Let’s get our bearings, shall we?
Manchester is about 200 miles north of London and just an hour drive away from the coast of the Irish Sea. Less than an hour to the west is Liverpool, birthplace of The Beatles and home to the Liverpool Football Club.
Manchester is an old city and got it’s start as a Roman fort, which parts of have been preserved in an area of the city called Castlefield…
|A view of old and new in Castlefield|
|Duke’s 92 canalside terrace|
…and enjoy some amazing cheese & meat platters.
|Bread, hummus, cheese & beef – doesn’t get much better than that.|
With the bars, restaurants, loft apartments and green spaces Castlefield is just one example of Manchester’s efforts to redefine itself. The city was built on the back of manufacturing and shipping which went into decline during the 1960’s. During the ’90’s the city endured terrorist bombings, both in 1992 and 1996, causing injuries and significant damage to the town center. Reinvestment after these tragic events helped rebuild the heart of the city with mixed residential, dining and shopping areas frequented by tourists and locals. The city views are a mix of old and new and evidence of Manchester’s commitment to it’s history and it’s progress over the last 20 years.
The Spinningfields, an area comprised of high-end retail stores, restaurants and urban outdoor space, is another example of Manchester’s reinvestment in itself. We spent an entire afternoon at The Oast House, enjoying the sun…
|Mancunians enjoying a sunny Friday afternoon|
and some tasty bites…
|Prosciutto, cheese & some Greek salad|
The Spinningfields spans from the river…
|Rowers on the River Irwell|
…to the John Rylands Library.
Speaking of which, is definitely worth a walk-through.
They don’t build ’em like this anymore…
|The library was opened in 1900|
Manchester respects it’s history, especially when it comes to local pubs. One of our first stops, on a cold and rainy afternoon, was at The Old Wellington Inn. It was built in 1552 and has moved, not just once, but twice (!) from it’s original location. The first time in order to make room for a new development and the second after the ’96 bombing.
“The Old Wellie”, as locals call it, sits next to Sinclair’s Oyster Bar and offers up a menu of traditional British fare.
|The Old Wellington Inn to the left of Sinclair’s Oyster House|
The cold and rain offered the perfect opportunity for mac and cheese topped off with a piece of English bacon (generously shared by my dining companion)…
On warmer days the outside communal tables fill up with people enjoying
traditional British ales.
This was a visit of many firsts – the first time I met Steve’s friends and family, the first time I tried English bacon, and, after our visit to Mr. Thomas’s Chop House, my first experience eating corned beef hash…
|Welcome to Mr. Thomas’s Chop House|
|Take a seat|
We visited twice during our time in Manchester – first for dinner with some friends in the restaurant and then a few nights later met some other friends for drinks at the outside tables.
For dinner we arrived late in the evening, so we were able to get a table right away…
|Inside Mr. Thomas’s Chop House|
…and I ordered the corned beef hash, which was by far the best thing I ate while visiting Manchester. Served with sauteed potatoes, creamed onions and a poached egg it’s sort of what I expect heaven to be – warm, comforting and soul-satisfying.
|The picture does not do this dish justice – it was so tasty and amazing!|
These are just the highlights of our few days in Manchester and doesn’t include our visit to Cloud 23 offering nighttime views of the city, our late night dance break at Fab Cafe, and drinks at Mojo. It was a whirlwind four days and we departed the city happy and a little hungover – sure signs of a great visit!
|Steve and I outside the Fab Cafe at 3 am|
Manchester was just the start of the trip — next up? Our time in The Lake District, so stay tuned!