“ Kendrick/Leigh Street, Warrington, Cheshire, WA1 1UZ. Tel: 0871 984 6180 „
INTRODUCTION (INCORPORATING YOUTHFUL REMINISCENCE)
Ah Warrington; a place I am somewhat familiar with, having spent the first 18 years of my life here. After that, however, a combination of University and career took me away from my roots. And now I find myself back on a week's business trip. I'd briefly visited last year for a couple of hours walk around the town centre, so much of the shock of change (or, for the most part, no change at all - the Marks & Spencers sign hasn't changed in 30 years) has been absorbed already. But I was never aware of the Travelodge, here for about a decade and consequently superseding my local knowledge.
For many people, and especially long exiled Northerners down south, returning to their hometown they no longer know is a strange experience. Personally, I find it analogous to Luke Skywalker going back to Tattooine or Superman returning to Krypton; not something you'd necessarily choose to do but nevertheless a compelling experience. I don't mean to be unkind as I'll always have a soft spot for my friendly home town but there's no denying that it's a surreal experience.
Something that amused me is that the ITV pm regional news has the same theme music and a similar opening sequence. I also noted Lucy Meacock is still doing Granada News - and she's even older than me. The London version has a sliding backdrop of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and The London Eye as the theme music blares. Granada News, on the other hand, has Blackpool Tower, a small statue of Eric Morecambe and Jodrell Bank. The fact that it LEADS with Blackpool Tower is the most frightening thing.
And as for the BBC version - Gordon Burns! I thought he'd been put to pasture after the Krypton (that place again, is this a hint?) Factor. Speaking of which, was I the only one surprised to see Richard "Countdown" Whitely reading the regional news in the early 90s as a student in Yorkshire?
Anyway enough of that - I'm here to review the Travel Lodge which is located on the edge of the town centre, quite close to Central Station and the Golden Square shopping centre.
To left of the entrance door was the reception; quite often there was no-one there, but a mobile phone number was left on the desk to contact them and you can drop off your key in a box on the way out. As you pay in advance this is all you need to do when checking out. To the right was a vending machine with various snack items. To the left, past reception, were a couple of small tables and a high table with a small TV in the right corner.
I had a quite big room; in fact it was a family one. It had a big bed in the middle, which was quite comfortable. To the left and right of this were bedside tables, the one on the left containing a Gideon's bible. There was also a decent blue patterned sofa near the window. From my room I could hear cars a lot from the main road behind the hotel, but this didn't disturb me too much. You could also hear trains as a railway line from Central Station was also close by. In front of the bed was a light wooden desk with an old CRT TV to left with about 8 TV channels & some radio channels too. There was a big expanse of space on the desk, with a mirror above, having a light on either side
To the right was a kettle with a couple of tea & coffee sachets & UHT milk cartons. To the right, slightly lower, was a shelf which was just right size for my little suitcase. To right of this was a 4 compartments wooden wardrobe, more or less a continuation from the desk with the same type of wood, and a hanger rail with hangers and a compartment on top with an extra pillow. Under the desk was a small bin. To the left of the desk was a wall mounted electric heater which had some slight scorch marks above it. I have a feeling these rooms can be quite cold in the winter as the heater didn't seem so effective. A big blue comfy chair was under the desk, made of the same blue material as the sofa. The walls were a neutral cream on one side and a gaudy orange on the other; a veritable hotchpotch of a colour scheme.
This was quite sparse; the toilet was to the left of the entrance, the sink to right of this and the bath with shower rail to the right. A couple of disposable plastic glasses and a bar of soap were provided; note that you're expected to bring the rest of the toiletries yourself. The shower was quite erratic, the heat controlled by a tap below the shower head. I never quite got the hang of this, and as a result the water was either scorching hot or too cold.
You may recall Guildford is my place of residence these days, and the contrast with Warrington town centre is striking. Whereas Guildford is throughout the week brimming with life from its many varied restaurants, Warrington town centre has 5 or 6 restaurants and the town is pretty quiet during weekdays. There are however no shortage of pubs and bars to frequent, though my local knowledge is so out of date I'd be hard pushed to recommend one. If you like your hostelries "earthy" then The Lower Angel on Buttermarket Street is probably still interesting; I've spend many an evening there in my youth though I'm not sure I'd have the guts to go in these days. The Postern Gate used to be nice but I had a look this time and there were no real ales on draught (shocker!) and the nice old décor has been replaced by some sofas and exceedingly loud music. Or maybe I am getting old, you choose. Wilkies Tavern is owned by an old mate of mine and I'm sure he'd be shocked to see me walk in. If you do go though, you can say hello from me.
The hotel is in a good location for the town centre. You can walk straight to Sankey Street which has Indian & Italian restaurants. I went to The Cinnamon Lounge (aka Javed Tandoori anyone?) and they still do a decent curry; the incongruous looking Chinese waiter is still there and, if anything, looks younger than he did in 1994. There are various takeaway restaurants close by too, as well as shops and fast food outlets on the main shopping street, Bridge Street. An Asda in the Cockhedge Centre is a short walk away:
It is also a 5 minute walk from Warrington Central train station, which is on the main line to Manchester and Liverpool. Walk a bit further past the station on Winwick Road and you will find a large Tesco and the Warrington Wolves rugby league stadium. It's 10 minutes to walk to Warrington Bank Quay train station, which is on the main line to London and Glasgow. The rest of the town centre is also close by. The Golden Square shopping centre and bus station are very close by to the hotel. The Golden Square has many shops and a couple of cafes and restaurants:
Unsurprisingly, this is an adequate but uninspiring hotel. You really would expect that from a Travelodge though, so this isn't any kind of insult. The location is very handy and the local facilities (when open) are excellent. I would recommend this hotel for anyone wanting to stay in the town centre - just make sure you bring a good book with you. And a thick jumper in the winter.
Warrington, WA1 1UZ, UK
Tel: 0871 984 6180
Fax: 01925 639432