Economic trends changing the UK travel landscape for locals and tourists alike
Although great for a weekend break, from my experience of Manchester, two nights were not enough. Arriving in the evening, the first port of call was dinner and having some local friends definitely helped on this occasion. Having been told to head to Deansgate, I was greeted with a whole host of restaurants to choose from. However, on a busy summer's evening it proved to be extremely difficult to get a table anywhere. Personally though, I am all for the hustle and bustle of any place and to me, a busy restaurant indicates a good restaurant so I was happy to wait and grab a drink from one of the many bars. Predominantly chain bars and restaurants, I would recommend that if you want to find somewhere a little more exclusive to eat, you will probably have to look away from the Deansgate area but all in all it was an enjoyable evening with great company and great food.
Wednesday brought a day of shopping and with endless high street brands, the famous Arndale shopping centre, department stores and quirky boutiques, if you are a serious shopper you will need the whole day plus recuperation time which brings us swiftly round to another evening. Again recommended by locals, this was a night out that I will never forget. We headed to a place called The Ritz, that was hosting a student night called 'Lovetrain', a 70's themed disco. Upon arriving at the venue it was like an old theatre and the stage was graced with characters in full 70's themed outfits with perfectly rehearsed dance routines and on-stage dance competitions. Like musical theatre integrated with a disco, this night was not for the shy and retiring but was thoroughly entertaining.
I had a brilliant evening and this led me to look further into the arts, cultural and entertainment scene across Manchester. Since then I have re-visited to attend various comedy shows, visit art galleries, watch contemporary dance and listen to local bands. As soon as I found out about Manchester International Festival, I immediately put my name down to get involved and within a month I found myself volunteering at several different arts events across the city, getting to know the locals, meeting new people and networking with local and national performance artists. I learnt there was so much more to the city than meets the eye and I would thoroughly recommend visiting or getting involved in many of the events that are hosted throughout the year.
The city boasts great travel links, with local trams, three main train stations and Manchester Airport within twenty minutes of the centre if you are simply stopping off in the city before moving on elsewhere. If this is the case, you can very easily get a train or bus to the airport and it is worth considering Manchester airport parking as a convenient transport option. The city centre is close to a number of motorways, so leaving for other places such as Cheshire and Yorkshire is relatively easy too. Aside from London, Manchester is my favourite city in the UK and I am currently looking into booking up my next trip. I feel there is so much I am missing out on having not been for a few months so don't want to waste anymore time!