Manchester Journals

Manchester Tips and Tricks

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A November 2007 trip to Manchester by tvordj

Museum of Science & Industry Photo, Manchester, England More Photos
Quote: I visit my fiance who lives in the Manchester UK area so thought that a few tips might be useful.

Things to do

Shopping in Manchester

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Attraction

Food court area of the Trafford Centre Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
Manchester is not always thought of as a major shopping destination but it has quite a lot to offer, if not quite as much as a city like London. Most shoppers will be more than satisfied with the selection available from markets to upscale stores like Selfridges and designer shops. Marks and Spencer has rebuilt it's city centre store after an IRA bomb leveled it in the 1990s. It's now one of the largest in the country and is considered it's flagship store. Other major stores in the same area include Selfridges, Debenhams and Kendalls. These stores are steps away from the renovated Arndale Shopping mall and a host of other good shops in the Royal Exchange/St. Anne's Square/King Street West ar...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 22, 2008

Manchester Christmas Market

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Attraction | "Brave the crowds at the markets"

Manchester Christmas Market Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
This year was the first chance I had in my many visits to Manchester to go to the annual Christmas markets. They set up in the city centre around the middle of November and run until Christmas. They're modelled after the markets on the Continent and many of the booths are German or French in theme. They have small wooden huts set up in the main square, Albert Square, in front of the Victorian Town Hall but they also spill over to several other streets and squares in the city centre. There are over 200 stalls and a scattering of "cafe" style set ups, such as a couple of German beer gardens and a French cafe, that I saw. Many of the stalls are food related with delicacies and goods locally s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 28, 2012

Manchester Christmas Market
Albert Square
Manchester, England

Arndale Centre

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Attraction | "City Centre shopping mall"

Arndale Centre Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
If this were to be found in Canada or America, it would be called the Arndale Mall because we call them shopping malls, but quite often in the U.K. they're referred to as shopping "centres". The Arndale was built in the 1970s but suffered some damage at the hends of the IRA bomb that went off in central Manchester in the mid 1990s. After that, there was a lot of reconstruction in the city centre and the Arndale was renovated and spruced up considerably. It's had even more modernization in the 21st century and is now a gleaming, modern shopping centre with over 240 shops and services. The mall is really nice with a wide variety of shops and food kiosks. There are touch screen maps in many i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 29, 2011

Arndale Centre
Market Street
Manchester, England M4 3AQ
+44 161 833 9851

The Manchester Museum

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Attraction | "Natural history in Manchester"

The Manchester Museum Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
The Manchester Museum is a very large place filled with bones and bugs, rocks and mummies and more. The museum is part of the Manchester University campus on Oxford Road and is free to visit.I finally got there after many visits to Manchester and many reccomendations but for me, it was less than impressive but there's a reason. There's a lot of renovation going on at the moment in 2011, and there will be a brand new Ancient Worlds gallery in 2012 that will replace the current Egyptian and Archaology galleries. They still have a lot of the exhibits on view but not everything is there. I also found the lighting very low and hard to see some of the things.They have a living beings...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2011

The Manchester Museum
University Of Manchester, Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL
01612 752634

Imperial War Museum North

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Attraction | "War Museum, Northern style"

Imperial War Museum North Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
As many times as I've been to Manchester, I've never been to the Imperial War Museum at Salford Quays. It was time to rectify that. The museum has been open for about 10 years and is located in the Salford Quays development, across a footbridge from the Lowry theatre but you can get to it by road as well. The modern building looks over the Ship Canal and has a viewing platform that you can pay a couple of pounds and go up. The platform is enclosed by the tower structure but it's not weather-proof. It's like viewing from a fenced in area so it can be a bit chilly. The musuem is not large and is an open concept with some smaller cubbyhole type areas for specific displays. The the...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 28, 2012

Imperial War Museum North
Salford Quays
Manchester, England M17 1TZ
0161 836 4000

Museum of Science & Industry

Attraction | "Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester"

Museum of Science & Industry Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
The MSIM is a fantastic way to get a good look at the growth and origins of Manchester as an industrial city. There are five buildings, some of which were part of an old railway station. You can see old industrial machinery from the steam age, old trains, cotton mill equipment. There's a fabulous Air and Space hall with old airplanes and cars. They have one of the first mainframe computers on display though it's only a replica. There is a great interactive room for kids, called Xperiment, to investigate the laws of science and physics. The Victorian sewer is oddly fascinating They also have very good temporary exhibits. The last time I was there, the big exhibit was all about Doctor Who wi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 23, 2008

