Iain Mallory used to be a warrant officer in the Royal Army Physical Training Corps — a job that took him on adventures all around the world. He tried his hand at running a public house after leaving the armed forces, but it wasn’t long before his wanderlust got the better of him, leading him to his current career as a freelance writer and photographer. Check out this local’s take on Manchester — a former industrial giant that has undergone a recent face lift to become a don’t-miss destination for anyone traveling to North West England — then leave a comment below if you have anything to add.
Manchester is My City
The first place I take a visitor from out of town is The Teacup — a cool independent coffee shop.
When I crave some snow sports, I always go to the Chill Factore at the Trafford Centre.
To escape the noise, I visit Heaton Park.
For complete quiet, I can hide away in Chetham’s Library, the oldest public library in the English-speaking world.
If you come to my city, get your picture taken with anybody but a footballer — the street performers are the best fun.
If you have to order one thing off the menu from Sam’s Chop House it has to be the shepherd’s pie.
The Trafford Centre is my one-stop shop for great shopping, complete with a cinema, and decent restaurants.
Locals know to skip the MEN Arena and check out the Lowry at Salford Quays instead.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to Chinatown for an all-you-can-eat buffet.
For a huge splurge I go to the bank manager and — in the unlikely event they agree to the loan — head to ‘Australasia.’
Photo ops in my city include the Cathedral and Old Trafford, home of Manchester United football club. The best vantage points can be found at the Manchester Wheel and Cloud 23 cocktail bar in Deansgate’s Beetham Tower.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be Salma Hayek. Sexy, sassy, cosmopolitan — with a hint of attitude.
The most random thing about my city is that the University of Manchester is the largest single-site university in the UK.
In my city, an active day outdoors involves walking the 10 feet from Sinclair’s Oyster Bar to the Old Wellington (they share an outside seating area).
My favorite jogging/walking route is in and around Heaton Park.
For a night of dancing, go to Cuba Cafe. For those that prefer live music, check out Band On The Wall. Afterward, don’t miss what Curry Mile has to offer. It’s definitely the spot for great late-night eats.
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read ‘creativetourist.’
You can tell a lot about my city from watching ‘Coronation Street’ …. actually don’t. Try sitting in Piccadilly Gardens on a sunny spring or summer day instead.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they sound a little like one of the Gallagher brothers from Oasis.
In the winter you should visit the Hanging Ditch for one of their wine-tasting evenings. On second thought, it’s perfect any time of year.
In the spring you should take a walk along the Bridgewater Canal to the farming area of Boothstown for a chance to see some newborn lambs.
In the summer you should spend a day visiting Castlefield Urban Heritage Park. It’s free and there’s plenty there to interest all.
In the fall you should visit neighboring Cheshire to enjoy some leaf peeping UK-style.
A hidden gem in my city is actually the ‘Hidden Gem’ which is the name given to St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, a small, concealed house of worship in the backstreets of the city centre.
You simply should not miss the Manchester International Festival (July 4-21, 2013). If you can’t wait that long, there are smaller events held throughout the year, including its own small ‘fringe’ festival.
Just outside my city, you can visit the Peak District, one of the UK’s best national parks.
The best way to see my city is on foot, because it’s fairly compact. And the Metro is always available if you want to visit places outside the city centre.
If my city were a pet it would be a frog as it has plenty of ‘watering holes’ to choose from.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live on a remote Scottish island with a boat and enjoy orca spotting every day.
The best book about my city is Manchester by Kevin Cummins, a really fascinating read.
When I think about my city, “Round Are Way” by Oasis comes to mind.
If you have kids, you won’t want to miss Legoland Discovery Centre. I might even try and sneak in myself!
A Manchester derby game, between the current two biggest teams in the country, could only happen in my city!
My city should be featured on your cover or website because it’s the ‘Cock of the North’ — an industrial city that has learned to become more ‘user friendly.’ It is aware of its limitations but is ambitious to rise above them.
What do you love about Manchester? Leave the details in the comments section below.
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