Manchester and Liverpool 2016 Pictures

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Renée Murad and I had been invited to a 70th birthday party at Haydock Racecourse. So we made a long weekend of it and went to Manchester and Liverpool also. Alas the forecast was not good but that did not deter us.

Day 1: Friday 10th June 2016: Trafford Centre and Manchester City Centre Shopping.

On day 1 we left London at 9:05AM. We escaped the M6 at junction 17 to avoid bad traffic and had a nice romp through the countryside instead. 3 hours 15 minutes after we started, we arrived at the Trafford Centre, a shopping centre of similar size to the Harlequin centre in Watford but much prettier and more ornate. We had our lunch and tea and coffee, and did some shopping before moving on. We then took a suburban route past Old Trafford Stadium to the university area where we drived around and Renée had a trip down memory lane to her university days. Then we parked up for the hotel at 3pm and checked in.



The Trafford Centre. Old Trafford Stadium. Arriving at the hotel.

The hotel was in Portland Street which was a good central location to start our exploration with lots of shopping en route. We started by walking up Portland Street to Picadilly Gardens. Then we headed Northwestwards past the Arndale Centre to Exchange Street. Then we headed towards the Cathedral and Exchange Square. After a coffee break in the Arndale Centre we headed down Exchange Street to St. Ann's Church. We then made our way down to King Street. Then from there we moved Eastwards round to Charlotte Street which took us down to Chinatown where we stopped at The Little Yang Sing for a nice dinner. Finally we headed Southeast to the Eastern end of Canal Street, which we walked to the Western end. Then we decided to retire for the night as we were knackered. Intermittent rain from showers and thunderstorms had dominated the weather but it didn't stop us from having a good wander. Back at the hotel we also planned where to walk tomorrow too.






The Old Wellington Inn looks kind of out of place next to the more modern buildings that surround it. Exchange Square. A sculpture in the square. Looking down Corporation Street from Exchange Square. Enjoying a coffee break in the Arndale Centre.





A water fountain in St. Ann's Square. St. Ann's Church. Chinatown. Canal Street. The Rochdale Canal by Canal Street.

Day 2: Saturday 11th June 2016: Manchester Soakathon and transfer to Haydock for Party

A glimmer of sunshine teased us during a nice continental breakfast at the hotel. However it wasn't to last. Storm after storm brewed to the South, merged together and gave us relentless heavy rain as we checked out and left our cases in the car. We stuck to plan to start with, and headed Northwest from the hotel. After a detour to return to a shop we saw yesterday, we ended up at the Albert Memorial at Albert Square, and the majestic neo-gothic Manchester Town Hall. An exhibition was going on and officials on the door invited us in to look at the Great Hall. This allowed us a respite from the rain. Indeed the town hall was spectacular inside with lots of marble, mosaic floors and arched and vaulted ceilings.






Approaching the town hall. The Albert Memorial from the Northwern side. A Routemaster bus. The town hall clock tower. An old fire engine. Another front view of the Albert Memorial from the Town Hall entrance (Eastern side).






The spectacular arched entrance to the town hall. Looking along a corridor inside the entrance. One of the mosaic floors. The inside of the entrance. An antechamber upstairs. The great hall.





An organ on the far wall of the great hall. A statue built into the wall above a doorway. Peeking out a window into a courtyard. The ceiling of the great hall. My favourite floor mosaic, of a nice bee.



Panorama of the area around the staircase. Renée on the staircase. iPhone panorama looking back at the town hall from a covered area at the Eastern end of Brazennose Street.

We carried on Westwards along Brazennose Street to Deansgate. The plan was to carry on into an upmarket area. However to the North was House of Fraser. We decided to take another respite from the soaking rain and head in to have a look. Inside Renée went shopping and also got some nice makeup applied for the party. Then we continued on, heading for Hardman Square. Here we were getting utterly fed up with the heavy rain, and we paused in Pret a Manger to have a think about what to do. We decided to curtail our walk and head back to the car. We grabbed some food from Tesco on the way through to munch at the next hotel as we were still full from a big breakfast. We set off around 1:30PM, a bit earlier than originally planned, but atleast we were now dry.




