51 reasons to visit Manchester. And more!

Imperial War Museum North – Manchester

Ay Up!

As you know, I’m The British Berliner, and my original home country, is England.

You know the one.

Ye Olde England!

That’s right!

That famous and historical city – Manchester!

Now if you’ve met me in really life, you’d be shocked to discover that I actually hail from the Northern part of the country.

But you wouldn’t know it if you heard me speak!

When I talk, I sound as posh as any Sloane in Chelsea.

Put that down to an independent private education!

The Angel of the North – Gateshead – Tyne and Wear

Having said that, even though I sound rather plummy, I am in fact, a Northerner, and my original home town is Manchester.

Not industrial steel Manchester mind you, but the leafy suburbs of Cheadle!

In fact, not far from my parent’s home is Abney Hall Park – the inspiration for country house life, and indeed, many of the scenes – of Agatha Christie!

Makers Market in Cheadle Village

What I’m trying to say is that even though I sound as if I come from the manicured landscapes of Surrey, I’m from Up North!

And what was once the suburbs of Greater Manchester in Lancashire, is also part of the suburbs of Cheshire!

Follow the path and route in Cheshire

If you would like to know a little bit about England, Scotland and other British things, just follow the link here!

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MANCHESTER

Manchester really needs no introduction, but if you insist…

Manchester began as a Roman fort called Mamucium or Mancunium, in about AD 79 and was historically a part of Lancashire, and until the 20th century, became a part of Cheshire.

The lovely Just So Festival is an annual weekend camping festival that’s actually in Cheshire, but billed as Manchester!

Manchester is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the South, the Pennines to the North and East, and an arc of little towns surrounding it!

In fact, where I grew up, is technically no longer known as Manchester, but Cheshire!

Throughout the Middle Ages, Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand around the turn of the 19th century, brought on by a boom in textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, bringing extreme wealth to Manchester, and making it the first industrialised city in the world!

Now even though I’m a Mancunian, I haven’t lived in Manchester since I went to university!

I haven’t been back to Manchester for quite some time!

And that’s quite some time ago!

I had planned some day trips but we went to Liverpool instead!

That notwithstanding, we did a historical walk, had a few beers, and then went to hipster Ancoats and the Northern Quarter!

Yippee!

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Grab a few beers at Pot Kettle Black in Manchester!

There are so many things to do in Manchester that you need at least a week to do them all, so here’s a list of things you could do whenever you get there.

Go on then, choose your poison!

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51 REASONS TO VISIT MANCHESTER. AND MORE!

Dracula, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, in Victorian England
© Nino Munoz/NBC

1.  Discover the Victorian historical past of Manchester
I found a large collection of self-guided walking talks distributed by Discovering Britain and created by the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers – IBG), which you can find online! I picked The Slums, squalor and salvation – A self guided walk around Victorian Manchester. Being that I was named after Queen Victoria, I’ve always had a fascinating interesting in the era of that period! I enjoyed it very much, but ran ut of time!

2.  Read a book at one of Manchester’s oldest libraries
The John Rylands Library is one of Manchester’s most majestic buildings, and as a little girl, I was very much a bookworm and a bit of a boffin, so this library was one of the libraries of my dreams! It’s a masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture and looks more like a castle than a library! Go see for yourself.

3.  Go to Victoria Square – the first “industrial suburb”in the world!
Victoria Square in Ancoats was built in 1894, and is the first “industrial suburb” in the world! Ancoats became a cradle of the Industrial Revolution and was a thriving industrial district before it suffered economic decline and became quite a horrible slum! You can still see bit and pieces of it’s historical past, but you’d have to hurry as Ancoats is being turned into a gentrified Quarter of horrible glass and steel!

4.  See the home of one of North England’s most famous writer
Once the home of famous novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, the building – Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is now open to the public, exhibiting her old kitchen, servant’s hall, a tea room, and beautiful recreated gardens.

5.  Learn about Manchester’s industrial past
The Museum of Science and Industry is one of my favourite museums and is based on the site of the oldest passenger railway station in the world! As you know, I really like museums but most importantly, it’s completely free of charge, so why shouldn’t you visit?

Walter Greenhalgh in Tudor costume at Ordsall Hall – Manchester

6.  Travel through time
Ordsall Hall is a fine example of Elizabethan architecture. Dating back to 1340, Ordsall Hall is one of Manchester’s oldest buildings and was built by the Radclyffes, an influential local family with close links to the monarchy! And certainly, when I was a young girl I never forgot the importance of Tudor and Stuart! Oh, and it doesn’t cost a penny!

7.  Explore Art!
The Manchester Art Gallery is an amazing gallery that houses a huge collection of paintings, craft and design, and early 20th Century British art. Entry is free!

8.  Imagine life during WWII
Be a modern day Doctor Who and wander through time via the original tunnels from the Stockport air raid shelters used during 1940 Wartime Britain. Opened in 1939, the shelters were the largest purpose-built civilian air raid shelters in the country, and provided shelter for up to 6,500 people!

9.  Visit one of England’s finest Grade II listed buildings
One of the finest pieces of architecture is the Manchester Central Library. With it’s original historic features, cutting-edge design, impressive Wolfson Reading Room, as well as a fascinating collection of reading material, as a young girl, it inspired in me a love of dusty books!

