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Manchester in General
Member Name: saramac
Manchester in General
Date: 15/08/09, updated on 16/08/09 (138 review reads)
Advantages: Lots to see and do
Disadvantages: Temptation to spend too much money
I was born and grew up in a little known place called Irlam, strange name I know and if I had a penny for every time I was asked"wheres that?" I would surely be rich by now.
Well, it's in Lancashire approx seven miles from Manchester, the inhabitants of Irlam are split into two groups the rugby lovers who tend to have Warrington as their chosen capital and the footie lovers who choose Manchester, I am of the latter group and of the "red" side of town as oppose to the richer blue side of town.
Thought I would enlighten you a little on the delights of our fair city, Manchester.
Manchester is the third largest city after London and Birmingham and is located in the North West.
The city centre is easily accessible by car, bus, tram, train and National Express Coaches. I tend to travel by tram as when they are working they are a fabulous if a tad pricey form of transport and by the time you have found a parking space and paid the extortionate parking fees it probably works out cheaper by tram. I also find tram travel doesn't "drain" me like car and bus travel does as I suffer with very severe M.E.
Unless you have been a cave dweller for the last *! years most of you will probably know Manchester has a varied and vibrant music scene and has produced some very famous bands~
The Stone Roses
The Happy Mondays
Oasis~(not always the best advert for the behaviour of Mancs, I will say no more)
10CC~ three of them came from Manchester.
To name but a few.
Music venues are The Manchester Evening News Arena(MEN), The Apollos still going strong and of course The City Of Manchester Stadium home of Manchester City and Old Trafford has hosted a couple of concerts the last few years and of course Old Trafford Cricket Ground is always a popular venue.
The Bridgewater Hall boasts a fabulous venue for classical and jazz music and also proves very popular for "Speech Nights" for the grammer schools and "Graduation Ceremonies".
It's also the home of three orchestras, one being The Halle.
It's constructed on "large springs" so the building moves slightly, this is to enhance the acoustics, and protect the sounds from outside noise , if you wish to read more take a look at www.bridgewater-hall.co.uk
The club scene adds a vibrant side to the city with of course the famous or infamous Hacienda. My best friends family owned a club approx 6 doors down from the Hac so we benefitted from the overspill of their customers who couldn't gain entry and we also got friendly with the bouncers and were able to nip in every now and then. Simply Red actually played at our club in their very early days and had to pay us as the attendance was so low.
The good old Ritz deserves a mention with its famous "grab a granny nights" yes I know, enough said on that one.
The club scene has changed now offering a new choice especially because of the highly over paid footballers wanting to splash their cash and we host more "up market" clubs ie Ithaca, The Circle Club and Panacea.
The more "cool" area Im reliably informed is The Northern Quarter.
We have all the big hotels~ The Midland, The Hilton housed in the Beethan Tower, not the most elegant structure in my opinion. The Radisson Edwardian (got a family wedding to attend in Nov~ expect a review), The Malmaison, along with the compulsory Travel Lodges.
There are numerous art galleries and museums~ Museum of Science and Industry, The Manchester Museum attached to the University. The Manchester Historic Association will give you more information if you need it, www.manchesterhistoric.org.
The Town Hall in Albert Square draws alot of visitors and hosts a large amount of weddings and special dinners, infact Im attending a family wedding there in Nov and when we had a tour round, it's fabulous, like something out of Harry Potter I thought.
Central Library is a feature in St Peters Square as it's a round building which houses a library and an excellent theatre underneath aptly named The Library Theatre.
We also have The Royal Exchange Theatre (my favourite) it's located in the beautiful Great Exchange Hall (I feel a review coming on for later).
The unique design I feel adds to the whole theatrical experience as it's a seven sided, structure with glass walls, suspended from huge marble pillars, if you can picture a large space capsule on legs, thats what it looks like. The circular stage is in the centre so where ever you sit you are less than nine metres from the stage this makes you feel part of the performance and you miss nothing.
The only draw back is when there's a performance on if a mouse so much as sneezes in the great hall the sound reverbarates around the whole building and theatre, that said the acoustics are fabulous as long as all present mices are gagged.
