Just before lockdown happened, I planned to do a Treasure Trails in Kendal. That didn’t quite come off the way I had planned, but did seed the idea to get one for Manchester. I have said a few times before that sometimes a little limitation can help creativity flow in unexpected ways. After doing the Treasure Hunt Manchester, I really got the bug for exploring the quite semi-lockdown streets of the city in a fun and exploratory way. Keen to make the most of the more chilled atmosphere in town, I eagerly downloaded one of the three Manchester Treasure Trails for us to do on a quiet Saturday.
The Wizard’s Spell Book
I decided that our first of the Treasure Trails would be The Wizard’s Spell Book. I loved the idea of finding the hidden treasure by cracking the clues and wandering the city. The best thing was that I could download it straight away. This makes the Treasure Trails handy for when you decide to head out on the fly – something we do quite regularly. Simply search the site for walk locations and choose from the many amazing ones which pop up.
As with the Treasure Hunt, I will be sharing pictures from our adventures, but nothing which will help you along the way. I’m no spoil sport! I really enjoy seeing the spaces around Manchester from the eyes of someone else. It seems to attract me to things I wouldn’t normally photograph, so it is a twofold benefit of exploring this way.
Grab some kit
Before we headed out, we grabbed some bits which we anticipated would help us through the fun. A pencil (for the reason that it works against walls an in the wet!), some spare paper and, of course, the booklet containing the Treasure Trails. We walked out way into town from home and made our way to the starting point where we set about reading our first clue.
The instructions are given in the form of directions rather than a map, which I particularly enjoyed as it is a different way to navigate to my usual style. It also has you looking out for street names you might not know and keeps your wits about you. Which, for me, is lots of fun!
Once you get to your destination, you are set with a clue and some instructions for cracking it. Snooping around the location you are in. Sniffing out the information and using it to deduct one of the locations on the treasure map. They are not always that easy either. The Treasure Trails are great for adults and kids. In fact, we met up with two other families doing the same Treasure Trail while we were doing ours. It was so funny to hear someone reading out the clue we were aiming for before we had even hit the spot!
Sneaky Side Streets and Very Hidden Clues
Sometimes these kinds of things can be quite easy for someone who wanders the street like we do, but this was not the case with the Treasure Trails! Some of the clues had us walking in circles sratching our heads as we puzzled over the location of named buildings and signs. To be honest, as a puzzle fan, I loved the moments when it felt like we were stumped! It really stretched the grey matter, and our knowledge of Manchester for that matter.
The Treasure Trails Wizard’s Spell Book has some really funny facts included in the trail too, breaking things up and offering an additional level to the game. Something fact lovers, like me, really appreciate. Our walk took us through some of the well known spots of the city, along some hidden parts and aroung the water on the border of Salford. Fun fact from the trail is that if you stand in the middle of the bouncy bridge (you’ll know it when you’re on it!) you are half way in Salford and half way in Manchester!
Along the Irwell
With the amount of building work going on along the river Irwell, you forget about the mass of history and heritage which shrouds the area. Following our clues, we were able to get a glimpse into the older historical information and some of the more modern history too. It was at this point that we met another family doing the Trail! We didn’t see them again, so can simply hope that they didn’t get caught by the spell or the monsters!
Tourist in my own City
A while back, when I was staying with my parents on the Wirral, I decided to be a tourist in my own city of Liverpool. The big city where I spent a lot of my childhood. It was amazing to dicsover things you knew of but never really looked at. I have since made it my mission to be a tourist much more often and to enjoy the attractions in my local area. Thankfully the global pandemic and lockdown gave me a much needed nudge to kickstart things again.
Because you are focused on finding the clues and following the written directions, you really do see where you are through a new lens. Spinningfield during the weekend is quiet. Business people head home and the space fills with cocktail lovers enjoying the change of pace of life. Right now, things are even more eerily still. It is nice though. I have never really had the opportunity to look towards the sky. The clouds look amazing reflecting in the glass facades and the discovery of roof gardens is a lot of fun too.
Catching the clues and the light
Talking of looking up, the sunny day afforded me the change to enjoy the shadows and sun rays in some fun ways. When you’re looking for the answers to come some of the clues, you let your eyes roam the entire area. Buildings, rooftops, doors, floors and more. It was fun to see how many unusual architectural forms there are hidden in plain sight.
Our Treasure Trails adventure in Manchester took us around an hour and a half, including a snack break while we let the other families solve the clue. No cheating here! We narrowed down the locations for the hidden treasure and confident in our answer submitted it for the chance to win £100!
I have to say that for a tenner and a bit of paper and printer ink, this is a brilliant way to spend some time exploring somewhere. Whether you know the place or it is a new city, I am sure you will learn a lot and havea lot of fun doing it too. That is, is you enjoy some brain bending puzzles and walking.
Having had so much fun, we actually bought another one for the next day, when we hopped in the car and went up to Lytham-St-Anne’s for an adventure there (I will blog about that too!)
To say we are hooked might be an understatement!
I totally recommend that you head over to Treasure Trails and find a fun trail to follow near you. Well worth £9.99 of anyone’s money!
Are you a fan of exploring places in weird and wonderful ways? Are you a puzzle fan too?
Have you done any of the other Treasure Trails? I’d love your recommendations.
Share your adventures in the comments!