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We’re fans of Manchester here at TransPennine Express. Of course, we love the entire region we operate in, from the Clyde to the Mersey and the Ouse to the Tyne. But our headquarters are in Manchester, and so we thought we’d share some of the reasons why we love this city. We even made a film for our colleagues that does just that, and it's been so well-liked that we thought we should share it with you.
While we're at it, we've also taken a look at the world-beating activities you can get involved in when you visit mighty Manchester – a list that pretty much proves the point our colleagues make in the video.
You’ll eat well in Manchester – but don’t just take our word for it. The Guardian’s Grace Dent went off to 20 Stories, the new restaurant hovering above the city at No. 1 Spinningfields, and described it as one of her top meals of the year. It’s not just Grace Dent who’s singing loud about the city’s fine dining, though. In the same newspaper, Jay Rayner recently raved about Albert’s Schloss, Manchester’s vast Bavarian wonder bar. And that’s the thing – from beef cheeks and fine wines to cronuts and beer steins, Manchester serves great grub that spans the whole culinary caboodle.
The Deaf Institute… go to The Deaf Institute. We cannot tell you this enough. So we’ll say it again: go to The Deaf Institute. This wonderful, boisterous music and food venue hosts amazing gigs attended by the hippest of the hip. If you want to find the next big thing just look down the gig list for this place.
At the other end of the live venue scale, you have the stat-smashing Manchester Arena. The Arena has more seats than any indoor venue in the UK and across Europe is second only to some gaff in Antwerp. 1.2 million people visit every year to see acts as diverse as Peter Kay and Justin Timberlake… (One of these two was a steward at the venue when he started his career. Guess who.) When it comes to art spaces we all know the spec: minimalist interior, quirky don’t-touch furnishings, slightly snooty staff. Well, that’s not what you get at HOME… OK, the furnishings are slightly minimalist. But this friendly, quirky and creative space hosts great talks, classes and exhibitions. It has a cinema and a theatre – it even has a fantastic cafe and one of the best bookshops in the city. If the people who made Swiss Army Knives made arts venues they would look bizarre, but they’d have to study Home before they started.
This summer for example, from 23 July to September we’ve got Bee in the City (keep your peepers on that hashtag for more info). It’s a public art trail of over 80 giant honey bee sculptures creating a buzz around the city, all of them with their own unique design. We’ve even got our own bee too!
Manchester Pride isn’t (always) a reference to the residents’ satisfaction with the city… or even a type of bread for that matter. No, no, no, Manchester Pride is the campaigning group behind Manchester Pride Festival, a huge event, at turns joyous and poignant with a parade that attracts happy crowds celebrating diversity and equality and a Candlelit Vigil that remembers those lost to HIV and AIDS. The Manchester Pride Festival is a one of a kind event that takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend and shows you what a rare, caring and fun-loving city this is. And if you can’t wait until August then just head to Canal Street any time of the year for one of the friendliest, most pleasant and out and proud streets in the country…
There are music festivals held the length and breadth of the land, but few match up to the five-star sonic tonic that is Parklife. The XX, Skepta, Lorde, N.E.R.D., Chvrches, Everything Everything and the monobrowed, modson of Manchester Liam Gallagher perform over two days and eight stages in wonderful Heaton Park. Stick it in your diary (June 9-10) and hop on a train to Manchester for a weekend you won’t forget.
More ace food is on the menu at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival (September 27-Oct 8), an urban good food fest that takes place across the whole of the city. The heart of it takes place in Albert Square where there’s always something happening, whether it’s a food demo, DJs, some lovely bars or some amazing street food – whatever your taste, you’re going to need a bigger belt.
In this round-up, we’ve not even had a chance to mention the Northern Quarter with its indie shops and bars and all-encompassing creative can-do vibe, or the fantastic Museum of Science and Industry, the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Central Library, the People’s History Museum, or The Printworks, or even Chinatown! There’s so much to take in in Manchester, but trying to get it all said is just one more way that the city takes your breath away.
Manchester is a family
Everyone here agrees that the spirit of pride, community and friendship that exists in Manchester is hard to beat. It’s not what they’d call ‘soft’ – in fact, what passes for praise and encouragement could often, to sensitive ears, sound like a put-down – but that’s simply Manchester letting you know that it’s got your back (and that you don’t need to develop any airs and graces).
Manchester is a city of fun and frolics, science and industry, grit and determination. We love it here and we think you will too.
Hopefully we've inspired you to take a trip to mighty Manchester - find out even more info here.