We also have The Palace and The Majestic in Manchesters Theatre Land.
As you would expect we have a massive choice of restaurants offering every cuisine you can think of and probably some you wouldn't dream of~
Choice Bar and Grill
We also have the draw of China Town and if you crave a curry just outside in the Rusholme area we have "curry heaven", Indian restaurant after Indian restaurant as far as the eye can see.
Shopping has defined areas~
King Street offers an abundance of Designer shops such as~
Red or Dead
Boodle & Dunthorne Ltd
We are now proud to host Harvey Nichols and Selfridges (about time if you ask me) in Exchange Square another more upmarket choice of shops which leads to the nearby Triangle, a small shopping complex housing the likes of~
The new and much improved Arndale Centre offers a large food court with all the usual fast food outlets and a massive range of shops from
Holland and Barrett
Far too many more to mention but if you wish to know more~ www.manchesterarndale.com should help.
We also have Market Street, Deansgate and St Annes Square all with a variety of shops, coffee shops and restaurants, bars etc for your perusal.
The Big Wheel has also become an almost permanent fixture and never fails to delight young and old alike with its amazing views from the top extending far and wide.
Manchester changed as a city 13 years ago when the bomb went off on a busy Saturday in May, as I sat nursing my brand new baby son ( a couple of weeks old) the devastating news filtered through and I remember the panic on my midwifes face as she said her daughter was in the city centre.....
After using our phone Im glad to report the old teenage can't get out of bed syndrome had struck and her daughter was still thankfully tucked up in bed.
The bomb certainly stirred things up in Manchester and as usual "good has come from bad" in that our city is much improved in areas that really did need improving a drastic way to make changes I know, but we didn't really have much choice, at least it lead to something positive and of course it helps that no one lost their life amazingly.
I know I have a strong connection to my city as Ive worked there 3 times in my life, infact the first being my first ever job, now thats special and my did I feel grown up, trotting off to work in the city.
In later years I ran a pub, a proper pub, I could tell you some tales from that place, so again I got a completely different view of Manchester and the people who live, work and visit there. In fact I met my other half in my pub, breaking my golden rule of not dating customers, but it's lead to 2 gorgeous children so I suppose it was a rule to break.
My last job within the city was in a health food store in the Arndale which offered the delights of chasing shoplifters, weaving through the heaving masses of shoppers on a busy Saturday, all good fun! We caught quite a few and got the goods back.
The last part of my review shares with you my favourite events, The Christmas Markets.
Albert Square and St Annes Square are transformed into an Alpine resort with small log cabins offering a multitude of gifts from all over the world including food and drink the only thing missing is some snow, now that would really complete the picture for me.
The markets started on a very small scale a good few ago with a German Market now it's snowballed(ha ha) and it has spread further around the city to Exchange Square and Piccadilly and Brazennose Street and is a European Market.
In fact you have to book at least a year in advance if you want a stall and at weekends we have the addition of British stalls, sooo much is on offer you could probably do almost all your Christmas shopping from these stalls.
It transforms the city into a buzzing happy mass of shoppers and workers alike eating, drinking, chatting and warming to the glow that Christmas tends to bring. The twinkling coloured lights amidst the cold frosty air of a December evening really is a sight to behold and it gives the air of an experience shared between all that attend, strangers or friends, it some how doesn't matter, there's none of the usual rudeness, pushing and shoving, everyone seems to take a step back and chill. I wonder if they pump something into the air or if it's just good old Christmas Magic.
The markets have proved so popular we have them throughout the year now, one in May and one in August to name a couple, they are not on the grand scale of the Christmas ones but they are adequately large enough. There's definitely some attraction to markets for most of us, I don't know where it stems from....
So there you have My Manchester, hopefully a different view from others and I hope I have convinced you to come take a peek one day.
It's not all about football( though that's very important to alot of us), or shopping or "Shameless", it's a beautiful, vibrant, colourful city with lots to offer and a friendly, warm,(wet at times, suppose Ive got to put that in) welcoming vibe, or it has in my opinion anyway.
Of course I have to award us 5 stars since 10 are not on offer.
Thanks for reading my review.
Summary: A buzzing vibrant city with lots to offer everyone