Author Archives: Jan Hurst

  1. Mother’s Day in Manchester: Gift Ideas Edition

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    Mother’s Day is coming this Sunday the 22nd of March

    Things are pretty crazy at the moment, there’s no denying that. But when times are tough, it’s all the more important to pull together and show your appreciation for those that matter most.

    We know now may not be the time to be out and about so we’ve put together a list of awesome local businesses that deliver or you can buy vouchers for ready to celebrate when things finally return to normal.

    So what to do about Mother’s Day.

    Well, we all need something to look forward to, especially during hard times, so why not show your mum some love while also helping out a community business?

    Day Trip to the World of Wedgwood

    World of Wedgewood for 2 with Luxury Afternoon Tea

    £78.00 per person (minimum of 2 adults)

    12-month validity

    For creative mums, visit the World of Wedgwood in the heart of The Potteries in Stoke-on-Trent. Discover the 250-year history of the Wedgwood brand and how it became one of the world’s premier producers of luxury china and porcelain at the Wedgwood Museum before embarking on a tour of the factory. Then, get hands-on as you throw your own pot in the creative studio as a memento of your day (onward postage is not included).


    The Royal Exchange Theatre

    For theatre loving Mums, gift vouchers for the Royal Exchange can be redeemed for theatre bookings, tours and in the Rivals Bar and Restaurant. The Royal Exchange was historically at the forefront of the cotton mill industry in Manchester as an important cotton exchange during the Industrial Revolution!


    Discover Manchester Walking Tour

    12-month validity

    For adventurous Mums. For a bit of fresh air, treat her to a tour through Manchester’s rich history with a knowledgeable guide. A gift voucher perfect to redeem at a later date for an informative outdoor tour.


    20 Stories Manchester

    For foodie Mums. 20 Stories have plenty of gift experiences available which you can purchase for mum this Mothers Day, to be redeemed at a later date. Including 3-course meal experience and a spirit tasting class!


    Gran T’s Coffee Shop

    For coffee-loving Mums. Purchase a gift card for this coffee shop local to our office in Altrincham, an excellent opportunity to have a good natter with mum over excellent coffee once things have settled down.


    Lake District: Cruise, Grasmere Gingerbread, and Peter Rabbit

    12-month validity

    £67.50 per person.

    For outdoor-loving Mums. Visit the village of Grasmere, one of the most picturesque in the Lake District, to see the grave of William Wordsworth and purchase some truly unique Grasmere Gingerbread. Then cruise down Windermere to Bowness-on-Windermere while admiring the magnificent mountains. In Bowness, visit the World of Beatrix Potter, where the stories of Lakeland’s most famous inhabitants are magically brought to life.


    Sew Creative Altrincham

    Sew Creative, based in Altrincham is a haberdashery and offer sewing classes. In the current climate, the creative minds behind the business are putting together Sewing Survival Kits that can be delivered straight to Mums door, with the promise to combat any boredom.

    Each kit contains a pattern, fabric, matching thread and any notions required all in a Sew Creative tote bag. And even better, every order includes FREE UK shipping!

    Browse their online shop here



    The #PayitForward campaign has just been launched, to encourage potential guests to buy discounted vouchers at restaurants across the city to be redeemed from May onwards.

    Keep an eye on the hashtag across social media platforms and visit the Pay It Forward website for a list of businesses who will be participating in this scheme.


    And if you just want to brighten your Mum’s day during these tough times, you can get a beautiful bunch of flowers delivered straight to her door.


    Chloe Robinson Designs

    Altrincham Market-based florist Chloe Robinson Designs are busy putting together beautiful arrangements of flowers, spreading positivity and bringing some colour to homes in and around Altirincham.

    Order online for Mother’s Day bouquets


    Instagram: @chloerobinsondesigns

    Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers


  2. St. Patrick’s Day in Manchester

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    Dust off that old green jacket and get practising your Guinness shamrock, it’s the time of year to dig out the great great (great) granny upon whom your tenuous Irishness relies and paint the town green. Yep, St Patrick’s Day in Manchester has come back around.

    Irish roots run deep in Manchester. Having made up to a tenth of the city’s population according to one 1841 report, much of Manchester’s modern culture descends from migrants from the Emerald Isle. From musical greats like the Gallagher brothers, Morrissey and Johnny Marr to city treasures George Best and Caroline Aherne, Manchester’s Irish blood still runs strongly through its beating English heart.

    Manchester’s industrial hive was built on the sweat of Irish and English labour alike and despite periods of tension, Ireland has, without doubt, had its say on the past, present and future look of this city.

    With this in mind, of course the city of Manchester will be joining in wholeheartedly with celebrations in the run-up to St. Patrick’s Day, on Tuesday 17th of March.

    Take a look at what the city has planned.

    Manchester’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

    Sunday 15th March, 12 noon

    Still set to go ahead, the annual parade will start from the Irish World Heritage Centre just off Queen’s Road, Cheetham Hill, at 12 noon and will finish at the corner of Deansgate and Liverpool Road at 2pm.

    Manchester Irish Festival

    Saturday 7th March – Tuesday 17th March

    This year is the 25th Manchester Irish Festival. The festival will feature 10 days of festivities celebrating Irish heritage in the city, including live music events, workshops, and theatre productions. Take a look at their website and see what there is to offer!

    Some of our picks are:

    Keegan Academy of Irish Dancing – Irish dancing class @ Chorlton Irish Clubs

    Saturday March 14, 2020 – 9:45am

    St Patrick’s weekend concert with Mike Fox @ The Union Inn, Levenshulme

    Saturday March 14, 2020 – 9:00pm

    Exploring Little Ireland – guided walk around Little Ireland

    Sunday March 15, 2020 – 11:15am


    As well as the festivities, pay a visit to one of the many Irish bars in the city centre for a St Paddy’s Day pub crawl. With live music, themed nights and the perfect Irish pint across the occasion, you’re spoilt for choice.

    Mulligans of Deansgate

    12 Southgate, M3 2RB

    As Manchester’s oldest Irish pub, Mulligans is renowned for having the best pint of Guinness in Manchester. Don’t forget the good craic, live music, and sport either. What more could you want from an Irish bar?

    Waxy O’Connors, Manchester

    The Printworks, M4 2BS

    With live music from 4pm to 12am and free entry all day on the 17th, you can guarantee a party at one of the biggest and best Irish bars in Manchester. Spread out across 3 floors, there’s plenty of room for some Irish dancing!

    O’Shea’s Irish Bar

    80 Princess Street, M1 6NF

    Keep your eyes peeled for the small sign signalling O’Shea’s location just off Oxford Road. Inside is decorated with green and cream, the perfect backdrop for a St Paddy’s Day pint.

    O’Neill’s, Printworks

    The Printworks, M4 2BS

    Another Printworks Irish bar. Live music, fancy dress, Paddy’s Day merch, all the action from the Six Nations, and loads of great offers on your favourite Irish drinks from Friday 13th – Tuesday 17th March.

    Kielys of Manchester

    1 Watson St, M3 4EEBottom of Form

    A vibrant Irish tavern with plenty of live music and sport, keeping you topped up with beer this St. Patrick’s Day.


    So tighten up that dodgy accent that you’re convinced you’re nailing, grab a Guinness or two and join in the festivities for St Patrick’s Day in Manchester!

    Sláinte and enjoy the craic!

  3. Death on the Tracks: Manchester, Stephenson’s Rocket and the first rail casualty

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    When it opened in September 1830, the Liverpool & Manchester Railway set the mark for many world firsts in the rail industry. It was the first inter-city railway in the world, the first to rely solely on steam-powered locomotives over horse-drawn traffic; and the first to be double track throughout its entire length. However, the route was also the site of a much grizzlier world first.

    Revolution of Wheels and World

    Rail travel signalled a new dawn in British industry, connecting ports to industrial hubs like Manchester with a reliable alternative to the oft crooked turnpikes and meandering canals. Dignitaries from across the UK and Europe were invited to attend the inaugural rail procession from Liverpool Crown Street to Manchester Liverpool Road – now the site of the Science and Industry Museum. In their number was William Huskisson, the Liberal MP for Liverpool.

    Huskisson had recently gone under the knife to correct an inflammation of the kidney and had been strongly advised against attendance by royal doctor, William George Maton. Undeterred, the Liverpool MP cast this advice aside, seeing it as too great a moment to miss.

