My first day in the city of Manchester was a little bit of an emotional rollercoaster. The deflating Indoor Skydiving experience, my awe and wonder at Trafford Centre’s aesthetics and my educational and surreal time at the National Football Museum. Manchester gave a lot to me!
Started off my Sunday with a cup of tea, morning exercise (cos I’m fit like that!) and then checked out of my accommodation (hate those early check out times). Went to get a quick bite at Subway in Manchester Piccadilly and then the world was my oyster!
So what did Johnny get up to in Manchester for his final day? Keep reading on…
The first attraction on the agenda for day 2 was the Etihad Stadium. It is home to Manchester City Football Club and is obviously where their home games are played throughout the Football season, replacing their former ground on Maine Road in 2003.
It’s been the place of many unforgettable, glorious moments in Football. The place of many Manchester derby wins over United and that 93rd min Sergio AGUEROOOOOO title winner in 2012 that’ll forever be steeped in Premier League folklore. Along with the other times City fans have watched their club lift the Premier League trophy in glory.
The stadium has a seating capacity 55,000. A big stadium but some way short of Old Trafford’s odd 75,000 seats and is notably quieter than their rival’s ground outside of their ground.
I envy Man City a lot as an Arsenal fan: In terms of their recent achievements, the style of football they play and superior players and squad depth. It’s easy to throw the “oil money” term or reason implying them financially doping at them to explain their success but the way they’ve used that investment to postively impact their local community and other aspects of the club – including their academy, and women’s football team, is admirable when realised. It’s clear they put in place a long-term project and they’re now reaping the rewards.
Stadium tours cost as little as £25 per individual adults. Their fanstore is also located opposite to the ground, along with a train station.
Old Trafford Stadium
It wouldn’t have been a successful trip to Manchester without a stroll around the iconic Old Trafford, one of the most renowned sports venues in the world. It is undoubtedly the biggest stadium in the UK with an aforementioned 75,000 seating capacity.
More tourists there than at Etihad, whether they were football fans or not. It made me realise more how big of a Football Club Man United was – their sacred history and success such a massive attraction and the recent triumphs their neighbours have had doesn’t dent that one bit. It transcends Football itself. One feature of the stadium that really stood out to me was their memorial Munich tunnel – a tribute to the lives lost in the 1958 Munich Air Disaster and the remarkable recovery the club made.
Like with many Football stadiums, there’s free access to their stadium megastore with various vintage and present day club merchandise being sold. You’re also looking at paying £25 for the stadium and museum tours.
Obviously I had to turn up in my Arsenal shirt to see those awkward faces lool! But with little care in the world.
Piccadilly Gardens is somewhere difficult to miss if you’re every in need of something!
The picture-esque green space is literally the centre of everything in Manchester: hosting a lot of music and cultural events, street performances are done here and is conveniently situated near hotels, train and bus stations. The waterfall in the middle of the gardens is very eye-catching. You’ll also find a street food market with a wide range of cuisines to get your appetite up.
You can almost say its Manchester’s Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus itself the way brings together different vibes, businesses and individuals.
Rating out of 10 (attractions from both days included): 8.5 out of 10
If you’re looking for some quality food and drink at a budget, don’t dismiss Archie’s like I nearly did. You can think of it as Nandos + Creams Ice Cream Parlour combined.
With regards to what I got I munched on a classic peri-peri grilled chicken burger with french fries, a Diet Coke soft drink and large Oreo milkshake. All for £10.50.
Archie’s – I know you’ve got Northern England and the Midlands secured – but you’re welcome to land anywhere in London as soon as possible. Preferably somewhere called Stratford too 😉 But I don’t mind at all.
Rating out of 10 (all food from both days included): 8/10
The go-to transport for me were the MetroLink trams. They came frequently and often on time, had Wifi, which if you’ve read enough of my blogs is a big plus for me. Nothing more I could ask for really.
I also rode on the buses, which were a mixed bag to be honest. the service was fairly good during the day but night time service can be dodgy. The buses on Saturday night i was there for were abysmal. Maybe they were fewer buses running but buses that were meant to turn up at a specific time were either no shows or arrived late. My hands were literally gonna turn to icicles at one point and I was doubting whether I was gonna make it home.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the transport fees either. I paid £7.30 for the Bus and Tram day ticket on the first day and the Bus day ticket for £5.80. Compared to London the bus day ticket is slightly more expensive but the bus and tram day ticket is cheaper than London’s travelcard equivalent. If you’re a Londoner you’re better off going for the bus and tram ticket to get
Although there are free bus service that run in town. But by the time I found out I had already bought my bus ticket so bitter sweet but good to know if I’m revisiting!
Rating out of 10: 5.5 out of 10
Fun fact: You can get to Liverpool via a straight national rail train in 45 mins. Leeds only just over an hour away via a straight train too.
The friendliness of the people in the North is something i always rave about when I talk about most Londoner’s doom and gloomy everyday vibe. Although beyond the employees I interacted with at tourist attractions and bars and restaurants which were receptive and positive, I didn’t get that interpersonal experience with Mancunians I hoped for.
This is perhaps mostly because it didn’t stay in shared accomodation as usual, or engaged in vety social activities such as walking tours, bar crawls etc. Plus I’m only there for a weekend so it’s hard to, and would be unfair, to judge a group of people based on what I’ve seen over a weekend.
A positive is that I didn’t feel out of place or looked down upon by the people there unlike in Naples. Manchester being more diverse than Naples was probably helped to an extent too.
Also a Mancunian did an entire itinerary for me when they knew I was visiting their city so that’s definitely points to Mancunians for that alone, and another one was great company when I was in Edinburgh ironically
Rating out of 10: 7.5 out of 10
That’s all. Overall Manchester: spoiled with high street shops, multi-cultural and easy to get around with a reliable ciry tram service and buses too.
If you’re a passionate football fan then it’s definitely worth a visit as for me it’s a home for Football. Outside of Football feel like there’s more of Manchester I’d like to see and will jump at the chance if given to me.
Which leads on to this…. which other great attractions are there in Manchester that’s worth seeing? Have you been to Manchester yourself?
Also special shoutout to Anna from PenniesToPounds. My whole Manchester itinerary was basically done by her for me! Hella impressive isn’t it! Anyway a link to her blog is here. If you want easy food recipes then she’s gotcha covered!
Catch up on my day 1 excursions here. Otherwise – stay tuned 😉
Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures