I’ve not been to Manchester for a few years, so I was intrigued to find out how much has changed since I last visited. I’m visiting overnight with my sister. The first obvious thing to notice is there has been a flurry of building that has changed the skyline, and there seems to be lots more coffee shops than I remember.
Piccadilly Gardens is still horrible, and the rain was cold, which added to the feeling of winter gloom. Whoever fenced off the winter market stalls needs to be told to start again! The metal grill fencing was jutting out at odd angles and cut off pavements in odd ways.
I try to avoid shopping centres, but had to pop into the Arndale at one point. None of the shops are different from any other UK town centre, and the music was blasting away for no reason. The saving grace was a lack of Christmas music, thankfully.
After booking into our hotel we visited Home, which is quite a pleasant place to stop and have a drink, though I thought there could be more galleries with multiple exhibitions on offer. Again, the music was rather loud.
After walking around for an hour or so we settled on a Turkish restaurant and had a very nice meal, though there wasn’t anything specifically spicy or herbal about the way it was cooked.
I find Manchester to be a brutal city centre, and many streets are still overrun with cars. The Northern Quarter is interesting, but if truth-be-told, it is something of a dump, and not an attractive civic space to relax.
It looks like there are some good independent shops and certainly plenty of coffee shop that I can explore if I come again. The hype about Manchester needs to be kept in check though, as the intent might be correct, the execution lacks finesse.
Oh, I saw Michael Gov when I was waiting at Piccadilly station. I resisted the urge to shout anything at him, though he deserves to be run out of whatever town he visits!