Tag Archives: Manchester

What to do in Manchester and what to see in Manchester.

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester

I’d heard a lot of positive things about the Whitworh Art Gallery in Manchester. making it one of the cornerstones of my tour of galleries in the north of England.

It’s probably a good idea to get the bus from the city centre to the Whitworth. I walked from Manchester Victoria, which was rather a long walk.

The Gallery looks onto Whitworth Park.

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester looking out to park

I loved the Tibor Reich retrospective. Reich was a Hungarian who studied textiles and architecture in Vienna before coming to live in the UK in 1937. He opened his factory, Tibor Ltd in 1946.

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester Tibor Reich blankets

Reich often based his designs on nature photos that he took.

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester Tibor Reich tapestry

The vibrant colours used in Reich’s textiles was a welcome relief from the post-war drabness in the UK.

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester Tibor Reich fabrics

Reich also designed tableware.

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester Tibor Reich tableware

You can see the same style as the heads in the plate above in Reich’s drawing.

Whitworth Art Gallery Tibor Reich drawings

Another of my favourite installations at the Whitworth Art Gallery was Nico Vascellari’s ‘Bus de la Lum’ (Hole of Light).

Bus de la Lum by Nico Vascellari at Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester1

Walking around the installation was like being in an enchanted forest.

Nico Vasellari's 'Bus de la Lum@ at Whitworth Gallery Manchester

Evidently the Whitworth is home to a large collection of wallpapers, some of which were on display.

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester wallpaper2

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester wallpaper1

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester wallpaper

Below are photos of some other pieces which I liked at the Whitworth Art Gallery.

‘Genesis’ by Jacob Epstein, was a lot smaller than  Epstein’s ‘Jacob and the Angel’ which I’ve seen at the Tate Liverpool.

Genesis by Jacob Epstein at Whitworth Gallery Manchester

The suit made of tin can lids by Ben Rivers is worn in one of the films in the ‘The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers’ installation.

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester in can lid suit by ben rivers

The expression of the face portrayed in the ‘Green Eye’ painting is thoughful.

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester green eye

The foxglove sculpture was beautiful.

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester foxglove sculpture

The painting of the Minotaur reminded me of my visit to Knossos in Crete many years ago.

Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester Minatour

The Whitworth Gallery was even better than I’d anticipated. I spent four hours there.

It’s free to get in. It’s open every day from 10am – 5pm, with late night opening on Thursday extending the closing time to 9pm.

Review of Morley Cheek’s in Chorlton, Manchester

Morley Cheek’s is located in Barlow Moor Road, in the Chorlton district of Manchester.

inside morley cheeks in chorlton manchester

We sat near at the rear, where it was lighter under the glass roof. There is a patio area at the back, but we didn’t want to eat so close to the smoking area.

morley cheek's restaurant in chorlton manchester

The menu is mainly aimed at meat eaters, with burger and hot dog options being heavily featured. I only noticed one vegetarian option on the menu.

The Meat Sharing Box is available for a minimum of two people. it consists of brisket, smoked and chilli sausage, chicken wings, pulled pork, ribs and jalapeño peppers, with fries. It’s served in a large rectangular metal dish. I tried some of the sausage and pulled pork, which were both tasty.

meat sharing box at morley cheeks in chorlton manchester

The Phat Barsteward Beef Burger contains two beef burgers, pulled pork, brisket and bacon, served with onion rings and fries. The bacon was a bit fatty for my taste, but the other meat was good.

phat barsteward beef burger at morley cheeks chorlton manchester

On Mondays, Morley Cheek’s offer 25% of all food to Twitter followers. On Tuesdays, it’s 25% off all food to Instagram followers. With this reduction. it’s good value, as you can have a meat feast for around £8 per person.

10 Museums in Manchester, England

Manchester is a fascinating city which has done much to drag itself out of an industrial slump, and is now a popular destination. As it happens, it’s also full of museums and here are 10 museums in Manchester for you to visit.

