Today I had an alright afternoon in Manchester, England.
Since the only thing I knew about Manchester was that they have a football stadium (which was too far from Piccadilly station for us to visit), I was kind of going in blind when I agreed to go there with my friend. After having a fiasco trying to buy my train ticket (completely my fault), we didn’t find much to do in Manchester. However, I had a nice time walking around looking for bees, and I learned a lot about fossils at the Museum of Manchester!
Getting to Manchester
This was the first time I’d be navigating a train station by myself, and so I’m giving myself a pass for making a total rookie mistake.
When looking at ticket prices online, I was happy to find it was well within my price range. I was not so happy when I got to the ticket counter and was told the cheapest possible ticket was almost twice the amount I was quoted online.
Lesson learned: always buy your English train tickets online.
At the very least, I knew that the type of ticket I needed to get was a round trip with off-peak open return, but the whole experience left me frustrated with myself.
Thankfully the rest of the day was better than the morning.
Seeing as my train ticket was so expensive, we just planned on seeing what there was to do within walking distance of Piccadilly station.
Admittedly, there’s not much. Manchester is primarily a college city, so it’s quite walk-able. We had nice jaunt through some urban areas and small parks to get to the museums, and didn’t have any trouble making our way there. I noticed a lot of bee related art on lamp posts and in parks, so apparently Manchester is the bee city.
The Manchester Museum
The Manchester Museum was right up my ally.
It’s not advertised as such, but it’s primarily a natural sciences museum. I was absolutely thrilled by the number of fossils they had on display on the first floor. Although many of them are just casts of actual artifacts, the placards taught me a lot about the different prehistoric eras that I hadn’t heard before.
Now would have been a perfect time to show off my new prehistoric knowledge, but I can’t recall a single thing. I’m just gonna assume it’s in there somewhere.
The second floor is my favorite by far, because the floor plan has got to be the coolest I’ve ever seen in a museum!
Each exhibit is labeled with a neon sign, and the room is dark save for the lighted display cases. To top it all off, there’s a whale’s skeleton and a butterfly chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
The exhibits themselves mostly have to do with British wildlife and landscapes, and each one is tied back to conservation, which I thought was super cool.
The third floor is kind of a mix of things. It’s a lot of cultural history along with info about a lot of the clubs in Manchester. There was also an interesting exhibit about the Indian struggle for independence from Britain. I always appreciate it when a place is able to acknowledge its shady past.
The Manchester Museum isn’t an all-day activity. It’s more compact than other museums, but fairly small/medium in size, so we got through in an hour and a half. I think it was the perfect size for everything it contained, and based on the number of families there, it’s a perfect afternoon activity for kids.
Piccadilly Station and heading home
Our day after that was pretty uneventful. All of the other free attractions had closed, so we walked around the shops a bit, then headed back to Piccadilly to hang out there.
I got a turmeric latte and spilled it on my pants. All in all though, it was a pretty good day.
If you find yourself in Manchester, I would definitely make the museum a priority on your list of places to visit!
As you’ve probably already deduced from the title, I had an alright afternoon in Manchester.
Would I recommend it as a day trip? Probably not.
I can see that it’d be a wonderful place to live, especially for families, though I don’t feel the need to ever come back. Personally, I don’t think it was worth the money and hassle to get here from Oxford, but if you happen to be passing through, I’d highly recommend the museum.
This was just one of three day trips I took on one of our free weekends at Oxford, and thankfully, I enjoyed the other two much better! To read about my adventures in Brighton and London, click the links attached to those cities!
Well, that was my alright afternoon in Manchester. I hope you enjoyed! Cheers!