Museum of Science & Industry
Liverpool Road Castlefield
Manchester, England M3 4FP
+44 161 832 2244

John Rylands Library

Attraction | "Beautiful city centre library"

John Rylands Library Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
The John Rylands library was built as a memorial to a husband, from a wife, in the late 19th century. It now is part of the University of Manchester and is open to the public. The building is Victorian Gothic and is really beautiful, almost church-like with stained glass windows in the main reading room and vaulted ceilings. When we went there were several temporary exhibits including one on Charles Dickens and one on the 50th anniversary of the publication of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, with personal correspondence, newspaper articles and a few movie props as well. Their permanent exhibits include some ancient Egyptian papyri, some of which they believe are the first written co...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 28, 2012

John Rylands Library
150 Deansgate
Manchester, England M3 3EH
+44 161 834 5343

Stockport Hat Works Museum

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Attraction | "Take your Hat off to this Musuem"

Stockport Hat Works Museum Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
Hatworks MuseumThe day we visited was an appropriate day seeing as the signs there proclaimed this as National Hat Week! (Easter week, 2002) There is a conducted tour that starts with a film, some of which is rare footage from the 1930's of Battersby's Hat works. We were told how they were made, first by hand and later by machine. Hats made out of felt had shellac added for stiffness and were shaped over wooden forms to give the hat it's shape. There were only the 2 of us plus a woman and her granddaughter on the tour. Also there is a museum with all sorts of exhibits of hats of every kind, ceremonial, sporting, military, religious, dress, etc. There was...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 20, 2009

Stockport Hat Works Museum
Wellington Mill
Stockport, England SK3 0EU
+44 161 355 7770

Chetham's Library

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Attraction | "Oldest Public Library in Britian"

Chetham's Library Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
Chetham's Library is off the beaten path. I'd never heard of it and neither had my boyfriend who has lived in Manchester all his life. Most visitors to Manchester may see the John Ryland's Library on Deansgate in their travels but Chetham's, a medieval library which is part of the School of Music, is not something you'd walk past. You'd have to know it was there. How did I find out about it? Thanks to the magic of Twitter and a Coronation Street actor that visited it last year! The School of Music is just across from Victoria train station and the Manchester Cathedral. The building the library is in dates to the 1400s though the library was only founded in the mid 1600s. A Manchester busin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 29, 2011

Chetham's Library
Long Millgate
Manchester, England
0161 834 7961

Salford Museum & Art Gallery

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Attraction | "Local Salford museum"

Salford Museum & Art Gallery Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
In the Salford University near the lovely Peel Park in Salford (next to Manchester) there's a lovely museum and art gallery. It's called the Salford Museum and Art Gallery and it houses a free museum and local history library. They have a reproduction of a Victorian Street, Lark Hill Place with shop fronts and a few different types of rooms from homes that reflect both the working class and the "posh" types of houses/families that may have lived in the area at the time. The storefronts, such as a blacksmiths, music shop, pub, and a sweet shop, have lots of artifacts to look at through the windows. The art gallery has sculpture and painting and there are always temporary exhibits as well. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 10, 2013

Salford Museum & Art Gallery
Peel Park
Salford, England M5 4WU
+44 161 736 2649

Lyme Park

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Attraction | "Lyme Hall and Park"

Lyme Park Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
First off, Lyme Hall and Park is not in Manchester, it's on the outskirts, just past Stockport in Cheshire. It's an old manor house on the edge of a huge park, all part of an original estate granted to the family in the 1400s. The house dates back that far but mainly the current house dates from the 16th and 17th centuries. The house is open to the public (for a fee of course) and you also pay to park in the parking lot. The gardens are really nice too and that also costs. We just got a ticket for both house and gardens to cover it all. The family were Jacobite supporters and the house has exquisite tapestries, furniture and art. I really enjoyed it. No photos but i did manage to take a stealth shot i...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 26, 2009

Lyme Park
Buxton Road West
Stockport, England SK12 2NX
+44 1633 766492

Royal Exchange

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Attraction | "A Wonderful Theatre Experience in Manchester"

