Most antipodeans come to the UK lured by quick, amazing jaunts to Europe, and can often miss some of the best cities in the British Isles. Goodness knows I was guilty of that for the first few ‘temporary’ years that I lived here – bar a week exploring Bath, Salisbury and a quick wander around Stonehenge.
Having been here so much longer, I have loved exploring more of the country – from ancient estate houses to walking through the hills hugging The Lake district.
Unfortunately, we had never made quite it to Manchester despite having family living there, and um, I’m not sure that with Emily and I’s visit there a little while ago that we’ve actually explored it properly still. I blame the cats.
We decided on a whim to book a day trip up there – grabbing coffees and hopping on the train early on a Saturday morning, and rolling back just in time for a birthday dinner that I had near London Bridge.
It was a grey old day up north so after a couple hours of chatting away on the train, we headed for our actual destination…
…the Cat Cafe. Ranked No.9 on TripAdvisor among 57 attractions in Manchester (beaten out by the museums, theatres, libraries and cathedral) we had spotted the cafe on Instagram and hatched a plan almost instantly.
Aren’t the inhabitants so sweet?
The key to any cat cafe is to get in early in the day before they get tired and snooze the afternoon away.
The Manchester Cat Cafe has to be my favourite so far – there was more than ample room for the cats to avoid the visitors in true cat style if they want to, there was a fantastic selection of drinks (all included in the entry price) and even though we didn’t book, after a short delay we got in and relaxed on one of their many couches.
How good was it? Look at that beaming smile.
With 10 felines in their ‘cat family’ we were in heaven, petting, playing and generally cooing over the decor for far longer than we’ll ever admit to.
Sometimes with travel, it’s all about the simple things that make a trip memorable. Oh, that and a demonstration of the CatMan car – the favourite transport method of Harvey, a Ragdoll resident. Over time he has been trained with cat treats to sit in the remote controlled car and generally be the master of all he surveys (between you and I, I suspect the latter part was his idea.)
We did, however, manage to sneak in a bite of brunch (because I am a brunch queen) at the Manchester branch of one of my favourite New Zealand restaurants Federal…
…and wander around for a quick look through the city centre.
So, like I said, this is how not to explore Manchester – I’ll just have to go
back to the cat cafe revisit!