Day 3. Out and about in Manchester

Our final day in Manchester and the sun was still shining! After a leisurely breakfast in our cosy suite we gathered together our belongings and checked out of CitySuites, leaving our bags at reception to collect later in the day.

CitySuites Manchester
CitySuites Manchester

Making the most of our weekend tram pass, it was then back to nearby Exchange Square for a service to Altrincham 8.5 miles (13km) to the south west. The journey taking approximately 25 minutes, passing Old Trafford, the home of the Lancashire County Cricket Club on the way.

Altrincham MetroLink Station
Altrincham MetroLink Station

Altrincham is the final stop on the line and acts as an interchange tram and railway station for the Mid-Cheshire Line. It’s yet another of Greater Manchester’s affluent leafy suburbs and a foodies paradise as we were soon to find out,

Altrincham Market Hall
Altrincham Market Hall

The town was built on a Roman Road connecting Chester with York and is one of England’s original market towns, its charter dating back to 1290. Its once dreary old market building is now one of the best examples of a rejuvenated market hall in the north of England and a great place for Sunday brunch. A collection of local independent food and drink traders serve up appetising meals in this beautifully restored building with tables spilling out onto neighbouring streets and in front of the covered market next door. Since re-opening after the pandemic the interior has been slightly reconfigured with socially distanced tables and app ordering has been introduced.

Altrincham Market Hall
Outdoor seating around Altrincham Market Hall

Decorated outside with shabby chic planters, it’s now a vibrant part of the town centre surrounded by even more inviting cafes and restaurants, we were spoilt for choice. The pedestrianised high street boasts a good sized branch of Marks & Spencer alongside a number of other household names.

The Con Club, Altrincham
One of the many dining options in Altrincham

After browsing the shops we hopped on a tram to Brooklands taking just 15 minutes. Passing the station cafe, a sign informed us that Brooklands takes its name from Samuel Brook, a cotton manufacturer and banker who established a large housing estate in the area. Our reason for going there was to take a walk along the towpath of the Bridgewater Canal.

Old station cafe at Brooklands Metrolink Station
Old station cafe at Brooklands Metrolink Station

The towpath has been upgraded to provide a level cycleway and footpath all the way from Altrincham into the centre of Manchester which is now known as the Bridgewater Way. As the Metrolink tram line runs parallel with the canal it’s possible to take walks of any length depending on how energetic one feels. We enjoy long walks, but as we had plans for later in the day, decided to just walk between Brooklands and Sale, the next station along the line which was very pleasant.

Boating on the Bridgewater Canal
Boating on the Bridgewater Canal

There was lots happening on the canal, with brightly painted narrowboats chugging slowing along and children having fun in rowing boats. The towpath was quite busy too, with numerous walkers and cyclists enjoying the fresh air but there was plenty of room for everyone even in these times of social distancing.

Bridgewater Way, Sale
Bridgewater Way, Sale

Blue finger posts located at regular intervals indicate directions to Metrolink stops and distance markers and on reaching Sale we couldn’t resist crossing the bridge for a drink on the waterside terrace of the King’s Ransom pub.

KIng's Ransom Pub, Sale
King’s Ransom Pub, Sale

Feeling refreshed, we wandered along to the Metrolink station pausing briefly to admire Sale’s elegant town hall on our way.

Sale Town Hall
Sale Town Hall

Our final activity of the weekend took us back through the centre of Manchester to Heaton Park located to the north of the city on the Bury tram line. It was my first visit to this huge historic park and with a tram stop across the road from the entrance gates, it couldn’t have been easier to access.

Heaton Park Boating Lake
Heaton Park Boating Lake

Being a sunny Sunday afternoon there were many people out enjoying the wide open spaces, the majority carefully adhering to social distancing rules. Near to the boating lake, the adventure playground was proving popular with young children with well behaved dogs waiting patiently in their designated dog parking zone.

Dog parking zone, Heaton Park
Dog parking zone, Heaton Park

We enjoyed a stroll around the large boating lake which covers 12 acres and includes three islands. From open parkland to shady woodland trails there was much to see. So much in fact that we had to leave some of the park’s attractions for another time.

Lakeside Cafe, Heaton Park
Lakeside Cafe, Heaton Park

I definitely want to make a return visit when the park’s historic tramway and transport museum are allowed to re-open. Several heritage trams are on display with others running on a track dating back to the original Manchester Tramway which used to run into the park. It seems strange that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting transport museums all over the world but have not yet managed to visit one that’s relatively close to my home.

Heaton Park Manchester
Heaton Park Manchester

It was then time to return to the city centre to pick up our luggage before taking the train home from Victoria Station. We’d had a wonderful time re-visiting our favourite spots in the city centre and making good use of our Metrolink travel cards exploring far and wide. Hopefully, this series of posts might inspire some of you to also consider visiting Manchester as the city has so much to offer even when concerts, sporting events and some attractions are still off limits.

During our stay in Manchester we were guests of CitySuites and Visit Manchester and as always all views and opinions are entirely my own.

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38 thoughts on “Day 3. Out and about in Manchester

  1. hcyip

    Nice posts and photos of Manchester. I always like to see more of second/third cities, especially those that aren’t exactly travel hotspots and with a strong historical heritage. I’ve also got a few friends from Manchester here in Asia, including one who is a fiercely proud Mancunian but grumbles about it (I wonder if that’s a British/English habit – to grumble about what you love?).

    Liked by 2 people

      1. hcyip

        Your posts on Manchester are great; the city looks really good. I do hope to visit it one day. I’m based in Taiwan but I’ve worked in China and HK before, where I met my Manchester colleagues.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. hcyip

            That’s great you’ve been to Taiwan. I read several of your Taiwan posts and you seem to have explored a fair bit of Taipei and had a good daytrip to Pingxi and Shifen. I’ve been to Shifen and seen that waterfall that you also saw, but not Pingxi.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Sale’s come on a bit since I worked there in the 1990s! I lived just outside Alderley Edge because I couldn’t afford it or Altrincham on the contract I was on, in a caravan. It was beautiful out there in the Summer though not so much fun in the Winter months. It’s clearly all much better connected to the city now.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Alderley Edge was already like that in 1995! That’s one of the reasons why I ended up renting a residential caravan and not a flat… The other was that I was on a short term contract of 4 weeks at a time so I couldn’t commit to a 6-month rental contract. I stayed for 11 months.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Manchester has never been my favourite city although it’s my nearest, but it does have some interesting places, and you pics do it justice. Altrincham, just down the road from me, has that very upmarket market area (expensive coffees too!), but I find the pedetrianised town centre fairly soul-less these days. Happy travels!

    Liked by 2 people

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