Twelve hours in Manchester/Glasgow
July 24, 2010 10:21 AM   Subscribe

How should a couple fill a day while getting from Manchester, England to Milngavie, Scotland (possibly via Glasgow)?

On Saturday, July 31, my boyfriend and I will have about twelve hours to make our way from the Manchester Airport to Milngavie, the start of the West Highland Way. We arrive at 7:25 am, and we intend to travel primarily by train, making it to our lodgings around 7 pm.

How shall we fill the day? Should we park our luggage at the airport or Piccadilly and explore Manchester, and, if so, what is great to see and do there? We are especially considering this option because we can store our luggage. Should we jump on a train and stop somewhere partway through the journey? We will be traveling back to Glasgow after walking, so we know we will get to see it somewhat. However, if it would make a great stop, I would love to hear your recommendations.

We are both 30 and love the outdoors, beautiful scenery, and, when in the city, history, great pubs, and food. I am looking forward to hearing your recommendations.
posted by TrarNoir to Travel & Transportation around Manchester, England (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was going to recommend the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield (about 35 miles out of Manchester) but I'm not sure if you could manage to get there and back by public transport in the in the time you've got - might be worth checking the train times?
posted by dogsbody at 12:04 PM on July 24, 2010

I've been told that "Manchester doesn't do mornings"...

Manchester has a good range of museums. Manchester Museum isn't really comparable to the larger London museums but has an awful lot of interesting stuff in it, particularly if you like Egyptology. The Museum of Science and Industry is worth considering. The People's History Museum is unusual, it focuses on trade unions and everyday life. John Rylands Library in the city centre is worth visiting just for the architecture, but also has some good items on display. The Manchester City Art Gallery might be a good option, especially if you like Victorian art. There's also The Imperial War Museum North in nearby Salford, near the Lowry theatre and gallery.

Tatton Park or Lyme Park could be good trips out but you may not have enough time to make the best of them. There is some great countryside around Manchester but getting there, hiking around and then getting back by public transport might be tricky in the time you have available.

For a good lunch in the town centre I'd recommend Little Yang Sing (serious Chinese restaurant) in China Town or Tampopo (mixed East-Asian, casual canteen style)

I'm completely unable to help with pubs and bars, but will ask some experienced veterans I know.

Please feel free to message me if you have any questions!
posted by BinaryApe at 1:49 PM on July 24, 2010

Best answer: I'm a big fan of Katsouris Deli for lunch.

The favoured pub for MeFi meetups has been the Marble Arch, which is about a mile from Piccadilly, although the last one was at the Briton's Protection. If you don't want to stray that far out of the town, the Old Wellington and its neighbour Sinclair's are pretty good (but tend to get extremely busy).

As for sights, I would certainly agree with the John Rylands Library. I also recommend a quick trip to the Hidden Gem - a beautiful Catholic church that has to be seen from the inside to be appreciated.
posted by Electric Dragon at 5:35 PM on July 24, 2010

As well as the Rylands, Chetham's Library might be worth a visit: it's where Marx and Engels worked together in 1845.

If you can break your journey north, perhaps stop at Carnforth for a cuppa?
posted by holgate at 7:12 PM on July 24, 2010

Depending on how early you arrive in Glasgow, you can check out the Botanic Gardens. There's also the Gallery of Modern Art, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and plenty of window shopping at the Buchanan Galleries and Princes Square. You can even walk about in the West End for a while and have a wee look at all the retro shops and caf├ęs. All of these places are easily accessible from the city centre by bus, train, subway or walking. (Walking from Glasgow Central Station through the West End takes about twenty minutes. It's very pedestrian friendly.) Almost everything I listed is open from around 9AM/10AM, the museums are open earlier, with the exception of Sunday mornings where some shops are closed and the rest open later.

If you end up passing through Glasgow, I hope you enjoy your visit! Have a great trip.
posted by Vrai at 11:00 PM on July 24, 2010

Best answer: Focusing purely on travel, it's about 3hrs 15 minutes, on average, to take a train from Manchester to Glasgow. Potentially you could spend the morning in Manchester, take a train at midday and be in Glasgow for about half past three. Glasgow to Milngavie (pronounced 'MUL-GUY' by the way, if you're not sure) is 26 minutes. Both the train from Manchester and the connection to Milngavie are to/from Glasgow Central by the way, so take that as your point of exploration if taking time in Glasgow. All times checked using the National Rail website.

But yeah, purely transportation-wise, you can spend 3-5 hours in Manchester and 3 hours or so in Glasgow, travelling around midday. Whatever you do, don't take your main train from Manchester > Glasgow before 9.30am, it'll be far more expensive. And if you can book in advance, you'll save 20-30% off the price of the ticket. I like the East Coast website for booking tickets, as the ticket selector is nicely designed.

Have a great time!
posted by Happy Dave at 2:33 AM on July 25, 2010

Get the train to Windermere, walk 2 miles (at the most) to Bowness and get on one of the pleasure cruises (or smaller craft) on Windermere (Lake). It's in the Lake District national park. A gorgeous, 10 mile long, island-studded, mountain-fringed lake. After your detour, you'd stop at Kendal and get a train to Gladgow from there.
posted by Deor at 5:52 PM on July 25, 2010

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