10.  Hail the Suffragettes!
The Pankhurst Centre was the home of Emmeline Pankhurst and her family, who led the Suffragette campaign for Votes for Women & the Women’s Social and Political Union. She was named as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, and is a must visit for anyone interested in political history at the turn of the 20th century! It’s also free of charge!

Buying records in the Northern Quarter is a very good thing!

11.  Stay trendy and cool in the Northern Quarter
Similar to Berlin’s Kreuzberg, the Northern Quarter is one of the most popular places to head to. Situated between Piccadilly and Ancoats, the Northern Quarter retains a unique character and charm, and is Manchester’s urban creative, urban heart and home, to countless independent fashion designers and stores, record shops, cafés, bars, restaurants, street art, and other creative hubs! We spent a little bit of time hanging out here. Note that the Quarter also has the bohemian hippy air of Copenhagen’s Freetown of Christiania!

12.  Lose yourself in music
Since it opened in 1978, Piccadilly Records has become one of the world’s best independent record shops selling a wide variety of musical genres spanning from indie, disco, funk, house, psych and everything in between. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, they’ll tell you where you can!

13.  Rip your jeans at the centre of Manchester’s punk scene!
Manchester was very much a prominent part of the punk scene in the 1970’s where the Buzzcocks, the post-punk band The Fall, and Joy Division used to play before they hit the big time! Occupying a grand old Victorian building is the pub where it all started – Band on the Wall – with a reputation for hosting respected artists from all over the world. Visit, if you want to reveal Manchester’s 20th century music scene!

14.  Take a stroll and do business
Situated in the heart of Manchester, Spinningfields is one of Europe’s most successful urban regeneration projects! It’s the leading regional business quarter in the UK and the centre of Manchester’s corporate community, over 165 world-class financial and commercial services organisations, luxury international fashion brands, restaurants and bars, and over 5.5 million tourists a year!

15.  Be dramatic. Do theatre!
Once the largest trading hall in England, the Royal Exchange Theatre is soaked in history and was a prominent target in the Manchester Blitz in 1940! Today, the Royal Exchange Theatre attracts the very best acting and writing talent to the seven-sided, glass-walled capsule, and is uniquely suspended in the middle of the historic Cotton Exchange, so that each and every seat, is less than nine metres from the circular stage. We went to see a play there and it was remarkable!

The Imperial War Museum (IWM) North – Manchester

16.  Experience the reality of war at the Imperial War Museum North
The Imperial War Museum North (IWM) at Salford Quays was initially established during the First World War! Housed in an iconic aluminium clad building, it represents a globe shattered by conflict and is the first museum in the UK to be designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind, and of course, is free of charge.

17.  Power to the People!
My second favourite museum in Manchester is the People’s History Museum. It’s a national museum that shows the way ordinary people used to live, as well as the history of labour and democracy, in the UK. It’s very interactive and hands on. We visited a few years’ ago, and The Tall Young Gentleman was amazed to see an 1800 telephone that had both a mouth piece and an ear piece. He was so astonished, he didn’t know how to use it!  Absolutely free of charge!

18.  See the oldest library in the world. Probably!
Chetham’s Library was founded in 1653 and is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world! It’s housed in a building from 1421, and it’s entire collection is deemed to be a national and international treasure!

19.  Visit Whitworth Park Gallery
The Whitworth is a gallery that I remember well as a young girl! It’s located in Whitworth Park, and is now a part of the University of Manchester and exhibits an extensive and eclectic collection of art and design, which is of international significance. It’s free of charge.

20.   Run away to the circus. No! Visit the theatre!
The Lowry represents a diverse programme of theatre, opera, musicals, dance, music, comedy and visual art, as well as events and activities to expand the horizons of audiences and artists alike. One of the most familiar childhood places that I remember is that of the Lowry Gallery. The Gallery presents paintings, sculpture and photography, as well as the exhibitions of one of Britain’s best loved artists – LS Lowry.

Party on in Manchester!

21.  Party on!
Housed in a venue built in 1878, The Deaf Institute, is a music hall ballroom with velvet curtains, a domed ceiling, a massive mirror ball, and parrots on the wall! It also hosts live gigs, comedy and club nights for big names in the early stage of their career, as well as craft beers served to rock ’n roll sound tracks!

22.  Listen to live classical music
As one of the BBC’s six performing groups, the BBC Philharmonic offers a wonderful opportunity to experience live classical music at its very best. The BBC Philharmonic gives many concerts, nearly all of which are broadcast on BBC Radio 3, it also appears at the annual BBC Proms. If you’re interested, you can apply for free tickets for concerts in the studio, or purchase tickets for the annual season at Bridgewater Hall.

23.  Experience musical talent at the Hallé
In my younger days, I used to play the clarinet and was a member not only a jazz-like Big Band, but also a symphony orchestra! And one of the places that I delighted in visiting was the Hallé. The Hallé is an 1857 English symphony orchestra that ranks among the UK’s top symphonic ensembles and supports youth choirs, children’s choirs, and youth orchestras, as well as releasing its recordings, on its own record label! It was a huge deal to perform there, and we did!

24.  Listen to music under the Arches! 
It can’t get any more authentic when you dive under the arches along the railway tracks. Gorilla is a mixture of film, comedy, live and club music space. It’s also a little gritty and is one of Manchester’s music haunts. And isn’t that what we all want!

25.  Get it in, at Manchester City FC!
Enjoy an exciting Manchester City Stadium and Club Tour and bask in the pride and heritage of Manchester and it’s very own football team – Manchester City!