    A special train had been organised, pulled by The Northumbrian, a locomotive driven by the great George Stephenson himself. The train would carry a multitude of important people, including a special, ornate carriage for the then Prime Minister, The Duke of Wellington. The Northumbrian was to travel along the southern track while seven other trains, including the legendary Stephenson’s Rocket, would take the northern rails.

    Shaking rails and Onrushing Disaster

    Things came to a head at Parkway Station near Newton-le-Willows when the train made a scheduled stop to take on water. Passengers seized the opportunity to disembark and stretch their legs, ignoring warnings on the dangers of alighting. Among them was Huskisson. Recently expelled from the Duke’s government after a disagreement, Huskisson sought to make amends, striking up conversation with Wellington from the train’s side.

    A shout went out, abruptly warning of an approaching train. Stephenson’s Rocket appeared along the tracks, barrelling toward the disembarked dignitaries, inviting panic. Passengers were either lurched back aboard the train or sought to cross the northern track to safety.

    Thwarted by a lack of mobility in the immediate aftermath of his recent surgery, Huskisson tried twice in vain to cross the rails before abandoning his attempts. With the Rocket fast approaching, he sought instead to escape onto the Duke’s carriage, reaching out for a nearby door handle.

    Little did he know, the door was not properly latched and it swung open. Huskisson was left dangling awkwardly from the handle directly in the path of the oncoming Rocket. The train’s engineer tried in vain to apply the brakes in time, the Rocket screeched in a painful but fruitless attempt to stop. It was too late.

    The train smashed into the open door, sending Huskisson sprawling onto the tracks ahead, his leg splayed in the Rocket’s path. The train tore by, Huskisson’s leg beneath its wheels: shattered.

    To Meet Death

    Onlookers threw off their horror and moved quickly to the stricken MP’s aid. A door was ripped from its hinges to carry Huskisson aboard a small train car intended for the procession band. The Northumbrian was uncoupled from its carriages, taking on the band car, and the injured man was raced to the vicarage at Eccles for emergency treatment.

    It was deemed along the way that a field amputation would be impossible and a tourniquet was instead applied to stem Huskisson’s suffering. As a group of friends and the vicar’s wife sought to comfort Mr Huskisson, he is reported to have exclaimed: ‘I have met my death – God forgive me!’

    Huskisson survived into the night, drawing up a final will before finally succumbing to his injuries that evening. A memorial stands in his memory at Newton-le-Willows, built the following year in 1831.

    The events of the day were reported across the country, announcing grimly the world’s first rail passenger fatality.

  4. International Women’s Day 2020: Emmeline Pankhurst in Three Defining Speeches

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    Wander the streets of Manchester and there’s a chance that between the red and blue scarves and worker bees, you might catch sight of a word or two from famed Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. Scrawled on t-shirts made famous by Meryl Streep. The phrase reads: “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave.”

    Born in Moss Side, South Manchester, Emmeline Pankhurst became an icon of the Women’s suffrage movement. As an avid reader and the daughter of a playhouse owner, Pankhurst was exposed to the works of Shakespeare and other great literature from a young age, resulting in a mastery of powerful speech and rhetoric.

    The three following speeches are among her best remembered.

    ‘We have tried to be womanly, we have tried to use feminine influence and we have seen that it is of no use.’ – Bow Street Magistrates Court, 24th October 1908

    Standing in the dock of London’s famous Bow Street Magistrates Court, Emmeline Pankhurst threw back the claims of her accusers, declaring: ‘We are here not because we are law-breakers. We are here in our efforts, to become law-makers.’

    Despite the speech reportedly bringing a number in the courtroom to tears, the Magistrate remained unmoved; sentencing Pankhurst, her daughter Christabel and co-defendant Flora Drummond to prison on charges of inciting the public to riot.

    However, the point centred her argument, invoking the changing approach of her Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Without the protection of the vote, continually denied to them by established powers, women had no reasonable access to representation beyond direct action.

    The WSPU was set up to diverge from the patient approach of existing advocacy groups as Pankhurst and her associates grew frustrated with a lack of political priority afforded for women’s suffrage. Following continued disregard for their speeches, rallies, publications and petitions, the WSPU grew more militant. The founding motto rang true: ‘Deeds, not words.’

    In the face of a system that had maligned, misrepresented and ridiculed the women’s suffrage movement, the WSPU was exposing the status quo of incited physical and systematic violence against women.

     ‘And my last word is to the government: I incite this meeting to rebellion.’ – Royal Albert Hall, 17th Oct 1912

    The upturn in direct action taken by suffragists of the WSPU drew a violent response from the authorities in the shape of arrests and police violence on the streets, most notably Black Friday in 1910 brought changes to both suffragist and police approaches.

    Marion Wallace Dunlop’s held the first hunger strike in 1909, protesting the awful prison conditions she was kept in – held with common criminals and denied political status – proved effective. Soon afterwards the action was taken up by more WSPU members.

    The courthouse became a soapbox as the images of women locked up and force-fed during hunger strikes became movement-defining. Whether they drew ire, discomfort or camaraderie, the images in newspapers could not be ignored.

    However, WSPU militancy drew criticism from government ministers, journalists and eventually other suffragists. Millicent Fawcett’s National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) later denounced hunger strikes as publicity stunts and obstacles to the suffrage movement.

    Pankhurst retorted, pointing to the irony of men waging wars from office buildings but criticising the use of violence: “It always seems to me when the anti-suffrage members of the government criticise militancy in women that it is very like beasts of prey reproaching the gentler animals who turn in desperate resistance when at the point of death.”

    She also rejected criticism of the WSPU’s militancy, openly embracing the term but clarifying its purpose as a last resort. Pankhurst denied accusations of reckless disregard for human life, claiming the militants never sought to endanger anyone, putting only themselves at risk.

    Militancy, Pankhurst claimed, had many means of expression – from the occupation of the House of Commons to campaigning against the government in by-elections – but the central pillar was clear: the destruction of property.

    Invoking comparison to the Chartists, Pankhurst’s rallying cry went out: “There is something that Governments care for far more than human life and that is the security of property. And so, it is through property that we shall strike the enemy.”

    The final words of the speech went down in history, “I incite this meeting to rebellion.”

    The Suffragettes of the WSPU were in open rebellion. Incidentally, Pankhurst wasn’t invited back to the Royal Albert Hall.

    ‘They have to choose between giving us freedom or giving us death.’ – Hartford, Connecticut, 13th November 1913

    In a speech during a fundraising trip to the US while on temporary release from prison, Pankhurst gave what seemed to be the ultimate solidification of her rhetoric, echoing the famous words of American revolutionary politician Patrick Henry: ‘give me liberty or give me death.’

    She also invoked more directly the American revolutionary concept that her previous speeches had alluded to – demanding no taxation without representation and referring to suffrage as a civil war.

    Pankhurst had been released under the Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health Act – better known as the Cat and Mouse Act – under which prisoners too weak to stay in prison were released and re-arrested upon their return to health.

    The Cat and Mouse Act represented a problem for the authorities. Unwilling to let women die in prison, the purgatory of releasing and re-arresting relied upon the WSPU fatigue. As it continued, stories of force-feeding were a PR nightmare for the government.

    Taking advantage of this, Pankhurst threatened perpetual conflict until they were heard: ‘there are women lying at death’s door, recovering enough strength to undergo operations who have not given in and won’t give in, and who will be prepared, as soon as they get up from their sick beds, to go on as before.’

    Invoking the weight of the female population, she continued: ‘We wear no mark. We belong to every class. We permeate every class of the community from the highest to the lowest. So you see, the women’s civil war, it is absolutely impossible to deal with – you cannot locate it and you cannot stop it.’

    War breaks and Votes for Women

    The cat and mouse deadlock was eventually broken by war. The outbreak of World War One divided Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Sylvia and Adela, who had been by her side throughout most of the movement but brought her closer with the authorities she had spent years battling.

    Critical of pacifists and conscientious objectors, Pankhurst and daughter Christabel advocated a pause in the suffrage movement so women could join the workforce and support the war effort. The government responded with amnesty for Suffragettes caught up in the Cat and Mouse Act.

    Pankhurst also took on responsibilities helping so-called War Babies – children born out of wedlock to fathers who had gone off to fight. In time, she would adopt four of these babies.

