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Manchester: No bloody clue what to do. And a sidetrip to York.

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Jul 27th, 2012, 11:02 AM
  #1
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Manchester: No bloody clue what to do. And a sidetrip to York.

Booked flight for next to nothing (€50/40 GBP incl. taxes and fees is not that bad for a return flight Wed-Sun in high season), got an impressive hotel for four nights (The Britannia, and you may later understand why I HAD to book it) and DO have more than one clue what to do.

But I'd love to get some help sorting out my wishlist of places to see and visit.
These days in and around Manchester should, and hopefully will be devoted to railways, landmarks of the age of industrialisation, architecture (not necessarily only Victorian, though), and - if there is time - a house or garden.

I will land at MAN in the evening around 6, so day 1 will probably just be a pub meal, a short walk around, and maybe another pub.

For the following days I have identified as potential points of interest:

1. Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). I am pretty confident that it is a must-see. Will be somewhat resistant to opposing views.
2. People's History Museum. Never seen a museum with a thematic approach like that, so I am curious. Unless you say it's nonsense.
3. John Rylands Library. After browsing the website, I am still not 100pct sure how "open" it is to the nosy non-academic public. Would anyone know?
4. Town Hall. Another question: To see more of it than just the hall, am I right to assume that one has to join one of the official tours or walks? And, is it "worth" it?
5. Manchester Cathedral. Looks grand, it's there. So why not.
6. And, in general, just roaming around through the city centre.

One day, and it will probably be the Friday, will be devoted to a pilgrimage to York to visit the National Railway Museum.

So, after you probably got bored to death already, I would like to inquire about the following:
1. Are there any (insert the "q" word) villages or small towns or stately houses and gardens around Manchester which would make a nice 1/2 day trip. Accessibility with public transport would be a must, though I would have no problems with walking 1 or 2 miles from the next station.
What I have found on the web is Hall i' th' Wood. That type of timber architecture or similar would be interesting to see.
2. Which part of Manchester would you recommend to find nice pubs. Not so much high-end gastro pubs, but more regular places which also serve regular food.. pies and such.
3. Feel free to mention anything that you find missing on my "must see list". I must just add that I am not a major football aficionado...

Many thanks for any kind of feedback.

P.S. And I had to choose the Britannia Hotel as it had been featured on the BBC series "Great British Railway Journeys". A fabulous concept of re-visiting railway lines that played a crucial part for making towns thrive or fall. Also quite interesting for people who think that railways is just trains going places.
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Jul 27th, 2012, 11:17 AM
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You are too modest - you've done your homework and it's looking good. I don't know Manchester that well but I LOVE the Science and Industry museum and you can easily lose a few hours of your life in there. Loads to see. I would also recommend you see the pre-Raphaelite pictures in the City Art Gallery, if that interests you. They are pretty special.
http://www.manchestergalleries.org/w...re-raphaelite/
I live near York and can help you out more there. When you get off the train at York Station you'll see big signs showing the pedestrianised route to the Railway Museum. Only takes a few minutes to walk there.
However, if you've never been to York before I would really urge you to see more than just the railway museum. It's a truly beautiful city, so much to see, and even if you don't go in the Minster do go outside and stare!
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Jul 27th, 2012, 11:37 AM
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We just York, Yorshire, and the Railway Museum in May. It is quite a beautiful piece of the world. I am not a railway buff but found the museum somewhat interesting. The charm lies in the countryside and the seaside.
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Jul 27th, 2012, 11:43 AM
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Thank you very much for your kind reply.
The City Art Gallery is noted.

And yes, it will be my first time to York.
As it is a rather short train ride from Manchester, I thought about getting to the railway museum when it opens at 10am. And spend maybe four hours there. One can probably spend all day there, but as much as I like museums, my attention somehow wears out after 3-4 hours.

But this will give me time to explore York - at least from around 2pm until it's time to catch one of the last trains back to Manchester. Which will be around 10pm.

