over an hour to reach Liverpool.
STOP 1: Robert Albert Dock
Many of Liverpool’s top attractions are located in close proximity, so we decided to start at the Albert Dock, a World Heritage Site on Liverpool’s epic waterfront. It’s also home to the Tate Liverpool, the Maritime Museum, the International Slavery Museum, Tate Liverpool for internationally-acclaimed art and The Beatles Story for the low-down on the Fab Four.
The Beatles Story is a must for Beatles fans! The superb audio guide takes you through the entire experience which is very informative and factual.
- It gets very windy around the Pier Head and the Docks. Carry extra layers.
- Since we had just one day, we decided to stay in the city center and didn’t need any sort of public transport. Day ride passes and Hop-on, Hop-off are good alternatives if walking isn’t an option.
STOP 2: The Three Graces
No tourist visiting Liverpool should leave without setting eyes on ‘The Three Graces’ – the Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building. Together, these comprise the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site on the historic waterfront.
STOP 3: Magical Mystery Tour
The Magical Mystery Tour is Liverpool’s original Beatles tour which takes you on an entertaining journey to the places where John, Paul, George and Ringo lived, met and hung out as they formed the band that took the pop world by storm. This trip takes you over to all the local places closely associated with the Fab 4. You get to see the strawberry fields, penny lane and the original houses where they lived. With plenty of photo-ops and good music, the trip is well worth time and money. Lastly, the tour also includes a free ticket to the legendary Cavern Club for a taste of Liverpool’s music scene past and present.
Liverpool boasts two cathedrals which sit ten minutes’ walk away from each other at opposite ends of Hope Street. The Anglican Cathedral is the largest in the UK and the 5th largest in the world and The Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral has a stunningly modern design. It cuts a fine shape into the sky and has a magnificent stained glass crown which pierces the Liverpool skyline.
Other than the ones mentioned above, Mersey Ferry, Anfield stadium, Liverpool Central Library, RadioCity tower, Liverpool ONE and Walker Art gallery are also some of the other famous icons in Liverpool which are worth a visit. Liverpool is officially the World Capital of Pop and you can hear live music anywhere from a top arena to an intimate bar-room venue.With fabulous theaters and comedy nights, night-time Liverpool is vibrant and energetic.
No city can be fully experienced in one day, but one day was enough to make us realize that there is so much more to Liverpool than the fact it is the birthplace of The Beatles!