Sculptures of football legends, at Manchester United

26.  Kick a ball for Manchester United
Travel to the home of the most successful football club in the world! Book yourself a Manchester United Museum & Stadium Tour, and enhance in the experience of a life-time as a premier league football player and a behind the scenes look at the most recognised football team in the world at Old Trafford!

27.  Be a Viking and throw an axe!
If you’re looking for something different, why not visit the Great Northern Warehouse where Whistle Punks will show you how to throw an axe. Jaaaaaa!

28.  Go to the clouds on the 23rd floor!
The highest point in Manchester is a unique venue on the 23rd floor! Cloud 23 at the Hilton has the most fabulous views of Manchester’s skyline as well as genteel afternoon tea, and elegant cocktails. Dress smartly. Note: Children under 18 are only allowed between 11:00 and 17:00.

29.  Sip gin at the City of Manchester Gin Experience
The City of Manchester Gin Experience is a purpose-built space with a cinema screen and private bar. Take your time and tour the distillery, explore the history, learn about the intriguing history of gin, as well as drinking it. And then top it off by creating your own personalised bottle of gin!

30.  Welcome to Chinatown!
Manchester, twinned with Wuhan in China, has the second largest Chinatown in Britain, and the third largest in Europe! Originally created in the 1970’s as a cultural hub for Chinese families in the north of England, Chinatown is now famed for its restaurants, grocery shops and bakeries, as well as Chinese New Year celebrations which attract thousands of visitors. In 1987, an impressive archway (a paifang) shipped from China – was built!

The original Bury Black Pudding – a breakfast delicacy of the North!

31.  Put your finger in a Bury Black Pudding!
Black Pudding traditionally served with hearty favourites like bacon and fried egg is the ultimate Lancashire delicacy and dates back to 1865! There is an English speciality called Bury Black Puddings! It’s a Bury institution and a must have, when having an English breakfast in the North of England! I’m not a fan myself, but why not give it a try at least once!

32.  Eat street food at a Farmers’ Market
Manchester has a huge number of local food and drink, produce, and Farmers’ Markets, so why not enjoy all that Manchester, and the North of England has to offer!

33.  Sing carols at the Manchester Christmas Market!
Step into winter with a dose of European / British  local food from the number of Christmas Markets scattered around the city. It won’t be traditionally German, but you’ll get food, drinks, wooden gifts, hand-made products and a good sprinkling of glühwein and sausages!

34.  Visit Manchester’s Edwardian Corn Exchange
Take a step back in time and immerse yourself in Manchester’s rich past via the Edwardian Corn Exchange. Bask in the Gothic Quarter and take your senses through the quaint medieval cobbled streets, away from the hustle and bustle of Manchester city centre.

35.  Sip coffee at Pot Kettle Black
Established in 1871, Manchester’s Barton Arcade is an  industrial vintage space that is home to a speciality coffee shop – Pot Kettle Black. We went there for a snack and a few drinks, but sadly, they stopped serving meals at 16:00, and the cakes they had on offer were either filled with nuts, or crammed with chocolate! A beer it is then!

Manchester craft beer – Chorlton Pale Ale –
©thebeerinreview.co.uk

36.  Enjoy craft beer
Manchester has a growing craft beer scene, with more than 80 breweries operating across Manchester! Try the beer, slap someone on the back, and buy a round for the locals!

37.  Laugh your head off!
Located along Deansgate Locks, the Comedy Store Manchester is right in the heart of a popular nightlife spot. Housing a spacious bar and canal-side restaurant as well as an auditorium, this hugely popular venue showcases some of the best comedic talent from around the world building on its impressive heritage from the original London venue, which helped launched the careers of French and Saunders, Jack Dee, Paul Merton, Julian Clary, and Eddie Izzard. We went to one of the performances, and it was pretty alright!

38.  Pub crawl through Deansgate Locks
The Deansgate Locks’ is home to not only the Comedy Store Manchester,  but also ten converted railway arches with six bars, a walkway, and a bridge hanging over a part of the Manchester canal beneath! Not far away is the real Deansgate and also the longest road in the city centre, one of the oldest thoroughfares ,and dating right back to Roman times! Can you imagine that just 30 years ago, many of the gentrified gastro-pubs used to be working men pubs, or packed with underaged kids either wearing tightly ripped jeans and second-hand leather jackets, or listening to the 70’s post-punk music of The Police, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Smiths, and The Cure, before the area beame a desolated mess! In fact, when I went back a few years ago, I was shocked at how gentrified Deansgate Locks had become!

39.  Drink at some of Manchester’s finest pubs and ale houses
You wouldn’t be in Manchester if you didn’t have a bevy of good old British pubs, serving real beers and traditional ales. Check out the Peveril of the Peak – one of Manchester’s most celebrated pubs – as the only ‘detached’ pub in Manchester city centre, and it’s distinguished two-tone green tiled exterior. It dates from the early 19th century and is said to be named after a stagecoach that ran from Manchester, across the Pennines. It’s an architectural gem, has original wooden benches, stained glass, etched mirrors and bells. Or perhaps The Briton’s Protection – a historic, grade II listed pub dating back from 1806! As well as serving real ale, it is known for offering a wide range of over 200 whiskies. A real British find!

