Day trip to Manchester
Manchester has so much to offer visiting tourists, both foreign and locals alike, that it would be difficult to maximize your visit to the city without a planned itinerary. The following suggests two possible tour itineraries to get the most out of your Manchester sojourn.
1. The Shopping & Culture Tour
After a hearty breakfast, hop on the Metrolink and head to The Lowry for its latest cultural exhibition. Beginning the day with beauty and splendour will put you in the right mood for the rest of the tour. While you’re at the art gallery, check out the original paintings of LS Lowry as well as the other great works by the masters.
Time flies quickly at The Lowry and before you know it, it’s time for lunch. There’s a delightful café and restaurant within The Lowry itself, but since your aim is to see as much of the city as you can, we recommend the city centre for lunch. There are many restaurants, café bars and coffee shops to suit every taste and budget. Starbucks on Deansgate provides a ready-to-eat meal American style. If you prefer lunch at a leisurely pace and with live jazz music in the background, head to the Grinch bar. Vegetarians will love the Earth café at the ground level of the Manchester Buddhist Centre.
After lunch, shopping is next on the agenda. Be forewarned: it is impossible to visit all of Manchester’s prime shopping venues in a single day, so don’t try. The best strategy is to know what you want before you set out, but we all know that’s not how it works, especially for impulse shoppers. For inexpensive and affordable gifts, clothes and records, head to Afflecks Palace and The Coliseum in the Northern Quarter. For more mainstream purchases, go to Top Shop, Next, Virgin and Dolcis in the Arndale Center and on Market Street, just around the corner from the Northern Quarter. Boots on Market Street is ideal for toiletries as they have the broadest selection of toiletries in all of Europe.
If you’re looking for something to wear or a special gift, there are three places you should not miss: The Triangle, for designer clothes and beauty shops such as Giant and Molton Brown; the St. Ann’s/Kings Street district, for high-end fashion houses such as Kookai, Emporio Armani and Habitat; and Kendals, for top-quality clothes, food, cosmetics and electronic items.
By the time you finish shopping, it will probably be nearly night time, the perfect time to show off those new clothes to the world. There are many exciting entertainment and dining options available at Manchester. Check some of my other articles for more details.
2. The Family Day Out Tour
As a city with a huge student population, Manchester has many places that can provide a fun and educational experience. If you’re starting at the city centre, begin the day by taking a bus to Oxford Road, venue of the Manchester Museum, which features free guided tours and an insightful Egyptology exhibit.
From there, take another bus to Piccadilly Gardens and go to the Museum of Science and Industry on Liverpool Street at the top of Deansgate. The fully interactive museum allows you to play innovative educational games, strap into a flight simulator and vicariously soar through the sky and virtually travel back in time a century ago to see what Manchester was like in the olden days. There is always something new here that’s worth a try.
For lunch, cross Liverpool Street to Castlefield Arena and enter Dukes 92 on Castle Street, an exotic pub with sumptuous cuisine that caters for adults and children, providing high chairs and baby changing facilities. You can watch the barges go by on the river from here and may want to consider a cruise down the canal after lunch. Castlefield Canal Cruises offer just such a tour during Sundays. On weekdays, take the tram from Castlefield to Heaton Park and relax in the lush parklands or travel around the grounds on the mini-train.
Before you know it, it’s dinner time. From Heaton Park, take the tram to Piccadilly Gardens, stroll up Mosley Street to Chinatown and treat the family to dinner at the famed Yang Sing, home of some of the best Chinese food in the city. If you’re in the mood for a spicy Indian meal, head to the middle section of Wilmslow Road in Rusholme. Don’t worry about the children’s palates because even the curries can be served as mild as you prefer. You, on the other hand, can feel free to sample native Indian delights like the madras, bhuna, vindaloo and jalfrezi. If it’s pizza that your children desire, then the child-friendly Italian place of choice is Est Est Est in Ridgefield for pasta of the highest standard.