Saturday, 24 November 2012

Town Hall Clock Tour

It's that special time of year again. Yes the Christmas market has landed in Manchester. Lots of food, chocolate, cakes and food, all tempting you in. Not a nutrient in sight, just sugar, lard and cream. Watch out January, I feel a diet will be needed in the New Year!

Anyways, last year, Manchester Town Hall opened up their Clock Tower for tours at the same time as the markets were on. They had been stopped for many years due to health and safety, so it was a welcome return. However, it was fully booked up. So when I saw that they were returning this year, I booked Nick & I onto it.

Now I thought it'd be a pleasant passing of an hour. I mean, It's a clock tower, how exciting can it be? Well, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. It was actually a really good addition to the day. See the market, go on a tour, then shop some more at the market.

The tour starts with a lift to the 6th floor. And from there, a spiral stone staircase takes you up to the bell tower (approx 100 steps in all). En route you stop at the room where the bell ringers do their business.

You stop at the next floor too, to see behind the clock faces but the piece de resistance is right at the top. The giant bell. Now before you are allowed on the tour, you do have to sign a disclaimer form. From the risk of heart attacks at the amount of stairs you need to climb and from this bell. At your own risk, you stand in the room as it chimes the hour. We were warned only to do so with hands over our ears and wisely so. When the hammer hit this bell, it boomed out and the vibration of the sound shook right through every fibre of you. It was pure electric!

For me, the tour was worth every penny for one very good reason. The balcony at the top. You can walk outside the tower and have a 360 degree view of the city and beyond. We were blessed with a clear blue sky kinda day and could see for miles. We took a ton of photos which I'm not going to inundate you with but it's breathtaking. Especially if you're a local lad like me. To stare down at the top of the buildings you've only ever seen at street level all your life, is incredible. I loved it.

And I saw the market from above. The gigantic Santa that overlooks the square  is a tiny figure below you. A view you can only witness on this tour. If you are near Manchester in the next few weeks and have a head for heights and strong legs for the stairs, I highly recommend it.

And there's plenty of treats in the market to await you once you descend.

Until next time



Cath Wilson said...

Looks wonderful, Paul, though not knowing Manchester very well it wouldn't be as eye opening to me but it sounds as if it was an amazing experience. Great to read x

alexa said...

What a super bird's eye view! Thank-you for making it possible for all of us to share it :). I've never yet got to the markets but every year you remind me they're on :).

Neet said...

What fabulous photographs Paul, that really made me appreciate what you saw from the top, something I didn't fully understand when you told me this morning. Glad you and Nick got to do it.
Hugs, Neet xx

Gez said...

Goodness, that looks high! I'm heading into Manchester today I shall see Santa in a whole new light! Sadly, I'm only passing through to Picaddilly, the German market looks amazing.