Royal Exchange Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
The Royal ExchangeTh used to be just that, a stock exchange and financial institution in the centre of Manchester. It's in a magnificent building with gorgeous stonework and high plastered ceilings inside. It's now a theatre but one with a difference. When you enter the building, inside in the middle of the building there is a structure that looks a bit like a space pod. This is the theatre. It is in fact a theatre in the round. Inside, the stage is on the floor, surrounded by "banquettes", and the seats can be on the ground level or rise around it up into the seven sides of the steel and glass "pod". It can seat up to 700! They sometimes ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 20, 2009

Royal Exchange
St Ann's Square
Manchester, England M2 7DH
+44 161 833 9833

Urbis

Attraction

Urbis Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
*NOTE* Urbis is now closed. The building houses the National Football Museum now. Urbis is a modern museum that celebrates city life. It was a millenium project that opened in 2002. The building looks like a big glass wedge and tapers up as it rises. The museum has five floors of revolving exhibits so every time you go, there's something new to see. There are lots of interactive displays and exhibitions with subjects such as architecture, design, history, culture, lifestyle and all things urban. This exciting building is surrounded by old historic buildings including the Manchester Cathedral and is easy to get to. It's near Victoria station and busses serve the area fully. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 22, 2008

Urbis
Cathedral Square
Manchester
+44 (0)161 605 8200

Ordsall Hall Museum

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Attraction

Ordsall Hall Museum Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
This is a little off the beaten track and a lot of people who live in Manchester don't even know it's there. Ordsall Hall is a manor house, parts of which date back to medieval and Tudor times though other parts of it have been altered over the years. It's on the Salford side of the Irwell, not too far from a tram stop (Exchange Quay on the Eccles line). Any bus that is heading to Salford Quays will come close, if you get off by the Copthorne Hotel and walk about 200 yards) but busses 71, 73, 84 and 92 stop right outside the hall. It's free to visit and you might even see one or two of the staff dressed in Elizabethan period costume as I did when I visited there. There are often groups fro...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 22, 2008

Ordsall Hall Museum
322 Ordsall Lane
Salford, England M5 3EX
+44 161 872 0251

Eat and Stay

Stay Inn

Hotel

Quote:
This is one hotel that I would not recommend at all. Our experience was dismal and from what I have heard, it hasn't really improved much. It's a budget hotel (approximately 60 - 65 pounds per night for a double/twin) within about 20 minutes walk to Manchester city center and 10 minutes' walk from the MEN arena and is on the Salford side of the Irwell. The bar was open late for residents, that was about the only good thing about it. The beds were hard, single beds barely wide enough to be called "single". If you book a triple room, the third bed is actually a bunk bed cross ways over the two singles on the floor. Staff was lax when we were there. NO idea if they still are but I wouldn't be w...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on May 22, 2008

Stay Inn
55 Blackfriars Road
Manchester
+44 0161 907 2277

Red Hot World Buffet

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Restaurant | "World buffet, lots of choices"

Red Hot World Buffet Photo, Manchester, England
Quote:
We found this new restaurant in the Manchester city centre and as the price was right for lunch and it was a buffet with a very wide variety of choices, we went for it. The restaurant is a buffet style with many different international tastes. They have Italian, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Mexican, British and they have a large dessert buffet including an ice cream sundae counter and a Belgian Waffle counter. The restaurant is set up with a section for each of the main ethnic areas. There's a starter area with salads and crudites and there are other tables set up with a variety of different items. The sweets are a droolworthy temptation. There's quite a lot of vegetarian options as well in each o...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2011

Red Hot World Buffet
48 Deansgate
Manchester

Metropolitan

Restaurant | "Relaxing bar and restaurant in Didsbury"

Quote:
We spent a very relaxing evening at the Metropolitan in West Didsbury, close to Whalley Range in Manchester recently. The venu is quite large, with a pub on one side and a more formal restaurant on the other. There's a large outdoor seating area as well for nice weather. They have a parking lot as well with free parking, always a bonus. There are fireplaces, and also some large screen televisions but they aren't intrusive, not in the section where we were sitting. The menu had interesting choices, a step above the usual "pub grub" with vegetarian options available, with good sized portions and some very interesting drinks choices. We had some cider, raspberry and also a pear cider which w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 28, 2012

Metropolitan
Corner of Lapwing Lane
Manchester, England M20 2WS
+44 161 374 9559

Henry J. Beans

Restaurant | "Not All that Impressed"

