Manchester is the second largest city in England and has really blossomed in the last decade or so. Most people know of Manchester because of Manchester United Football Club or Manchester City Football Club and that’s about it. I’ll be honest, this was my 3rd trip to Manchester and I’m still discovering all that Manchester has to offer-and there’s a lot. Here’s a recap of my 24 hours in Manchester, England during my most recent trip.
I flew in on the easy red eye direct from Newark to Manchester International Airport; which is surprisingly large. I was there once before on my last trip to Manchester during my 2015 Rugby World Cup road trip but I really didn’t take notice. There’s an easy train that goes from the airport to Manchester Piccadilly in the center of the city.
I stayed at the Light Aparthotel; which is one of these new breeds of luxury furnished apartments. To be honest, I love staying in this type of accommodation. They’re nice, central and affordable. Plus if you’re traveling with someone, you can easily get multi-bedroom places with a common area and kitchen.
The hotel was easily walkable to anywhere in the city center. However, my first order of business was a tour of Etihad Stadium; which is the home of Manchester City Football Club.
Man City as they are best known is a club that’s toiled in obscurity for decades behind their big brother and hated crosstown rivals Manchester United. They’d pop up every few decades and win a random cup here or there. But they were up and down from the top flight of English Football until they came up to stay back in 2003.
Soon thereafter, a wealthy Sheikh from Abu Dhabi bought Man City. He has spent billions on the team. Since then, they have won 2 English Premier League championships and are consistently a top team in Europe.
The stadium itself is nice enough. It’s not as nice as Old Trafford; the home ground of Manchester United but it’s pretty nice considering it wasn’t even built for soccer in the first place!
Man City played in an old stadium called Main Road a few miles away until after the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. The stadium was then converted to host soccer. Since then, the stadium has expanded and will expand again after this season to raise the capacity to over 60,000.
I really enjoyed touring the stadium. I got to see both locker rooms, go on the pitch itself, play around in the luxury boxes and even the pressroom. I have done a few tours like this before including at the Camp Nou in Barcelona and they’re always fun. I definitely recommend touring both stadiums if you’re in Manchester.
After the stadium tour I was pretty hungry and went straight to Albert’s Schloss. I had heard amazing things about this spot as an authentic German restaurant by day and hot nightspot by night. Both are accurate depictions!
The actual space is massive; it kind of makes you think you’re in Texas or something with the size of the restaurant. It’s strange but very cool that it’s in the middle of Manchester. Lunch was fantastic. I had a pretzel of course, onion soup, chicken schnitzel and apple strudel for dessert. It was all fantastic to be honest and I needed to be carted out! My next stop was to Manchester Three Rivers Gin School.
Here I learned to literally make gin. This was a first for me and the guys running the place were awesome. They are Manchester local boys who took their passion and made it into the first distillery in the city of Manchester. I’m not even a gin fan but I really enjoyed my experience.
It was fun; educational and even better was I got a history lesson about the city itself. I had no idea all the potential ingredients that go into gin. I also had never had straight gin before. Both things I tried and while I won’t make a habit out of straight gin, I highly recommend this experience if you’re in town.
Before dinner, I popped into Junkyard Golf to play a really unique round of miniature golf. The place is right in the center of a modern development. Even better there is a bar. Yes you can play and drink at the same time. Most people just drank but the holes were clearly interesting. The whole place made me feel like I was in the movie Beetlejuice!
I was running on fumes and no sleep but I headed to meet some people for dinner at Refuge in the Principal Hotel. This was probably the highlight of the day. Dinner was phenomenal and the actual setting was even better.
The whole building had basically been abandoned and run down. They restored it and converted to a fancy hotel and fantastic restaurant and bar in a massive space. The food itself is served tapas style and honestly-everything was pretty good.
I especially liked the feta with beets, lamb shawarma, prawns and of course the sliced steak. You really can’t go wrong. My only issue was the service was very slow in getting drinks but the place is cavernous and was packed so it’s understandable.
So that was basically my 24 hours in Manchester and that really didn’t even scratch the surface, as there is so much more to see and do. Manchester is fast becoming a destination to visit in Europe as it makes a name for itself and escapes the large shadow cast by London. While 24 hours in Manchester is not enough, it’s a good taste of the city and I highly recommend checking it out!
Disclaimer: This trip was done in partnership with Visit Britain and Visit Manchester as part of the #OMGB campaign. This post was written by me based on my experiences and has not been influenced in any way.