Unfortunately Manchester is one of the cities that got struck by a suïcide attack by a terrorist. During a Ariane Grande concert on May 22 2016, an attacker detonated a home-made bomb, killing and injuring several people. A happening that is devastating and should have never happened. Manchester knew right away they had to start an offensive, to let people know there is more to Manchester than this attack and they want people to know that the city is safe and actually a really fun and beautiful city to visit. And as they put in their selves: 'This is a city that looks to the future; a city that celebrates diversity; a city that lives and loves; and a city that opens it arms to all.'
Marketing Manchester organized a Worker Bee Weekend for 70 influencers from all over the world, and we were 2 of the lucky ones. Did we know anything about Manchester besides their famous soccer club Manchester United and the awful happening with the attack? Not really. And we probably would not have visited this city in the nearby future. But now that we spent 3 days here, we can definitely tell you that this is a city worth visiting!
Symbolising industry, work ethic and cooperation, the humble worker bee has been a symbol of Manchester since the 1800s. Today you can see the bee all over the city - in the city crest, in the street art and mosaics, and on the lampposts and bins. It’s a constant reminder of where this city’s been, and what it stands for.
Manchester is only a 80 minute flight away from Amsterdam. Before you even realize you are in a plane and getting ready for take off, you will have to fasten your seatbelts again for the way down. From the airport there are many means to get to the city. There are possibilities to travel by train or metrolink or you can book a taxi at the popular streetcars Manchester for around £ 30,-
REFUGE BY VOLTA
Manchester has a huge variety in restaurants which makes it almost impossible to choose where to go. One of our favorites is Refuge by Volta. This place looks amazing! Especially their Winter Garden, where they brought the outside in.
We were at Refuge for a get-together with all the Worker Bees and enjoyed some drinks and canapés. Which were great! They organize all sorts of events, have an eclectic wine list, all sorts of beers including one of their own and an extensive cocktail list. Definitely a place worth visiting when going to Manchester, even if it is just for a beer.
EL GATO NEGRO
Looking for a great restaurant to get the Mediterranean taste and eat tapas? El Gato Negro is the place to be. We stumbled upon this apparently award-winning tapas restaurant and tried lots of different and more than delicious tapas.
GRUB FOOD FAIR
We love foodcourts, food truck festivals and big courtyards with a variety of small restaurants. It makes going out for diner less formal and everybody can find something of their taste. So having diner at the Grub Food Fair at the Mayfair Depot was a good place to go to with a large group op people. We had some really great pizza and an incredibly tasteful hamburger. There is music, large tables so sit down for a chat and enjoy the food and the relaxed atmosphere.
Note: they only open on Friday and Saturday.
For some more inspiration, check out the list of 8 food hotspots in Manchester that Chaptertravel put together.
This contemporary hotel is situated on the banks of the River Irwell and provided a beautiful view overlooking the river and the bridge from our room on the fifth floor. It is walking distance to the centre and even though The Lowry is a five-star hotel, it doesn’t feel like that. Yes, the service is perfect, the staff is friendly and they help you with everything you want and the rooms is spacious and beautiful. But it also has a 'everybody is welcome' vibe.
The breakfast is delicious and gives you plenty of choice. There is a large buffet with all sorts of breads, granolas, fruit, drinks, cheeses and meats. But you can also order more special things such as egg with salmon. Definitely a great start of the day.
** You can find them on booking.com
As said, we spent 3 almost full days in Manchester and committed ourselves to a busy program. Besides all the eating (and a bit of drinking) at all the lovely venues Manchester has to offer, we participated in some crazy fun activities, went cultural and enjoyed the city to its fullest.
MANCHESTER UNITED STADIUM TOUR - OLD TRAFFORD
Even if you are not a real sportsfan, a visit to Old Trafford is definitely worth your time. Before starting the tour, you can walk around in the museum where we were impressed by all the prices won by Manchester United. The tour itself takes you through the stadium, visiting the changing rooms, sitting down at the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and walking through the players tunnel towards the field.
The tour takes about 1 hour and runs 7 days a week, starting every 10 minutes and costs £ 18,- For more info, check their website.
BONGO’S BINGO - ALBERT HALL
The Albert Hall is a restored Chapel which still has beautiful features such as stained glass windows and a huge balcony overlooking the hall. The atmosphere is amazing and when you combine this with a crazy game of Bongo's Bingo, you are guaranteed to have an amazing night out.
The prices vary from shitty (a box of choco puffs) to pretty damn great (£ 600,-). When you have a false bingo, you're a dickhead!
And if you are not the only one with a correct bingo, you'll have to show your dancing skills in a dance off.
We never played Bingo the way they play it here. It is impossible to describe this happening. We can tell you, this is something you want to experience, you want to play this game, you want to drink beers here and you definitely want to stand on the tables and dance and sing along with all the crazy people playing Bingo in this impressive hall. Almost every number has a fitting song (number 5 - Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive) and people get up from their chairs, start dancing on the tables and are having the time of their live.
The Manchester Cathedral is a place where they like to mess around with things to do in the cathedral. Besides being still active with Sunday services, they also organize concerts and movie nights here. Definitely some out of the box thinking which is great and suits the way Manchester is.
The entrance is free but they do ask politely for a donation.
Feel like walking around in a Harry Potter movie when visiting Chetham's Library. It is really impressive to walk through the aisles and when entering the reading room, you are entering the place where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels sat together which ultimately led to their work on The Communist Manifesto.
They operate with a timed entry system. Check their website for more info. Visitors entrance is free but they do ask for a donation.
JOHN RYLANDS LIBRARY
This library is extremely photogenic and definitely worth a short stop. Next to that, they organize all sorts of exhibitions, workshops, events and tours.
Check their website for more info. Entrance is free.
WHISTLE PUNKS - AXE THROWING
You like playing darts? Or just like throwing stuff? Wanna feel like a badass? We've got the activity for you: axe throwing! There is not much more to it than throwing an axe towards a bullseye on wooden plate. The first aim is just to try to get your axe to stick on the board. Second aim is to really hit the bullseye and for those real badasses, there are different techniques. Fun guaranteed!
One session takes 1,5 hour and costs between £ 20,- and £ 25,- p.p. depending on the day you want to play. Check their website for more info.
COCKTAIL MASTERCLASS - SCIENCE + INDUSTRY
Science + Industry is part of Cane and Grain and you book a 1,5 hour cocktail masterclass here. The best thing about this masterclass is that you don't only learn how the prepare the cocktails, you get to drink them as well.
Price is £ 35,- p.p. and they have a maximum people of 20 per class. Check their website for more info.
These baths were openend in 1906 and were described as the most splendid bathing institution in the country. And we have to say, it still looks amazing. There are 3 baths (mens first, mens second and ladies) and unfortunately none of them are in use anymore. However, they are working hard on restoring the building and their aim is to re-open one of the baths. Until then, you can get a guided tour, get married here or organize/visit other events.
They organize tours, every Wednesday, for only £ 3,-. This isn't all year round so check their website for more info.