Football Club Museums

For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when you mention Manchester is Manchester United; perhaps Manchester City FC comes quickly after that. Both clubs have museums attached to their stadiums so you can combine a visit to either the Manchester United FC museum or the Manchester City FC museum with a tour of their grounds.

manchester museums

Medals at the Manchester United Museum by edwin.11

National Football Museum

If those two aren’t enough, you can also head to the National Football Museum, which was set up to showcase England’s football heritage and to explain why England is the home of football. It actually began in Deepdale, Lancashire but was relocated to Manchester during 2012 to the former Urbis building.

Manchester museums

National Football Museum building by Smabs Sputzer

Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry (also known by its much cooler acronym, MOSI) is not just a typical science museum – it is strongly based in the history and development of the city of Manchester and includes a working cotton mill and the chance to see what climbing into a Victorian-era sewer would have been like.

Manchester museums

MOSI mural by Terry Wha

Museum of Transport

Manchester’s Museum of Transport includes the biggest collection of buses and trams in Britain – vehicles that have been restored but date back to the beginning of public transport. Since many buses used across Britain (and in fact the world) were made in Gorton, close to Manchester, it’s definitely in a fitting location.

Manchester museums

Buses at Museum of Transport by interbeat

People’s History Museum

The People’s History Museum in Manchester used to be known as the National Museum of Labour History and is an important national centre for looking at the history of working people. Its exhibitions look at home, work and leisure over the last couple of centuries along with some interesting temporary displays.

peoples history museum manchester

People’s History Museum by Neil T

Imperial War Museum (North)

The Imperial War Museums that you known from London also have a branch in Manchester, known as the Imperial War Museum North. It’s been running for a decade now in an amazing building designed by Daniel Libeskind.

Manchester museums

Imperial War Museum North by Bernt Rostad

Manchester Museum

Owned and housed by the University of Manchester, the Manchester Museum includes over six million artefacts in collections covering archaeology, botany, ethnology, geology and zoology. One of its star exhibits is a T-rex fossil named “Stan”, the second most complete tyrannosaurus ever excavated.

Manchester museums

Stan the T-rex by mahesh_f

Chinese Arts Centre

Set up in 1986 by British Chinese artists who felt they didn’t have a voice in modern Britain, the Chinese Arts Centre is a thriving art museum with changing exhibitions both from major artists and from emerging ones.

Manchester museums

Chinese Arts Centre by loscuadernosdejulia

Greater Manchester Police Museum

The Police Museum and Archives are a treasure trove of stories about Manchester’s past crimes and criminals, along with giving you an insight into life as a police officer over the past couple of centuries. It’s housed in the building which was one of Manchester’s earliest police stations.

Manchester museums

Police Museum cars by Firing up the quattro

Manchester Jewish Museum

Being the only Jewish museum outside of London, the Manchester Jewish Museum has quite a responsibility to pass on the stories of Jews in Manchester and how they’ve contributed to the development of the city. It’s housed in an old Spanish and Portuguese synagogue.

Manchester museums

Manchester Jewish Museum by EadaoinFlynn

Find the Best Deals on Manchester Hotels

Review of Days Hotel Manchester City

I stayed for three nights at the 3 star Days Hotel Manchester City when attending the Travel Bloggers Unite Conference in March 2011.  I searched for a hotel that was good value, located in the city centre, offered free internet connection and included breakfast in the rate. I found the Days Hotel Manchester City for £45 a night for a double room for 2 guests including English breakfast buffet on the HotelsCombined price comparison site.  I was delighted that the hotel offered free wired internet connection in the room and free wifi in the lobby.

Days Hotel Manchester City

Lobby at Days Hotel Manchester City

It took me around ten minutes to walk to the hotel from Manchester Piccadilly rail station. I received a very warm welcome from the receptionist who checked me in. The hotel is adjacent to student halls of residence. There was some external noise from the students but less than I generally experience in city centre hotels.

Days Hotel Manchester City

My double room at Days Hotels Manchester City

My room, classified as a city double, was beautifully furnished in a contemporary style. I loved the colours and the quality of the fittings.  There was good size power shower.  It was great to have a wired internet connection as hotel wifi is often unstable.  However it was very small for a double and I was quite glad I was staying there alone.