So I'd be more than grateful to hear any suggestions on how to spend the afternoon and evening hours in York.
The Minster is already on my list
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Jul 27th, 2012, 11:56 AM
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I would agree 3 to 4 hours in the railway museum would be sufficient although there's plenty to see. Then I would head into the city centre for some lunch. Bettys is a Yorkshire institution and there are 2 branches in York.
http://www.bettys.co.uk/bettys_york.aspx
Then after some food I'd do some of the following -
1) Visit the Minster as already mentioned
2) Walk the Walls
http://www.visityork.org/explore/walls.html
3) Visit the Treasure's House
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/treasurershouse/
4) Visit the York Castle Museum or the Yorkshire Museum
In the evening there are ghost walks or boat trips, and lots of very good restaurants too
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Jul 27th, 2012, 12:01 PM
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Thanks again!
You made my day -- at least that Friday in August in York
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Jul 27th, 2012, 12:55 PM
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Re York. Last time in London we did a long daytrip to York in order to visit Castle Howard. That house has a very impressive enclosed "garden" and I wish you were going to have time to see it. IMO it would not nearly take an entire day too do so.
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Jul 27th, 2012, 12:59 PM
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Cowboy, I hate to throw water on what looks like a well planned trip but the Britannia chain is renowned for being dirty and badly organised. A check on TA confirms this.

Now Manchester has some wonderful places. The art gallery is worth 2 or 3 hours. The Whitworth Art Gallery to the south is also worth 2 to 3 hours (but this does depend on the show of the day)

China town is very vibrant and has some good restaurants.

While taking a train to York you could also visit Leeds, another fine art gallery, Henry Moore Collection, a splendid town hall, the Royal Armouries (the bits that can't fit in the tower of London) are all free. http://www.visitleeds.co.uk/
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Jul 27th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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I did think about Castle Howard but I couldn't see how it could work with the 3 to 4 hours already set aside for the Railway Museum in York itself. Would only work with an overnight stay in York which I don't think is a possibility.
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Jul 27th, 2012, 01:12 PM
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But I'd love to get some help sorting out my wishlist of places to see and visit.
These days in and around Manchester should, and hopefully will be devoted to railways, landmarks of the age of industrialisation, architecture (not necessarily only Victorian, though), and - if there is time - a house or garden.>

Well I not long ago spend a wondrous day in Manchester and the science and industry museum is top top notch for someone with your interests.

I also enjoyed a walk along the old canals in the heart of Manchester - the cathedral was dim and gray and well dim and gray. I will have to go back to the Salford Quays to take in the active port activity and modern architecture there.

saw no great gardens in the town center however.

Did visit what is the oldest train station in Britain however and it is part of a neat museum of underground Manchester - the sewerage system - part in underground tunnels adjacent to the old station - part of the world's first passenger railway between Manchester and I think Liverpool. No longer used as a station but part of the museum.

If a soccer fan do not miss Man U's world at their new stadium.
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Jul 27th, 2012, 01:17 PM
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WOW.. thanks to all.
This is even more food for thought.

I'm afraid I will only have that day for York. So I will have no time for the castle, unfortunately.

bilbo.. the choice of hotel was a somewhat irrational.. I am pretty low maintenance and I promise I won't complain. And thanks for pointing out Chinatown.
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Jul 27th, 2012, 01:22 PM
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And then Manchester also has the ITN studios with in it the outdoor street set used on Coronation Street - you can visit it too or you can, from the top floors of the Science and Industry museum across the street look down into it. Corrie of course being the longest running and thru the years most popular TV show I believe in Britain. And the reason I came to Manchester in the first place as it is set in a suburb of Manchester - Salford (Weatherfield in Corrie) - but today's Salford was a dreary down and out district tackier than you could imagine.
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Jul 27th, 2012, 01:39 PM
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That sounds interesting as well.
Though I must admit that there is another series located and shot in Manchester that I remember somehow better than Coronation Street. Which I have seen, I must admit, only once or twice on the iPlayer.
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Jul 27th, 2012, 03:00 PM
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Cowboy, complain.