40.  Be fabulous and glow, at Manchester’s Gay Village
Located just south of Chinatown, along and around Canal Street, the Manchester Gay Village is both a place to party, and a piece of the people’s history. Like New York, London, and Berlin, Manchester is one of the world’s leading gay-friendly cities, so whether you’re part of the LGBT community or just a supporter of the cause, head out to Canal Street and paaarty!

Head to Manchester University!

41.  Head to university!
Manchester is a university town and has over 99,000 students across four universities namely the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford and the University of Bolton. It’s also home to the University Campus Oldham and the Royal Northern College of Music. Like London and Berlin, Manchester has one of the largest student populations in the UK, and therefore, one of the largest entertainment and nightlife available and very cheap beers!

42.  Shop ’til you drop
Manchester Arndale, otherwise known as the Arndale Centre, or the Arndale, is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, and receives up to 41 million visitors every year! The Arndale was built in the 1970’s but was redeveloped after the 1996 Manchester IRA bombing, making it Europe’s third largest city-centre shopping mall! It’s so worth a visit!

43.  Hop on the train
The best way to explore the North England region is by train! Northerners have a soft spot for heritage trains which can’t really be used for travel, but are a picturesque reminder of how we used to live! One of such, is the East Lancashire Railway. With a history stretching back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the East Lancashire Railway is the steam-powered heart of the Irwell Valley, pumping goods and people around the region for nearly 200 years!

44.  Be a Children’s BBC (CBBC) presenter for a day
The CBBC, otherwise known as Children’s BBC, is the British children’s television strand owned by the BBC and aimed for older children aged from 6 to 12. BBC programming aimed at the under 6-year-old child is broadcast on the CBeebies channel. If you have young children, let them go behind the scenes, join one of the interactive tours, and discover how it feels to be a TV presenter. The CBBC tour lasts about 1.5 hours and is suitable for ages 6 to 11! Note: You can only watch the CBBC videos and games online, if you’re actually in the UK!

45.  Visit a farm!
Set on 70 acres of rolling countryside, the Smithills Open Farm is a family run business, where children can meet and learn about a mixed bag of animals such as goats, cows, pigs and sheep, as well as reptiles, and more unusual species like Burmese pythons. Most animals can also be fed and held!

Hats off!

46.  Hats off!
Hat Works is Stockport’s hat museum! It’s an attraction with two floors of interactive exhibits, taking you on a journey through the history of Stockport’s once thriving hatting industry. At Hat Works, visitors can step back in time and experience the world of hatting from its humble beginnings in the cottage industry, to the mass production of the early 19th century when hat manufacturing was a thriving industry, with over 100 hat factories and businesses in the area. You can even try on a huge collection of hats, or try your hand at making your own! Utterly free of charge!

47.  Go rambling through the country
Manchester isn’t just city centred, but encompasses rural environments too. The Dovestone Reservoir lies at the convergence of the valleys of the Greenfield and Chew Brooks, above the village of Greenfield, on Saddleworth Moor. The reservoir is on the edge of Oldham and the Peak District National Park in the South Pennines, offering several walks amongst picturesque landscapes. The reservoir has its own sailing club, a permanent orienteering course, an extensive network of footpaths, and good links to areas of open access moorland. If you’re looking to ramble in the countryside, go sailing, cycling, orienteering, or horse-riding, then this is the place to do it!

48.  Sail across the oldest man-made canal in the world!
Pack up your troubles nd put it on a barge by river cruising along the historic Bridgewater Canal opened in 1761! The canal flows through Dunham Massey, Sale, Stretford, Barton-upon-Irwell, Old Trafford, Boothstown, Worsley Village, and beyond. Relax in the gentle sounds of Manchester’s most historic waterways, or use Manchester Water Taxis, or a Waxi, to travel around!

49.  Travel for free with the hop-on, hop off bus!
Within the Manchester city centre, you can travel for free! Yes, for free! The Metroshuttle is a free of charge ‘hop on, hop off’ service, linking all of the main rail stations, car parks, shopping districts and business areas. There are three services which operate on circular routes and operate in Manchester city centre (routes 1, 2 and 3), Bolton and Stockport. When in “town”, we also used the metroshuttle, and it’s very efficient. Just look for the bus stop signs dotted around the city centre. Free of charge!

50.  Pop into Greggs for a meatpie
Greggs is the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom! It specialises in savoury products such as pasties, sausage rolls, sandwiches, vanilla slices, and cream finger doughnuts! The first Greggs was opened in 1951 and is generally considered to be primarily based in the North of England. Prices are low and quality is really good for a quick snack. To be candid, you’re not in Manchester if you don’t pop into Greggs for a cheese pasty or a sausage roll!

That’s it for now!

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51 REASONS TO VISIT MANCHESTER. AND MORE!

The beautiful Edwardian Corn Exchange – Manchester.

This article isn’t sponsored, and even though I thoroughly enjoyed myself in my original home town, and some of the ideas are inspired by Visit Manchester, absolutely all opinions, and the great times I had in my childhood, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

Yippee!

November is going to be exciting!

The Music Producer at Piccadilly Gardens – The Northern Quarter – Manchester

Watch this space!

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51 reasons to visit Manchester. And more!
51 reasons to visit Manchester. And more!

Have you ever been to Manchester? Do you like black pudding? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

So I know you’re thinking.

Oy!

Who do you think you are?

Ah!

Wrong question my man!

I’m the girl who caused controversy with viral posts like this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one!

I’m not afraid to write an article. With an interesting twist!

I like the attention.

Who knew?!

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Winnats Pass, Hope Valley – Derbyshire

But seriously, when I wrote to you a few weeks ago, I told you that I was going to visit Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire! At no point did I say Liverpool!

But that’s the beauty of travel and the nature of the beast, you sometimes change direction!

The Music Producer and “The Tall Young Gentleman” in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.

Now when travelling with family, I keep those impulses down to a minimum, in order to give them a good time, rather than my travel madness spurts, but I have been known to “just” take a ferry to Finland ‘cos it’s two (2) hours away.

I’ve also taken a bus from Berlin – London – Berlin ‘cos I was home-sick, taken a 26 hour bus from Estonia to Berlin as a challenge, decided it was hell, and then did a far worst thing by taking a bus from Berlin to Sweden. And back again!

Ho! For the the luck of the lovely Irish!

I’ve thought about taking a ferry to Ireland ‘cos we were in Wales, and the ferry port was on the island of Anglesey where we happened to be spending a very nice three (3) days on the sea coast! Our B&B (bed and breakfast happened to be in Holyhead, and not far away was a ferry linking Wales to Ireland and sailing for Dublin and Dún Laoghaire!

I’ve also gate-crashed an Embassy party in Hong Kong ‘cos I saw the event in a society magazine and thought it might be fun!

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I gate-crashed an Embassy party in Hong Kong ‘cos I thought it might be fun!

It was!

Perhaps, I’ll write about it one of these days!

And why did I do this?

Just because!

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How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

But I digress, back to Liverpool.

Ah, Liverpool!

Liverpool doesn’t really need an introduction, so before I tell you what happened, let’s get the low-down on Liverpool for those not in the know!

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A SHORT HISTORY OF LIVERPOOL

Statues of The Beatles in Liverpool – Paul, George, Ringo & John

Liverpool is a city in North West England.

It has a population of about 478,580 people and is located on the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary, within the ancient hundred of West Derby, in the south-west of the county of Lancashire!

It became known as Liverpool as far back as 1207, but really came into prominence during the Industrial Revolution. During this time, the port of Liverpool was heavily involved in cargo, freight, raw materials such as coal and cotton, and the dreadful Atlantic slave trade.

Ned Parfett – the Titanic paperboy – with a large newspaper banner advert about the ill-fated RMS Titanic in London – 1912

In the 19th century, Liverpool was also a major port of departure for Irish and English emigrants to the United States and was home to both the Cunard and White Star Line, and was the port of registry of the ill-fated ocean liner RMS Titanic.

In modern times, Liverpool is known as the birth-place of The Beatles and is also the home of the annual Grand National horse race at Aintree, and two English Premier League football clubs – Liverpool and Everton. Indeed, Liverpool FC is the only British football club to win five European Cups!

Liverpool attracts a diverse population, and has done for hundreds of years!

Several parts of the city centre are now World Heritage Sites and Liverpool’s status as a port city has attracted a diverse population and is home to the oldest African community in the UK and the oldest Chinese community in Europe!

As I told you a few weeks ago, Britain has a lot of endearing names for locals who originate from a certain part of the country. So for example, I’m from Manchester, so I’m a Manc or a Mancunian. People from Newcastle upon Tyne, are called Geordies, people from the East End of London are called Cockneys, people from Blackpool are either called Blackpudlians or Seasiders, and the locals from Liverpool are called Scousers!

Just above is a British sketch called The Scousers. For the Brits among you, I’m guessing some of you might remember one of the BBC’s comedy shows of the 90’s – Harry Enfield and Chums, otherwise known as Harry Enfield’s Television Programme, based on the Channel 4 soap opera – Brookside – featuring a set of stereotyped Liverpudlian characters!

To call a local from Liverpool a Scouser is not rude. It’s a name of affection and means Scouse – a type of lamb or beef stew. It originally came from the word Lobscouse – a stew popular in seaports and commonly eaten by sailors throughout Northern Europe!

Scouse is also considered to represent a distinctive Northern English, local working class, Liverpool accent, thus Scouser!

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SO WHAT’S WITH THE CLICKBAIT TITLE?

There’s a beauty in click bait!
How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

Ah!

Well, I’ve been to Liverpool only three times in my life.

Once as a child, on a river “cruise” to Sheffield with my mother, once just a few weeks ago, and once when I got robbed after I graduated from university!

Wait.

What?

You got robbed?

Yep!

No!?!

Yes!

So spill!

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I WAS ROBBED IN LIVERPOOL!

A silhouetted sculpture by Anthony Gormley’s – Another Place – one of 100 cast iron figures on Crosby Beach – Liverpool

I was a fresh graduate and a girl-friend of mine decided to visit a friend in Liverpool.

She didn’t want to go alone, so she asked me to go with her.

Liverpool isn’t known as being a “nice” county. In fact, some parts of the city can be considered quite “rough!”

This isn’t a rough part of town, it’s Penny Lane – the bus terminus in the Beatles song – Penny Lane!

We drove in from Cheshire.

And then we got lost.

We drove around and around, and in those days nobody had a mobile phone so we couldn’t just call this girlfriend.

We decided to stop on the High Street and ask for directions.

We went into a nice shop!

We saw a nice shop.

We parked the car on the kerb.

Jumped onto the pavement.

Walked towards the shop.

And then heard a smash!

Two local boys reached into the car and stole our stuff!

Two local boys reached into the car, took my girlfriends briefcase and our shopping bags.

And an apple.

And rode off on their bicycles!

We were so shocked.

We hadn’t even reached the nice shop.

Everybody came out.

They called the Merseyside Police!

They called the police.

They couldn’t really help.

Visibly shaken.

We called the girlfriend and told her that we weren’t going to visit her after all.

We left Liverpool.

And I never went back.

The Music Producer in Liverpool

Until now!

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SO WHAT NOW?

The Albert Dock in Liverpool.

As part of our Northern England trip, we stayed in Cheshire with the family and I was saying that I wanted to visit the canals in Manchester. My sister-in-law mentioned the docks.

In Liverpool.

She said that they were rather nice.

In fact, they were cleaned up and were now heritage sites.

The Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site!

We ought to go.

And so we did.

Gulp!

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LIVERPOOL MARITIME MERCANTILE CITY

The Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, otherwise known as the docks!

We went to the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, otherwise known as the docks!

It’s a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site and comprises six locations in the city centre and many famous landmarks!

Located at the tidal mouth of the river Mersey where it meets the Irish Sea, the maritime mercantile City of Liverpool played an important role in the growth of the British Empire reflecting Liverpool as the supreme example of a commercial port at the time of Britain’s greatest global influence!

Liverpool grew into a major commercial port in the 18th century, crucial for the organisation of the disgraceful trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Liverpool in the 19th century, was the world mercantile centre for cargo and mass European emigration to the New World & the British Empire!

In the 19th century, Liverpool became a world mercantile centre for general cargo and mass European emigration to the New World and had major significance on world trade as one of the principal ports of the British Commonwealth, and was instrumental in the development of industrial canals in the British Isles in the 18th century, and railway transport in the 19th century.

The six core areas that make up the historic world heritage site are:

Pier Head, otherwise known as the Three Graces – Liverpool!
  1.   Pier Head:  It’s the focal point of Liverpool’s waterfront and is dominated by three of its most recognisable landmarks: The Liver Building, The Port of Liverpool Building and the Cunard Building. Referred to as the Three Graces, they stand as a testament to the great wealth in the city during the late 19th and early 20th century, when Liverpool was one of the most important ports in the world!

It now houses the Museum of Liverpool and a memorial built to honour the engineers who remained at their post as the RMS Titanic sank.

The Beatles Story at the Albert Dock – Liverpool

2.   The Albert Dock: This dock is a complex of buildings and warehouses opened in 1846, and were the first warehouses in the world to be entirely fireproof!

It’s now home to the Tate Liverpool, the Merseyside Maritime Museum and The Beatles Story and is the largest single collection of Grade I listed buildings anywhere in the UK!

As you can imagine, we spent an awful long time in this part of the Maritime Mercantile City!

The North Warehouse, overlooking Stanley Dock and the Tobacco Warehouse – Liverpool
  1.    The Stanley Dock: This dock includes huge swathes of Liverpool’s docking environ! Within the site are several other docks, parts of the Leeds Liverpool Canal and associated canal locks; and many smaller features such as bridges, bollards and capstans.

In fact, two of the Clarence Graving Docks are the oldest docks still in use today, and date back to 1830! Not only that, but the of the buildings – the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse –  is the largest brick warehouse in the world!

The Liverpool Town Hall

4.   The Commercial Quarter: This part of Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, includes Castle Street, Old Hall Street, Victoria Street, Water Street and Dale Street. It is also considered to be enormously historical as parts of this are medieval and many buildings have grandeur architecture and fantastic monuments, spanning over 300 years!

A lovely wedding at Bluecoat Chambers
© 2017 Samuel Docker

5.   Duke Street / Ropewalks: This area consists of the Duke Street conservation area, as well as two warehouses.

One of the buildings – Bluecoat Chambers – used to be a charity boarding school, was built in 1716, and is the oldest surviving building in Liverpool! It’s now known as the Bluecoat and is a centre for contemporary arts and considered to be the oldest art centre in Britain!

The Old Dock was the first enclosed wet dock in the world, which encouraged a lively community of sea captains, merchants, traders and artisans to live there. Today the area is known as Ropewalks, a reference to the large number of roperies present in the area when Liverpool was one of the busiest ports in the world during the 18th and 19th centuries!

Walker Art Gallery – Liverpool

6.   The Cultural Quarter /William Brown Street:  This quarter is the central point for many of Liverpool’s civic buildings, otherwise known as the Cultural Quarter.

The Cultural Quarter includes monumental cultural and civic buildings such as St George’s Hall, Lime Street Station, the Walker Art Gallery, the World Museum Liverpool, the former Great North Western Hotel and the entrance the Queensway Tunnel.

Victoria looking very pleased with herself, in Liverpool!
©Frank Böster – The Music Producer

You know how much I like history, art, architecture, and riverside cities.

We had a great time.

And I was pretty impressed.

I might even visit again!

Touche!

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HOW I WENT TO LIVERPOOL, AND I WASN’T ROBBED!

How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!
© Liverpool 360

This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions, and the robbery and docklands experience are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Derbyshire, Blackpool, Lancashire, and Yorkshire!

Yippee!

November is going to be splendid!

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How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

Watch this space!

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A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn't robbed!
How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

Did you guess the secret location? Have you been to Liverpool? Have you ever been robbed? Let me know in the comments below!

 See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!
© Enrico Verworner

It’s October!

In a few days, Germany will celebrate the Re-Unification of Germany, otherwise known as, German Unity Day or Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit!

This most important day will take place on October the 3rd.

October 3rd is a public holiday given to the German people to honour the Re-Unification of the two German States previously called the German Democratic Republic (GDR) or DDR (Deutsche Democratic Republic) otherwise known as East Germany, and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) or Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD), otherwise also known as West Germany!

Me in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall & Street Art!

I cannot under-estimate how much I love this city.

I mean, I shout about it loud enough and it was just four (4) years ago that I introduced myself to you on this blog, when I wondered what the heck Berlin was all about anyway!

Oh yeah, and then I wrote a cheeky article which most people didn’t seem to get. And the title? Germany is Boring.

Oops!

I mean, what is the big deal?

Best German meals to try out in Berlin – Currywurst!

I’ll tell you what the big deal is my good man.

It’s the fact that the city of Berlin.

THIS city of Berlin.

Has been together in peace and harmony for 28 years.

That’s right.

28 years!

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28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

WHY WAS THE BERLIN WALL SET UP IN THE FIRST PLACE?

The Berlin Wall after the opening of the Wall near Brandeburger Gate on November 11th, 1989!
@25 Archiv. Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung – Uwe Gerig

It’s a little complicated but after WWII, Germany was split and divided by the allies as punishment for Nazi Germany. And you only had to look at the city of Berlin to see who the Allies were namely; Great Britain, France, USSR and the United States.

It was not long before arguments and squabbling took place in the international political arena and simply put, the Eastern and Western Bloc decided to go their separate ways, and an Iron Curtain ensued.

East Germany went one step further and built a wall in Berlin, cutting a line through the entire centre of the city!

This wall was supposed to prevent East Berliners and citizens of East Germany from fleeing to the West, but the Wall was unable to stop the mass of people from escaping. As a result, in 1961, the ruling Communist Party in East Germany began adding more border fortifications to the Wall, creating a broad, many-layered system of barriers.

In the West, people referred to the border strip as the death strip because so many people were killed while trying to flee.

I have seen this death wall myself as I live in East Berlin and not 10 minutes away, is the main local park called Mauer Park.

The suburb of Prenzlauerberg where I live, is now enormously trendy and gentrified, and if you’re “in,” or want to be “in,” you strive to live here.

However, let it be noted that “Mauer” in German, means “Wall.”

The Death Strip in now East Berlin but formerly French – Soviet Germany!
©Joyce, S. A.

With the downfall of East Germany in 1989, the Berlin Wall that the Socialist Party tried to use to maintain its power, also fell. The Fall of the Wall marked the definitive end of its dictatorship.

The Berlin Wall enclosed West Berlin from August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989.

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STREETS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL?

The Berlin Wall.
28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

A couple of years ago, I wrote about one of my favourite places, and where I first lived in Berlin – Kreuzberg. You can read all about it right here! In my post, I mentioned that Kreuzberg had the Berlin Wall running right through the middle of it and that during the happy confusion, when the Wall actually fell, young people were leaving the East to go West, or leaving the West to go East!

In fact, I liked Kreuzberg so much that when I first made a documentary about being a British person in Berlin, we did the filming there!

OMG! Don’t I just look like a city babe!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

In Prenzlauer Berg where I live now, we’re about twenty (20) minutes from the original East-West border, and about ten (10) minutes from the first border crossing on the bridge of Bornholmer Straße. If you’ve ever since the videos where East Berliners were running through the border with everyone clapping and giving out free beer, it was that one!

I always take my friends to where the original wall used to be!

And let me tell you.

I always weep tears of joy because even though I wasn’t in Berlin when the Berlin Wall actually fell, living in Berlin means that I’m able to touch, see and sometimes smell, what it was like to live here pre-1989!

Potsdamer Platz today!
28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

In fact, I can still remember when Potsdamer Platz was nothing more than wasteland and a piece of the border strip known as No Man’s Land. And looked like it too!

Not far off from Prenzlauer Berg, is a street called Bernauer Strasse, also known as Bernauer Straße!

Bernauer Straße as part of the Berlin Wall in 1961 – Frank Baake © Thomas Gade

As you can see, the Berlin Wall used to go right through it!

In fact, it was pretty horrid for all concerned, as you could actually see the other side of the Wall from your kitchen window, but you couldn’t go to the Western side without being shot!

Smashing through the wall! ©frizztext
Smashing through the wall!
©frizztext

Imagine the frustration, pain, and horror.

Many people tried to escape to freedom and found ways to be creative by sailing across in a hot air balloon, digging tunnels underground, pretending to have a funeral and lowering the “dead” person into a pit, hiding inside the seated lining of a Volkswagen car, etc. All for a life of freedom.

Not much of the Wall is left today, which was chipped off and destroyed almost in its entirety, however, three (3) long sections are still standing:

The Topography of Terror. You can still see parts of the Berlin Wall right behind it!
©Britta Scherer

An 80-metre-long (260 ft) piece of the first (westernmost) wall at the now Topography of Terror, but which used to be the site of the former Gestapo headquarters!

But obviously, the original building was razed to the ground.
The Berlin Wall, otherwise known as, East Side Gallery!