    The enfranchisement of women through their work supporting the war effort appeared to sway both popular and governmental opinion and the Representation of the People Act 1918 received royal assent on 6th February, nine months before the war’s end. Though gender-specific age and property restrictions were installed to ensure women wouldn’t represent a majority of the electorate.

    It would be another ten years before women got equal rights to vote with the Representation of the People Act 1928 bringing the voting age to 21. Having emigrated to Canada some years earlier, Pankhurst died on the 14th June, mere months after the passage of a bill she’d fought for her entire life. Women over the age of 21 voted in their first general election in May 1929 but the fight for equality continues.

    ‘Manchester is a city which has witnessed a great many stirring episodes’ – My Own Story, 1914

    The centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918 was celebrated in Manchester in 2018 with the unveiling of a statue in Pankhurst’s honour in St. Peter’s Square. The statue became the first of a woman on Manchester’s street since one celebrating Queen Victoria over 100 years ago.

    62 Nelson Street, Manchester, Pankhurst’s first home and the birthplace of the WSPU is now the home of the Pankhurst Centre, continuing the fight for women’s equality into modernity as a women’s centre and headquarters of Manchester Women’s Aid. The Pankhurst Centre provides confidential services to victims of domestic abuse and supports women’s activism in Manchester and the local community.

    The museum at the Pankhurst Centre – currently unfunded and reliant on volunteers – tells the story of the suffrage movement. Saved, rebuilt and run by women, the Pankhurst Centre is testament to inspiring power of women past and present.

    If you’re feeling inspired for International Women’s Day 2020, you can volunteerdonate or fundraise for the Pankhurst Centre or take a tour to learn more about the inspirational women of Manchester, taking in the history of Emmeline Pankhurst as well as the People’s History Museum and the home of novelist Elizabeth Gaskell.

    Trust in God – she will provide.

    All videos courtesy of Royal Holloway, University of London. For more historical videos, take a look at Royal Holloway’s History Hub YouTube channel.


  5. International Women’s Day 2020: Events in Manchester

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    International Women’s Day 2020 (IWD) – the annual occasion dedicated to commemorating the movement for women’s rights – is just around the corner, and there is all the more reason to celebrate the inspirational women Manchester is home to, with events across the city!

    For many, the fight for female rights was forged here in Manchester. In October 1903, the first meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was held at 62 Nelson Street – then home of political activist and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. Now known as the Pankhurst Centre; Pankhurst’s home, run by volunteers is notable in the continued fight for women’s equality today, as the headquarters of Manchester Women’s Aid and as a women’s centre.

    Other Manchester buildings have played host to their fair share of support for women’s rights over the last couple centuries too. The Free Trade Hall not only saw Christabel Pankhurst and friend, Annie Kenney interrupt a Liberal Party conference to demand fairer rights for women which resulted in their arrest; but also saw the first public meeting regarding the issue of women’s rights in 1868 led by another women’s rights activist, Lydia Becker.

    The remarkable women of Greater Manchester have accomplished great things in the past which changed the course of history. Whether it is battling for the vote, winning an array of gold medals in the Olympics or smashing through glass ceilings, the women of Manchester continue to do great things every day. So it’s no wonder there is plenty going on in the city to celebrate women, here are our picks of just some of forthcoming IWD events in Manchester.

    The Pankhurst Trust, Manchester – Reading in the Sitting Room

    Walk for Women – IWD 2020 event in Manchester

    Victoria Street
    12pm, Saturday 7th March

    Manchester’s annual event for IWD is back again for its third year running. Building on the goodwill and support of Manchester’s women; once again celebrating with a walk through the city.
    Meeting at Victoria Street, outside Manchester Cathedral, everyone will walk together to St Peter’s Square. The event is totally free and anyone can take part. You don’t have to be a woman; just a supporter of women!



    Suffragette City

    The Refuge, Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA
    2pm – late, Saturday 7th March

    The return of Suffragette City. A women-led, all-day music event raising money for Greater Manchester women’s charities.

    Free entry in the public bar from 2pm onwards!


    Women’s Football Exhibit

    National Football Museum, Urbis Building, M4 3BG

    At Manchester’s National Football Museum, you can visit the first Women’s football exhibit which was established in 2005.

    Tickets are available on our Sightseeing in Manchester page!


    First in Fight Discussion with Helen Antrobus and Jane Bowyer

    The Pankhurst Centre, 62 Nelson Street, M13 9WP
    10am – 4pm, Sunday 8th of March

    The Pankhurst Centre will be holding a jam-packed day of activities for IWD 2020. Join the conversation during the afternoon with the creators of First in the Fight – a book about 20 inspirational women who helped to make Manchester the radical city we know and love! From flag-making to live music from She-Choir, the Pankhurst Centre is playing host to the perfect IWD celebration.

    Free, registration required


    Manchester Peace Trail Walking Tour in aid of the Pankhurst Trust

    Emmeline Pankhurst Statue in St Peter’s Square
    Meet 1.45pm for a 2pm start (walking tour is approx. 90 minutes), Sunday 8th March

    Join a guided walking tour of Manchester’s hotspots of radical political activity, all in aid of the Pankhurst Centre! Join volunteer walk leader Steve Roman on the Manchester Peace Trail, and find out just how deeply our city is rooted in the fight for justice, peace and freedom.

    Tickets by donation


    Women, Resistance and Revolution – Celebrating International Women’s Day

    International Anthony Burgess Foundation, M1 5BY
    2pm – 6pm, Sunday 8th of March

    Celebrate women past and present who have played leading roles in standing up to sexism, racism and exploitation.

    Tickets £5


    Inspirational Women of Manchester Day Trip

    In the spirit of IWD events in Manchester 2020, we at Manchester Sightseeing Tours thought what better way to commend Manchester’s inspirational women than to curate a day trip inspired by them. Enjoy lunch on a luxury purpose-built barge, named after the suffragette herself, Emmeline Pankhurst, a visit to novelist, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, and round off your day at the People’s History Museum; an opportunity for everyone to be inspired by and get involved with ideas worth fighting for this IWD.

    Discover more and send us an enquiry.


  6. Live Music in Manchester – March 2020

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    Gig listings and live music in Manchester – March 2020

    Looking for gigs in Manchester’s best music venues? We’ve compiled a list of live music not to be missed this March in some of our favourite music venues in the city!

    Whilst Manchester has a whole history of being one of “the most musical” cities in the UK, our city continues to develop the music scene with a whole roster of musicians, artists, new sounds and big events within the inner Ring Road of Manchester, and further afield. Here are some of our recommended live music events coming up this next month.

    Manchester music


    Hannah Diamond @ YES (The Pink Room)

    Tuesday 3rd of March, doors 7pm

    38 Charles St, Manchester (M1 7DB)

    Not only one but FOUR floors dedicated to music and entertainment (and pizza!)

    Exclusive show with the first lady of PC Music, Hannah Diamond. Both futuristic and nostalgic; HD offers a throwback to noughties dance-pop (think Alice Deejay, H ‘two’ O) whilst simultaneously imagining a world in which technological advances can transform a bedroom popstar into a mega-star.

    Tickets £11


    Hot 8 Brass Band: Mardi Gras Tour @ o2 Ritz

    Friday 6th of March, doors 6:30pm

    Whitworth St W, Manchester (M1 5NQ)

    Historical music venue, famous for its bouncy floor making dancing at a gig that much more fun!

    Famous for their boundless energy, raw and funky Hot 8 Brass Band, are bringing joy to Manchester on their Mardi Gras tour; straight from the streets of New Orleans.

    Tickets £26.50


    Tove Lo @ Albert Hall

    Tuesday 10th of March, doors 7pm

    27 Peter St, Spinningfields/Deansgate (M2 5QR)

    A grade II listed building, it makes for an unlikely live music venue hosting big-name acts since 2012. The gothic and baroque style interior makes for a dramatic effect and is also excellent for the acoustics in there!

    Grammy-nominated multi-platinum selling artist Tove Lo released her fourth album, Sunshine Kitty on September 20th. Support comes from Millie Turner.

    Tickets £27.50


    The Spase @ Night and Day Café

    Wednesday 11th of March, doors 8pm

    26 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter (M1 1JN)

    Since 1991 Night and Day Café is one of Manchester’s signature small venues with a big reputation!

    English Indie/alternative duo from Widnes bring their thought-provoking lyrics to the Northern Quarter café.

    Tickets £6 otd


    Stereophonics @ Manchester Arena

    Friday 13th of March, doors 7:30pm

    Victoria Station Approach, Hunts Bank, Manchester (M3 1AR)

    Manchester’s largest concert venue!

    Welsh greats who have been around for almost 3 decades by now, touring shortly after the release of their 11th studio album; Kelly Jones & co take Manchester by storm on their UK arena tour for 2020!

    Tickets from £60


    Circa Waves @ Gorilla

    Sunday 15th March, doors 7pm

    54-56 Whitworth St, Deansgate (M1 5WW)

    Under the railway arches of Oxford Road station, you’ll find the industrial bar and venue, Gorilla. This former theatre is not only a live music venue but also boasts a Gin Parlour, restaurant and nightclub!

    See Liverpool-based Circa Waves on tour in light of their 4th album Sad Happy; formed of two diametrically distinctive sides, which unite as one complete body of work, to be released ‪on 13th March 2020‬, just in time for their Manchester gig!

    Tickets £12


    BBC Philharmonic: Strauss/Mozart/Wagner @ Bridgewater Hall

    Saturday 21st March, doors 7:30pm

    Lower Mosley St, Manchester(M2 3WS)
    Wagner’s Prelude to Tristan and Isolde essentially invented modern music – its opening harmony even has its own nickname, the ‘Tristan Chord’. Thanks to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Also, Elisabeth Brauss guests in Mozart’s sparkling 21st Piano Concerto.
    Tickets from £12.50


    Theo Croker @ Band on the Wall

    Sunday 22nd March, doors 7:30pm

    25 Swan Street, Northern Quarter (M4 5JZ)

    A landmark in Manchester’s music scene past and present, Band on the Wall is one of our favourite venues for live music.

    Theo Croker, an adventurous jazz musician known for his cosmically minded, spiritually enlightened take on post-bop, funk, and electronic-tinged fusion.

    Tickets only £10 adv.


    Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds @ O2 Manchester Apollo

    Tuesday 24th of March, doors 7pm

    Stockport Rd, Manchester (M12 6AP)

    Grade II listed O2 Apollo started out life as a cinema in 1938, it’s now a household name on the Manchester music scene.

    Touring in light of his third EP titled “Blue Moon Rising” due for release on the 6th of March 2020. And if you can’t make this show, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will also be playing on Wednesday the 25th of March at the O2 Apollo.

    Tickets from £68


    Planet Earth II: Live in Concert @ Manchester Arena

    Victoria Station Approach, Hunts Bank, Manchester (M3 1AR)

    Get closer than ever to our planet’s spellbinding animals, landscapes and wildlife dramas! This not-to-be-missed live concert hosted by Liz Bonnin will feature breathtaking, specially-selected footage shown in 4K ultra high-definition on a gigantic LED screen, as the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, plays the remarkable music by Oscar winner Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea & Jasha Klebe.

    Tickets from £52


    Blossoms @ Manchester Arena

    Saturday 28th of March, doors 6pm

    Victoria Station Approach, Hunts Bank, Manchester (M3 1AR)

    Stockport-born quintet, blending synth-forward melodies with indie rock and Brit-pop; on tour following the release of their third studio album on the 31st of January 2020.

    Tickets from £26


    So what are you waiting for, Manchester is perfect for every music fan, whatever your taste there’s something for everyone this March. And whilst you’re here, did you know we also offer private walking tours or taxi tours with a knowledgeable guide who will take you to musical hot spots around the city? To find out more about Manchester Music Tours, click here!



  7. Half Term in Manchester – Sunny Day Edition

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    February Half Term – in the sun

    We’ve just blown through two weekends of storms and blue skies are currently about as reliable as a trampoline during storm Dennis. But we are ever the optimists you never know we might a get a bout of nice weather for a sunny half term in Manchester!

    So in the (unlikely) event we get some sunshine over the city, we’ve put together a list of sunny day activities you can do around Manchester this half term week, guaranteed fun for the kids and less stress for you!

    Sightseeing Manchester Bus – Hop On/Hop Off

    Manchester Sightseeing Bus Tour

    A bout of dry weather is perfect for seeing the sights of Manchester from the top deck of an open-top bus! And what child doesn’t get excited sitting at the top of a double-decker bus? In case of rainy emergencies, the front half of the bus is under cover, but we’d still recommend bringing your raincoats and umbrellas.

    Adult: £12.00

    Child: £6.00

    Family (2 Adults & 3 Children): £25.00

    Valid for 2 days from purchase!


    East Lancashire Railway

    East Lancashire Railway

    All aboard the East Lancashire Railway steam train! Sit in the warm carriages as you chug along from Bury Bolton Street Station to Rawtenstall and back. There are cafes on both stations for a warming cup of hot chocolate on your journey, whilst you may get lucky with the weather – we are still in the middle of winter.

    Adult all-day travel: £16

    Child all-day travel: £10


    Visit Manchester’s Parks

    Take your pick of Manchester’s inter-city green spaces for an afternoon in nature. From Heaton Park to Platt Fields Park, there’s plenty of space for the little ones to run around, explore and play. You can even venture to one of the parks, on the outskirts – Chorlton Water Park or Fletcher Moss Park.



    Football Stadium Tours

    National Football Museum, Manchester (06) © Chris Payne

    If you’ve got a budding footballer on your hands, why not pay a visit to one of Manchester’s two club stadiums! Whether you’re a red or a blue there’s a tour for each. Visit the United Museum and allow your guide to take you through Old Trafford, or take a tour of the Etihad Stadium.

    Manchester United Tours

    Adult: from £25.00

    Child: from £15.00

    Manchester City Tours

    Adult: £25.00

    Child: £15.00

    Walk or bike ride along the canal and the quays

    Explore the beautiful canal-side and quayside on foot or by bike for an afternoon. Wander along the heritage waterside of Manchester, marvel at narrowboats and look out for wildlife!



    Whatever the weather, Manchester has plenty to offer to keep the little ones occupied and ensure minimum stress for you!

    Happy Half Term!

  8. Half Term in Manchester

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    February Half Term in Manchester – in the rain

    It’s that time again, you have a whole week off with the kids and they are excited. The jury might still be out on how excited you are for half term in Manchester, however. Of course, you love them – they’re your kids – but that doesn’t mean they’re easy.

    We’ve just blown through two weekends of storms and blue skies are currently about as reliable as a trampoline during storm Dennis. So exactly how do you keep the kids entertained when the rain just won’t stop?

    We’ve put together a list of rainy day activities you can do around Manchester this half term week, guaranteed fun for the kids and less stress for you!


    SeaLife Manchester

    SEA LIFE Manchester - Ernie the Turtle

    SEA LIFE Manchester – Ernie the Turtle

    Find Nemo, watch sea turtles swim over your head and be mesmerised by jellyfish and all kinds of wonderful colourful fish at the SeaLife Centre this half term.

    Adult: £20.95

    Child: £16.95


    Legoland Discovery Centre

    LEGOLAND Discovery Centre - Miniland

    LEGOLAND Discovery Centre – Miniland

    Take a trip to the Legoland Discovery Centre, marvel at sculptures taller than you – all built out of lego! Make sure you visit the gift shop for all of your building needs, perfect for families. And you can even go shopping afterwards – all at the intu Trafford Centre!

    Adult: £20.95

    Child: £16.95

    Even better –take 30% off your visit to both attractions with our Manchester Sightseeing discount vouchers!

    The Build United event is a separate event available by booking only – not included with your discount.


    East Lancashire Railway

    East Lancashire Railway - Liam Barnes-min

    East Lancashire Railway – Liam Barnes-min

    All aboard the East Lancashire Railway steam train! Sit in the warm carriages as you chug along from Bury Bolton Street Station to Rawtenstall and back. There are cafes on both stations for a warming cup of hot chocolate on your journey. Book with Manchester Sightseeing Tours!

    Adult all-day travel: £16

    Child all-day travel: £10

    Bury Bolton Street Station 


    Visit Manchester’s Museums

    manchester group tours

    Museum of Science and Industry Exterior ©Museum of Science and Industry

    There’s plenty going on at Manchester’s best museums, from Magnificent Minibeasts at the Manchester Museum (18th – 20th February) to transport themed fun at MOSI – the Museum of Science and Industry. You can also visit the Science Show at Jodrell Bank, an exciting opportunity for discovery. All of these museums are free to visit and have plenty just waiting to be discovered!



    Dippy the Dinosaur on Tour

    On the subject of museums, you would be dippy to miss out on a visit to see the National History Museums’ Dippy the Dinosaur at Rochdale’s Number One Riverside on its only stop in the North West. Free to enter, perfect for your little palaeontologist.


    Number One Riverside, Smith Street, Rochdale, OL16 1XU

    The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the Adventures of Mog the Forgetful Cat

    Join the tiger for tea and discover the much-loved stories of Mog the Forgetful Cat before taking part in arts and craft activities. This exhibition at Z-Arts in Hulme is the first of its kind outside of London, just in time for half term; the little ones will love exploring the worlds of these much-loved characters.


    Z-arts, 335 Stretford Road, Manchester, M15 5ZA


    Family crafts at John Rylands Library

    manchester cotton

    John Rylands Libary, Spinningfields, Manchester ©Visitengland, Percy Dean

    Beautiful John Rylands Library is holding two family craft events this half term week. Make and create your very own ‘cuffs of power’ and ‘magic bowls at these events running on the 19th of February and 20th of February between 10:30 and 12:30 – free with no need to book!


    150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH


    Costume Factory

    Manchester Central Library

    Manchester Central Library

    In preparation for World Book Day (5th March), go along to Manchester’s Central Library on the 18th of February or Manchester Art Gallery from the 19th to the 22nd of February for the family-friendly event making costumes of their favourite storybook characters! From the Gruffalo to Gangsta Granny, you can design, cut and stitch felt masks for any character!

    Drop-in sessions run from 1pm to 3pm at both venues without the need to book!

    Manchester Central Library        17th – 18th February

    Manchester Art Gallery                 19th – 22nd February


    Origami at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

    manchester inspirational women

    Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, Manchester – Exterior © Mark Tattersall

    Featured throughout Elizabeth Gaskell’s life and writing you’ll find plenty of reference to her feline friends! From her own cats, Cranford and Mimi, to the unfortunate cat who swallowed a fine lace collar in her novel Cranford, and the crafty cat who stole the Christmas sausages in her short story Christmas Storms and Sunshine, cats are creating chaos everywhere!

    Create some simple origami cats of your own this February half-term at Elizbeth Gaskell’s craft workshop on the 19th of February between 1pm and 3pm!

    You can also take part in the fun family trail around the House, featuring its very own Cranford the Cat!

    £1 per child, with accompanying adult with usual House ticket.


    So make it a week your little one will write about when they get back to school, even if it doesn’t stop raining!

  9. Valentine’s Day in Manchester

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    Valentine’s Day in Manchester – date ideas

    Love is in the city streets and Valentine’s Day in Manchester is fast approaching! If a candle-lit dinner for two, a quick game of footsie under the table and a few whispered sweet nothings isn’t really your style, we’ve got you covered!

    With that special someone in mind, we have put together a list of our favourite Valentine’s Day date ideas. No boring dinner dates here, we’re embracing the unorthodox and exciting. Better still, they’re all based in Manchester.

    Let Valentine’s Day be-Gin

    Fancy yourselves connoisseurs of the nations favourite juniper flavoured tipple? Why not book a gin tasting experience for two at Manchester Gin’s very own distillery under the railway arches of Manchester.

    With a gin and tonic on arrival, tasting of 4 different gin flavours, as well as a tour of the distillery, turn your Valentines drinks into an experience. Don’t forget there’s also a 10% discount in the shop with your booking so we’ve got your back if you’ve left the gift-buying until last minute!

    Gin Distillery Tour


    Fancy a pint?

    Robinsons Brewery, Stockport, Greater Manchester - Brewing

    If a pint is more your style, a tour of Robinsons brewery might be right up your street! Complementing a guided tour of the brewing process you’ll also be able to enjoy beer tastings with package A, or if you want to take it up a notch, Package B includes a 1-course meal as well as a gift from the brewery included!

    Robinsons Brewery Tour


    Victoria Baths without the swimming

    If you were hoping to go for a swim, you’re out of luck at Victoria Baths. They do however have two Valentine’s Day movie screenings in an empty swimming pool!

    Starting with True Romance playing on the 14th of February, followed by Bridesmaids showing on the 15th of February; grab some fresh popcorn before snuggling down on sweet, candy-striped deckchairs inside the Gala Pool. It’s a little bit chilly in there, so remember your blankets!

    Valentine’s cinema. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the films start at 8:30 pm.


    Manchester Food Walk

    Manchester Food Walk - Northern Quarter (NCN)

    The perfect afternoon for any foodie couple! Enjoy a fascinating take on Manchester’s history and culture combined with edible treats along the way.

    Your Food Walk will take you around the vibrant Ancoats neighbourhood, sampling some of the best grub Manchester has to offer. This is a private tour lasting around two hours, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to bond over some Manchester treats.

    Manchester Food Walks – Ancoats Taster


    Caffeine-fulled coffee crawl

    Manchester has plenty to offer in terms of artisanal coffee. You only have to walk up Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter for the tip of the iceberg in Manchester’s’ best coffee houses.

    So if your ideal Valentine’s is one spent with a hot cup of Joe, spend a caffeine-fuelled afternoon sampling as many flat whites as you can manage – some of our favourite coffee spots in the city are:

    Fig + Sparrow, 20 Oldham Street, M1 1JA
    Evelyn’s Cafe & Bar, 144 Tib Street, M4 5JJ 
    North Tea Power, 36 Tib Street, M4 1LA
    Pot Kettle Black, Barton Arcade, Deansgate, M3 2BW


    Indulge in afternoon tea at Cloud 23

    You can enjoy afternoon tea with a view at Cloud 23 for only £22 per person. Enjoy a selection of finger food, including sandwiches, scones, and cakes against the backdrop of panoramic views over Manchester and beyond through the floor-to-ceiling windows for an indulgent afternoon.

    Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23


    Enjoy some live music

    Manchester was once named the ‘most musical’ city in the UK. You’re not short of live music to suit any musical taste in this city. If you’re a pair of jazz fans, head down to Matt and Phred’s at 64 Tib Street.

    Band on the Wall also has plenty of gig listings throughout the week – on the 14th lookout for Sambroso All Stars Present: The Buena Vista.


    Spend an afternoon getting cultured

    On a budget but still want to get out and do something? Manchester has plenty to offer for a cultural afternoon in the city – and the best part is they’re all free!

    Start your day at the Central Library, where there are exhibitions on the history of Manchester’s people. Just down the road from the Central Library is Manchester’s Walker Art Gallery. Marvel at classic painting and contemporary art before stopping by HOME, a centre for the arts opened with the help of director Danny Boyle.

    The Manchester Open Art 2020 exhibition will be running until the 29th of March too, featuring art created by the residents of Greater Manchester. It’s the perfect romantic afternoon for the broke artist couple.


    Retro throwback


    Take a trip down memory lane and relive your childhood at one of Manchester’s arcade bars. Impress your date with your Pinball and PacMan skills, go head to head on Street Fighter or even get on the Dance Mat and watch your steps! Some arcade bars Manchester has to offer are:

    NQ649 Short St, M4 1AA

    17 Below17 Bow Ln, M2 4FW

    7SINS43-45 Lever St, M1 1FN

    Disclaimer: We cannot be held responsible for any breakups caused by a couple’s competitiveness.


    An English classic for two

    podium fish and chips

    Still fancy a meal for two but not feeling the candlelight? Treat your other half to the English classic: Fish and Chips at the Podium restaurant situated in the Deansgate Hilton Hotel. You and your significant other can also enjoy a glass of Prosecco perfectly complimenting Fish and Chips for only £20!

    Fish and Chips with Prosecco for Two at Podium


    Or just look out for number one!

    You don’t need a significant other for any of these date ideas. If you’re single, self-partnered, or just flying solo, make Valentine’s Day your own and embrace it!

    Taking yourself out on a date has its perks: it saves on arguments on where to go, you can go home as late or as early as you want and you don’t have anybody stealing your chips when they said they didn’t want any!


    So you have no excuse to be short of Valentine’s Day date ideas. If however, you’re struggling to think of a romantic gift for the special occasion, we have a range of gift vouchers available which you can find by clicking the photo below!

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  10. United After Munich: Manchester United, the Munich Air Disaster & European Cup Glory

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    ‘The Flowers of Manchester.’

    The tragedy of the Munich air disaster ripped out the heart of a promising young team. However, it was not the end of the story. The legacy of the Flowers of Manchester lived on in the story of the survivors – the players, manager and staff who carried their memory and achieved the rarest of footballing greatness. The European Cup win is only part of the story.

    Just ten years after the club’s darkest day (see part one), Manchester United were crowned European Champions. Among the squad that day were two survivors of the Munich air disaster under the watchful eye of Matt Busby.

    ‘Like family.’

    Following the Munich air disaster, the football community wrapped around United. £52,000 (equivalent to £1.22million) was raised for the bereaved families.

    Rivals Liverpool offered five loan players to help United through the season. Manchester City’s German goalkeeper Bert Trautmann offered his help as mediator and translator between United and the German authorities.

    Most strikingly, however, an earlier friendship struck between Matt Busby and legendary Real Madrid president Santiago Bernabéu came to United’s aid. Dedicating their European Cup win to the fallen of Munich, Madrid offered their luxurious recuperation facilities to the injured and bereaved.

    Incredibly, the Spanish giants also offered to loan 1957 Ballon d’Or winner Alfredo Di Stefano to United for the 1958-59 season, paying half his wages. Di Stefano had reportedly agreed to the move but it was blocked by the FA, who were concerned he would take the place of a British player.

    The Spanish giants also struck deals to play a series of fundraising friendlies with United, waiving their normal £12,000 fee and agreeing to let United pay what they could. Aside from raising money, this gave the inexperienced United side a chance to play against the world’s best – Ferenc Puskas and Di Stefano among them.

    The teams grew together over a series of friendlies with Busby claiming Madrid ‘had become like family.’

    ‘Right away, you could see the great chemistry between them. Great players know how to play together.’

    The United rebuild was a slow one. Busby took back full managerial control for the 1958-59 season after recovering from his injuries. Though hugely successful in the long term, the signings of Albert Quixall, Maurice Setters, Denis Law, Pat Crerand and Noel Cantwell had little immediate effect.

    Form was inconsistent. United lumbered to a 19th place league finish in 1962-63, but secured a 3-1 FA Cup final victory versus Leicester at Wembley – their first silverware since Munich.

    A United rebrand followed. No longer feeling comfortable with the nickname Busby Babes after the disaster in Munich, Matt Busby sought something more intimidating. He borrowed an idea from neighbouring Rugby League side the Salford Red Devils.

    January 1964 saw the first coming together of United’s legendary trinity of Charlton, Law and Best. A second place finish in 1963-64 became a league title in 64-65.

    United players, Charlton and Nobby Stiles played key roles in England’s 1966 World Cup success as Old Trafford received significant upgrades in preparation for the tournament.

    Another league title came in 1966-67 as United went unbeaten in their final 20 league matches of the season.

    ‘If it had to be anyone, then I’m glad it was them.’

    United’s 1967-68 European Cup campaign began with a 4-0 aggregate victory over Maltese side Hibernians before narrow victories over Polish side Górnik Zabrze and Bosnians FK Sarajevo put United in the semi finals. A tie with Real Madrid beckoned.

    Taking a slight 1-0 home win to the Bernabéu, United were far from favourites. A poor start saw Madrid take a 3-1 lead into half time – 3-2 on aggregate. But United came back strongly in the second half with David Saddler netting 15 minutes from time to level the tie.

    Stalemate ensued until George Best crossed for Bill Foulkes – a Munich survivor, now 36 years old – to score. United won: a European Cup final with Eusebio’s Benfica at Wembley was on the cards. After the match, Busby’s old friend Bernabéu stated: ‘If it had to be anyone, then I’m glad it was them.’

    In the final, Bobby Charlton’s opener was cancelled out by Jaime Graça and an incredible save from Alex Stepney denied Eusebio a last gasp winner. United ran out 4-1 winners in extra time after a George Best goal broke Benfica’s resolve, Brian Kidd and Bobby Charlton finishing the Portuguese Champions off.

    Ten years after disaster, United were European Champions.

    Busby was knighted and received the Freedom of Manchester. The players were to go down in history as legends of the game – the first English European Cup Champions. But the journey was never forgotten, nor those who sadly never got to make it.

    The following list marks the names of those lost to the disaster:

    Geoff Bent, Full Back  Roger Byrne, Full Back  Eddie Colman, Wing Half  Duncan Edwards, Left Half  Mark Jones, Centre Half  David Pegg, Outside Left  Tommy Taylor, Centre Forward  Liam Whelan, Inside Forward  Walter Crickmer, club secretary  Tom Curry, Trainer  Bert Whalley, Chief Coach  Captain Kenneth Rayment, Co-pilot  Tom Cable, Cabin Steward  Alf Clarke, journalist  Donny Davies, journalist  George Follows, journalist  Tom Jackson, journalist  Archie Ledbrooke, journalist  Henry Rose, journalist  Frank Swift, journalist and former England and Manchester City goalkeeper  Eric Thompson, journalist  Bela Miklos, travel agent  Willie Satinoff, racecourse owner and friend of Matt Busby


    This is the second part of a two part article, check out the first part here.

  11. The Munich Air Disaster: Manchester United and the Lost Generation

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    ‘One cold and bitter Thursday in Munich…’

    It’s a day that lives in infamy. On that cold, snowy runway in Munich, disaster struck and claimed the lives of more than just those who died. The Munich air disaster is remembered as one of darkest days of Manchester United, but also football in general.

    20 passengers died at the scene, seven of them Manchester United players. Three more died of their injuries in the days and weeks following the crash, including former Manchester City goalkeeper and journalist Frank Swift, prodigal United left half Duncan Edwards and Flight Captain Kenneth Rayment.

    The Munich air disaster cut down a promising young team just as they were reaching their potential – the survivors mourn both what was but also what could have been. This is the story of the last days of the Flowers of Manchester and their legacy.

    This is part one of a two part article, check out the second part here.

     ‘All flights cancelled, flying tomorrow. Duncan’

    Three years after its inauguration, Manchester United embarked on their second foray into the European Cup. A promising first run had ended abruptly with semi-final defeat to Real Madrid in the season before but a clear run to the final and a quality young squad whispered at glory for United.

    With domestic games at the weekend and midweek European matches, the only reasonable route to games was by air. A drawn out ferry and train ride back to Manchester after a tie in Prague had tired the players who fell to a disappointing draw with Birmingham City the following weekend.

    Keeping schedule was of utmost importance as the team looked to maintain their 11 game unbeaten run to catch Wolverhampton Wanderers at the head of the Football League. However, an aggregate success over Serbian side Red Star Belgrade was cause for celebration.

    This may be death, but I’m ready.’

    Captained by former RAF flight lieutenants James Thain and Kenneth Rayment, British European Airways Flight 609 made two aborted take-off attempts on the second leg of its journey home from Belgrade via Munich.

    Snow began to fall heavily. Expectations grew that the team would not return home that day.

    However, a third attempt was proposed by Captain Thain, sure of a solution to the engine problems grounding the flight. Passengers re-embarked. Unsteady fliers Duncan Edwards, Tommy Taylor and Eddie Colman took up seats at the back of the plane, believing it safer.

    Forward Liam Whelan reportedly spoke the immortal words: ‘This may be death, but I’m ready.’

    A third and final take-off was attempted at 15:03. The clocks stopped.

    ‘I’ve been called a hero after the Munich air disaster, but I’m not really a hero.’

    Captain Thain freed himself from the wreckage, urged on by the still-trapped Captain Rayment, and began directing the evacuation of the plane’s burning wreckage.

    United Goalkeeper Harry Gregg, stirred from unconsciousness, kicking a hole in the cabin large enough to escape from. In the decades after Munich, Gregg quietly played down his heroics of that day in Munich as, aided by Bill Foulkes, he led teammates Bobby Charlton and Dennis Viollet from the wreck as well as a pregnant mother with her infant child.

    ‘You know Matt, the lads would have wanted you to carry on.’

    Players Johnny Berry and Jackie Blanchflower’s injuries prevented them ever playing football again while United Manager Matt Busby was twice read his last rites during a two month stay at Munich’s Rechts de Isar Hospital. He considered giving up the game, but his wife, Jean, urged him on.

