We at New Manchester Walks have been at the forefront of getting more people to visit and stay in Manchester. Customers have come from the Midlands, London, Holland – the record is New Zealand; beat that! – to go on our tours. But we want you to enjoy your visit, whether it be an afternoon away from regular golf in Northenden or a once in a lifetime city break. So when you’ve been on our tours and want something else to do here are the top ten things it’s best not to avoid or be wary of, from No. 10, the least worst of the ten, to No. 1, the pits.
- The Gay Village
Once it was revolutionary, now it’s passé. The pubs play deafening crap music, the restaurants are over-priced, the place is overrun with chavs, and no one has made any attempt to get to grips with its history.
- The Trafford Centre
Shops you can get everywhere else in the middle of nowhere, soon to be linked by a tram line that won’t work. Shop local!
- Curry Mile
Don’t bother. Head to the This and That in the Northern Quarter or the Lahori Kebabish on Cheetham Hill Road.
- Walking round John Rylands Library by yourself
As we’ve explained in a previous blog, it may be one of the world’s greatest libraries, but it’s run with the ingenuity of the Labour Party’s Brexit strategy. There are next to no explanatory plaques and quite frankly if there were any we wouldn’t trust them to enlighten you. Come on, Marketing Manchester. Come on, Rylands management. This is the setting for the oldest piece of the New Testament in existence, so where are the hordes of American tourists queuing up for a look-see? When I put it to Visit Manchester/Marketing Manchester that we should be promoting this remarkable entity to potential visitors from the American Bible Belt, I was told that they might be the wrong kind of tourists! You couldn’t make it up if you tried. Manchester: the only city that tries not to attract visitors. Meanwhile, book on our tour. It’s the only way.
- Tours of the Midland Hotel in which they tell you this was where Rolls met Royce.
If the guide tells you Rolls met Royce at the Midland Hotel they haven’t done their research and they’re just regurgitating what everybody else has said that was wrong in the first place. Sorry Midland, but Rolls and Royce never went anywhere near your hotel. You’ve got a great history, hotel, promote it properly!
- Coronation Street tour
“Walk down the famous cobbles”. But that’s all you do. You can’t go inside and see where it’s filmed, like you could at the much better value Granada Studios Tour of old. We have been beseeching the bosses at Corrie for years to get them to link up their tour with our locations coach tour, to no avail.
- Sightseeing Bus Tour
A recorded commentary cobbled together from Wikipedia devoid of anything interesting. No guide, no pay-ee the money.
- Man United Museum and Stadium Tour
You get to see Fred’s shirt hanging up. It cost them £52 million. It’ll cost you £25.=
- The Christmas Markets
Any day of the year you can walk through the city centre and buy a so-called sausage made of reconstituted bits of meat the dog wouldn’t eat. The difference before Christmas is that you can buy one with a bit of garlic added. That, apparently, makes it German. Or you can buy a huge cheese that would feed a Swiss canton. 90 per cent of which you’ll throw away. And if you think the markets are actually German, then you probably think chicken tikka masala is authentically Indian.
- Museum of Science and Industry
Ever since the Science Museum in London took over our science and industry version some years ago what should be one of the country’s most spectacular museums, given that Manchester invented modern industry and gave the world some of its most important scientific discoveries (the atom, the computer, graphene), has gone to the dogs. They recently sold out much of their heritage as the location of the world’s first passenger railway by allowing National Rail to build the pointless Ordsall Chord, which has knackered trips on the oldest line that were so popular with school parties and railway buffs. Or to put it another way, the museum contains Liverpool Road Station, the world’s first and oldest. I have been pushing Visit Manchester and Marketing Manchester to get the museum to put a humungously big sign up outside, telling the population of the planet that here is “the world’s first and oldest railway station”. A really big sign. Imagine such a feature was somewhere in America. You’d never hear the last of it. But this is Manchester, where tourism is still in the prehistoric era.