After a couple of days exploring the beautiful city of Oxford, I moved on to Manchester, England’s third-largest city, to spend a weekend in October 2013.
I really enjoyed walking around Manchester and checking out various areas within the city, which I found beautiful despite it being incredibly cold and windy during my visit – although mostly sunny!
One of the things I loved about Manchester is how easy it is to get around on foot, as the city is actually quite small. During my visit, I stayed in the Northern Quarter, a once-sketchy area of town which has now turned into a hub for funky boutique shops, trendy cafés, and fun bars.
From there, I was able to walk to the centre of Manchester within 15 minutes, and be at the LGBT haven that is Canal Street after a nice 20-minute stroll. While I did spend some time exploring the Northern Quarter, I spent most of the day-hours that weekend walking around the city centre, checking out the small but pretty Manchester Cathedral, various squares, and visited the now defunct Cornerhouse art gallery. I also walked streets and streets along the iconic red-brick buildings of Manchester, which date back to the city’s period as an industrial city, and have now been revived as residential and commercial space, and even house the University of Manchester.
My favourite part about Manchester was its beautiful City Hall, which is by far the most beautiful building in the city. Dating back to 1877, the Gothic-Style structure on Albert Square is much more striking than the city’s Cathedral, both inside and out. Visitors can ask to check out the interior by simply asking for permission at the door; although only a small area of the City Hall is open to the public, I highly recommend you visit as it is stunning! Did mention it is also free of charge?
During my visit, I also frequented the vibrant Canal Street to try out a couple of the gay bars. Similar to Soho in London, Canal Street is unique in that it has multiple LGBT bars situated one after another one, which makes it easy to bar hop and brings out the atmosphere into the street, even in a cold Autumn night! During the day, the bars are pretty quiet, and you can enjoy a relaxing tipple on the outdoor seating areas overlooking the canals. When the sun goes down, Canal Street really comes alive, so get ready for a big night out!