Deansgate architecture opposite Brazennose Street. The John Rylands Library. Inside House of Fraser I was amused by this 'Husband Creche'.



Looking back towards the town hall clock from near the John Rylands Library. Renée showing off her makeup inside Pret a Manger. Passing the Opera House on Quay Street as we head back towards the car.

We arrived at the Haydock hotel at 2pm just in time for the checkin desk opening. In the room we munched our Tesco food. After a while Mum, Dad and Louise arrived and said hello. Once they had settled in we joined them for tea in their room across the hall from ours. Then after a rest, we got ready and had an impromptu photoshoot. Soon after 6:30PM I, as the designated driver, drove us all to Haydock Park Racecource for the party. Thanks to Rose for inviting us to a lovely evening. It was a pleasure to help you celebrate the big 7-0! Not that you looked anywhere near that age. We enjoyed the chocolate fountain, as well as the nice atmosphere, bubbles, cake and food. Eventually as more and more people headed off we called it a night, to return to the hotel around the midnight mark.






Renée all dressed up before we left our room. A photo shoot with Mum, Dad, Louise and Renée.






Chocolate fountain kebab! Renée enjoying a drink and watching events unfold. Rose posing with the cake baker. Eddie, the main photographer, in action. Renée in chocolate heaven!





Rose giving a speech before the food is served. Patrick looking on. Playing with the bubble tubes that had been placed on the tables.





The song 'Cry Me a River' prompted some MSQRD fun with Renée, Louise and D'Arcy.




A few more MSQRD pictures. A face made from the plastic diamonds scattered on the table.

Day 3: Sunday 12th June 2016: Haydock to Liverpool, Albert Dock and City Centre Walkabout

After a bad night's sleep I was feeling pretty rough. But a reasonable breakfast and tea helped a bit. The plan was to all go to the Albert Dock for lunch before Mum, Dad and Louise would go home. Renée and I decided to join them. After checking out Mum and Dad collected Louise who had stayed with Rose overnight. We drove directly to Albert Dock and parked in the Waterfront Car Park and went for a wander. Mum, Dad and Louise arrived half an hour later and we soon rendezvoused. We walked over to the Albert Dock itself, where we had a nice Costa Coffee break before walking on along the water front past the Museum of Liverpool towards the Liver Building. The Disney Cruise Ship was docked up and it was really busy. After soaking in the atmosphere for a while, and relieved the rain was only light unlike yesterday, we backtracked to the Albert Dock where we found a place for a nice late lunch. After that Mum, Dad and Louise set off home and Renée and I returned to the car to head to the hotel on Hanover Street to check in.






Exiting the Waterfront Car Park with Dukes Dock in front of us. A ferris wheel by Dukes Dock. Crossing a bridge over Dukes Dock as we head to Albert Dock to rendezvous with Mum, Dad and Louise. Panoramas of Albert Dock from the South side and Southwest corner.






Louise enjoying a coffee break in Albert Dock Costa. Looking North the Liver Building was visible. Long range closeups of the Liver Birds on top of the building. Looking East across Canning Dock as we cross from Albert Dock to the Pier Head.





The Dazzle Ferry plying the waters of the Mersey. Mersey 180 degree panorama from just South of the Museum of Liverpool, nicely bookended by Louise and Dad as the Dazzle Ferry sails past. The Royal Liver Building, with the Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building next to it. Closeups of the clock towers of the Royal Liver Building.






Two shots of the Royal Liver Building from below, one with Renée in it. The Beatles once again walk the Waterfront. The Museum of Liverpool. The Port of Liverpool Building. A Disney Cruise Line's Magic ship was docked at the nearby Pier Head. That explains why it was so crowded on the Waterfront.