    United took on emergency transfers, including the signings of three players from non-league Bishops Auckland. But it had little impact.

    A depleted United team limped to the season’s end – beating Sheffield United 3-0 in the first game after the disaster but failing to win another league game under the guidance of Assistant Manager Jimmy Murphy.

    The team lost 2-0 to Bolton in the FA Cup final, watched by a recovering Matt Busby, while a European Cup semi-final against Milan proved too much. Eventual cup winners, Real Madrid, suggested awarding that year’s trophy to United out of respect.

    The following list marks the names of those lost to the disaster:

    Geoff Bent, Full Back  Roger Byrne, Full Back  Eddie Colman, Wing Half  Duncan Edwards, Left Half  Mark Jones, Centre Half  David Pegg, Outside Left  Tommy Taylor, Centre Forward  Liam Whelan, Inside Forward  Walter Crickmer, club secretary  Tom Curry, Trainer  Bert Whalley, Chief Coach  Captain Kenneth Rayment, Co-pilot  Tom Cable, Cabin Steward  Alf Clarke, journalist  Donny Davies, journalist  George Follows, journalist  Tom Jackson, journalist  Archie Ledbrooke, journalist  Henry Rose, journalist  Frank Swift, journalist and former England and Manchester City goalkeeper  Eric Thompson, journalist  Bela Miklos, travel agent  Willie Satinoff, racecourse owner and friend of Matt Busby


    This is the first part of a two part article, check out the second part here.

  12. Manchester for Groups

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    Day Trips for groups

    The perfect day out to Manchester for groups!

    We at Manchester Sightseeing have a whole array of day trip itineraries perfect for groups visiting Manchester! It can be really hard to organise a day out for a large group, we can help you every step of the way!

    Have a look at these itineraries we’ve put together for group tours (25 people or more) of Manchester which can be tailored and suited to your needs. Take a look and if you think something would suit your group – just drop us an enquiry!

    Manchester, City of Firsts

    manchester group tours

    Known as the City of Innovation, I’ll bet you didn’t know that Manchester is home to the first passenger railway line, the world’s first computer, and the first suffragette movement! Discover more of the cities firsts’ on this group itinerary:

    10:30am Meet your guide

    11:00am City of Firsts guided coach tour

    12:30pm Lunch at the Midland Hotel

    14:00pm Visit the Science and Industry Museum


    Manchester Restored


    Visit two of Manchester’s heritage buildings, which despite a period of laying derelict have been affectionately restored to their former glory. Gorton Monastery is Manchester’s answer to the Taj Mahal, with its dramatic interior; learn all about the restoration and its history on tour guided tour. Victoria Baths, formally known as Manchester’s Water Palace, featured on the BBC’s restoration series and still stands grand and proud.

    11:00am Guided tour of Gorton Monastery

    12:30pm Lunch at the Monastery

    14:30pm Guided tour of Victoria Baths


    Cottonopolis and the Arts


    In years gone by, Manchester was once dubbed ‘Cottonopolis’ thanks to its booming cotton industry which saw the Manchester as a pioneer of the 19th century industrial revolution across the UK. See where it all began at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, a guide will talk you through the history of the building and even take you behind the scenes at the Royal Exchange Theatre.

    10:30am Guided tour and talk of the Royal Exchange & theatre

    12:30pm Lunch at the Rivals restaurant

    14:30pm Guided Tour of John Rylands Library


    Manchester’s Criminal Past

     crime tour

    See the city from a different perspective. Manchester has had its fair share of villains, from murderers to gangsters of the Victorian era. You can even visit Manchester’s Victorian cells which would house up to 12 prisoners each.

    10:30am Guided tour of Salford Lads Club

    11:30am Guided tour of Manchester’s criminal past

    12:30am Lunch at a Manchester hotel

    14:15pm Guided tour of the Greater Manchester Police Museum


    Inspirational Women of Manchester

    manchester inspirational women

    Manchester has been home to its fair share of inspirational women who have made history. From Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the British suffragette movement, to Elizabeth Gaskell; a British novelist who wrote Charlotte Brontë’s autobiography from her home in Manchester. Your guide will take you on a visit to her very home and enjoy lunch abroad the Emmeline Pankhurst river cruise!

    11:00am Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

    13:00pm Lunch aboard the Emmeline Pankhurst

    15:00pm People’s History Museum


    Do any of these suit your groups’ interests? If so head over to our Group Activities Full Day Tours section and send us an enquiry! If you would prefer something a little more bespoke we can also help you out with any kind of tour in Manchester for groups, just drop us an enquiry here

  13. A Brief History of the Changing Names of Joy Division

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    Renowned as the first word in the post-punk movement, Joy Division’s journey from obscurity to success, to tragedy is one of reinvention. The band chopped and changed names several times in their history, ushering in a new era of their development with each change.

    Their story was one of controversy, misunderstanding, love and obsession. It was a human story of tragedy and shame. They changed the music landscape and for that, we all know their name.

    Stiff Kittens, Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks

    The story of Joy Division’s name and formation is one more folklore than verifiable fact. The Sex Pistols gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall on 4th June 1976 was a watershed moment in British music, inspiring those who were there to pick up instruments and art and those who weren’t to lie about attending forever after.

    Among those at the gig were 20-year-old Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner and Terry Mason. The legend goes: the trio were so inspired by the thrashing energy of the night that the next day Sumner dug out a guitar, Hook borrowed £35 to buy a bass and Mason found himself as the drummer.

    Also in attendance that night was Ian Curtis and his wife Deborah. Curtis, from Macclesfield but living in Greater Manchester, already knew Hook, Sumner and Mason from previous gigs in the city and responded to their advert for a vocalist in a record shop window.

    Soon afterwards the fledgling punk band found themselves with a gig to promote but still no name. Out of need rather than approval, the name Stiff Kittens – suggested by either Buzzcocks manager Richard Boon or frontman Pete Shelley, depending on whose story you believe – was settled on for promotional purposes.

    Warsaw and the rotating door of drummers

    Never popular with the band, the Stiff Kittens name was quickly dropped and the band began going by Warsaw, inspired by the track Warszawa from David Bowie’s Low album.

    The band picked up a new drummer in the form of Tony Tabac and began playing more gigs around Manchester. Among them was one at Manchester’s Electric Circus where they garnered mixed attention from the national music magazines and another prompting their first meeting with future manager Rob Gretton at Rafters Club.

    The early material was crude and has largely been lost to time. As the band replaced Tabac with Steve Brotherdale and then eventual permanent member Stephen Morris, their sound drifted away from mainstream rock in the direction of cult favourites Velvet Underground and Iggy Pop.

    Joy Division and An Ideal for Living

    Another name change was prompted when London band Warsaw Pakt released their debut album. Concerned about the confusion between the two bands, Warsaw became Joy Division.

    December of 1977 also saw Joy Division’s first release, the EP An Ideal for Living. The EP caused a stir due to the apparent Nazi imagery used as its artwork. The cover featured a child in a Hitler Youth uniform banging a drum while the inner cover featured the infamous image of Jews surrendering after the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising. The first track, Warsaw, also retold the life of Nazi leader Rudolf Hess.

    Questions swirled about the band’s political leanings, exacerbated by skinheads attending their gigs and the band’s new choice of name. The name Joy Division was taken from a brothel containing Jewish women forced into sexual labour by Nazi concentration camp officers in House of Dolls by Ka-Tzetnik 135633. Though the novel, written by a holocaust survivor was distinctly not favourable toward Nazism.

    Still billed as Warsaw in all the promotional materials, Joy Division played their first gig under the name they’d become famous for at Pip’s Disco in Manchester on 25th January 1978.

    New Order from the ashes

    Joy Division’s rise and short span at the top is etched deeply into Manchester’s cultural history. Not a corner can be turned in the city without seeing the iconic Unknown Pleasures cover art on a tattoo or T-shirt, while single Love Will Tear Us Apart and sophomore album Closer were hits upon release.

    Sadly, Ian Curtis never saw the success of 1980’s Closer or Love Will Tear Us Apart. Plagued by a failing marriage, depression and epileptic fits, Curtis took his own life at 23 on the eve of the band’s debut US/Canadian tour.

    In a 1980 interview, drummer Stephen Morris told NME of a pact agreeing that should any member leave, they would change the band name.

