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flying into Manchester...what to do

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Chicago, Illinois
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flying into Manchester...what to do

Flying in from Chicago on BMI in late December. So, I plan on staying around for a few days and then wondering where to go next...Should I go to London, or head to Dublin or over to Paris or Amsterdam, etc?

I am taking my 16yo daughter for her birthday, (shhhh,,,,it;s a surprise) and we have never been to Europe, and I don't know when we will ever get back. I was planning on 7-10 days and I want to make the most of it.

So, I am looking for some ideas. I am not looking to offend anyone by not staying the entire time in Manchester, but, you know, I get to get some more sites in while I am there. Also, since I have plenty of time, I am thinking of booking in advance some flights on BMI or others to save money, but maybe should I take the train(s)? The train/bus would probably provide more views.

I know...I need to get my self a travel guide book...just need to get to a book store. Just love the forums here and hoping someone can get me started so I can start some planning.

Thanks!

Patty

ALJ
Cambridge, United...
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1. Re: flying into Manchester...what to do

Hi Patty - to give you a starting point:-

Spend a couple of days in Manchester. There are plenty of shops there plus restaurants. From there get the train into London (takes just over 2 hours on Virgin trains), spend a few days there (don't miss out the London Eye). After that you could get the Eurostar train into Paris (takes about 3 hours). You'd be better getting the Eurostar rather than plane since the train station in right in the centre of London and it would take you to the centre of Paris. It certainly would save quite a bit of time and hassle without having to travel to the airport, check in an hour before etc. Presumably you bought a return ticket from Chicago to Manchester, so you can fly from Paris back to Manchester quite easily.

Manchester, UK
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2. Re: flying into Manchester...what to do

You're probably dead right...a few days in Manchester will be plenty. There's the usual things to do here (shops, architecture, history, countryside, great food) to keep you entertained.

Where else to go? Dublin and London are great places, but if I were you I'd think about mainland Europe because of the massive differences in culture, food and experience.

London is an amazing big city much loved by tourists but I think you'll get a better feel for England by spending time in Manchester. Dublin is also brilliant but is very much based around the pub so you might want to wait until your daughter is just a couple of years older. The countryside around Dublin is fantastic.

Other options could be getting a train to the Lake District or to North Wales. They're both unbelievably beauiful in winter...but can be very cold and wet.

Manchester Airport is very convenient and it would be very easy to get to Amsterdam, Paris or even somewhere like Rome, Budapest, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Istanbul. All great places and very different. If the budget allows I'd definitely go to Europe. www.jet2.com is a good cheap(ish) airline that might be worth looking at to get an idea.

One thing...if you're coming just before Christmas then Manchester will be very busy with shoppers and revellers. Hotel costs will probably be higher as well. If you're coming just after Christmas then the shops will be packed with the sales...this might be the best time to 'hop over' to Europe. I've been to Amsterdam, Brussels and Nice in successive years in the couple of days between Christmas and New Year and it was a great time to visit.

3. Re: flying into Manchester...what to do

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ALJ
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4. Re: flying into Manchester...what to do

Although the countryside in England is beautiful especially in the North, it can be cold and wet in the winter as NFMac says. I certainly would combine the trip to the UK with a visit to Europe and stick with the cities.

If you go to London, why not go and see a show at the West End one evening? One of the best show to go and see at the moment is Billy Elliot. You'll need to book in advance since the tickets do sell out.

Paris is a wonderful place and easy to get to from London - another city to consider is Prague. It's one of my favourite city in Europe but it's not as big Paris!

England
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5. Re: flying into Manchester...what to do

Hi Patty

What a fantastic present for your daughter!! What a cool mum!

You don't say whether you'll be here for christmas but am assuming that 'late December' means that you're arriving between christmas and new year so I've based my recommendations on that ...

- couple of days in Manchester - perhaps one day shopping (check out the massive H&M and Primark stores - your daughter will love them) and second day a day-trip somewhere (Chester is a good suggestion)

- train to Edinburgh - this is a nice journey as it goes through the Lake District - check out megatrain.com for (very!) cheap fares

- couple of days in Edinburgh. This is the place to be for new year if you can time it right. There's a big street party with loads of bands/performers/general fun which would be a great experience for both you and your daughter. However accommodation will be scarce and you need a ticket to the street party so it will require a bit of effort. If you're keen then I'm sure the Edinburgh forum would be able to help. Even if you don't go for new year, I'd still recommend a visit.

