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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Manchester: there's room for everyone

Divya Kapoor, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 13, 2014
First Published: 17:14 IST(13/6/2014) | Last Updated: 13:22 IST(14/6/2014)

The most fascinating thing about Manchester? Well, it’s a city for everyone! You could come with a fortune and dine at the most ­expensive restaurants or you could be on a budget and take a Metroshuttle (city’s free bus service) to buy a dress for 5 pounds from Primark (a popular retail brand).

A colourful Media City in Salford Quays, Manchester pictured during sunset. (Getty Image)

Why go here? Because there is always ­something happening in Manchester — a hush-hush Hollywood ­schedule (Daniel Radcliffe was shooting for Frankenstein in one of the old Victorian buildings ­during our stay), to a play or a music concert by popular ­artists.

Then the city is home to very popular football clubs and rivals — Manchester United and Manchester City that ­create ripples of ­excitement for football lovers.

Read: London named 2014's most dynamic and livable city

Castlefield and the Beetham Tower from the Castlefield Canal Basin, Manchester. (Getty Image)

 The city wakes up early and people are up and ready for breakfast by 7.30-8.00. Many cafes and department stores open by 8am. The ­airport is about a 25-minute drive away from the Northern Quarter — the melting point of all things quintessentially Manchester.

If you love ­shopping for offbeat, quirky stuff, this is where you want to be. The place is home to unique independent shops, boutiques, cafes and bars. This is where you’ll nd ­vintage and customised ­fashion apparel, art galleries and jewellery, too. We were very impressed with the ­versatility of Afflecks — a four-story shopping centre with countless little shops — selling handmade cards, posters, lamps, arty ­cushions, mugs, ­jewellery etc. It’s a great place to pick up souvenirs from.

For those who want the best of the designer brands, there is King Street, lined with labels such as Vivienne Westwood, Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY and Hermès. It is where one is likely to spot the city’s celebs and ­footballers’ wives picking up a little something for the ­weekend.
Salford Quays Mediacity, Manchester,North West England. (Getty Image)


Although the weather remains unpredictable throughout the year, expect sunshine and flowers in the spring and extremely cold, brazen wind during the ­winter season. Even to all those who have survived the ­several deadly winters of Delhi, February-March will feel like very cold months. But then, the city makes up for it with its absolutely ­picturesque views — straight out of a 19th century British novel. We were met with ­beautiful bare trees, breezy rains, rain-kissed streets and neo-gothic buildings with cloudy backdrops throughout our stay.|

Manchester’s landscape is a collage of old and new. Since the city is a product of the industrial revolution, ­winding alleys, canals, railway ­viaducts, cotton mills and warehouses are a common sight. These are coupled with 19th century Victorian ­architectural wonders like the John Rylands Library and Town Hall. Then, there are the newly-built skyscrapers, a reflection of the city’s fast-growing economy.

Talking about architecture, the Imperial War Museum deserves a mention, too, the design of which ­represents a globe ­shattered by conflict. Although it turned out to be a poignant trip for us, we ­recommend everyone visiting the city to go to this museum. With winding alleys, shops, cafes and bars, Manchester has a tangible sense of ­identity and a ­creative, ­independent spirit ­running through its core.

How to get there
Our Etihad Airways flight to Manchester and the return was a great ­experience. During the stopover at Abu Dhabi on both times, we were taken to the airlines’ lounge for a luxurious foot massage and an Arabic spread. Our seat in the flight was quite ­comfortable, with plenty of leg space. The staff was good and we were served ­gourmet food paired with great wines.
The total duration of the flight is 10 hours. (Delhi to Abu Dhabi 3 hrs, Abu Dhabi to Manchester 7 hours)Price: Coral Economy: Rs. 66,000 (return); Pearl Business: Rs. 190,000 (return); Diamond First: Rs. 306,000 (return). Website: www.etihadairways.com

The writer’s trip was ­sponsored by Visit Manchester and Etihad Airways.


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