My Holiday in Manchester

My Holiday in Manchester

My Holiday in Manchester

In early June I headed to Manchester for the first time. My sister bought me tickets to see Coldplay at the Etihad Stadium with her and my dad for my birthday last year. We travelled up in the car, with my mum in tow – she’s not a fan of Coldplay – and I spent a few days in the city. Here’s what I got up to on my holiday.

Day 1: The Concert

I’m not a fan of live music, particularly huge concerts, however, I always said I would go to see Coldplay and Queen live if they were ever touring. I missed out on Queen due to COVID but I managed to see Coldplay.

As per my expectations, I hated everything to do with the beginning and end of the concert – mainly the crowds, queuing, waiting, drunks, fights, endless security checks and over-priced food/water/merch etc – but I loved the concert itself.

Coldplay Manchester

Coldplay was as amazing as I expected, and I’m glad I went. Chris Martin did a fantastic improvisation with a member of the crowd, and the performance of A Sky Full of Stars, Yellow and Sit Down will live rent-free in my mind for years to come.

I also discovered I liked their new songs just as much as their tried and tested favourites. All in all, a good night.

Day 2: Hollingsworth and Saddleworth

The following day, my dad and I were exhausted but we regrouped with my mum and a family friend I was staying with and headed out for a very late brunch.

We had a lovely fry-up in an RSPCA cafe before heading to Saddleworth to investigate some of the smaller towns and villages around Manchester.

It turns out, everything in Manchester is shut on Monday so there wasn’t much to do. But we had several cups of tea and ended up discussing movies that I have on my to-be-watched list. One of which was A Town Called Alice which our lovely family friend had taped on her TV. So we headed back to hers with snacks in tow and watched the 2-hour classic together.

A quick English Chinese – chicken balls and chips – and a 2-hour Morecambe & Wise special and we were exhausted and headed off to bed.

Day 3: Manchester City

I had the third day of my holiday in Manchester to myself so I took myself off on a major book-buying adventure. I headed down on the tram to Didsbury and visited Didsbury Village Books which is 100% my kind of bookshop. Secondhand books, floor-to-ceiling shelves of classics, in a cafe. It was perfect. I spent over an hour perusing the shelves and bought three books before dragging myself away.

Didsbury Village Bookshop

I was meeting some of my old colleagues from HarperCollins for lunch – HarperNorth is based in Manchester – and headed back to the city. We had a lovely catch-up over a steak and onion sandwich; seeing them again was great.

They suggested I check out House of Friends and Books, another cafe/bookshop – this is very much a thing in Manchester! I didn’t buy anything there but had a good nose.

House of Books and Friends

On the recommendation of our family friend, I travelled through the city to the Northern Quarter next and visited Queer Lit, Manchester’s Independent Queer Bookshop. Again, I didn’t buy anything but had a lovely time perusing the shelves, and highly recommend people visit if they’re ever in the city.

I walked the short walk to Chapter One and Books, but this really was just a cafe and not a bookshop so I left pretty quickly. Over one more street was Afflecks, a huge building with tons of independent stores inside. Think Brick Lane but over three floors. There was another queer lit store inside and I bought myself a pin I liked, but no books.

By this point my feet were starting to hurt so I headed back to the tram to return home. When my parents returned we ended up watching the rest of the Morecambe & Wise special over cottage pie. Then we began watching The Producers (the original) and discussing our respective record collections.

Day 4: Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

On the final day of my holiday in Manchester, I said goodbye to my parents in the morning and headed back into the centre of the city. This time to travel to Elizabeth Gaskell’s house in Chorlton-on-Medlock.

Elizabeth Gaskell's House

I love Elizabeth Gaskell’s work, having read North and South and Cranford during lockdown. Her house is only open to the public on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. It was a lovely place to visit. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and love a chat, and downstairs is a secondhand bookshop. Perfect!

I spent a good few hours here before heading back into the city centre to catch my train to Liverpool. My favourite thing was seeing Elizabeth Gaskell’s original wedding veil and sitting where she sat to write her stories in the dining room. Well worth a quick visit if you’re ever in the city.

Elizabeth Gaskell's House

Whilst I did spend a few days in Manchester I didn’t see as much as I had planned. But I wasn’t overly struck by the city as I hoped I would be. Everything was a little too spread out for someone without a car to really see everything. If I had a car to travel around the towns surrounding the city, I think I would have enjoyed it more.

Whilst I enjoyed my holiday in Manchester, I think it is a city to revisit in the future when I’m not tired from a concert or carrying suitcases. I would recommend checking out Didsbury and visiting Elizabeth Gaskell’s house if you get the chance.

Love Ellie x

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My Holiday in Manchester

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