The breakfast buffet was very good, even including smoked salmon and trout. In fact for a 3 star hotel, the spread was as good as in some four star UK hotels.

In summary, I’d recommend the Days Hotel Manchester City for a budget yet quality, if a little cramped, accommodation in Manchester city centre with a very good breakfast and free internet connection.

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Tips for Things to Do in Manchester

Read our tips things to do in Manchester which I collated after asking readers for recommendations for the Manchester stop on my Summer 09 UK Blogging Tour.

Find the Lowest Prices at All Manchester Hotels

Click here to search for all hotels in Manchester using the HotelsCombined price comparison site. I’m a big fan of HotelsCombined and it’s my first port of call when searching for the lowest prices on my travels.

I’m on panel at Travel Bloggers Unite in Manchester, England: 26-27 March 2011


There’s a fab event for travel bloggers taking place in the UK this Spring.  Travel Bloggers Unite is hosting a conference in Manchester, England, over the weekend 26-27 March 2011.

What’s Included in Your Ticket

The Event venue is The Studio where there will be free wifi and unlimited FairTrade tea and coffee. There’ll be time and space for networking.

There will be several “How To” sessions covering diverse topics such as SEO, PR, affiliate marketing, podcasting and videos, all run by real experts in each field.

I’ll be on the discussion panel along with the following international bloggers:

  • Keith Jenkins (Netherlands) of Velvet Escape
  • Melvin Boecher (Germany) of Travel Dudes
  • Kash Bhattacharya (UK) of Europe Budget Guide
  • Matt Preston (UK) of Travel with a Mate

Visiting Manchester

Manchester is a really interesting city, I spent a couple of nights there during my UK Summer 09 Blogging  Tour. Here are some great tips on what to do and see in Manchester.

Manchester through the centuries

My Post TBU11 Analysis

After the event, I was left thinking “Where are Travel Bloggers Heading Beyond their Next Free Trip?”

Manchester Airport accommodation - Best Manchester Airport Hotels

The best Manchester Airport Hotels

If you’re looking for the best Manchester airport hotels, here are my picks, all are within two miles of the terminal building and receive guest ratings of at least 80% from verified guest reviews (the person leaving the review actually stayed there).  I checked prices for a one night stay in a double room on Wednesday 20th April 2011 (prices and airport shuttle details correct on 5 September 2010).  I’ve listed the hotels by proximity to the airport.

Best Manchester Airport hotels

Manchester Airport by Ingy the Wingy

Manchester Airport accommodation

The Radisson SAS is a two minute walk from the airport along the Skylink covered walkway which also has a conveyor.   There’s free wifi throughout the hotel.  It receives an average guest rating of 82% based on 470 reviews.  The price was £94 for room only.

Best Manchester Airport hotels

by Gene Hunt

The Crowne Plaza is just under one mile from the terminal.  There’s a complimentary 24 hour shuttle service to and from the airport.  The hotel receives an average guest rating of 80% from 461 reviews.  The price was £77 for room only.

Best Manchester Airport hotels

Bewley’s Hotel is located exactly one mile from the airport. The hotel offers a free 24 hour shuttle bus to the airport.  Free internet connection is available to guests.  It receives an average guest rating of 82% from 1042 reviews. The price was £64 for room only.

Best Manchester Airport hotels - Manchester Airport accommodation

The Hilton Hotel is also one mile from the airport with a free 24 hour airport shuttle bus. It receives an average guest rating of 84% from 238 reviews.  The price was £69 for room only.

Best Manchester Airport hotels

The Premier Inn Manchester Airport is 1.7 miles from the airport. A shuttle bus operated by the airport is available between 4am – midnight, an adult single costs £3 and an open return £5.  It receives an average guest rating of 86% based on 680 reviews.  The price was £39 for room only on the Premier Inn website.

Best Manchester Airport hotels

The Etrop Grange Hotel is 1.7 miles from the airport and offers 24 hour complimentary airport transfers. This Grade II listed mansion is the only non-chain hotel in the vicinity of the airport and each bedroom is individually decorated. There’s fee wifi throughout.  It receives an average guest rating of 86% from 81 reviews.  The price was £59 for room only.

