Christmas – Manchester Style

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South King Street, Manchester
I may be a little biased having been brought up in the north west of England,  but there is no better way to get into the festive spirit than to visit Manchester during the Christmas season.  Throughout December many of the city’s streets and squares are bustling with festive activity.  Attractive  Christmas market stalls adorned with fairy lights tempt us with delicious food offerings, mulled wine, gifts and much more and we even have the choice of two outdoor ice rinks for skating and curling.

The main photo is of Manchester Town Halll, a Victorian neo Gothic masterpiece.  The ground floor is open to the public where you will find a very pleasant cafe to sit and relax whilst admiring the beautiful architecture.  Stepping outside, the city centre has all the high street stores and independent retailers you could wish for, it’s a shoppers paradise laid out along attractive avenues and, should it rain, one can continue shopping in the huge Arndale Mall located nearby.

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John Rylands Library
But if shopping isn’t for you,  don’t despair as nearby on Deansgate you will find the The John Rylands Library, part of the University of Manchester and one of the most spectacular libraries in the world.

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Historic Reading Room
The historic entrance hall and main staircase lead up to the reading room which is one of the finest reading rooms of any library.   Statues of Mr & Mrs Rylands grace each end of the huge cathedral like space whilst stained glass windows celebrate the achievements of individuals from the world of arts and science.   Entrànce is free and the library is open from 10.00 to 5.00 pm Tuesday to Saturday and from 12 noon on Sunday and Monday.  In 2012 it was voted Lancashire’s tourist attraction of the year and it’s certainly worthy of a visit.  Around the corner from here lies Spinningfields,  a gleaming development of ultra modern office blocks.

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Exchange Square, Manchester
Spinningfields is also home to numerous restaurants and high end retailers including Emporio Armani.  This central business district,  reaching down to the River Irwell is Manchester’s answer to London’s Canary Wharf and it doesn’t disappoint.

The huge Museum of Science and Industry showcases the city’s achievements and includes sections on aircraft, locomotives, textiles and technology.  We just love calling in to view one of the exhibitions when we have some time, entrànce is free of charge.

Finally, for any football aficionado, a visit to the National Football Museum is an absolute must.  As Manchester is home to arguably two of the world’s best teams it seemed appropriate to locate the museum here and it has been welcoming visitors since 2001.  I’m personally not a fan of football but was encouraged to visit by my husband and two sons and, to my surprise,  I actually found the exhibits interesting and enjoyed my visit.  Entrànce to the museum is free (donations welcome).

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St Anne’s Square, Manchester
Outside, on the Cathedral lawns,  there is currently more of the attractive Christmas market complete with a traditional carousel ‘merry go round’ ride.

Last,  but not least,  I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and all best wishes for the New Year!  I have so enjoyed reading your travel blogs and have learnt so many new and interesting travel facts from you all to inspire my future trips,  thank you!  Although I love to travel,  I like to be in my own home at Christmas with my family around me,  as it’s said, ‘Home is where the heart is.’

 

 

 

 

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30 thoughts on “Christmas – Manchester Style

  1. I love the John Rylands Library. I loved it when I was a student back inj teh late 60s, and I hesiated to go back in case they’d ruined it. But they’ve done a really good job, I think. Great place to while away an afternoon.

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  2. Pingback: Christmas – Manchester Style | The Adventures of the Average American

  3. Love this post, Manchester is my University city and I love it! I’m so glad you enjoyed your time there, and it’s so nice to here someone else appreciate the John Ryland’s Library, it’s my favourite place to study!! Hope you had a wonderful christmas 🙂

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  4. It sounds like Manchester has a little bit of everything… aside from SNOW! When I was a child, I would not open presents until it was snowing out. It had something… something to do with… Santa being… I forget the reason, but! it does not feel like Christmas without some snow!

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    1. Oh, Manchester definitely has snow – at least when it’s not raining or blowing a gale! It can be a bit hit and miss during Christmastime, but while the little white flakes aren’t guaranteed to fall on Christmas Day, when they do, it truly is special!

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  5. In 2011, I spent a couple of days in Manchester. John Rylands Library stands out as one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever been in. There’s a little round marble balcony tucked into a corner upstairs and I had a terrible urge to launch into, Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo? I contolled myself, luckily, as I was on my own and it would have particularly odd.

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