- flight to London (first part of the train journey is quite pretty but otherwise scenery is average and it will take the best part of a day)

- few days in London seeing the sights

- flight/Eurostar train to Paris. If you want to see somewhere outside the UK - this is the place to go! Spend a few days here.

- flight back to Manchester and then back home!

In terms of timing, a couple of days will be enough in Manchester and Edinburgh but you probably need to allow more time for London and Paris as there's a lot to see!

Hope that helps!!

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: flying into Manchester...what to do

Wow....you are all so quick! Ok, I am travelling after Christmas. I believe it is Dec 27or 28th thru Jan 5 or maybe the 7th. The details are on the other computer so I don't have them handy.

I think I decided on Manchester, than London and then Paris, so she can put that high school french to the test (and I can see if I remember any...)

I figured the bigger cities may be best for a teenager. Personally, I would love to go to Scotland and Wales, but that may be a trip to save for my husband and myself. I do want to squeeze in Chester and Liverpool for a day. It seems pretty close according to the train map.

I may consider Edinburgh for New Year's, so I can get my fix in. Her birthday is Jan. 2, so we usually celebrate on New Yea'rs Eve. A street party would be a nice-sized birthday celebration, one would think.

I am so excited! I cannot believe I am actually going!!! I was until 2 a.m. checking out things to do. I can't book on Virgin trains yet, says they only accept reservations for 3 months prior. BMI has listed currently flights from Heathrow to Paris for 15 GBP, one way. Seem's like a decent price. As soon as I figure out the train prices I will compare.

So, now I need to figure out where to stay close to shops and restaurants in Manchester, that can be reached easily from the airport. I will search the forum but feel free to offer any recommendations ;)

Thanks everyone!

Patty

Manchester, UK
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7. Re: flying into Manchester...what to do

Patty...there's a train station attached to Manchester Airport that takes you directly to the city centre. Trains stop at Manchester Piccadilly (the main station) and there are two hotels that are just by the station. The Malmaison and the Rosetti both get very good reviews but are pretty expensive. Personally, I don't like this end of town as I think the area around Piccadilly Gardens is the only rough bit of Manchester. Not bad, but not that nice either.

Otherwise, a lot of trains also go through Piccadilly and then stop at Manchester Oxford Road (it's very easy to figure out which trains go this way). Oxford Road is a livelier-end of town and here you have the Palace Hotel (excellent hotel in a 100-200 year old insurance building - expensive), or the budget chains Premier Travel Inn and Ibis (rooms about £59.00 a night).

Liverpool is about 40 minutes from Manchester (Piccadilly) and Chester's about an hour. Both great places.

Edinburgh will be packed on New Year's Eve. Accommodation will be very hard to get and very expensive. They have a massive party right in the city centre and it would be great to visit but you might have to do a fair bit of planning and budgeting beforehand.

Not sure what will happen in Manchester on New Year's Eve. A few years ago there used to be a firework display but that was pulled. The city council got a lot of negative publicity and they did say that it was being reviewed for this year but I've not seen anything planned.

A lot of pubs, nightclubs and taxis raise their prices on New Year's Eve and this has had the effect of making most people stay at home or in local pubs rather than having the hassle of getting into and out of the city centre. Somewhere like a restaurant in Chinatown might be a good idea if you do find yourself in Manchester for New Year Eve and then a walk down to Albert Square (where people congregate to hear the town bells chime at midnight).

ALJ
Cambridge, United...
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8. Re: flying into Manchester...what to do

Hi Patty,

Have a look at the Midland Hotel. It's right in the centre of Manchester - very close to the shops and restaurants. You'd be better off staying at the centre of Manchester than be near to the airport. Public transport links between Manchester and the airport is usually very good. However, you may find the train service might be a little limited between Xmas and New Year. You should be able to get a train from the airport to the city. I would then get a cab to the hotel - it's not far (it's about 10 mins walk otherwise).

I was in Paris for the Millennium and it was absolutely fantastic. We stood on the other side of the river right opposite the Eiffel Tower and watch the fireworks go off at midnight. It's worth checking out whether they still do the firework celebrations at the Eiffel Tower for the New Year.

9. Re: flying into Manchester...what to do

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