For the 2nd time this year I took a trip up to the northern part of the UK and this time my travel bug took me over to Manchester.
I can say Manchester is very metropolitan and diverse. Coming from a city like London that’s greater in population, I still felt like I was spoiled with many shopping centres and retail parks, particularly in the Green Quarter or Northern Quarter. But at the same time the city’s very open to the point where there’s green spaces where people can casually have a break or have a picnic with close ones. It’s very urban – with a dose of leisure and nature to it
A lot more people from different backgrounds and races than I had expected. For example you have Chinatown in the heart of the city, then not far from there you have a Gay Village, providing a nice, safe hub for the LGBTQ community to be in. Also an institute for deaf people. Manchester – visibly not leaving a stone unturned on the inclusion side of things.
Manchester Art Gallery
Now the first attraction I visited was the Manchester Art Gallery. Exhibitions, collections and galleries from artists depicting the history of Western Europe across many decades and eras. You’ll find no shortage of admirable art, especially the well-crafted and detailed marbled sculptures and carvings the galleries on the ground floor. Even on the narrow balconies and staircases there’s self-portraits and portraits that visitors can walk pass and see.
All visitors get free entry to the gallery. Opening hours are between 10am-5pm Tuesday to Friday and 11am-5pm on Mondays. If you’re looking for an extra activity to fill the time then the gallery is worth considering.
National Football Museum
Taking the tram and I reached the National Football Museum. Let me tell you guys – it was f****** lit from the moment I stepped foot onto the custommade astroturf.
Football fans get to explore and immerse themselves in everything that is Football. The museum had exhibitions and collections from vintage football kits and trophy replicas to Football’s most significant events and political and social issues that surround the game to this day.
There’s interactive mini games and experiences too: penalty shootouts, one-two touch games, pretend to be a match commentator, football quizzes and also a chance to take a pic of the Premier League and FA Cup trophy replicas. As you see below I led Arsenal to a cup double glory (I wish – and us Arsenal fans could do with them doing a cup double sometime soon).
As a big Football fan myself I may be a bit biased but it is hands down best museum I’ve been to in all my time travelling. I felt it didn’t fail in any areas and was very inclusive and respectful. With it being the biggest football exhibition of its kind in the world, Manchester may very well stake a claim of being the home of the beautiful game.
Admission is £10 for adults and but free of charge if you’re a City of Manchester resident. Open 10am-5pm every day.
IFly Indoor Skydiving Experience
Indoor Skydiving has been on my 2019 bucket list so when I found out thst they had a skydiving centre around in Manchester I had to jump at the opportunity to out another tick on my list.
Before briefing I was preeing the others there before me and I had never come across anything like it before. The demonstrations the instructors were doing were unbelievable. The acrobats, stunts and sheer fun they seemed to be having got me so upbeat for skydiving. Couldn’t wait! Unfortunately that was as good as it got from there on out.
I myself loved the sensation – the feeling of defying gravity for a few minutes but I couldn’t go higher up cos the instructor felt it wasn’t safe enough for me with the way. Everyone else in the group I was in could go higher cos they simply grasped the technique better and quicker than myself. Even the kids that were there! The kids!
I take the smallest disappointments to heart. My mood kinda went left. I felt disappointed in myself and reminded me of **** that I’ve gone through in the past. Yes, indoor skydiving is something I haven’t done before and it’s easier said than fone but I personally process things differently to everyone.
The staff and instructors there were really helpful, sociable and knew their stuff. Shoutout to them, but I left the centre feeling that my first indoor skydiving experience felt incomplete and s*** cos of my poor technique. All that buildup, hype and money earned from paid blogging opportunities not yielding a complete experience is a massive disappointment in my opinion.
Trafford Shopping Centre
Calling all you Shopholics to the Trafford Shopping Centre, just 20-30 mins away from the city via bus. This is where you wanna be!
It’s owned by the iIntu, which owns the Lakeside Shopping Centre near where I live. HUGE! Utterly stomps the the one in Lakeside in terms of size. If you call Trafford Centre just a shopping mall that’s a fat fat understatement. It’s a shopping PALACE! You just have to check out their food court itself.
The centre’s almost got all the shops and entertainment venues for both adults and kids you could think of. H&M? Yes! Zara? Yes! Selfridges? Yes! Legoland? Yes! A Cinema? Yassss! You get my point. The architecture, especially the long indoor walking bridges and domes are worthy looking at alone. Big credit to the designers and architects by the way!
My excursion through Trafford shopping centre took me to the food court, which was mega! For food bloggers it was like going to heaven! Though the effort to find a restaurant with minimal cues on a Saturday night was a struggle! The locked in a Full-Nelson wrestling move kind of struggle. Trust me! Nandos? Long cue. Haute Dolci? Long cue. TGI Fridays? You guessed it – long cue! I literally brisked walked around one level of the food court probably three times.
P.S. Check Out Haute Dolci.
Image Credit: Intu
After my long pursuit to cure my hunger I settled for a recommendation of mine in Pesto.
I got myself 3 dishes cos the dishes were said to be small. As usual I had a hard time deciding what to get (which is a good thing?) but ended up going with an Arancini, a 6″ pepperoni pizza slice and peri-peri chicken wings. Cost me over £12 altogether.
It was when the waiter served my dishes I then realised how tiny the dish portions really were. My mum who cooks humongous pots of jollof rice every fortnight would’ve been ashamed if she saw this. In fairness to the restaurant they did mention it to me and on the menu as a pre-warning so nothing was held against them.
The food itself was really good and surprisingly filling – though I have to say. The Arancini was softer than I expected but never lacked in the mozzarella taste. For me when I love a batch of wings I can eat every single piece of meat and marinade off the bones and Pesto proper gave that to me. Fair play to them!
My place of accommodation was the Queens Guesthouse. This was I booked last minute as my family friendand I booked somewhere else to stay with mediocre reviews I didn’t have high expectations for it.
To get access to your room’s keys and therefore your room you’re sent an email with a code that’ll you need to enter next to the door. Maybe there’s been security issues in the past but I personally just think it’s a little too excessive.
Also the Exterior didn’t look pretty. Plus check-in times were only between 4-8pm. Quite a narrow window and it can be an inconvenience for those arriving earlier or later than those times. Not mant people were around and at times it felt like I was low-key staying in a haunted house.
Any positives? There are. Room was quite spacious for the type of accommodation it was – sink, single bed, wardrobe, mug, tea bags, milk and coffee provided for morning breakfast. All basics were covered.
It’s one of those accommodation experiences that’s like “meh” – where you get what you paid for. As long as you’re staying there for a night or two it’s servicable. Neither outstanding nor sub-par – just servicable.
It was a very decent first day strolling around with the Mancunians, mixed with a few disappointing experiences. Maybe I was a bit of a debbie downer in this post but I’m keeping it real and calling it as it was.
Day 2, the final day of my trip, will be dropping tomorrow if not the day after next. Leave your comments on what you think of the trip thus far!
Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures