Manchester – Chinese New Year, Imperial War Museum

So this last weekend, we made the journey up to Manchester…my hometown.

A last minute decision based on the fact we wanted to see a Chinese New year celebration and knowing we couldn’t easily get to London the following weekend for theirs, we would ‘go home’ and see it there.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see anywhere near as much of the celebration as I had hoped.  One thing led to another leading us to get to town later than planned and then leaving early.  The weather certainly didn’t help us either!

What we did see was fun.  We managed to get a decent vantage spot for the parade (albeit short) in Chinatown.  The kids enjoyed throwing firecrackers at everyone’s feet.   As we expected, the celebrations were busy…very busy and unfortunately, did detract from the experience a little (another reason for leaving early).  Crowd control was not great and a couple of times, we had some in our party literally knocked off their feet.  If you don’t like crowds, don’t think about trying to see this in the future!

Just a few photos to share of the parade.  I think if we had been in another vantage point, we would have seen much more of a ‘show’ but the parade is all we got to see.  I understand, there was a lot going on that could be great to see another time.

 

The day before, we spent the afternoon exploring the Imperial War Museum North.  A last minute choice for visiting but it proved to be a great decision.  As the weather was so wet, we knew we wanted to be indoors and as we were already close to the area, we dived in.

The museum is situated in a previously run down side of Manchester/ Salford, along the banks of the River Irwell.  This area has recently undergone a transformation and revitalization, most notably with the construction of the new Media City.  We had a great view of Media City from the museum.  The kids were excited to see the Blue Peter sign and studios together with the back of the Coronation Street set.  They thought this was all so cool.  We hope to go back on a sunny day and walk around, maybe even grab a tour.  It was so wet, we just didn’t want to explore outside too much this time.

Inside the museum (free entry), there is a lot to see.  So many different exhibits charting history of war over the last 100+ years.  At the moment, there is a great Horrible Histories exhibit geared towards the kids.  Perfect!  We took a guided tour first (recommend) and then went back and did all the activities.  The kids remained engaged with the activity books and they seemed to enjoy it.  Again – another opportunity to dress up.  This time as a war evacuee.

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WWII Evacuee

 

We strolled through the other exhibits.  My husband did see a 360° film show which he reported was great.  Sadly, we didn’t have time to wait and catch the next one.  They do about 4 a day.

All in all, we spent around 2-3 hours in the museum.  We also stopped in at the cafe and the gift shop.   We would highly recommend it as an afternoon out in Manchester….especially a rainy day!

To balance out a museum visit, we promised the kids a quick stop in at the Trafford Center.  A gigantuous shopping mall in Manchester/ Trafford Park.  Not far from where we were so a good choice before we headed home for dinner.  Seems like we had the same idea as the rest of Manchester, hoping to stay dry that day!  It was packed!  We finally found a parking space after 10 minutes of looking. Ran in through the wind and rain and then battled crowds for an hour.  The kids loved it there and would have stayed longer.  I was glad to leave but can see the appeal, especially if you were ever fortunate to make it there on a quieter day.  Worth a visit for some great shopping though including a Hamleys toy store which obviously the kids enjoy!

So all in all, we had a busy 2 days in Manchester.  In addition to all of the above, we visited family and also had some fun family meals…..At the end of the day, that’s what being home is all about 🙂

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