Over the next couple of months I have decided to explore a few of our local cities to discover more about my area and introduce the children to where they are from. I always enjoyed history myself and it is something I’d like to pass on to the children. It is important to know where you come from and what has happened in the past to make our lives now what they are and really appreciate them. So today I am starting with our closest city – Manchester.
It’s funny how we travel the width and breadth of the country to find new things to see and do and places to stay. And yet when we think about it, there is so much to do right on our doorstep. Last weekend Mr H and I spent the night away in our local city of Manchester and on the Sunday I decided I would actually like to see what is in my home city, as I’ve never actually walked around it before.
I am originally from Yorkshire and so Manchester isn’t naturally my hometown, but having lived in the north west for fourteen years I think it’s time to admit defeat and actually explore the city, and be able to share my experiences with the children for who this is home.
Mr H and I stayed at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, which itself is a landmark of the city. Dating back to 1903 its Edwardian Baroque facade is stunning and it has the interior decor to match with high ceilings filled with ornate light fittings, columns and beautiful floors.
Setting off from the Midland we decided to walk past Manchester Library, just across the road. This building was built in the 1930’s is grade II listed. Being a Sunday this wasn’t open to the public however it’s columned portico and domed roof make an impressive sight.
Next to the library is Manchester Town Hall, supposed to be one of the finest examples of Neo-Gothic architecture in the UK. This immense building was built in 1877 and the front covers 323ft wide. Unfortunately the square in front was closed due to a jazz festival taking place so it was hard to appreciate the full aspect of the clock tower, however I believe it offers one of the best views of Manchester and worth a trip up.
After some brunch at Duttons, a lovely place for a bite to eat, we walked back down Princess Street and had a gander around the Manchester Art Gallery. There is so much to see in there it surprised me, from ancient pottery to contemporary art, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Gallery of Costume exhibition that was on, displaying gowns from various centuries.
After the gallery we wandered via Chinatown before heading back towards The Midland and ending up walking past some Georgian townhouses, some of the few surviving in the city. Set back off the main road, these little houses are now main offices but it was strange to walk quite peacefully past them whilst in the middle of a big city.
We then head onto Oxford Road past the Palace Hotel and Theatre, both built in 1891, before meandering down Whitworth Street and the Ritz, a live music dance hall from 1927. Finally we turned onto the Canal Tow Path, where we saw two locks and of course posed for a photo. It’s a shame the canal hasn’t been made more a feature as it would be a lovely place to sit and enjoy a coffee.
Finally we took the steps back to the road, coming out at Deangate Locks, before walking back up towards Manchester Convention Centre.
It was a really lovely Sunday morning spent in a city on twenty minutes from our front door and yet for me it has been unexplored until now. At the moment the children are a bit young, but in a few years I am looking forward to introducing them to their home city myself and explore all its history.