Best Manchester Airport hotels

The Marriott just makes it into the 2 miles radius at 1.9 miles from the airport. The shuttle bus runs from 4.15am – 11pm with tickets costing £4 single or £6 return per adult, if there’s more than one passenger a taxi may be cheaper. It receives an average guest rating of 84% from 162 reviews.  With a price tag of £115 for room only, this was the most expensive Manchester Airport hotel in my search.

Manchester Airport accommodation

Manchester Airport Parking Options

Some hotels will also include parking for up to 15 days either in a fly-park room rate or on payment of a supplement.  This may be a cheaper option than arranging parking directly with a car park provider.  However, when comparing costs, remember to factor in any costs for getting to and from the terminal if transfers aren’t included in the hotel car parking rates, as transfers are generally included in the price quoted by car parks.  You can find the lowest prices for parking using the price comparison search box below.

Which is the best Manchester Airport hotel?

I’d probably just go for the cheapest option of the Premier Inn Manchester Airport at £39 for the room plus £10 for airport transfers for two people. Premier Inn also receives the joint highest guest rating of 86%, the same as Etop Grange Hotel, which at £59 for room only but offering free wifi and airport shuttle, would be my second choice.


Review of Radisson Edwardian Manchester

I stayed at the Radisson Edwardian Manchester for one night in February 2010 on a complimentary basis. I was there for a lastminute.com travel networking event so was planning to do live tweeting from the workshops. I had phoned the hotel prior to my arrival and been informed that there was free wifi throughout the hotel. However due to the patchy wifi signal which was coming and going, this proved to be nigh on impossible. I sighed and thought even a five star hotel can’t get their wifi sorted.

Lounge area at Radisson Edwardian Manchester

When I went to my room (719) I didn’t think it was that impressive, I’ve certainly stayed in other five star establishments which were fitted to a much higher standard. The first thing I did on entering the room was to switch on all the lights and shut the blind in order to take a video and photos of the room before unpacking. I was amazed that one of the large vertical slats of the blind was ripped from its based and hanging by a small strip of material. This meant it was almost impossible to shut the blind properly, so a fair amount of light could enter the room at daylight. I didn’t think this was acceptable for a five star hotel.

There were tea and coffee making facilities in the room but I thought that the selection of beverages could have been better for example include some cappuccino and drinking chocolate sachets and a couple of nice biscuits.

Room 719 Radisson Edwardian Manchester

I spotted a wired connection in the room and thought at least I’d be able to get a decent connection. Alas it was not to be as there was a charge to use the wired internet in conjunction with an entertainment package. I couldn’t get connected to wifi at all in my room. Now if a hotel can’t provide a serviceable wifi signal in a guest’s room, they really should provide a free wired connection.

My room looked out over the glass roof of the lobby so was very quiet with regard to road noise for a city centre location.

View from room 719 at Radisson Edwardian Manchester

I was surprised the lack of tissues in the room until I discovered that they were behind glass sliding doors above the sink next to the hairdryer. Not a very thoughtful position, as if you didn’t use the hairdryer, you’d never find the tissues.

Breakfast was excellent a varied and high quality selection of continental and cooked breakfast items. The staff in the Alto restaurant were exceptionally efficient and amicable.

The hotel is just off to St Peter’s Square, on the location of the Free Trade Hall of which only the frontage remains. It’s a ten minute walk from Manchester Oxford Road station. The hotel is close to Manchester Art Gallery and the Town Hall.

Check out time is 11am, in my opinion it should be noon, even Travelodge offer this later checkout time. If you’ve been out the night before and want to have a late breakfast there’s no way you’ll be ready to check out by 11am.

Overall I don’t think that the Raddison Edwardian Manchester deserves five stars based on the standard of fittings and facilities plus the lack of maintainence of my bedroom and a check out time of 11am. It’s ridiculous that their wifi is so bad and that they make guests pay for a wired internet connection.

