A weekend in Manchester, the rainy city

Even if some people claim Manchester’s reputation as the rainy city being mostly a myth, there is no doubt : it was raining when we were there :-)

It was a bit before Chinese New Year, and part of the town was decorated with thousands of red lanterns ! We started walking around St Ann’s Square, taking some pictures despite the bad weather, finally ending having lunch in Chinatown.

Walking with an umbrella and trying to take pictures is not the most amazing thing to do… Thankfully, there are several options for rainy days like these…

The museum of Science and Industry

The museum is built on the site of the world’s first railway station and consists of 5 buildings to explore. Admission is free which is always great :-)

The Manchester Mills were my favourite bit, especially the Texile Gallery. Manchester and its surrounding towns had been involved in textile business since the 15th century and this gallery is all about the cotton industry as well as other types of textiles and how they were made. It is an incredible place to learn more about that textile industrial past and how Manchester became an important centre for the cotton trade.

We saw these huge cotton machines in action. It was quite a shock to learn that it was common for the workers to lose their fingers or having complications from breathing in cotton dust. In addition, it was so noisy ! It must have been very difficult to work in these conditions.

The central library

The central library in Manchester is inspired from the Pantheon in Rome. On the first floor, there is the Great Hall, a large reading room topped by a dome, where you can find a lot of old books. It’s worth a stop, entrance is also free. Downstairs, there is always a temporary exhibit to visit !


Whitworth Art Gallery

The Whitworth Art Gallery reopened on 14 February 2015, and we were in town that weekend, how lucky ! People were queuing outside, very eager to get in. So we decided to have a look at the different exhibits as well, it sounded promising !

We walked through Sarah Lucas’s exhibition where multiple cigarettes were stucked together to form different objects. That was… interesting, let’s say.

The room featuring Cornelia Parker‘s work really drawn my attention. She collected old silver-plated objects and flattened them with a steamroller. Then she suspended them on wires from the ceiling. The effect was lovely ! The War room  was also breathtaking. The entire room was covered with sheets of the red poppy paper used for the war commemorative celebrations.

The Texiles gallery was about historic and contemporary textiles with an environmental edge… I loved the peacock feathers, it was intersting to photograph, otherwise, there was a serious lack of information about the environmental impact of clothing. Some information were missing, too bad, I think it could have been great.



81 responses to “A weekend in Manchester, the rainy city

  1. I loved reading this as it’s about my home city! Two other good rainy day options are the Imperial War Museum at Salford Quays and the National Football Museum (if you like that kind of thing!), near Exchange Square.


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  3. The weather is unfortunately always likely to be changeable at best in Manchester even in the summer! I’m very interested to read about all the museums and galleries you visited. I have tended just to pass through Manchester usually to and from the airport as my family live over the other side of the Pennines in Yorkshire. My great great grandfather was involved with cotton mills and made a lot of money from them in the 1870’s but then the cotton industry went into decline and he relocated to the woollen industry in West Yorkshire. He owned a woollen mill there and did very well for himself (though the family money has disappeared now!!). I would find the Manchester Mills and Textile Museum fascinating! Must go one day :) Thanks for sharing and have a lovely weekend :)


    • Me too ! I’ve been in Manchester airport so many times, but never ventured outside of it ! There are a lot of cultural things to do over there, all museums are free (which is awesome), and lots of place to eat and drink.

      Oh, it’s very interesting to read that one member of your family was involved in the cotton mills industry. One more reason for you to visit the museum ! :-)

      Thank you ! Do you have anything plan this weekend ?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another beautiful series of images as an introduction to a historic city…

    Hard to pick one images over the other. Still the one shot ‘near the central library’ is my favorite, for it’s beautiful composition :)


      • Not yet :) But certainly in my wish list …

        So nice to hear that the image was planned and executed to perfection :)

        A few years back, I would have waited for an empty arcade and now a days I would wait hours on end to get an image with a human being in frame.

