As you may know if you follow me on Instagram (@bethymevs) Ieuan and I went on a 3 night trip to Manchester. Originally we were supposed to be watching Peter Kay but when he cancelled his tour we decided to make the most of the hotel we had booed and still go up to Manchester I am so glad we did, we had the most wonderful time! If you’d like to know how we decided to spend our time then keep reading! Or if you’re looking for some ideas on things to do during your Manchester trip, let me give you some ideas!
We travelled up on Sunday the 3rd of June. It’s about a 5 hour drive from Pembrokeshire, including a pit stop for something to eat and a wee. I was relatively anxious so I didn’t eat, hopefully that feeling would pass when we arrived at the hotel. We arrived at about 5:30pm to our hotel (Chester Hotel & Restaurant) which was in Stretford, about a 10 minute drive from Manchester central. The view from our room was any Manchester United fans dream.
So Ieuan was absolutely thrilled. The hotel was lovely, big enough room, clean and a nice bathroom. All you need from a hotel really! If you’re a light sleeper I don’t recommend though as you could hear all around you doors opening, people walking and chatting but that’s no fault of anyone and it didn’t bother us much at all. We decided to have a sit down and a chill before heading down to take a look at Old Trafford close. Being a die-hard United fan Ieuan was so happy seeing it in real life for the first time. Although we didn’t manage to get a stadium tour this time, as it was all sold out for the dates we were there, it will definitely be making it top of our to do list the next time we visit Manchester.
From there we headed back to our hotel, tired after our journey we decided to have a take away in bed and get an early night for the busy few days ahead of us.
Today it was Sealife Centre and shopping in the intu Trafford Centre. We had pre booked the Sealife Centre in advance as it was something that caught my attention when deciding on what to do in Manchester. I decided on a skirt (I can’t remember where it was from – sorry) and crop top (New Look) combo with some cute sandals (Matalan) for todays outfit as it was giving a sunny, I had a hoodie (New look – no pic sorry, it was just a basic light grey hoodie) just in case as it was quite cloudy when we were leaving.
I was feeling quite anxious this morning so wouldn’t have been able to stomach any food so Ieuan decided to have a breakfast at the hotel. The lady running the restaurant was really lovely and Ieuan said his breakfast was fantastic.
After that we made our way to the intu Trafford Centre. Ieuan drove and it took us about 10 minutes to get there from the hotel so not bad at all. When we parked it did take us a while to find the entrance to the Sealife Centre, I don’t recommend asking iPhone Maps how to walk to it because it will not take you where you want to go! We eventually found the entrance and it didn’t take us long to get into the Centre, especially with pre booked tickets. On first glance we thought oh god, this is just going to be a couple of tanks and a goldfish or two, but when we got inside we were relieved that it wasn’t.
You could tell as soon as you walked into the Centre that these people really do care about the animals they are looking after and they care about educating people on them. Tanks full of tropical fish, jellyfish and shrimp. My personal favourites were the two sea turtles, I’ve always loved them on the TV and seeing real live ones astounded me! I didn’t realise how big they were, and these two were only teenagers! Ieuan’s favourites were the sharks, there was a walk through tank where they would swim above your head and that was amazing! I liked that the tank was big, it speak across more or less the whole centre, with different windows and angles you could see these amazing creatures. I really enjoyed our time at the Sealife Centre (although Ieuan and I both wished it was bigger with more to see) and I highly recommend it if you’re planning on visiting the intu Trafford Centre with kids (there’s a lot of kid friendly activities and a play area) or just someone like me who is a lover of animals as even without kids Ieuan and I loved it.
After this… Shopping!! When we started we had no idea how big this shopping centre was! It was absolutely massive, considering we don’t have anything like that close to us we were in awe. I managed to spend some money in Boots and New Look (check out my Manchester Shopping Haul blog post to see what I bought) and Ieuan managed to visit some of his shops too. I was really hoping to have found a Primark here but no matter how much we looked and walked around we couldn’t come across one. After a while I was hungry so we decided to have lunch at TGI Fridays. I had the best cocktail I have ever tasted – Bubblegum Daiquiri and Ieuan just had a pint and a half of coke as he was super thirsty! Ieuan was still full from his breakfast so only got a side of pizza fries while I was starving so got chicken and chips – we both enjoyed.