The Pumphouse on Canning Dock. Renée at the Pier Head entrance to Albert Dock. Mike and Renée near the northwestern corner of Albert Dock. Looking East across Albert Dock to Salthouse Dock (beyond the bridge). A fantastic Jellybean mosaic of The Beatles in the window of Quay Confectionary.



One more view North across the Albert Dock to the Pier Head and Waterfront. Renée, Louise, Dad, Mum and I stopping for a lunch break at Vinea.

After checking in at 3PM, I badly needed a rest. So we took it easy for half an hour. Then we went on a walkabout. We were in Liverpool One and surrounded by shops. We walked Northwestwards through the shopping streets, taking advantage of cover during heavier spells of rain. We eventually got to Mathew Street and the Cavern Quarter where we found the Cavern Club, where the Beatles started out. Unfortunately it had become a horrendous tourist trap and we decided not to pay to enter the Cavern.

So we walked on, and made our way to St. George's Hall and St. John's Gardens, stopping at shops on the way. After exploring this area, which included the Walker Art Gallery, Central Library and other buildings all in ornate neo-classical buildings, we completed our circuit around the St. George's building along the cenotaph, and past Lime Street Station. After a much needed coffee / tea break at Eat in St. John's Shopping Centre, we walked down to Liverpool Cathedral, passing the bombed out St. Luke's Church on the way. As we arrived, a large wedding group appeared to be exiting the cathedral. We were too late in the day to gain access to the tower and I wasn't keen on entering while such a large crowd was exiting and congregating. So after a good look around the outside we backtracked to the bombed out church. From here we followed Bold Street back to Hanover Street and the hotel.






Walking along Mathew Street into the Cavern Quarter. Renée outside the Cavern Club. The Radio City tower. Panorama of St. John's Gardens and St. George's Hall. Looking Northeast from the Northwest side of St. George's Hall towards the Walker Art Gallery.






The World Museum and Central Library. TODO. The Eastern side of St. George's Hall, from the Cenotaph. TODO. TODO. TODO.





Lime Street Station. Walking down Lime Street, the Bombed Out St. Luke's Church and Liverpool Cathedral come into view.. The entrance to Liverpool Chinatown at the junction of Berry and Upper Duke Streets. This is the tallest Chinatown arch in Europe. The neo-classical building next door is The Black-E. Liverpool Cathedral from the Northwest.





More views of Liverpool Cathedral from the Northwest, West (looking up the tower) and Southwest. The bombed out St. Luke's Church from the Northwest and Southwest.

After another rest at the hotel and researching dinner options, we decided to keep it simple and went to Pizza Express at Liverpool One for a pleasant meal, before retiring for the night.

Day 4: Monday 13th June 2016: Liverpool One and Drive Home.

After a good night's sleep and a really nice breakfast I felt a lot better today. We checked out and left our cases in the car again, and proceeded to go shopping in Liverpool One. After not so long though we were all shopped out and running out of steam. So we paused at Café Rouge for a mid morning tea and coffee. Then after a quick look around Liverpool One we decided we'd had enough and now was a good time to leave.


The John Lewis building. The zig zag stairs leading up to the food court of Liverpool One, where Pizza Express and Café Rouge are.

Yesterday a suggestion had been made to drive to Wallasey and then hit the motorway from there. That was a nice idea. We returned to the car around 11AM and after some fun and games getting the ticket machine to work, we left and made a beeline for the Kingsway Tunnel. Then we drove up the East side of The Wirral, pausing on the way to take photos of Liverpool from the far side of the Mersey. Then we headed up through Wallasey (and Mum's childhood stomping ground) to New Brighton. From there we transferred to the M53 and headed home, just stopping once at the services on the M6 Toll Road for a late lunch before getting home in time for tea.




Liverpool as seen from the end of Tobin Street in Wallasey. A wider 180 degree panorama from the same spot. Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton.

I must admit for me there was a bit too much shopping and way too much rain for it to be one I look back on with fond memories. But it was still a nice jolly to somewhere different for a long weekend break away from London. And a great way to make attending a party a long way from home well worth it in that we could explore the area as well as have fun on the party night itself.