York has a small castle in the centre, it is a small ruin now and close by to the point where the Jews were put to death in 1300 ish, I think there is a brass plate in the street. Anyway you can trot up the hillock to the castle, look around, take a snap and trot down. I guess you know York has walls all aorund the centre all of which are open to walk along, very good for snaps.

I note Morgana gave you the links, good.
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Jul 28th, 2012, 12:26 AM
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And then Manchester also has the ITN studios with in it the outdoor street set used on Coronation Street

You mean ITV not ITN (something else).
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Jul 28th, 2012, 12:42 AM
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There are some very well organised walks around Manchester and especially the industrial scene and one that takes you underground (see link below)

http://www.newmanchesterwalks.com/walks-tours/

Outside of Manshester you have Lyme Park and Hall where they filmed Pride and Prejudice, but the real gem is Chatsworth House.
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Jul 28th, 2012, 08:52 AM
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Excellent. Thanks a lot.
As beautiful Chatsworth House looks, I think I will very well served with Lyme Hall. Even only for ease of access. So I am even prepared for a day out in the countryside.
All I ask for now is five days of sunshine, blue skies, a few pittoresque white clouds, and temperatures around 20C lol.
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Jul 28th, 2012, 08:55 AM
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Sorry for the typos and omissions of some words. I just can't type with these virtual keyboards.
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Jul 28th, 2012, 09:42 AM
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Cowboy, to try and answer some more of your questions:

MOSI - is indeed excellent and railway fans sould see it now as a new train line linking our two major city centre stations is likely to have an impact on its ability to run the old steam trains that it has. There is an excellent pub nearby called The Ox.

People's History Museum - yes, it's very good and if it has caught your interest already you will definitely enjoy it. The Mark Addy pub is nearby and does very good food. You are surrounded by good modern architecture too, especially the Civil Justice Centre, which also has a cafe.

John Rylands Library - another excellent choice and a fascinating place - having lived in Manchester for 20 years I paid my first visit just this year. Excellent architecture too showing how a modern extention can work wellwith a lovely old building. They have an excellent audio-guide there. Nice for lunch in the museum cafe. You are close to Spinningfield, a very good area of new commercial buildings.

The Town Hall - excellent example of Victorian municipal architecture. It is open and you should be able to see the best rooms. The great hall on the first floor is the best with its Ford Madox Brown murals.

Manchester Cathedral - hmmm, not so good to be honest. I'd make some time in York to see their's rather than ours.

You will find Castlefield basin interesting - there is an excellent pub there called The Wharf and the setting of canals, old railway lines, new metrolink lines, lovely old warehouses and excellent modern buildings is lovely.

A short trip on the metrolink to Salford Quays and Media City would also be top of my list. In a small area yo have the Lowry art gallery, the Imperial War Museum North and the new home for the BBC. Not too far away, less than a mile at least, is Ordsall Hall, the oldest wing of the house dates bak to 1360 and the great hall to 1512. It was just restored last year and makes an excellent contrast to Manchester's more recent history.

See if a visit to Stalybridge railway buffet fits your schedule - sounds like you might really enjoy it - we used to go years ago and it was always great fun. It is one of the country's few remainng Victorian railway buffet bars and dates back to 1885. The food is good and cheap too - pie and peas.

Have an excellent time.
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Jul 28th, 2012, 10:47 AM
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Thank you so much for your advice.

The hints on nearby pubs and guidance on interesting neighborhoods are greatly appreciated.
And I am almost glad that with Manchester Cathedral there is at least one item I can take off my list.
I will do my research on what you wrote on Salford Quays and MediaCity.

The biggest surprise of all, though, was to learn that I will be that close to Stalybridge!
Not only because of the historic railway buffet bar, but also because it is the end of the world-famous Stockport-Stalybridge line! Which is one of the infamous parliamentary trains that run only very infrequently, like in this case one per week! And only in one direction. If I can make it, that ticket will get framed.
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