We shopped a bit more and when we couldn’t shop anymore we went to the arcade and wasted a lot of change there. Unfortunately we didn’t win enough tickets to get a good prize so we gave our ticket token to a little boy who we hope would appreciate it. Also as much as he tried Ieuan didn’t win me a pug tatty teddy but never mind!
By 4:00pm we were all shopped out and decided to go back to the hotel. We didn’t have anything planned for this evening so with about two hours of ‘I don’t mind’, ‘It’s up to you’ under our belts we decided to go into Manchester centre and find somewhere to eat. Ieuan decided he wanted a Chinese so we had a look on Maps to see where we could eat in Chinatown. We decided on Pearl City and called to book a table for 7:30pm and got ready. I had packed an outfit that I was super excited to wear – a black turtle neck top (Pretty Little Thing), a blue faux suede skirt (Primark) and a pair of knee-high black boots (Boohoo). Maybe I was a little dressed up but we were on our holidays so I didn’t care!
When we were ready we called a taxi to pick us up from the hotel and take us to Chinatown. We found Pearl City pretty easily and went inside. It was a lovely little restaurant and the service was quick. We ordered Chicken chow mien, black bean chicken, chips, prawn crackers and sweet and sour chicken to share between us and we are so glad we didn’t order anything else! The portion sizes were incredible and the food was even better! It was one of the best Chinese meals Ieuan and I had both had.
We were satisfied and stuffed afterwards. While we were going to go find a place to drink we were so full afterwards we were shattered and decided to arrange an Uber back to the hotel. I was thrilled as we were home in time to watch the first episode of this years Love Island!! After that it was bed, ready for our next day of adventures!
Initially all we had planned today was Breakout Manchester and food at The Alchemist (which I was super excited about!) in the evening. Ieuan had found online that there was a National Football Museum located in Manchester centre and considering we had a whole day for my benefit the day before he deserved something that was more for him today! So we had a look on maps for a place to have brunch and decided we’d make a day and evening in the centre. I decided to wear my playsuit (Matalan) and my trainers (Puma) as I wanted to make sure I was comfortable for a day of walking and the Breakout room! I did take my Shirt dress (Matalan) and brown wedges (New Look) in my rucksack to change into for our meal. As we weren’t going back to the hotel I wanted to be able to dress up a bit more for the evening.
We decided to go to Gorilla for brunch, honestly because I saw ‘pancake stack’ on the menu and wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere else. We got an Uber into the centre at 11, Gorilla didn’t open until 11:30 so we wandered around and took in some sights before brunch. Brunch was incredible, the pancakes were even better than I had imagined and Ieuan even said it was the best Full English breakfast he has ever had (and he has had a few over the years)! The staff were incredibly friendly as well and asked what our plans were and even reassured me that the National Football Museum was a good place to visit even though she was sceptical at first too.
So with our tummies full of our amazing brunch we set off on our walk to the National Football Museum. It was about a 20 minute walk from where we had breakfast but easy to get to with the help of Maps. Despite being a little sceptical about this not being a major football fan I actually rather enjoyed our time in the museum, so Ieuan being a massive football fan enjoyed it a lot. 3 levels took us about an hour but I think we could have taken more time there if we wanted to.
From there we had some time to kill before our Breakout room was booked so we decided to wander a bit more, and that’s when I saw it, the brown bags with the blue writing, there was a Primark nearby! Considering that’s the only shop I was excited about Ieuan and I obviously found it and I delightfully spent some time in there. Poor Ieuan was actually incredibly helpful when it came to me shopping! (Check out my Manchester Shopping Haul to see what I got my hands on!) By the end of my shopping spree Ieuan had worked up an appetite so we found a Subway for him to grab a sandwich, I was too excited for our meal at The Alchemist to anything and risk ruining my appetite for that!
