The Good, the Bad & the Bleh of Manchester.


Since I gave London it’s proper hype (which it undoubtedly deserved — it’s amazing!) I thought I’d give Manchester it’s props, too! We spent three out seven days in Manchester, so we definitely got a good feel for our little home away from home. Now, let me preface this with the fact that I was leaning towards the University of Manchester as my home for next year primarily because Chris (my boyfriend) is a massive Manchester United fan and the “northern charm” that I’ve heard about incessantly seemed to make it a nice fit.

Our visit was charming enough, but the city didn’t seem to grab me in the same way that Bristol did.
Now, our hotel, The Thistle, was very cute. Definitely a great value for your money on the whole although the internet charges (£5 per hour?!) bummed me out a little; not being able to keep up with the world for three days was more than a little annoying. {Note: this wasn’t only at this hotel — internet doesn’t seem to be a standard hotel amenity in England which is a little saddening… hopefully they’ll catch up soon!} The restaurant that’s a part of the hotel is also not worth the money. We didn’t eat there, mind you, but as a tourist it was on the pricier  side and lacked the real British experience that we were looking for; it’s like eating at the grill inside a Best Western.

We did, however find an eatery that we lovedBella Italia on Piccadilly. The service was FANTASTIC (our waitress was the cutest!), the place was reasonably priced (£25 for both of us including dessert & a drink) and the food was delish! The vegetarian risotto is top-notch and the tiramisu/mascarpone/berry-laden dessert was beyond amazing. The only downside for us was that it was Italian (we didn’t think it was very British of us to be at an Italian restaurant) and that it was romantic. The romantic part could work to your advantage if that’s what you’re looking for — it’s darling — but it was a tad weird for a dad/daughter dinner. We put the candle on another table and all was cured.

An eatery/pub that we didn’t love so much? The Old Monkey. It wasn’t awful, but after finding out that they didn’t have what I wanted (on their already limited list of pub grub) the food that I did get was mediocre (as was my dad’s). The Cider was good, but I’m sure you could get that anywhere. Skip it. Not worth the little money that it cost.

***

Now, as for sights, on behalf of my father I have to give the Manchester Museum it’s proper due. We loved it for a few reasons.

  1. It’s free! Who doesn’t love free? It’s part of the university so it cost us £0 to meander through there!
  2. The exhibits were amazing. They have new exhibits all the time, but their Egyptian, Mediterranean and Prehistoric sections were awe-inspiring. They had genuine mummies and told the stories of these people that lived thousands of years ago and they had a full T-Rex skeleton on display.
  3. It’s part of the University. This was kind of cool because a) it made the museum free for visitors, and b) donations go to help strengthen the university’s exhibit.

    The Manchester Cathedral also has to get it’s fair notice. This was the first cathedral that my dad and I got to see so we were just amazed at the architecture, the stained glass, the history (built in 1421!) and the story-telling staff. Our friend, Joyce, who we met at the Cathedral told us stories about how it came to be and all of the amazing things that had happened there. Definitely worth a visit. Again, this place is free and it’s walking distance from Piccadilly Station!

    ***

    ** Also, just as a side note, if you have time to kill in Manchester, take the train over to the city of Chester. My dad and I spent a day there and it’s the cutest thing ever. It’s a medieval town with buildings (built in the 1100s and 1200s) that have been converted to modern-day shops. Definitely worth seeing!

For anyone that’s been to Manchester– are there any other places that are worth seeing? Any restaurants worth a visit? Spread the word <3.

Manchester University

Manchester University

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One response to this post.

  1. […] in an instant messaging capacity. While I was in England this past February visiting London and Manchester, I was actually able to use Skype as a phone service to talk with my sister and Chris while […]

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