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UK Travel Tips ‘n’ Tweets: What to do and see in Manchester

I requested tips on the blog and on Twitter about what to do and see on the Manchester stop of the Summer 09 UK Blogging Tour. Here are the tips I received to help you make the most of your visit to Manchester.

Manchester through the centuries

Manchester through the centuries


Paul Morris of the Chocolate Cafe recommends a trip to Ramsbottom which takes around one hour to reach from Manchester city centre by metro link and steam train As well as a visit to local Chocolate Cafe you have the award winning Ramsons restaurant, The Vineyard Wine Merchants and the East Lancs Railway.

Chocolate Cafe, Ramsbottom

The Chocolate Cafe, Ramsbottom

Creative Tourist have a couple of great guides you can download, full of ideas of what’s happening in Manchester. If you’re looking for a cheap, filling meal, This & That offer a “rice and three” where for under £5 you can have rice, nan and a choice of three curries (meat or veggie). The Manchester Craft and Design Centre, in a former Fish Market, houses artists, designers and photographers. You can purchase original artwork here and fortify yourself in their cafe.

Here’s a detailed intinerary for Manchester newbies put together by R J MacRae of Redbeard Travels. “Anytime I have guests new to the city I start at the Urbis then go around to the cathedral and its visitor centre, then past the old Shambles pubs (Sinclairs and the Wellington). Chethams School of Music is behind the gates across from Urbis, but I’m never sure when the medieval chained library inside is open to the public – you can ask at the booth though. Then go to St Annes church, popping inside the Royal Exchange along the way.

Urbis, Manchester

Urbis, Manchester

Head onto Deansgate (which is a mess at the mo due to roadworks) and down to the gorgeous Rylands Library which always has some interesting exhibits from its collections. Then through Brazennose Square past the statue of Abe Lincoln, popping into the ‘hidden gem’ Catholic chapel along the way which has some extravagant paintings for such a small building.

By now you can’t miss the Town Hall on Albert Square. During the day you’re free to call in for a closer look at the tiles and marble. Upstairs is a grand hall with pre-Raphaelite murals you should be able to see.

Around the corner from the Town Hall is both the city library (go upstairs to its domed reading room) and the city art gallery (worth an hour at least). Once you cover the highlights you might want to carry on past the art gallery into Chinatown, the gay village along Canal Street, then down Oxford Road towards the university where you’ll find the Manchester Museum (bones and stones, mainly) and Whitworth gallery (though the gallery may be shut as it was stripped bare during the International Festival last week).

Chinatown, Manchester

China Town, Manchester

That leaves Castlefield (some Roman ruins, canals, good pubs and the Museum of Science & Industry), Salford Quays (Lowry art gallery and Imperial War Museum, both stunning buildings on the waterfront) and the Northern Quarter (a bit like Soho – boutiques, bakeries, grungy pubs, wine bars, jazz clubs, sex shops, all sorts).”

Forever Manchester Blog writer, Chris Norwood, recommends Manchester Museum as being particularly interesting because it was designed in a Darwinian style (promoting study rather than reverence) and it currently has a hermit living in the tower. It is also right next to the site of two world-changing events, the splitting of the atom in 1919 and the construction of the first computer in 1948.

Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum by sam moorehouse

Susie Stubbs of Travels with my Baby urges a visit the Cup in the Northern Quarter, which she describes as “very sweet, quirky and very Manchester”.

Michael Herbert recommends that anyone coming to Manchester who wants to know more about the city’s radical working class history should not leave without visiting the Working Class Movement Library which houses archives and a library. They have permanent displays on events and movements over the past 200 years such as Peterloo, the Chartists, suffragettes,General strike, the spanish civil war and much else besides. They welcome visitors. You can also find out more about Manchester’s history on the new Radical Manchester website.

Working Class Movement Library, Manchester

Working Class Movement Library

More Tips for Things to Do in England

We’ve plenty of travel tips for what to do in England, outside London.


Manchester stop on the Europe a la Carte Summer 09 UK Blogging Tour

I was in Manchester from 26 – 28 July during the Summer 09 UK Blogging Tour. I arrived on the flight from Newquay at 23:00 and headed stright for my hotel, the Manchester Abode.

