Earlier this month we celebrated our anniversary. As we helpfully got married on the same date we met, this was eight years of knowing each other, and two of being man and wife. With our big holiday on the horizon in early autumn we didn't want to do a huge trip for our anniversary, but we did want to have a little break, so we decided to head up to Manchester for a few days.
We travelled up with Virgin Trains and splashed out on first class seats. It's so nice when you can get the two seat pods together. We dranks lots of tea, caught up on some admin (cheers, wifi), and before we knew it we were up in the glorious north.
We stayed in the Hilton Deansgate, a hotel we've enjoyed before. The building is large and roomy, and the executive rooms are spacious with great facilities. As well as the awesomely comfy bed and the beloved Nespresso machine in our room, I also enjoyed the fantastic, deep bath with spa jets. It was so good I had to go to Lush just to get a bath bomb for the occasion!
And then there are the views, for miles and miles in every direction.
If you choose one of the exec rooms, you also get access to the exec lounge on the 23rd floor. Here there are more amazing views to enjoy, plus snacks, hot drinks, cold beverages, and between 6 and 8 pm a range of alcoholic drinks and canapés - a lovely pre-dinner treat!
We arrived a little early for our room (and wound up having to wait for almost two hours anyway, a little trying!), so the lounge was a godsend - I curled up in a comfy chair with a couple of mini pastries and a good book.
I am always so pleased to see tea!
After we were able to access our room and freshen up, we headed out to meet our friends Victoria and Ryan for a curry and drinks. We had our meal at Akbar's, where we had the most amazing (HUGE) naan, before heading around to The Wharf for a couple of drinks in the garden next to the canal. It was so lovely to catch up with this lovely couple!
On the Monday of our visit we had breakfast at the hotel (decent) before heading off for a leg stretch into the city. Manchester is such a beautiful space, I'll never tire of exploring and finding new streets to wander.
After a lot of wandering in late-twenties temperatures, a drink had been earned. So we popped up to San Carlo Bottega, the sweetest little bar and restaurant in Selfridges. Don't you just love those blues and marbles?
After that we went to the National Football Museum where we had a lot of fun exploring the beautiful game! It's a great museum with tonnes of really interestinga artefacts, and we had a great time looking around. Whether you're a die-hard fan like Matthew or just a keen football watcher like me there's plenty to enjoy, and tonnes of interactive things for children (and big kids!) too. Entry is free, with a suggested donation.
After that Matthew went to meet our friend Cro for a couple of pints, while I repaired to the hotel to get on with some work...while enjoying the wine and canapés in the executive lounge. Definitely the way to work, if you have to work on holiday! When Matthew returned we decided to forgo a fancy dinner, and instead went to The Cask, a lovely little pub Miss Pond had recommended. There we supped on cracking real ales, while eating fish and chips from the chippy next door!
One place we managed to visit on all three days of our stay was Cloud 23, the cocktail bar in the Hilton. High abouve the clouds you can watch the world go by (and the occasional overexcitable seagull enjoying the thermals).
So many marvellous, innovative cocktails!
Even the loos have an impressive view!
We had planned to stay up in Manchester for the whole of our anniversary, but work called us south. So we booked an evening train home on the 16th so we could maximise our time for fun and relaxing - after a lie in and long, sumptuous showers and baths we headed out for a delicious lunch at one of our favourites, Hawksmoor. We are big fans of the brand and hadn't been to the Manchester location yet, so it was a clear choice for our lunch. Over steak, wonderful Malbec and superb cocktails, we toasted another year together. And I only took one picture, because annivesary!
All too soon (and after a brief post-steak nap), it was time to head south. Once more the Virgin Trains staff were delightful, and before long we were back home to our kitties, ready for some more busy, London times!
Have you been to Manchester? What's your favourite thing to do or see?