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BN Travel: Discovering Manchester with Virgin Atlantic Little Red | Ijeoma Ndekwu’s Weekend in the Fabulous City

Ijeoma Balogun

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Tourist Mode Activated! Exploring the streets of Manchester

I was fortunate to spend a weekend in Manchester on a trip sponsored by Virgin Atlantic. With a considerable number of Nigerians residing and schooling in Manchester, Virgin Atlantic now offers a flight to Manchester.

My journey began at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos. I arrived at the airport at 7.45am and got my suitcase checked-in straight to Manchester, then proceeded to security and the boarding gate. It was my first time travelling with Virgin and for someone who is  naturally big on service I would rate the experience an 8 out of 10, which is excellent in my books!

I arrived at London Heathrow terminal 3 on time at around 4.20pm where I met the other people on the trip. A transfer to terminal 1 to catch The Little Red to Manchester and later, dinner with the group while we waited for our 8.45pm flight. Although we had quite a wait before our flight to Manchester, in my opinion, it definitely is the most convenient option if I consider other available options:

  • Option 1: Get to Heathrow and take a coach from the airport to Manchester. Approximate travel time: 6.5 hours.
  • Option 2: Get to Heathrow, take the underground to Euston Station and catch the Virgin train to Manchester. Approximate travel time: 4.5 hours
  • Option 3: Get to Heathrow; take the Virgin Atlantic Little Red connecting flight to Manchester. Approximate wait time: 4 .5 hours.

Eliminating the stress of handling luggage, train delays, taxis, the underground, oyster cards and travel passes, The Little Red makes a lot more sense!

Little Red take off

Little Red take off

The flight to Manchester from London was an easy and comfortable 35 minutes. We got to the Lowry Hotel at 10pm and it was off to bed to rest and prepare for the next day’s exciting line-up of activities.

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Welcome treat! This was replenished every day!

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My home for the weekend – The Lowry Hotel Manchester

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The Bed!!! -Take me back to the Lowry Hotel Manchester

We started day 1 with a tour of Manchester. Our hotel was right in the middle of the city centre; ideally situated on the Banks of the River Irwell (which made a fantastic view from my room on the 4th floor) in the Chapel Wharf area.

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View of the Lowry Hotel from the bridge over River Irwell

We took a walk exploring the city’s landmarks, museums and attractions which included; the Museum of Science & Industry, John Rylands Library and the Town Hall. It was fantastic experience learning about the lively cosmopolitan city, which was the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution. We ended the tour at the Exchange Square with lunch at Selfridges.

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The dream travel companions  (fom left; Wale, Kudi, Mr. Ikechi, Obinna & Shirley) at the Museum of Science & Industry

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Inside the Museum of Science & Industry

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Inside the Museum of Science & Industry

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Inside the John Rylands Library

The Townhall

The Townhall

lunch harey

Lunch – Steak, Fries and a classic Mojito!

The Exchange Square is one of the key retail areas of the city centre with High end stores like Selfridges, Burberry and Hugo Boss and just nearby is the Arndale Centre where you will find all your favourite high street stores. Definitely a treat for shoppers like myself! Dinner was at the famous ‘Curry Mile’, known for their fantastic Indian food, which was a joy for those already missing the Nigerian spicy flavours!

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Arndale Centre

Let me be honest, I was not looking forward to Day 2! On our to-do list was a trip to Old Trafford and as a loyal Arsenal fan I had no business on those grounds but I will have to admit, it was a sight to behold! We got a tour of the stadium grounds; the press room, dressing room, substitute corner etc.

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Old Trafford Manchester

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I managed a smile in rival territtory

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Shirley  & Kudi loving the season ticket holders section of the stadium

The Director's Corner

The Director’s Section; So cool, they have their names on the seats!

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The dressing room

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The Home Team Substitute Station (From left; Shirley, Kudi, Obinna & Wole)

We also went around the Manchester United Museum and had lunch at the Red Café; for the fans in our group, this was a really special treat! It should definitely be a on the bucket list for all Manchester United Fans; spend a weekend in Manchester and catch a home game on Sunday!

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Inside the Trophy room

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Trophies upclose

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I call this the history wall; Tells you all you need to know about the club from inception

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The Jerseys through the seasons and sponsors at the Museum

After our tour we returned to the Lowry Hotel where we were hosted for dinner and where I had the prettiest dessert I have seen so far! Check on it!

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Dessert – Blueberry & Almond Tart served with Vanilla ice cream! Beyond Yummy!!

On our third and final day, I decided I needed some retail therapy and dashed quickly to the Arndale Centre to pay a visit to my favourite high street stores. This was followed by lunch with the group at Roots Restaurant Manchester, like its name suggests, we were taken back to our roots with jollof rice, pepper soup, eba, goat meat stew and the likes to prepare us for home! 🙂 It was then back to the hotel to pick our bags and to the airport to catch our 6.55pm flight to London Heathrow!

The self check in process at the Manchester airport was quick and easy, we got through security in no time and had a few minutes to spare which were spent in the lounge.

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Little Red check-in counter at the Manchester Airport

Then it was off to catch our flight, a fast arrival in London, a transfer bus to Heathrow terminal 3 on arrival, duty free shopping and time in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. Yes! It was smooth sailing all the way! Loved the convenience!

Lagos bound - relaxed and ready for take off!

Lagos bound – relaxed and ready for take off!

My #alakijawindowseat moment

My #alakijawindowseat moment

One of the first people I called when I got into Lagos was a dear friend of mine who went to University in Manchester. I could not believe she never invited me to visit! It is such an amazing place and I look forward to going back and exploring the city more and its nightlife!

Planning a trip to Manchester soon? Find out key facts about the city and the Virgin Atlantic Little Red below:

Key Facts About Manchester:

  • Manchester is the ‘original modern’ city and has earned a reputation as being revolutionary, innovative and entrepreneurial
  • Manchester is a top UK choice for overseas visitors with approximately 988,000 people visiting the city centre each year
  • Manchester Airport is the largest UK regional airport and busiest outside of London
  • Manchester is home the National Football Museum and the world’s largest football collection

Key Facts About The Little Red:

  • Virgin Atlantic Little Red is the new Virgin Atlantic UK domestic service, It flies three times daily between London and Manchester. The Little Red also flies to Edinburgh and Aberdeen
  • Little Red has one class
  • If you’re a Flying Club Gold member or you’re connecting from a Virgin Atlantic longhaul flight in Upper Class, there is access to the lounge facilities at London Heathrow and priority boarding. On your return journey, there’s priority check in, access to the Escape Lounge at Manchester Airport and priority boarding.
  • The Little Red checked in luggage allowance is 23kg. Flying Club Gold passengers can bring an extra bag of up to 23kg.If you’re connecting to a Virgin Atlantic longhaul flight, Premium Economy passengers can bring an extra bag of up to 23kg. Upper Class passengers can bring three bags of up to 32kg

To find out more, or to book, visit virginatlantic.com ____________________________________________________________________________________________
This post was sponsored by Virgin Atlantic.

17 Comments

  1. Bleed Blue

    June 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    OK Ijeoma, can I have your job plix?

    And yeah, Virgin Little Red rocks. I used them 3 weeks ago and the service was generally faultless plus the leather seats were hella plush. Abeg I had to revive my flying club card swiftly.

  2. Benson Ossai

    June 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    You really had a nice time girl.

  3. missdodo

    June 5, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    this sounded like fun … been to manchester myself and now you want to make me go back …..

  4. Shabach

    June 5, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Should have checked out Trafford centre, beautiful mall.

  5. @edDREAMZ

    June 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    a.k.a EDWIN CHINEDU AZUBUKO said…
    .
    Am jealous…
    .
    .
    ***CURRENTLY IN JUPITER***

  6. Saint Tracy

    June 5, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Lovely, u seem to av enjoyed your trip. Did you notice they called you Mr Obianuju Ndekwe. Nice

  7. sharday

    June 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Good to see you enjoyed yourself.

    Correction however….. the Nigerian restaurant is called “Roots”

  8. belinda

    June 5, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    This looks so fun! and you got to travel in Upper Class. Niceee!
    I go to London but have never ventured to Manchester. Worth considering next time.
    Thanks BN, Virgin and Ijeoma is pretty. Ok bye

  9. bb

    June 5, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Nice! tho I tink 23kg for economy is too small. kilode

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      June 5, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Chineke! What airline do you fly which allows for more than 23kg per piece of check-in luggage for economy passengers? *whipping out notepad and pen*

      Ijeoma, you’ve made Manchy look quite tourist friendly. I definitely haven’t had the same experience of that city but maybe I’ve been approaching it from the wrong angle. “Perraps” I should return in warmer climes and see what it really has to offer…

  10. Idak

    June 5, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Typical Arsenal fan!
    See as she snap the trophy cabinet at such close range. Lack makes the heart long exceedingly,so it is understandable.
    I am sure small of our winning anointing has rubbed off on you and your serial 4th placed winners.

  11. Opeyemi

    June 5, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    That’s about the standard baggage allowance for economy class – 2 *23kg.

    That said, I’ve never thought of Manchester as being so much fun!

    Who is gonna sponsor my weekend trip now 🙂

  12. manny olufunwa

    June 5, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Haha, I live in Manchester, in fact 3 mins walk from the Arndale mall, but these pictures make Manchester seem like a totally different place.

  13. Opeyemi

    June 6, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    LMFAO @Mz Socially Awkward, Arik Air – 2*30kg… hehehe

  14. truth

    June 7, 2014 at 1:34 am

    I have no problem with people exploring other countries, tourism is good, but ijeoma, instead of showing us europe please show us nigeria, infact even west african countries. What does this our country nigeria have to offer when it comes to tourism. We have no national museum, or theater even the supposed unity fountain is dried up and no water. What touristic things can we do as visitors to your country nigeria. These are the questions i want you to offer, and p.s. nigeria should stop all this miss tourism pageant for i have not seen an advancement or growth in tourism( foreign or otherwise) each winner or contestants have brought to nigeria. Lets start building a future with tangible history we can pass down to the next generation.

  15. Misskay

    June 7, 2014 at 5:16 am

    I’ve had really terrible service with virgin even this doesn’t change my mind….,

  16. kike

    June 7, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Manchester!!!!! My second home…….too many lovely memories!!! 🙂

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