We lived in Hulme for five years, not far from Alexandra Park, yet we never visited. On Saturday we decided to take our morning walk to see Alexandra Park in all its post renovation glory to see what it was all about.
The total walk from our house, down to Moss Side and around the park gave us a good seven mile walk. It also gave us the chance to have a breakfast picnic and brew then get home with plenty of time to hear out on another adventure. Perfect way to start the day.
We chose our route for the way down to see how far we could walk in a straight line. (yes, we are geeks!) You’d e surprised to know how straight a line we can travel. A good 3 miles in fact. Then we had to curve off slightly into Hulme, but it was pretty straight again from there to Alexandra Park.
Adventures through town
Living up in the East of the city now, we first had to make our way through town. Luckily this meant that we could keep our journey as straight as possible as we could head straight down and past Piccadilly Station. Of course, it wasn’t without discovery!
Despite having walked past the Stockton’s building by Great Ancoats Street on many a lunchtime saunter while I worked in town, I never once realised how lovely the original buildings were. Behind the facade of the shop fronts, the building must be stunning. I love how they used to sneak in a different building between the red bricks. And also how symmetrical they made this installation.
One thing I must do when the weather gets cooler or wetter is spend some time in the Library Archives – part of Greater Manchester Lives. I want to discover more about the city, how it looked and how it changed over the years. The Archives have so much – even a picture of our house from the 1960s which we had printed and now sits in our lounge. So much to discover. I think working at the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society gave me the bug to find out more about this fair city!
(anyway, after my brief distraction of searching through the archives…)
From there we swung by Piccadilly Station and around the back towards Aytoun. This is where I worked for the Lit and Phil (the room to the to left of the grey building at the back) Although it wasn’t in great condition back then, it is still sad to see it sitting and doing nothing. We thought that this was going to be the end of our straight line walk, but no! It carried on!
Watching the world go by
I also used to love staring out of the window when I worked there. I could see right onto Platform 13 and 14 of the station, watching people hurry and rush. I also enjoyed watching the students dance in the studio of the Manchester Sheena Simon building. They could certainly dance!
On Saturday though, I was interested in the glorious skies and sunshine highlights.
Continuing on our straight line challenge, we carried on straight down to Whitworth Street in Deansgate. This was where our path turned as we wandered past Hotspur Press and down into Hulme. Passing by our old halls of residence. Once huge, our halls is now dwarfed by the two new buildings by it.
We had some great times in Hulme and created many fantastic memories there. We do love passing through and seeing where we used to live and how it has changed. In such a big and varied city, it is surprising that some of the places still exist!
Manchester Science Park
In all the 15 years that we have lived in Manchester, neither of us have ever been to the Science Park. We’ve passed through in the car, but never on foot to really have a look.
Being Saturday, it was pretty quiet around there. But I imaging it is a hub of activity during the week and university term times. It was fun to explore the buildings and to see it in real life rather than through a screen and we even found a quirky little thing that both confuse and amused us!
I think I might apply for one of these for our driveway! I wonder what it is all about? We were pretty OK about the grass verge not being a footpath but once we knew they had an act on it, I just had to use it in sheer rebellion! Seems to me like an awful lot of work and money to prevent a desire line!
A short walk later, keeping as straight as possible through Moss Side, we arrived at Alexandra Park. The outside side entrance didn’t look like much. We could see that lots of people were parking there for their visit and we met a couple of dogs excited for their walks. Once close, you will see the lodge. A fine lodge in fact. So fine that I forgot to take a picture in awe of its loveliness (OK, so I just forgot in my eagerness to find a bench and eat our picnic!)
But there was also this lovely sign showing where things are…
OK, so not quite as good, so try the park views instead…
There, that’s better isn’t it? In the previous life, Alexandra Park was an absolutely stunning example of municipal parks for health and well-being, as well as keeping the men out of the pubs when they left work. The 70s and 80s brought about a bit of a change when it was left and not maintained meaning that many self seeded trees took over the park making it dark and what many said, dangerous.
Now, Alexandra Park post renovation is a vibrant park with lots of people enjoying the facilities. In our short visit we saw dog walkers, runners and joggers, people with personal trainers, cyclists and sports people as well as those out to explore and wander like we were. The park had many families enjoying the space and playing too. (it might not look like it from my pictures, but I like park pics without people!)
The renovation really has made a huge difference to the park. It has a feeling of London or the Netherlands about it and I personally think that it has opened up lots of opportunities for people in the area to get together and keep fit for free in a lovely outdoor environment.
We took a walk around the whole park which didn’t take us long (although we are very fast walkers) which meant we saw all parts of the lovely space. Despite us thinking it was pretty well used when we were there on Saturday, we passed on Sunday evening to see it being used up to about 70% more! Definitely making a difference in Moss Side as the kids were playing, adults were too and it was a hive of activity.
I think we might pass by the park another time in the future when we’re back in Hulme to see our old houses and haunts. There isn’t really enough to keep us busy there for long, but for a nice walk in the sunshine it is perfect. If we lived closer, I know we’d be out there regularly!
To finish our morning trip around Alexandra Park post renovation, we headed back out from the park, jumped a bus (which took our walking route of all ways!) and headed back to town to get the next bus home.
You’d be amazed when you get up early how much you can fit in. All before 11am we had walked 7 miles, had a picnic (which i prepared at home) and come all the way back again ready to plan lunch and the next adventure. I have to say, I love early mornings!
Anyway, it was just the start. The afternoon was to be visiting Burnley to see a steam-powered textile mill. (I’ll post about that later!)
Keep cool and get outside!
How do you like to start your weekend? Do you have a nice park near where you live where you can wander?
Let me know in the comments below 🙂