Quote:
Henry J. Beans is a franchise restaurant, based on American style bar and grille type eateries, serving burgers, steaks and and ribs. They are more expensive than the run of the mill pub as many franchise places tend to be. They have been known to serve some of the best burgers and indeed, we've eaten in the Printworks location once before and been happy with it. Sadly, this time around we were very much underimpressed. The service was really slow. They kept saying they were really busy but it didn't look overly so to us. The burger was tasteless, just like cardboard. I had nachos which were not all that great. Just, ok. For the price you pay, you expect a lot better. We should have gone a...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on May 25, 2010

Henry J. Beans
The Printworks, Exchange Square
Manchester, England M4 2AD
+44 161 827 7820

Woo Sang

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Terrible Service at Woo Sang"

Quote:
This restaurant is up a flight of stairs so not easy to get to for anyone with mobility issues. I've been here with a very large group before (2000) and both the service and the food were excellent. This time around we were 10 at the table but the table seemed too small for us. The drinks orders were slow in coming and sometimes the wait staff forgot to ask everyone for reorders. The rest of the evening was one service disaster after another. They didn't provide us with a circular movable platform for the center of the table to make passing around the dishes easier and when someone finally complained loudly, we did get one. Which was broken and we had to gingerly turn the glass ourselves a...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on January 20, 2009

Woo Sang
19-21 George Street

Nawaab Premier

Restaurant

Quote:
Nawaab is an Indian curry buffet restaurant in the outlying town of Levenshulm just outside of Manchester city centre. It's a huge family restaurant with a very long buffet including salads and desserts. There are a lot of choices to pick from and various levels of "heat" in the curry. They cater for families and have a small bar as well. It's all long tables and it's noisy but the food is excellent and you can't go wrong for 11 quid per person for all you can eat but that does not include the price of drinks. One warning, and there is no alcohol served at this restaurant nor can you bring your own. The meat is 100% Halal. They do take most major credit cards. There is a good sized car park ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 22, 2008

Nawaab Premier
1008 Stockport Rd.
Levenshulme, Manchester M19 3WN
0161 224 6969

Getting around

Free Shuttle in the City Centre

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Story/Tip

Quote:
The Greater Manchester Area is fairly well served by an extensive bus network with the addition of trams but there is also a free shuttle service around the city centre. The Metroshuttle runs three lines coded by colour, orange, purple and green and they services all the main areas and attractions, also connecting the train stations (Salford Central, Oxford St., Piccadilly and Victoria for the MEN arena) and central coach station in the city centre. The shuttle is free and the stops are signposted throughout the area. They run in one way circular routes about every 5 - 10 minutes, depending on the route. The website has ...Read More

Getting to and from Manchester

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Manchester is a major hub so it's not difficult to get here. The main points of entry are the Manchester Airport and Piccadilly railway station. Manchester also has several other railway stations including Victoria (in Salford), but they all terminate at Piccadilly for arrivals. There is a taxi rank on the lower level and the free link shuttle stops out on the main concourse as well as city busses which stop there as well. Manchester airport is international as well as domestic, has three terminals and all the usual amenities including taxis and car rental services. The airport is serviced by the trains that take you into Piccadilly and if there is maintenance work being done o...Read More
Quote:
There are bus timetables and maps available but if you have online access, here is a very useful journey planner. You plug in an address, location or postcode for your start and end locations and it will give you several of the best options for getting there, using a combination of walking, busses and trams and approximate time it will take to complete the journey. You can also look up a bus number and it will give you the timetables.You can also get the time of the next bus texted to your mobile phone. On every bus stop sign there is a code on the bottom. You text that code to 84268 and you will get a reply with the time of the next busses. There...Read More

Tickets and Passes

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Story/Tip

Quote:
There are a number of different options for using the bus and tram here. The tricky part is that there are several bus companies in Manchester and you can't always just transfer from one to the next company. You'll have to pay separate fares. That can add up quickly so make sure you ask the driver which company your ticket can be used on. You also need to keep a close eye on the bus company for another reason. There might be more than one company running a bus on the same route using the same route number! You can, of course, just pay as you go and pay the driver but you'll need to tell him where you're going. It might be cheaper to buy a return ticket so ask but again, it likely is only g...Read More

About the Writer

tvordj

tvordj
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia