Manchester Museum and a meal at The Butcher

Manchester Museum

I always look forward to a visit to Manchester as it’s one of my favourite U.K. cities and when I learnt that the Manchester Museum was re-opening after a closure of almost two years I planned a day out.

Manchester Museum
Manchester Museum

The museum is located in a beautiful Neo-Gothic building on Oxford Road and forms part of the University of Manchester.  The building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse who also designed the Natural History Museum in London.  It’s approximately a 20 minute walk from Piccadilly Gardens and with numerous bus routes operating from there to the University, it’s easy to access by public transport.

Manchester Museum
Outside the museum

The museum closed for a £15m upgrade which has included a new extension along with a transformation of some of its other galleries.  I visited on its re-opening weekend and it seemed like everyone else had the same idea as there was a lengthy queue snaking around the building waiting to get in.  Luckily it was a spring-like day and the line moved reasonably quickly and before too long I was excitedly stepping inside the newly revamped entrance hall.

Maharajah, Manchester Museum
Maharajah the elephant skeleton

Entrance is free with donations of course warmly welcome towards the museum’s upkeep.  The museum is home to a vast collection covering natural history, human cultures, anthropology and archaeology.  Greeting visitors in the lobby was Maharajah who walked with his keeper from an Edinburgh circus all the way to Manchester’s Belle Vue Zoo in 1872 for his retirement.  After the elephant’s death, the skeleton was purchased from the zoo by the museum in 1945 and has been on display ever since.

Golden Mummies of Egypt exhibition, Manchester Museum
Golden Mummies of Egypt exhibition, Manchester Museum

Alongside the permanent galleries, a free exhibition, ‘The Golden Mummies of Egypt’ is taking place until the end of the year.  This is a ticketed event but is free to visit, details here.  Walk-ins are also available dependent on numbers that day but I recommend pre-booking if at all possible to avoid disappointment.

Golden Mummies of Egypt exhibition, Manchester Museum
One of the golden mummies on display

Manchester is the only museum in the U.K. showcasing this extraordinary exhibition following its successful tour of the U.S. and China over the last two years.  Over 100 objects and eight mummies are on display in the new exhibition hall.  It was very interesting as it explores expectations of a life after death during the period when Egypt was ruled first by a Greek royal family ending with Queen Cleopatra VII and then by Roman emperors.  During this time, wealthy members of society made elaborate preparations for the afterlife combining Egyptian, Greek and Roman ideals of eternal beauty.

Bangladesh rickshaw, Manchester Museum
A Bangladesh rickshaw on display

The new wing of the museum also houses the brand new South Asia and Chinese heritage galleries which have been established in conjunction with the British Museum and Manchester’s South Asian communities.  They include a rickshaw imported from Bangladesh that has been decorated by Manchester artists.

Golden buddha, Manchester Museum
A golden buddha on display

In addition to the new galleries, the existing areas have been updated.  The Vivarium is always popular with families as it contains a collection of live amphibians and reptiles including many critically endangered species.  It’s unusual for a museum to care for live animals but Manchester has done this within the vivarium for over 50 years.  This offers a rare opportunity to view creatures and observe conservation taking place.

Sperm whale skeleton, Manchester Museum
The glass roofed gallery with the skeleton of a sperm whale hanging from the ceiling

Undoubtedly my favourite section of the museum is still the magnificent oak panelled exhibition hall with its galleried landings and glass roof.  Showcased here are the museum’s collection of natural history specimens and the skeleton of a sperm whale which has hung from the ceiling for more than 130 years.  The skeleton was found washed up on the sea ice in Massachusetts in 1896 and was bought for £60 and shipped down the Ship Canal to Manchester docks in three huge crates before taking pride of place in the hall.

Artefacts on display in Manchester Museum
Artefacts on display in the museum

Being half-term it was almost impossible to get into the Dinosaur Hall which was crowded with excited young children gazing in awe at Stan the Tyrannosaurus rex and a new exhibit, the 100 million year old Tenontosaurus called April.

Manchester Museum gift shop
The museum gift shop

We’ve had to wait a long time for the museum to re-open but it has been worth the wait so do try and make time to explore its galleries yourselves when visiting Manchester.  The University Quarter along Oxford Road is a vibrant part of the city with its many cafes, bookshops and small independent retailers clustered around the campus.

Details: Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, Manchester (Closed Mondays)

The Butcher, Manchester Arndale
The Butcher, Manchester Arndale

After enjoying our visit to the museum we walked back into the city centre feeling ravenous and decided to call into The Butcher as we’d read rave views about their gourmet burgers so we thought we’d check them out for ourselves.  Established in 2012 with successful international openings in Amsterdam, Berlin and Ibiza, the company selected Manchester for their first U.K. venue.

The Butcher, Manchester Arndale
The entrance to the restaurant

The restaurant is located close to Selfridges on the top floor of the Arndale shopping mall and forms part of a new entertainment venue.  The Butcher is renowned for its high end take on fast food with everything being prepared to order.  At the centre of the restaurant’s stylish urban interior is a large open kitchen surrounded by long tables with high stools from where diners can watch their meals being freshly prepared.

