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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Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

It’s been a rough few weeks.

I was going to write about the rest of my marvellous time in Sweden.

I was going to tell you that I was asked to be one of the five (5) members of an academic discussion panel on Brexit, at the Humboldt University of Berlin!

It’ll be on 24.06.17 as part of the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, or the Long Night of Sciences at the Centre for British Studies in Berlin.

I was also going to tell you that not only was I featured as a guest blogger on the University of Chester Alumni website, but I’m also going to be on the University of Chester’s official Case Study posters for postgraduate recruitment too! Now isn’t that cool!

Berlin – very British – rbb

However, bearing in mind what has been happening in my home-country of England, there was just no way that I wasn’t going to mention it.

And sadly, this isn’t the first time.

There have been terrorist attacks in both London and Manchester.

Everyone is in a state of shock.

Our sympathies and condolences are with the people, family and friends of both Manchester and London.

Tributes left in St Ann’s Square, Manchester, for the people who died in the terror attack
©Jeff J Mitchell /Getty

The world has been in a dreadful state within the last year.

First, we had that horrible referendum in which my fellow Brits voted to Leave the European Union, and won! Shortly after, we had airport explosions and train attacks in Belgium, awful situations of terror in France, mindless shootings in the US, the senseless mass killing of the gay community in America, a mad axe-wielding teenager in Germany, an airport terror attack and a near military coup in Turkey, another disturbed teenager ran riot of an evening, randomly shooting innocent shoppers, after luring them to a free McDonalds’ burger, in Germany, and the awful fact that Donald Trump, a laughable figure, actually ended up as the President of the United States, and thus, the leader of the Free Western World!

I mean, how did that happen?!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Berlin was targeted by a mad man at the German Christmas Market, then London was terrorised in March, Stockholm in April, and very very recently, Manchester was attacked, and just over the weekend, London, all over again!!

Just what is the world coming to?

MANCHESTER

That famous and historical city – Manchester!

I’m a British girl!

I was born and grew up in the suburbs of a most famous and historical city – Manchester.

Manchester is in England and when you think of England you think of icons like King Henry VIII, The British Empire, David Bowie, and of course, The Beatles.

Images of Cool Britannia with absolutely everybody LOL!
@Debbiefm

The Beatles may come from Liverpool, but you can’t have everything can you!

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.

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!

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

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!

Phew!

It’s lovely cruising down the Castlefield Canal, or any other canal in Manchester!

Manchester is the highest-ranked British city, apart from London of course, and is the third-most visited city in the UK!

It’s famous for it’s universities and seats of academic learning, architecture, art and culture, museums and galleries, theatre, literature, nightclubs and bars, cinema, music, Manchester Pride, the BBC, science and engineering, sport and excellent transportation. In fact, Manchester has loads of river canals which you can cruise along, free trams that you can use in the city centre, and Liverpool Road train station, which is the first inter-city passenger railway station in the world!

Manchester has about half a million people.

Now that Brexit & Article 50 has been triggered, as an island nation. We’re out. Alone.

So of course, when terrorism came to my home-town and therefore, my city, I was saddened and outraged.

This act of terrorism was not only cowardly, but taken out in an area where teenagers and young children were watching a fabulous concert of Ariana Grande.

Everyone was most upset.

And so was  I.

Everyone was most upset.

My fellow Mancunians rallied round to give each other comfort and support.

They are brave, and so must we all be.

This was not the first time that Manchester has been bombed by terrorists, as the IRA tried to destroy the city in 1996, and sadly, it won’t be the last.

And this time it came very close to home, as the office of my brother – The Writer – is opposite the Manchester Arena! I rang home in the middle of the night with a shaking hand!

Is it safe to travel to Europe right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

And I’m just so sad.

The terrorist have have struck my continent and attacked my country.

This wonderful continent of Europe might make tourists and visitors wonder.

They might think that perhaps travelling abroad isn’t all it’s made out to be.

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

They might think that Europe isn’t the place to be after all!

My blog isn’t about politics, and I’m not a politician or a secret agent, so outside of the odd look-between-the-lines rant, I can’t tell you what to do, or advice you as to who best to run your country. Or mine!

What I can tell you is how to cope, and how to keep on living, doing whatever it is you’re doing.

I’m a British person and I live in Europe. People are worried and concerned:

I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL TO THE UK!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

You don’t need to be.

However!

I’ll tell you something for nothing.

We Brits are as stoic as we come.

Britain is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.

We’re not strangers to attacks.

Or threats.

Or war.

Britain is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.

You’ve only got to look through the last century to see that.

Britain has been blighted by the IRA in Ireland for years, and tourists still love to come to the UK.

Spain has had train explosions from people fighting for the separation of the Basque Region from the country, and tourists still love to visit Spain.

Heck! World War II was started by a madman from Austria, who terrorised the whole continent by his fantasy of German supremacy! Not to talk of the Berlin Wall that was to divide a nation for 38 years, and tourists still love to come to Germany too!

BUT WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

Manchester – And then we have to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

We must cry, and we should.

And then we have to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

Manchester people (of which I am one) are known for plain speaking, and being strong of mind.

We’re stoic, and have a stiff upper lip! #DontLookBackInAnger.

Whatever you think of Britain, the UK is open for business, and always will be.

The point I’m trying to make is:

DON’T LET FEAR TAKE CONTROL

The London Bridge attacks were devastatingly horrible, but you’ve got to keep your head up high, have a bit of a laugh, and get yourself a cup of tea, or in this case, take your beer with you!
©AP

During times of upsetting national news, as British people, we use bleak humour to comfort each other and rally around our community. And even though the London Bridge attacks were devastatingly horrible, you just have to keep your head up high, have a bit of a laugh and a cuddle, and get yourself a cup of tea. Or in this case, take your beer with you! So…

Walk outside your front door.

Drive your car.

Get on that train.

Take a flight.

Sail on a ship.

Take a step at a time.

Don’t let fear take control!

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO BRITAIN & THE UK ‘COS I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD? 

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Sure it is!

Manchester isn’t #reeling, and neither is London. We’re British, we’ve got a stiff upper lip, and we’re going to get on with things, and pull through!

Millions of international tourists and travellers visit and travel through the UK every year, and most visits are completely and utterly trouble-free.

Millions of international tourists and travellers visit and travel through the UK every year, and most visits are completely & utterly trouble-free!

However, if you have any concerns, or need help, or information, I recommend the following:

  • As much as possible, stay away from large crowds and high-profile events
  • Don’t leave bags or luggage unattended. Take care of your belongings and passports at all airports and train stations
  • Remain vigilant, but don’t go crazy and finger-point at random innocent people going about their business
  • Follow the instructions of the local authorities
  • Monitor media and local information sources
  • Allow extra time for your journey due to increased security measures at airports, important train stations, and international borders
  • If you’re German, contact the Außenministerium der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – Andere Länder
  • If you’re American, contact the Embassy of the United States in whichever country you’re in
  • Take out travel and medical insurance BEFORE you travel

Don’t panic. Remember:

Keep calm! Don't worry! Don’t panic!
Keep calm!
Don’t worry!
Don’t panic!

Britain is safe.

Ordinary people don’t carry weapons of any kind. There isn’t a need to!

They say that most accidents and deaths occur near to, or in the home. Statistically, you’re safer outside your home!

And if you’re still not sure take a peep.

See you next week!

Book your hotel here!

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO BRITAIN & THE UK ‘COS I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD?

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions about taking control of travel nightmares and the fear of terrorism, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll continue my articles on Sweden.

In June, I’ll also be visiting Slovenia! Yay! Follow me on Twitter & Facebook to find out what I’m up to!

On June 24th, I’ll be at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens with Travel Massive Berlin.

From July 4th – July 7th, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week.

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in June, you’re crazy!

Save the Date!

June & July are going to be awesome!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

 

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!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Is it safe to travel to Britain and the UK right now? Are you scared to travel abroad? Will you let terrorism take control? Have your say?

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!

You’re not British if you haven’t walked down Abbey Road, Penny Lane, and Strawberry Fields, with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!

A Hard Days' Night - The Beatles.
A Hard Days’ Night – The Beatles.

If you’re here for the first time, let me just start by introducing myself.

Hi! My name is Victoria.

I was named after the Queen. Not that Queen. The other one!

I was born and grew up in the suburbs of a most famous and historical city called Manchester.

The suburban rivers of ye olde Manchester at the Bridge Canal.
The suburban rivers of ye olde Manchester at the Bridge Canal.

Manchester is in England and when you think of England you think of icons like King Henry VIII, The British Empire, David Bowie, and of course, The Beatles.

The Beatles may come from Liverpool, but you can’t have everything can you!

A few months ago, I wrote a piece on how to be British and even though I live in the amazing city of Berlin, I do sometimes get homesick.

Yep!

Afternoon Tea.
Afternoon Tea.

I sometimes miss dandelion and burdock, buttercups, and daffodils, cups of tea with delicate cupcakes and sandwiches. English butties smothered with chunky bits of marmalade filled with the rind and zest of oranges, that gives thickly sliced bread that extra bit of Oompf!

The Police with the lead singer - Sting.
The Police with the lead singer – Sting.

I sometimes miss walking along the Manchester canal surrounded by gentrified gastro-pubs that used to be working men pubs. Pubs filled 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.

Adam and the Ants in 1981.
Adam and the Ants in 1981.

I sometimes miss the bunch of English kids all wearing creamy-white shirts with ruffles, fancy glam Jodhpur pants, large hair, and a huge amount of make-up. Kids listening to the 1980’s New Romantics of David Bowie, and falling in love with Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music. I still love the man even after all these years, as well as Adam and the Ants, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, and Duran Duran.

Oasis - Liam and Noel Gallagher.
Oasis – Liam and Noel Gallagher.

I definitely miss the 90’s we’re-back-on-top-Britpop independent music scene era of singing in regional British accents, with lyrics and images of British places, culture, fashion and food, and the troublesome local Oasis boys from Manchester.

I actually met Noel once, on a side-street with Meg Mathews in Paris! He signed my diary in lipstick as I didn’t have a pen!

I still have the diary!

The young band - Blur - with their lead singer Damon Albarn. Damon later went on to form the  virtual band -  Gorillaz.
The young band – Blur – with their lead singer Damon Albarn. Damon later went on to form the virtual band – Gorillaz.

Blur, The Verve, Pulp, Skunk Anansie (I love that edgy girl – Skin), Supergrass, Placebo, Elastica, Suede, The Prodigy, and the Spice Girls. I miss them so much that sometimes I want to cry!

Those were the days!

The days when Britain rode that wave of alternative poprock and before moving into the mainstream, forming that cultural movement called Cool Britannia.

Cool Britannia!
Cool Britannia!

But of course, none of this would have happened without the grandfathers of British rockpop. That’s right, none of this would have happened without those four (4) young working class boys from Liverpool.

The 4 young men known as The Beatles.
The 4 young men known as The Beatles.

Those boys later to be known as The Beatles.

Just two weeks ago, I went to a musical performance and smash-hit tour of a Beatles-Revival production show called Let It Be.

I found out about them because I saw a poster a couple of months ago, so I contacted the Berlin venue, who put me in touch with the European promoters, who very kindly offered me two complimentary press tickets.

I was very excited!

Let It Be - The Musical.
Let It Be – The Musical.

So, let’s get started!

I watched Let It Be at one of Berlin’s oldest theatre venues: the Admiralspalast.

WHAT’S THE ADMIRALPALAST?

The Admiralspalast in 1940. © Berliner Morgenpost 2014.
The Admiralspalast in 1940.
© Berliner Morgenpost 2014.

The Admiralspalast or the Admirals Palace, is a theatre in the “Mitte” district of Berlin. Mitte is now known as the East End and the Broadway area of Berlin. It’s also part of Berlin’s hip nightlife quarter so if you’re looking for the theatre land of Berlin, all you have to do is walk.

Opened in 1909, it was one of the locations of the glamour set and a major contribution to the distinctive cultural image of the jazz years in Berlin during the roaring twenties, and the early swinging thirties. The golden twenties resulted in the wonderful artistic spread of revues, cabarets, dancing halls, and variety shows, before that world and everything in it, was destroyed by Hitler in 1933.

Now one of the last few preserved variety venues of the pre-World War II era, the Admiralspalast originally included a skating rink, a luxury spa and swimming pool, and a 24 hour cinema! After the Second World War, the Admiralspalast became the venue of the State Opera and during the Soviet occupation in 1946, became a theatre under the watchful eye of the Communist Party.

A beautiful piece of the Admiralspalast in Berlin.
A beautiful piece of the Admiralspalast in Berlin.

Thankfully, the very beautiful Admiralspalast suffered very little damage from the various wars and so after the Berlin Wall Fell in 1989, the Admiralspalast once again became an exclusive venue for art and entertainment.

WHAT’S LET IT BE?

An acoustic scene at Let It Be.  Photo@ Paul Coltas
An acoustic scene at Let It Be.
Photo@ Paul Coltas

Let It Be is a British West End production that was based at the Garrick Theatre in London.If you recall, the last time I went to London, I went to another musical at the Sadler’s Well Theatre in London called – The Merchants of Bollywood. Anyway, Let It Be had such a successful summer that they decided to take their show on the road with a rocking European tour across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy!

Last week, I told you how lucky we are in Berlin, that we can still watch such amazing British performances without actually having to go to the English capital! And to make it even more interesting, you don’t even have to be in Berlin, you can also be in Munich (Germany), Linz and Vienna (Austria), and Zürich (in Switzerland).

Not only that but Let It Be are also going to be touring 2015 in Canada and New Zealand!

WHAT DOES THE SHOW’S NAME MEAN?

At the Liverpool club called the Cavern - Let It Be. Photo@ Paul Coltas
At the Liverpool club called the Cavern – Let It Be.
Photo@ Paul Coltas

Let It Be is a jam-packed performance of over forty (40), of The Beatles’ greatest hits. It’s the story of the boys meteoric rise from their humble working class beginnings in Liverpool at the Cavern Club, to their discovery in Hamburg Germany, and the life-changing height of Beatlemania, and studio masterpieces.

We even got to see live black and white performances of early tracks of songs such as Twist and Shout, She Loves You, and Drive My Car, as well as global mega-hits from Yesterday, Hey Jude, Come Together, and of course, Let It Be!

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Let It Be. Photo@ Brinkhoff Moegenburg.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Let It Be.
Photo@ Brinkhoff Moegenburg.

My favourite bits were tracks, images, and performances from the colourful, psychedelic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was and is, my favourite Beatles album although as a little girl I couldn’t understand why they kept singing about a girl called Lucy with diamonds, and tangerines and marmalade. Lucy was the name of my favourite raggedy doll you see!

Imagine a throwback of the recovering 1950’s of Britain.

Imagine the dingy clubs and pubs that each and every artist has to go through.

Imagine the colourful images of love, freedom, and flowers.

Imagine the rush of knowing that you were in the middle of something new, important, and so “it”.

Imagine starting a musical revolution, breaking stereotypes, and putting your country on the world musical map.

A poster of the Ed Sullivan show in America.
A poster of the Ed Sullivan show in America.

Image going to America, on the Ed Sullivan show, and every other important show on the planet.

I mean, imagine young teenage girls fainting and crying.

Imagine young teenage boys fainting and crying!

Imagine people pulling your hair. storming your hotel, squashing and shoving your car.

Imagine the fame, the noise, and the love.

Ladies and Gentlemen. I present to you the story of The Beatles!

Ra! Ra! Ra!

Screaming teenaged boys and girls!
Screaming teenaged boys and girls!

At the end of the evening, we were all standing and cheering. A few people were even dancing! Let me tell you, this is a feat. It’s difficult to get a German audience to clap their hands to the beat, not to talk of shaking a little.

This performance was a triumph!

"Paul" and "George" at  Let It Be. Photo@ Paul Coltas.
“Paul” and “George” at Let It Be.
Photo@ Paul Coltas.

DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND GERMAN TO WATCH IT?

Not in the least!

There were a few moments when the audience didn’t understand the jokes of the performers as they spoke in “real” English with Scouser (Liverpool) accents, but with a few waves of the arms, and a couple of “Come On’s’,” the audience began to understand what was requested, and to warm up.

The show is excellent for an international audience, as you just need to know the lyrics and singalong. And singalong we did!

"Ringo" on the drums - Let It Be. Photo@ Paul Coltas
“Ringo” on the drums – Let It Be.
Photo@ Paul Coltas

MY VERDICT?

A stunning success!

Let It Be is a family friendly (albeit not for very young children), musical production.

If you love lavish entertainment, music, dance, and cabaret, in the wonderful setting of Germany’s capital city – Berlin, then the Admiralspalast is an excellent location.

Let It Be is a performance worth going to in either Europe, North America, or New Zealand!

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Let It Be.  Photo@ Paul Coltas
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Let It Be. Photo@ Paul Coltas

Because if you’re a Beatles fan you can:

  • Be extremely close to (depending on your ticket), an entertaining musical production.
  • Be enthralled by the scenery and story of The Beatles.
  • Travel back to the magical sixties when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends.
  • Imagine that you’re actually there, and judging by the mixed audience age-group, I think some of the audience were actually there!
  • Come early and wander around one of the largest theatre stages in Berlin.
  • Be a part of history and imagine yourself back in the fifties and sixties of Beatlemania.
God Save the Queen in Cool Britannia!
God Save the Queen in Cool Britannia!

WHAT IF LET IT BE REALLY ISN’T MY CUP OF TEA?

Not to worry. Keep reading my blog. There is more to come!

Let It Be was only in Berlin for a fast-paced six (6) days but you can still catch them in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy until 07.12.14, so get your tickets soon!

Tickets for Let It Be are at various prices around Europe, and can be bought online here.

Approximate running time: A little under 3 hours, including a 20 minute interval.

For more information about the show, please contact: Let It Be.

For more information about the venue, please contact: the Admiralspalast in Berlin.

Images of Cool Britannia with absolutely everybody LOL!  @Debbiefm
Images of Cool Britannia with absolutely everybody LOL!
@Debbiefm

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a complimentary ticket, all opinions and the delicious champagne that I wonderfully drank, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you so next week I will be returning to our adventures in Indonesia, and Qatar!

Christmas is coming, with more exclusive productions, and merry-making at German Xmas Markets. Yay!

Additional National Theatre Live productions are also coming up and can be seen at the Cinestar Berlin – Original such as:

For the rest of the year, Berlin will be celebrating and marking the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

November is going to be a blast!

Watch this space!

The Abbey Road Zebra Crossing.
The Abbey Road Zebra Crossing.

Have you walked down the Abbey Road in London? What is your favourite Beatles track? Would you watch a dazzling musical such as Let It Be?

See you in Berlin.

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