Our nearest BIG city is Manchester so we do pop over there occasionally, but being an honourary Scouser I have to say it’s not my favourite place. I’ve heard a lot of people say you have to live in the city in order to really love it and once you do it becomes the most amazing place, but I’ve always felt it was just a bit… grey? Anyway, we have found a few fab places we go to for food and this time we obviously had to find something transport-related to do as well, so here is a round-up of our latest trip.
This is the main reason we come to Manchester. Their amazing hot noodles in a Japanese broth are just divine. Perfect if it’s cold and rainy or you’re just feeling hungry and want an authentic taste of Japan. We have been known to come all the way to Manchester just to eat ramen and then go home again lol! But really, I’m pretty gutted at the lack of amazing Japanese food in the North West (except Etsu in Liverpool- we love it there – nom nom nom – but it is pricey…).
We pretty much always get the Kotteri Hakata Tonkotsu with a side of gyoza and pumpkin croquette and some plum wine or hot sake in case you’re stuck with what to order – it’s amazing every single time and you’re belly will thank you for it, just make sure you have a nice comfy bed to cuddle up in afterwards as it’s soooo filling and sleep-inducing.
Because of our train obsessed toddler (and his father – lol) we try and find something transport-related to do on every trip we make. The Museum of Transport in Manchester was really amazing. I’m not really a fan of museums, especially with a little human, but this one is small, interactive and absolutely PACKED to the brim with buses! I had no idea there were so many different types of buses and the history you learn going around is so interesting. From trams being almost non-existent just before World War Two to them providing a valuable asset in maintaining vital public transport for the many people employed in war work. Even now Manchester uses trams in the city centre and it’s so easy to get around on them. Alfie is OBSESSED with trains and wasn’t at all bothered with climbing on all the buses, but he did find the only tram in the whole museum and that meant we spent most of our time playing with the flip-down chair lol!
Hotel ibis budget Manchester Salford Quays
We stayed in the IBIS as everything was booked up (must’ve been lots of football happening) and it was actually really comfy. The breakfast buffet was huge, the staff were so friendly and the bed was really bouncy. We weren’t sure how Alfie would cope in a little room for a couple of nights but it was absolutely fine and nice and cheap for a short stay plus there was parking which is always a bonus in a busy city, plus the tram station is just a few minutes walk away.
Salford Quays is a bit of a concrete grey area but the local park’s playground was nice to run around and the views over to Old Trafford are pretty lovely with a nice flat area to run around.
For dinner we had ribs at Harvester The Lowry – a proper family restaurant where little ones get crayons and finger puppets and a kids menu… it was easy and no problem when Alfie (and my rib-juice-filled-fingers) made tons of mess lol!
Such a lovely place – you can sit here for hours and people-watch whilst eating really delicious food. We came for a huge breakfast and got custard tarts as well. Our local friend always takes us to really fun and quirky cafes and this one was a new favourite – lots of happy merch to buy and random quotes to make people happy as well as a rule that you can bring your laptop to work at a table for the day BUT you must turn it off at five pm and clock off for the day.
We had a bit of an incident where Alfie ran off towards some steps and a water-fountain and Jason chased him and slid – I mean SLID – he flew flat on his back and as it was raining he was literally covered head to toe in thick mud. It was like a comedy scene but he wasn’t moving and was in agony so it really wasn’t funny at all. I had to run to grab Alfie from impending step and water danger and then run back to Jason and try and help him. It was really quite horrible and NOT A SINGLE PERSON came to help us even though we were in a really crowded outdoor area. Unbelievable. Still now this really upsets me and has put me off going back to Manchester at all. I think we will get our ramen fix in London from now on, but if you do have any recommendations here let us know and maybe we will venture back one day when it’s not raining and Alfie can navigate steps safely on his own.