        The visual appeal is totally different, right?

        Learning slowly but surely :)


  5. Very cool. Love that you went during Chinese New Year.
    I think you recommendation on having had info on the environmental impact of the clothing industry is an excellent one!


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  7. Despite its rainy reputation you’ve made Manchester look really good! I think it’s a slightly unfair nick-name, as most cities in the UK get quite a lot of the wet stuff!


  8. It’s lovely seeing Manchester through your eyes. My husband is from there, so whenever we go yes, it’s always raining! But we always visit family and never do anything. So I will be more determined to get out and about with my son! I do love Manchester though, it’s one of my favourite cities in the UK after London!


    • I wonder if it’s possible to enjoy a full day in Manchester without any rain :D I prefer the Yorkshire atmosphere, but Manchester was lovely :-) Very vibrant and busy city, with an interesting past.


    • We ended up there by chance ! We were searching a shelter from the rain, so we entered in the library and it appeared they had temporary exhibits, so we spent some time over there ! And it was nice :-)


  9. The museum of science and industry has been on my list for a while. Manchester is so close I need to stop making excuses and get there! Looks like you had a great time!


  10. good article and great shots. I probably walked right passed you at most of these places that weekend! My parents were over from the South of France and got an instant reminder of the joys of horizontal Manchester rain/sleet/snow…


      • My son of a football fantastic and a rabid Man U fan, and I used to watch a lot of it with him. But since he’s moved out not so much. It’s not like, for example, cycling, where I’d watch just about anything they’d show. I take it you’re not a football fan?


        • I watched some games involving the Belgian red devils during the world cup, because it was like a miracle they’ve been that far, otherwise I don’t really like it ( but I don’t despise it either….I just have no interest :D)

          Liked by 1 person

          • You are European, aren’t you? I mean, not like from some far away galaxy here to try and figure out how to save us from ourselves? I thought membership in the EU required football fanaticism of all citizens as a prerequisite! :-)


              • Not fanatical about sports?! One more strike against you Europeans! If you guys don’t give up the metric system soon (it just makes far too much sense) I’m not sure us Americans will be able to keep visiting you there and showing you how smart we are by complaining all the time. :-)

                Liked by 1 person

  11. I Iive about an hour on the train from Manchester but I have yet to visit any of the cultural bits.Naughty me! Its a great place to shop, eat and have cocktails. :) The Northern quarter is interesting as its full of independent and quirky shops. X


    • We’ve had a lot of cocktails and good food ! It was happy hour time, was so worth it ! :D We also did some shopping in the huge commercial centre. We haven’t explored that much, weather was terrible. Maybe another time ! I will live in Leeds in June, it’s not that far away ;-)


  12. What a shame the weather was so awful for your trip – but then you can’t rely on sunshine in Manchester!! We love Central Library too and you’ve reminded me about the Whitworth Art Gallery – sounded interesting there!


    • Some exhibits in the Whitworth Art Gallery were really better than others ! A lot of people were waiting for the reopening, I suppose it’s a lot quieter usually.

      Oh well, maybe we will get the chance to see the sunny side of Manchester in the future ;-)

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been to Manchester many times, but it was always with work. You’ve certainly highlighted some good places to visit in the city. It’s also home to “Coronation Street” which is the world’s longest soap opera and which still attracts millions of viewers every week.

    No mention of food in your post, but maybe that is a subject coming up in another post? Did you try any Eccles Cakes whilst in the city?


    • Oh I didn’t know about Coronation Street ! In fact, I’ve never heard about that soap, I had to look on wikipedia !! It is not very popular in Belgium :s It’s crazy it’s still on though !!

      No food post this time I’m afraid ;-) I’m planning to go back to Peak District soon, so.. I may go back to Manchester in the future and eat some good food ;-)

      I haven’t tried Eccles Cakes. Is it just popular in Manchester or elsewhere ?


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