    After a brief stint going by The No Names, the band reformed as New Order – doing little to dispel accusations of Nazi fascination. Released in 1981, their first single, Ceremony, was a composition of two of the final songs written with Curtis.

    The band initially struggled to move away from the legend of Joy Division, but in time their blending of electronic and dance beats with their post-punk origins built commercial success going far beyond anything of Joy Division.

    You can learn all about Joy Division’s history as well as the rich musical history of Manchester on our Manchester Music Stories tour.


  14. Derby Day Defectors, Part Two: Three more players to see both sides of the Manchester derby

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    The Manchester Derby from both sides

    It’s January. You’re back at work. The madness of the Christmas football schedule is over having only cost a few players’ hamstrings and whatever the cost is of forgetting to cancel your new Prime membership before it renews. So, what now?

    Well, the cup. Obviously.

    This year’s FA Cup has already thrown up a few interesting ties – former giants Leeds lost out to former giants Arsenal (brace for Twitterstorm) and Liverpool’s kids sent Everton back into an existential spiral. So now it’s over to the League Cup semi finals. Forget the Merseyside derby, this is the Manchester derby.

    If you missed the first instalment of Derby Day Defectors, stop reading right now and come back when you’ve righted the wrong. Otherwise, here it goes: three more players who are lucky not to have played for Malmö.


    Manchester United - Old Trafford - Manchester Derby

    Old Trafford ǀ Manchester United Football ©Manchester United football


    Owen Hargreaves

    Starting with the most recent player to cross the red and blue line. Hargreaves signed for Manchester United in 2007 for £17million after a highly successful spell with German giants Bayern Munich, during which he won four Bundesliga titles, three German cups and a Champions League medal.

    A successful first campaign saw Hargreaves earn a Premier League winners’ medal while also scoring the winning penalty in the 07-08 Champions League final for a debut season double.

    Hargreaves’ United career was blighted by injuries and he was released by the club when his contract ran out in 2011. Alex Ferguson named him as one of his most disappointing signings in his 2013 autobiography.

    Signed as a free agent, Hargreaves’ pitch time at City was again limited by injuries, making only one appearance for the Citizens before retiring from football at the end of the season.

    Did you know: Born in Canada to a Welsh mother and English father, Hargreaves is the only England international to pick up a cap without first living in the country.



    Manchester City Football Club - Etihad Stadium - Manchester Derby

    Manchester City Football – Etihad Stadium Pitch and Emblem, Manchester © Courtesy of Marketing Manchester


    Peter Schmeichel

    A United legend, Schmeichel is widely regarded as one of the best keepers to pull on the gloves.

    Relatively unknown outside of his native Denmark, Schmeichel made a name for himself on the international scene. United signed him from Brøndby for £505,000 in 1991, a deal Alex Ferguson later referred to as the ‘bargain of the century.’

    A Champions League winner with United in the 98-99 treble season, things could have been very different for Schmeichel. After letting slip a 3-0 lead against Liverpool in 1994, Schmeichel had an explosive row with manager Ferguson, who promptly sacked him. An impromptu apology to his teammates was overheard by Ferguson and Schmeichel was allowed to stay.

    Schmeichel won five Premier League trophies with United before spells at Aston Villa and Sporting Lisbon. He signed for City in 2002 on a free transfer.

    A draw at Old Trafford that season and a win at Maine Road ensured Schmeichel kept up his impressive record of never having lost a Manchester derby.

    Did you know: Schmeichel scored ten goals across his goalkeeping career.


    Manchester United - Old Trafford - Manchester Derby

    Old Trafford ǀ Manchester United Football ©Manchester United football


    Andy Cole

    A shock signing for United from Newcastle in the January window of 1995, Cole scored 12 goals in the season’s 18 remaining matches, including five in a 9-0 rout of Ipswich.

    Despite this, Cole endured a mixed start to his United career and was largely overshadowed by Eric Cantona upon Cantona’s return from a lengthy ban for an ‘altercation’ with a fan.

    Things got worse for Cole in 95-96 when he broke both of his legs following a challenge by Neil Ruddock in a reserve match at Anfield. Ruddock later joked that he hadn’t intended to break both legs, just one.

    Cantona’s retirement and a strong partnership former with Dwight Yorke saw Cole return to form in 98-99 with the pair scoring a combined 53 goals as United won a Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble.

    Cole signed for City on a free ahead of the 02-03 season. However, injury ended his second stint in Manchester and he moved to Portsmouth the following season.

    Did you know: With 187 goals in the competition, Cole is the third-highest goalscorer in Premier League history.


    Inspired by dreams of the Manchester derby? Want to experience the grandeur of City and United firsthand? Why not book a stadium tour.

    Written by Jack Meredith

  15. Twenty-Twenty: A Decade Of Change

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    Twenty-Twenty Vision: taking a look at the past decade in Manchester and moving forward into a new year

    A new year dawns on our city, leaving the last decade behind. We look back on the last 10 years – through all the highs and the lows, a lot has changed.

    Manchester has come a long way since its ‘Cottonopolis’ heyday. With new silhouettes constantly appearing on the city skyline, Manchester continues to grow and develop faster than the number of ‘new year, new me’ gym memberships.

    We take a look back at the then and now and see just how much Manchester has changed in the last decade.

    MediaCity UK

    Probably one of the most notable developments in the last decade is the growth of MediaCity UK, based at Salford Quays. The prime city location has come a long way since its roots as an industrial hub for the cotton industry.

    MediaCity began to grow in 2010 as major broadcasters announced their intention to relocate to the quayside location. The BBC announced that their children’s, sports, and later flagship news show BBC Breakfast, would all find a permanent new home in Salford. Plenty of building and development work has taken place since then and it continues to become an increasingly sought after location for businesses and property developers!

    2010 pic

    2020 pic from the Lowry



    Sticking with Salford, if you’ve been anywhere near the city lately, you’ve probably heard the term ‘crane-chester’ being thrown around!

    Although somewhat of an eyesore and too numerous to even count; the cranes are a hint at exciting things to come as the city continues to grow and live up to its name of the largest (and the best of course) city in the North.

    Already Manchester is being compared to the likes of Barcelona and Melbourne, so with that in mind, those cranes are just a by-product of Manchester continuing its development as a global city.

    2010 pic

    2020 cranes pic



    Another area of the city centre that has changed continuously as we cross into a new decade is Deansgate. Although staying true to its industrious roots with many red brick exteriors and large windows, plenty of new developments in Deansgate are but an echo of buildings that played a key role in Manchester’s lead in the Industrial Revolution.

    Deansgate – and Castlefield – has seen a population growth since the beginning of the last decade. Proximity to Manchester’s business districts and the heart of Manchester has drawn the eyes and wallets of many property developers. Buildings have gone up in this area at lightning pace, bringing in more people to the developing city centre.

    Ind rev pic

    2010 pic



    If you haven’t ventured through to Ancoats yet you’re missing out. A surge of new restaurants and bars have moved into what was once the world’s first industrial suburb. Some of the earliest mills of the Industrial Revolution were Murray’s Mills, which were established next to the Rochdale Canal beside Great Ancoats Street, in 1798.

    The area has since been recognised as an area of industrial heritage and, despite developments, you can still find the old mill exteriors and terraced housing that mill workers would reside in. The interiors, however, are very different now.

    In the last decade, Ancoats has been home to Sankeys nightclub, the Hallé Orchestra and is now home to Manchester’s first Michelin star restaurant – Mana! As we continue into 2020 there are big plans for the area that will see it continue to develop and undoubtedly rise in cool factor.

    Ind. Revolution pic

    2010 pic

    Ancoats mills look very different on the inside


    We are looking forward to what the next decade may bring, but no matter what the city looks like, the city’s sense of Mancunian pride will never change.

    The heart of the city is embedded in the people and communities of Greater Manchester, and that’s who make this city great. Not the shiny new buildings, nor the exciting new bars, restaurants and cafes. Not even the long-standing football clubs or historic buildings. No, without the people of Manchester and their infallible spirit, none of this would be possible.

    The spirit of Manchester lives and breathes in the city streets, carried by those who band together during difficult times. Cheesy though it may sound, Manchester is in the spirit and culture rather than bricks and mortar (even if it is more iron gliders and glass panels these days) and that is why we love Manchester and will continue to love it for the next decade, and every decade after that.

    Who knows what the city will look like at the end of the next decade, but we cannot wait to find out!

    Happy New Year!