I recently had the pleasure of attending a reception to celebrate Virgin Atlantic’s new direct route from San Francisco to Manchester. The event was held at the residence of the HM Consul General Andrew Whittaker who made the announcement, followed by an evening of mingling with journalists. British food and cocktails kept flowing through the evening as we celebrated this momentous occasion for who doesn’t want more non-stop flights from the West Coast to Europe right??
Indeed the evening was a celebration in honor of this exciting new relationship between San Francisco and Manchester! In the past flying from SF to Manchester was about 14 hours, with a stop in Heathrow via British Airways. The new route with Virgin Atlantic takes a mere 11 hours with flights three times a week. For Manchester, this is a huge win as it allows the North West start-up scene access to the Silicon Valley technology region – definitely a game changer for the economy.
This route also gives the West Coast exposure to Manchester and all that it has to offer in terms of the culture, sights and cuisine. I heard a lot of great things about the Lake District for example during the evening and it appears there’s a lot more to this city than I realized!
From culture to arts to nightlife, Manchester has a lot to offer. And of course the name of this city might conjure up images of soccer players and most of us know Manchester has soccer in its DNA! Touring the Manchester United and Manchester City is a definite must, while you can also discover the social history at the National Football Museum. Architecture lovers will be enthralled by the Manchester Cathedral and also the John Rylands Library but if you’re more into fine art, then take a stroll over to the Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth. History buffs can spend a day just perusing the old and new at Manchester Museum and the Imperial War Museum North. A 90 minute hop-on hop-off bus tour will take you around some of these key sights including Town Hall Manchester. A fun fact: English commentary by Lord of the Rings and Lost actor Dominic Monaghan!
Outdoors loving people like me will find plenty to occupy themselves with beautiful walks around Hollingworth Lake, Heaton Park, Sale Water Park and Haigh Hall. Family friendly locations like the Museum of Science and Industry, Play Factore and Legoland Discovery Centre are great ways to engage the kids on a trip to this lovely city. A fun fact: The Museum of Science and Industry is based on the site of the oldest passenger railway station in the world! So even adults will likely be interested in the hands-on exhibitions while the huge collections of vintage vehicles and historic working machinery can be quite captivating. Imagine halls full of steam-powered machines in action!
Manchester also is home to the Quays – a waterfront destination about 15 minutes by tram from the city centre – perfect for a day or weekend trip! What’s in the Quays? The Lancashire County Cricket Club, Outlet Malls, and a range of water-based activities! Oh and in the summer you can catch a Mersey Ferry for a 5 hour trip from the Quays to Liverpool or vice versa!
Virgin Atlantic launches its flights this summer with an A330, with Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy seats. I for one am looking forward to flying non-stop to Manchester and discovering the North West!
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