The Butcher, Manchester
Inside the restaurant

The menu includes 19 burgers from the signature Butcher, to The Ugly, Silence of the Lamb, Codfather and The Daddy.  With vegetarian and vegan options available too, there’s something for everyone – you just need to arrive with a huge appetite.

Codfather, The Butcher, Manchester
My Codfather and fries

After much deliberation I opted for the Codfather which was a take on fish and chips served in a large homemade bun.  The bun would actually have been delicious on its own as it was soft with a slightly sweet flavour.  The large piece of cod was layered with tartare sauce and fresh vegetables and accompanied with fries which I dipped into pots of their signature mayonnaise.

Meal at The Butcher, Manchester
Enjoying my burger and peanut butter milkshake

Across the table, my son tackled ‘The Daddy’.  This was absolutely enormous containing a juicy Aberdeen Angus beef patty topped with bacon, Edam cheese and salad.  Both of our burgers were cooked to perfection and it was just as well we had arrived hungry as the portions are extremely generous,

Daddy burger at The Butcher, Manchester
The Daddy burger and fries

Soft drinks, beer and milkshakes are on offer to accompany meals and I couldn’t resist the peanut butter milkshake topped with a swirl of fresh cream which was absolutely delicious.  Next time, I think I’ll try the cookies and cream one as that sounded irresistible too.

tackling the Daddy at The Butcher, Manchester
Tackling the Daddy burger

Centrally located and open until late each each evening it’s a great place for an informal meal after a day in town, being far superior to the standard high street burger bars.

Details: The Butcher, 1st floor, Arndale Centre, Manchester.

If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like:

Manchester – a travel guide

CitySuites Aparthotel Manchester

We were guests of The Butcher and as always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.

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43 thoughts on “Manchester Museum and a meal at The Butcher

  1. I do hope so. It will be lovely for him to see his granddaughter and great grandchildren in April. Just email whenever you’re coming over and we can try and arrange a meet up somewhere. I think you’re just like me so I’m sure we’ll have a great time !

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      1. That would be wonderful, I’ll be backwards and forwards this year but not travelling around sadly. Don’t think my dad has long to go now, hoping he can hold on till April when I go back

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I realise that I’m slightly biased being a northerner but I’m always in high spirits when visiting Manchester. Viewing the re-opened museum was well worth the wait! Thanks so much for your interest and comments, they mean a lot Hannah.

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  2. How fun to visit the Manchester Museum on its re-opening weekend. Glad to hear that it was worth the wait. Those burgers afterwards look delicious, as do those milkshakes! Mmm. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend. Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the wait was worthwhile for the re-opening of the Manchester Museum and I read that 50,000 visited in its first week. The Butcher is a great place for a posh burger and milkshake and it really filled us up for our journey home. Thanks for taking an interest Linda and hope you’re having a good weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Having read your post, Marion, I wish my son was still studying at Manchester University! The museum is impressive as is The Butcher. I would have chosen the Codfather too! Hope you have an enjoyable weekend.

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  4. That looks like a fascinating museum that would take up a whole day to explore through! I love the golden mummy and the incredible detail to it. The whale skeleton would be amazing to see! And a great burger to top it off- sign me up! 🙂

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  5. I’m surprised that admission is free at this beautiful museum (especially after it’s been expensively renovated). It seems to me there is a lot to see – I like the rickshaw and it’s also interesting to read the story of the sperm whale. But wow, The Butcher looks like a good place to pop in – I had a good giggle at the “Silence of the Lamb” burger 😁 … but hang on, Peanut Butter Milkshake – yummy!!

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  6. Think I must have been to that museum years ago to see “Pete Marsh” aka The Body in the Bog, so interesting to hear it’s had a successful revamp. Would recommend The Rylands Museum in Deansgate -very Victorian & with the original loos (worth a visit!). Would pass on The Butcher as my dad was one (a master butcher). I grew up with meat but hardly touch it now!

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    1. Thank you for your interest in this post Joyce. The Manchester Museum has had a successful reopening and it’s now even better than ever. Have also visited the John Ryland Museum but don’t recall checking out the loos so will make sure I take a look next time I’m there.

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      1. The daft thing is that I recall them slightly more than some of the exhibits! I wonder why…?! Actually, the Rylands is a beautiful building and I do have good memories of the wood panelled gallery & the exhibits there.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. The Manchester Museum looks like a fun place to stop by, Marion, and worth the wait. I love visiting museums as they provide new opportunities for curiosity and wonder. I would love to see the Egyptian Mummies exhibition to indulge in fascinating history. Not to mention seeing the mummies close up. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  8. A fun time in Manchester! The museum looks very extensive and educational, and I can imagine one can spend an entire day there. The Butcher looks like it serves up some hearty good eats: I’d be keen on tackling The Codfather, too! Glad you enjoyed your visit of the city once more. 🙂

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