Madchester pavement sculpture, Northern Quarter

Madchester pavement sculpture, Northern Quarter

I met up with tour guide Chris Norwood the next morning. He’d put together a “Manchester Off the Beaten Track” walking tour for me. We explored Ancoats, a former industrial area which is currently being regenerated, then it was onto the Northern Quarter where we admired some pavement scupltures, had a quick look at the Arts and Crafts Centre and then had lunch at the Odd Bar.

In the afternoon, the Urbis Centre arranged for me to have a Combination Tour – as they offer so many interesting tours, it was impossible for me to choose just one! My tour included Corporation Street Post Box, Royal Exchange Theatre, St. Ann’s Square, No 1. Deansgate, Triangle, Lincoln Square and Chetham’s Library.

Urbis, Manchester

Urbis, Manchester

Carolyn Hughes, author of Manchester is Ace, met up with me on the evening of Monday 27 July. We went to Chinatown and ate at Fu’s Restaurant in Faulkener Street. I had noddles with prawns and whilst the prawns were large and juicy, the noddles were rather hard as if they had dried out from sitting around for too long after cooking. Carolyn’s pork curry was very tasty.

Chinatown, Manchester

Chinatown, Manchester

On the morning of 28 July I was back in the Northern Quarter at the Pop Boutique and Mod Pop Cafe, where you can indulge your retro passions in clothes and be transported back to the Swinging Sixties in the vegan cafe.

My final appointment in Manchester was for lunch of local/eco sandwiches and cake with Susie Stubbs of Travels with my baby at the Cup in the Northern Quarter. While I was waiting for Susie I bumped into local poet Carol Batton, who composed a short poem for the Summer 09 UK Blogging Tour, followed by a video interview. After lunch Susie also did a video interview with me. Then it was time to head to the airport for my flight to Belfast.

I found Manchester fascinating and could have easily spent another few days there. I didn’t even have the opportunity to try a rice and three (curries) in the Northern Quarter or visit any museums or galleries.


My Urbis Manchester tour

Urbis responded to my call for volunteer guides for the Manchester stop of the Summer 09 UK Blogging Tour by offering to take me on one of their walking tours. However so many of their guided tours sounded really interesting and it was too hard to select only one. Therefore Urbis put together a Combination Tour for me, encompassing elements of the Architecture, Radical City, Medieval Manchester and After the Cloud tours.

I met up with Lisa Burke, my guide for the tour at the Urbis Exhibition Centre itself a pretty impressive looking building. Below are some highlights of my tour.

Urbis, Manchester

Urbis Exhibition Centre, Manchester

Lincoln Square, where the statue of the American president commemorates Manchester’s stand against slavery.

Lincoln Square, Manchester

Lincoln Square, Manchester by arenamontanus

The Barton Arcade is a Victorian construction of cast iron and glass where a growing number of independent retailers are setting up shop.

Barton  Arcade, Manchester

Barton Arcade, Manchester by chevy

Lincoln Square, ManchesterThe hyperbolic paraboloid pedestrian tunnel between the Arndale Centre and Marks & Spencer was completed in 1999 after the IRA bomb in Manchester. One of its main features seems to be collecting rubbish along its base. Many locals experience more affinity with a sturdy red post box, under the tunnel, which withstood the bomb blast.

Footrbridge, Corporation Street, Manchester

Corporation St pedestrian tunnel, Manchester by ministry

Chetham’s Library, one of Frederick Engels favourite Manchester haunts, is the oldest public library in English speaking world.

Chethams Library, Manchester

Chethams Library, Manchester by terry6082books

I really like the photo I took from outside Manchester Cathedral which portrays Manchester through the centuries. You can see the Tudor style pub, the Victorian dome, the 1960s tower block and the Big Wheel.

Manchester through the centuries

Manchester through the centuries

Thanks to Lisa and Urbis for a very interesting Combination Tour. You can choose from a wide choice of Urbis guided tours, costing from £3, including a 60s Magical Music Tour, Suffragette City, Northern Quarter and a Tavern Tour.