We still had some time to kill before our Breakout room so we found a Wetherspoons and had a pint (which soon turned out to be a mistake for me). After that we made our way to Breakout Manchester, we went to the one in High Street but there are two located in Manchester. If you don’t know what Breakout is it is an activity where you get locked in a room for 60 minutes and have to solve riddles and puzzles and find codes to try to escape. Ieuan and I have done 3, one in Chester, one in Cardiff and now this one in Manchester, we love them! We did ‘Vacancy’ this time (having already done ‘Identify’ and ‘Disturbed’ before). Unfortunately, we didn’t escape (don’t worry they can’t actually lock you in!) we got caught with only ONE more puzzle left to figure out, as you can guess we weren’t best pleased. We always have so much fun doing these together, possibly if we decided to do it with friends we may be able to escape? The pint before hand was definitely a mistake as in the last 15 minutes of our game I really needed a wee! Although you can get out for that reason the game still continues in your absence and I didn’t want to leave Ieuan on his own, we were a team! Breakout rooms have kind of become a tradition for me and Ieuan now and we like to see if we can find one where ever we are going, although we haven’t even broken out we wont give up, it’s far too fun! I highly recommend doing a Breakout room whether it’s in a couple or as a group (I think its up to 6 players). It’s an hour of intense fun and totally worth the money!
We still had some time before our table was booked in The Alchemist at 7:00pm so we decided to find a place for drinks before that. We decided to find a place relatively close to The Alchemist as it was another 20 minute walk from Breakout. We eventually decided on the Slug & Lettuce which was 5 minutes away from The Alchemist and was doing 2 for 1 cocktails so it was a no brainer. While Ieuan ordered my two Pornstar Martini’s I decided to use the bathroom to change into my (slightly, maybe majorly creased) dress and wedges. I’m not sure if anyone noticed that I had gone into the loos in one outfit and emerged in another but I didn’t really care I was dressed and ready for our dinner date, but first my Pornstar Martini’s!
After some lovely cocktails we decided to make our way to The Alchemist and I can not explain how excited I was for this! We don’t have one in Wales (yet, one is coming to Cardiff soon!) and since seeing their cocktails on Instagram I have always wanted to go there, so the fact we had a booking thrilled me! Although, admittedly I had booked this restaurant entirely swayed by the awesome cocktail options they have, and oh my gosh they were even more awesome than I had expected! The food was some of (possibly even THE) best food I have ever had in my entire life! We were both blown away by the quality of the food. I can’t stop thinking about it even now! Beyond good food, beyond good cocktails – I am so glad it lived up to my expectations and even surpassed them! I will definitely be booking The Alchemist where ever there is one on my next adventure and I don’t think Ieuan will mind that either!
We had one more cocktail instead of a pudding at The Alchemist and decided to find another cocktail bar for some more drinks before we headed back to the hotel. I text my sister who is kind of a cocktail expert and with her advice we decided to find a Las Iguanas and make the most of their 2 for 1 offer. Ieuan and I both chose a cocktail we wanted, ordered two and had one of each.
After these I’ll admit I think I was ready to go home – I am such a lightweight! Plus Ieuan couldn’t drink much as he was driving us home the next morning. So we called an Uber and managed to get back to the hotel to watch Love Island on plus one (result!!). There was a Rolling Stones concert being held in Old Trafford this night and we could just about hear it from our bedroom but luckily when they set off their fireworks at the end of their concert we had the most perfect view, such a lovely way to end our last night in Manchester.
So there you have it, a little run down of what we did during our Manchester trip! If you decided to go to any of the places we went let me know and let me know what you thought! Especially the Sealife Centre, Breakout and The Alchemist – they were definitely my highlights of our trip, not to mention being able to make more memories with my favourite person.
Thanks for reading!