Hopefully you’ve had a chance to escape the Oxford Road bubble and had a chance to see what Manchester has to offer. However if you don’t own a bus pass you might put off venturing beyond the free zone of the 147 bus. I decided to finally bite the bullet (or buy a Dayrider) and explore the Trafford Centre.
Getting to the Trafford Centre is probably the easiest part of the entire trip. You can catch the X50 or 250 from Piccadilly Gardens and, during the day, these buses are very frequent. I caught the 250 from the Tesco on Oxford Road which saves you about 15 minutes on the bus. If you don’t have a bus pass, a Dayrider is the best value for money as, unfortunately, the 250 isn’t a Magic Bus. Don’t worry about getting off in the wrong place as the Trafford Centre is the last stop for both buses. As someone who struggles with basic geography, trust me – you won’t get lost. If you’re going to be staying until late evening, keep in mind that buses depart infrequently. You don’t want to be stuck at the bus stop for an hour because you didn’t check the timetables! Usually the X50 and 250 will only depart every 30 minutes to an hour by 9pm so plan your day accordingly.
I’m here, now what?
I don’t think I could even begin to try and list everything you could possible do in the Trafford Centre. I’ll stick with my personal highlights. First thing, admire the architecture. The entrance at the Great Hall is modelled after the stairs in the Titanic. That chandelier you see above it? It’s the largest in the world and weighs over 5000 kilograms.
That dome next to Selfridges? The design was inspired by the St. Paul’s Cathedral dome in London and changes colours. There is even a buried time capsule from 1998!
If architecture isn’t your thing, plan a trip to the Odeon Cinema which boasts over 20 screens. My ticket was actually for a Bollywood movie in Hindi – I was really surprised to see movies in other languages being shown alongside Hollywood movies.
Don’t be fooled by my ticket though, prices are normally £9.00 with a student ID.
If you’re with a larger group, give Lazer Quest a try!
What about the best part?
The answer to the question above might be debatable. My answer? Food! The food court in Trafford Centre is actually the largest in Europe! The idea came from a cruise ship that tours different parts of the world; China, Europe, America and Egypt. There honestly isn’t anything you couldn’t find here, from Pizza Hut to Wagamama to Spoons – even picky eaters won’t leave hungry. The giant pool in the middle definitely isn’t for swimming though. The food court is also known as the Orient and changes colour to match the sky outside.
There is definitely more to Trafford Centre than I managed to see which is exactly why I recommend you take the time out to visit. It’s easy to get caught up in your grades while at university and while these are extremely important, they don’t constitute your entire experience. Don’t feel guilty about taking some time away from studying by gaining a wider appreciation of the city of Manchester!
I’ll end with one last fact. If you walk down Peel Avenue, it may surprise you to find out that the palm trees are actually imported from California!