Silverblades Ice rink is located in Altrincham but you can get a tram from Manchester that will take you straight to the Ice Rink. The opening times can be quite complicated as they change often depending on whether it is term time. It is always best to check the website before you make your trip to check that there is a skate time available. Prices also depend on what the time of the day it is so again I recommend that you check the website first. There are discounted prices available for students so bring your student card if you have one.
Silver blades Ice Rink is the home of the Manchester Phoenix Ice Hockey Team. Matches usually take place on a Saturday and Sunday evening at 5:30pm and tickets can be bought on the website or at the Ice Rink itself.
Equipment: You can bring your own ice skates with you but you can also hire some ice skates.
Top level rugby league - that's the 13 a side version of the sport, for the uninitiated.
Wigan is one of the massive names in the sport. To me, evocative of grainy B&W TV images from the 1960s when 6" of mud was needed before the game was worthwhile.
Now it's all glamour and style (in a North of England kind of way). No more grimy Central Park - a shiny new stadium shared with the town's Premiership football (soccer) club. Super League is played in the summer and the old fashioned mud baths have been consigned to history.
The players no longer work down the coal mine in the morning and play games in the afternoon. The come from Australia (mostly), New Zealand (often) as well as England. Some French and the occasional Papuan from time to time.
I saw them play Catalans Dragons from Perpignan (yes, a French team playing in the "English" league). It was a cracker. 24-22 to the home side with the winning try coming just before the final whistle.
£20 for the best seats. I paid £5 for parking, but I'm sure regulars know where to park nearby for free.
Attendance was 11k+ so plenty bums on seats, but the stadium was less than half full. Doesn't help to generate atmosphere.
Equipment: Beer and food on sale inside the stadium. Lots of food joints around the stadium - it's in the middle of a retail/leisure park.
Darts is one of the most popular pub and club games throughout the country and is usually played on a standard bristle board with an 18 inch playing area. Here in Manchester you'll still find the standard board in common use but you can also find the traditional Manchester log-end board in some of the better (ie proper!) pubs.
The log-end board is just that - a circle cut out of an elm log with a playing surface of 10 inches. The log-end is dyed black, has no treble ring, its doubles ring is only one-eighth of an inch wide and the bullseye less than a quarter inch. The numbers also are arranged in a different order to the standard board.
Because the board is a solid piece of wood it needs to be soaked in water overnight to prevent it drying out and cracking and to allow the wood to "repair" itself.
Equipment: Although standard darts can be used on the log-end most pubs with such a board will have their own sets of Manchester darts. These are made of wood with feather flights and steel tips and are weighted with lead bands - 1, 2 or 3 depending on preferred weight.
Cricket is a very English game, more popular in our commonwealth countries than here in the UK. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Pakistan all have good cricket teams. The game is practically unheard of in the USA. So for those people here is a brief explanation of probably the world's most complicated sport!
Two teams of 11 take turns to bat and bowl. The batting team send 2 men at a time onto the field to stand in front of a wicket at each end holding a bat. A wicket is 3 stumps of wood with small pieces of wood or bales resting on top. The bowler from the other team throws a ball aiming at the wicket and the batsman has to try and hit the ball. If the ball hits the wicket or certain parts of the batsman then the batsman is out and is replaced by another one. If the batsman hits the ball and it goes far enough then both batsmen run to the other wicket. They can run just once or more times if the ball has gone farther. If the batsman hits the ball over the boundary of the field and it bounces he is awarded 4 runs, if he hits it over the boundary without it bouncing this is 6 runs. If the ball is caught by the other team then the batsman is out. When 10 members of the batting team are out the other team bats and they bowl. The game is won by the team who have scored the most runs with the least batsmen being out.
Matches vary in length - test matches last 5 days from 10am to around 6pm, 20/20 matches are around half a day and there are also one day matches. In the UK cricket teams are organised into counties - Warwickshire, Kent etc rather than towns or cities.
Old Trafford cricket ground is the home of Lancashire county cricket club and we have some very good players in the team. Two of Englands International team players play for Lancashire - Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson.
Watching a game of cricket in the summer (!) can be a really good day out. I like to go to the "test" matches which are the 5 day games between 2 international teams. It is very relaxing - spectators can drink while the game is playing and there are lunch and tea breaks. Some of the spectators get dressed up in fancy dress costumes. As the day goes on some of the crowd get very drunk as we Brits like to do at these events but generally it is all very English and jolly.
You've heard of speed dating and speed networking... How about speed tourism?
I've been doing it for years.
Jog around the area and spot things to come back to see later.
I did it in Manchester. 50 minutes jogging starting from the hotel, and just following the signs. Past the Manchester Utd ground and round Salford Quays.
It was fun. The weather was dry and partly sunny, but cool, so excellent for running. It was Sunday morning so the roads were quiet (it was 6am when I started!) and much of the trip was on car free pedestrian areas anyway.
Felt great afterwards, and boy did I enjoy my breakfast.
Equipment: Trainers, shorts and the previous day's t-shirt...
An excellent course.
Well laid out and maintained.
Picturesque paddock and parade ring.
Great food and drink facilities.
No access problems.
Oh. I picked 2 winners from 6 races, and won £105, so I am prejudiced!
Equipment: The right clothing - you must adhere to a dress code if you are in certain enclosures (suit and tie, for example, in the Premier Enclosure).
Check the weather forecast for temperature and rainfall. Many women had their party dresses (and fake suntan) on, so they were turning a bit blue by the end.
Apparently fake suntan doesn't keep you warm on a cool, July, summer evening.
Last time I was at a rugby league game was the 1972-73 challenge cup final in France. Toulouse XIII against someone...
There's lots of rugby league close to Manchester - St Helens, Warrington or Wigan - but not whilst I was there. I ended up in Bradford to see them play Wakefield on a Sunday afternoon. Actually its only 30 miles from Manchester, so not much further than some of the more local teams!
Its just off the motorway so quite easy if you know the way, but a signpost or two would have been helpful.
I enjoyed it and it was only £22 for a centre stand ticket (but the obligatory jersey as a pressie for my son was £45!). The stadium has seen better days, but its a nice friendly atmosphere even with 10,000 inside.
Bradford came from behind (0-6 down at half time) to win 24-10. Good game.
Equipment: None - except maybe GPS to find the stadium!
The Sports Cafe is definitely a place to watch American as well as European sports. We were able to catch the baseball playoff games and american football, as well as some Manchester United matches. Pretty good food as well.
If you want to find sports equipment the biggest sporting brands in Europe show case their goods at the G MEX centre every February.
Equipment: Ski and snowboard hardware.
Jackets, trousers, base layers, socks, sunglasses etc.
For Mens, Ladies and Kids clothing visit www.surfanic.com. They also have a wicked selection of bags.
Greater Manchester has the highest concentration per capita of football clubs of any urban area in the world: 8 amongst 2.6 million people. this compares with 12 in greater London amongst 7.2 million.
While everyone knows about United, the smaller clubs around the area are Bolton Wanderers, Stockport County, Bury, Oldham Athletic, Wigan Athletic, Rochdale and, erm, thingy...Oh yeah, City.
City play in the striking new City of Manchester stadium, which they moved to from the ramshackle Maine Road, whose mismatched stands and poor facilities mirrored the way the club was run for many years (to the amusement of reds). For once City have failed to look a gift horse in the mouth, and now enjoy a modern arena with state-of-the-art facilities, which is rented from the council on a 99 year lease. Colloquially it is known as the "blue camp" by City fans and the "council house" by United fans.
A club museum is planned for the stadium, but unlike most museums, instead of showing what happened, it shows what might, could or should have happened.
Equipment: City fans are easy spot due to their blue noses, centre partings and tendency to begin every sentence with the word "if" and include the word "massive" in it, i.e. City are a massive club.
Old Trafford is where it's at. (The Premiership trophy that is) But don't hold out too much hope of getting a ticket. The museum is well worth a visit, but try to be discerning when shopping in the megastore: Sort the tack from the decent stuff before opening the wallet.
Equipment: Bring a moody dark jacket to blend in with the hard-core who have it in for anyone who wears replica tops.
If your a hockey fan, come on over and join us at the M.E.N arena!
Lot's of action and the crowd is well into the game!
There is also all sorts of fun games and ways to participate in the action!
Well worth the price!
Equipment: Bring a few £££!
Thought the venue is quite cheap, you'll have plenty of opportunities to spend more at the merchandise and drink kiosks!
These are some places where u can find young people skating and lotsa graffitis in some cases.
Equipment: - Umist has lots of decent places, and the University is worth checking out.
- Manchester University Campus has some popular skatebord spots.
1) Between the Student Union and the Refectory (both on Oxford Road): lots of traffic free space and high curbs
2) Outside Medical School on Oxford Road - not as much space but wide steps and an incline running the entire length of the building.
- Piccadilly, but watch yourselves because the council seem to dislike people having fun.
- Crown Square just to take the pis s!
- Crown Courts just off Deansgate nice banks,stairs and curbs have a good look round there's lots to see and do if your not careful you might miss something!!
- St Peters Square near the Cornerhouse cinema has a good kerb - if you dont mind an audience of old ladies at the bus stop!
- Piccadilly Square near the bus station is brimming full of skters on a saturday afternoon!
- Bridgewater Hall, has an underground bit to skate when it's raining and has some rad steps (lots of them).
- The Town Hall has benches and a cool block thing to grind. Skate here to take the pis s out of them.
- Oxford Road: Excellent big curbs, under cover. In car park beneath bridge down the end of Oxford Road.
- The Triangle, and the new sk8 park.
- there is a place called the "GasWorks" near Castlefield and Deansgate where all the skaters are alleged to go.
- also try near the Printworks but skating is supposedly banned there.
- pipeline skatepark is now (and has been for ages) closed. To make matters worst, it has been DEMOLISHED. sob.
- still theres still Hulme skatepark but its pretty dangerous there. bring a gun.
- the new marks and spencers blocks are seriously skate heaven. but watch out, as no skateboarding signs influence the locals having dinner, to shout abuse at us.
- Piccadilly Gardens.
- Outside Marks and Spencers, ledges for grinding, and transferring.
- In front of Gmex is flat, there are a couple of ledges.
I went over to Manchester hoping to catch some of the Community Games. Unfortunately I couldnt get tickets and the venues were out in suburbia. But there was a big plasma screen erected in Picadilly gardens, where you could watch the events courtesy of the BBC.
The City of Manchester Stadium was home to the Commonwealth Games in 2002, it will soon play host to Manchester City FC.