A longer section of the second (easternmost) wall along the River Spree near the Oberbaumbrücke in Kreuzberg / Friedrichshain, which you can see throughout the 1988 cult film Run Lola Run, otherwise known as, East Side Gallery!

Bernauer Straße in both East & West Berlin!
28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

 

And a third section that is partly reconstructed, in the north at Bernauer Straße, which was turned into a memorial in 1999.

And of course, isolated fragments, lampposts, a few watchtowers, and other elements, remain throughout various parts of the city!

On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.

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SO HOW DID THE BERLIN WALL ACTUALLY FALL?

It’s easy to forget that this situation was only 28 years ago. Most of you reading this blog, are probably older!

Let’s get some history!


2 May

Hungary begins dismantling the fortifications on the border to Austria.People demonstrate against the election rigging in front of the Sophienkirche (church).


7 May

Local elections in the GDR. Opposition groups prove that the results were faked. People demonstrate against the election rigging in East Berlin on the seventh day of every subsequent month.


4 September

First Monday Demonstration in Leipzig. 1,200 people gather outside St. Nicholas’ Church. Their demands include freedom of travel and democracy.


9 /10 September

New Forum’s initial call-out becomes a signal for change. Further grassroots movements follow.


11 September

Hungary officially opens its western border for GDR citizens, risking a breach in its diplomatic relations with East Berlin.


30 September

West Germany’s foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher informs the East German refugees in the Prague embassy, that they will be allowed to leave the GDR.


3 October

The GDR government bans travel to Czechoslovakia without passports and visas, to stem the mass exodus. Special trains transport people from the Prague and Warsaw embassies to the West, through the GDR. There are violent clashes with police along the railway line, as well as in Dresden.


7. October

On the 40th anniversary of the GDR, several thousand people demonstrate in Berlin outside the Palace of the Republic.  In numerous East German towns and cities, similar protests are broken up by force.


9 October

Despite fear of military repression of the Monday Demonstration, 70,000 people take to the streets in Leipzig. The police, military and civilian forces do not intervene.


11 October

The single ruling political party calls for people to stay in the GDR, offering a “dialogue” concerning the country’s further development.


16 October

The number of people at the Monday Demonstration in Leipzig doubles. The security forces do not intervene.


18 October

Erich Honecker is forced to resign after 18 years in office. Egon Krenz is made the new secretary-general of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED).


24 October

Krenz is also elected chairman of the State Council and the National Defence Council. 12,000 people demonstrate against his appointment in Berlin that evening.


30 October

300,000 people take part in the Leipzig Monday Demonstration.


4 November

The largest demonstration in the history of the GDR takes place in Berlin.


7 November

The government of the GDR, and the Council of Ministers collectively resign.


8 November

The Central Committee Politburo, the highest body in the GDR, resigns. West German chancellor Helmut Kohl links economic and financial aid for the GDR to three conditions: the opposition must be legalised, free elections must take place, and the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) must renounce its claim to sole authority.


9 November

The Wall falls, prompted by a vague, but now famous, announcement of new travel regulations at a press conference. Tens of thousands of East Berliners rush to the checkpoints and force the border open.


22 December

The Berlin Wall is officially opened at Brandenburg Gate. The first concrete section is removed from its beams at 0.30 a.m.


23 December

The offices issuing passes for the GDR in West Berlin close for good. West Germans no longer need a visa, or have to change a certain amount of money, to enter the East.


1990 Chronology


31 August

The Unification Treaty is signed in East Berlin.


3 October

Germany celebrates the “Day of German Unity” also known as “Re-Unification Day.”


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28 YEARS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL

Climbing up the Berlin Wall for Freedom! Freedom!!

It was the people who took to the streets en masse and courageously resisted a dictatorship, enabling both the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Peaceful Revolution.

The 28th anniversary of the Fall of the Wall is important because Berlin will continue to invite locals, expats, eyewitnesses who were here, and people of the world, to participate in the anniversary celebrations, and to tell personal stories about the Berlin Wall.

Outside Bernauer Straße in Berlin. Everyone is going to be here!

Everyone is going to be here!

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ANYTHING ELSE?

Yep! The Festival of Lights!

Festival of Lights ©Kerstin Röhner

Once a year, Berlin’s world famous sights and monuments become the canvas for spectacular light and video projections.

From 06.10.17 – 15.10.17, the Festival of Lights will transform Berlin’s most famous landmarks and historical monuments through light projections and video art whereby different artists will light up the capital, and illuminate buildings in many parts of the city!

Not only that, but the Festival of Lights also includes various art and music events, photography workshops, open house opportunities at selected buildings, and charity events, as well as guided tours by bus, boat and on foot!

Most of the participating monuments will be focused on the city centre, and will be illuminated from 19:00 until midnight.

Every day!

For a full list of participating buildings, maps, and photographic displays, go to the official Festival of Lights website here!

WHAT IF THE BERLIN WALL ISN’T MY CUP OF TEA?

Two sides and periods, of the Berlin Wall.

As if!!

Keep reading my blog. There is more to come!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

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28 YEARS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL: BERLIN, I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO!

Festival of Lights ©Alexander Meier

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the currywurst and bratwurst that I’m sure to be happily scoffing in the next few weeks, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

Yipee!

October & November is going to be smashing.

The Berlin Wall – 28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

Have you ever been to Berlin? Do you remember where you were when the Berlin Wall Fell. Where were you in 1989? Let me know in the comments below!

 See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!