Discover the beauty of England outside London (part 1)

Viewpoint from a Roman Bath/Hot-spring, in Bath.

On this journey, we discovered the beauty of several cities in England outside of London.  We started from Manchester – the city we always associated with football; then went to Liverpool – where the famous Beatles band was born; briefly visited Birmingham, and then discovered the charms of the small town of Bath, ending with a visit to the neolithic monument of Stonehenge.

After we landed in Manchester, we rented a car for our 5-day travel plan. The distance between all those cities were relatively short, each city within 2 hours by road. Renting a car was the most comfortable, flexible and efficient way to travel and get the best of our roadtrip.

Day 1, Noon – Liverpool. We set off from Manchester, Airport Liverpool bound, with a 56km journey ahead. We happened to have lunch at Chiquioto, a Tex-Mex restaurant, as we arrived in Liverpool. The food was delish, the atmosphere warm, and the decor colourful and lively. Top that off with a few laughs from borrowing a few sombreros lying around, we were all happy and warmed up, ready to continue our trip.

@Chiquito Tex-Mex Restaurant – Liverpool

As a coastal city, Liverpool boasts several docks, the most popular of which is Albert Dock. The docks act as a touristic hub of sorts thanks to the multiple attractions surrounding it. The Maritime Museum, the International Slavery Museum, the Tate Liverpool Art Gallery are all here, and you certainly don’t want to miss visiting the Beatles Story Museum.

Retracing the steps of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Star. Don’t miss taking a quick shot in front of the Yellow Submarine. (We all live in a yello-)
Aya with “The Cavern Club Beatles Ukulele”

The tale of the four Beatles, from their beginnings in Liverpool to becoming one of the most iconic bands in the world – can be discovered here, including memory-laden objects and mementos. After the visit, don’t forget to visit the souvenir shop, Fab4, to get official Beatles merch and goodies…


Dusk was spent wandering around the docks and taking photographs near the Albert Docks, before setting off to Manchester to spend the night.

Walking by the edge of the River Mersey
Street food at Merseyside. No worries if it’s already closed – makes for a good place to pose, hehe…
Nighttime at Albert Docks

Day 2, Manchester. When we think of Manchester, we first think of – let’s be honest – football! The city features 2 of their own big-league football teams, Manchester United and Manchester City. But the city is also renown for other important things – like its history as a booming hub during the 19th century Industrial Revolution, the discovery by Nobel-Prize-winner Ernest Rutherford of  ‘dividing the atom’ into protons and electrons in 1917, the making of the first computer ever to be able to store programs or code, the birth of famous bands like the Bee Gees, and so on.

Our intentions in going to Manchester were actually to visit the University of Manchester, one of Aya’s 5 chosen universities that she hopes to attend starting September 2018. Manchester is also well-known as an academic hub and a city of students, international ones as well. So much so, that it is even considered one of the most favourite places to study for Indonesian post-grads. We had the opportunity to visit the “School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science” that was in the James Chadwick Building. Our campus tour was led by one of their professors, who showed us the many high-tech industrial facilities and first-year lab activities going on there. The Chemical Engineering course at Manchester University is one of the best in the UK, in several branches of research including energy management, sustainability and water treatment, with the goal of tackling the needs of communities and advancing quality of life.

What was particularly interesting for me was “Cameron’s PUREMEG MEG Reclamation Process Plant”, as Cameron is one of the companies under Schlumberger that I work in. This laboratory owns a pilot plant to study the process of reclaiming and recycling monoethylene glycol (MEG), from pipeline production of oil. MEG, known more simply as Glycol, is a chemical that is injected into oil wells or pipes to deal with Hydrates (particles of water in oil/gas that would otherwise freeze under high pressure and low temperature) which could block pipes if left alone. In Schlumberger, I, too, look into well testing and the process of oil production.

Photo with Professor that guided our tour of the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, University of Manchester. Behind us is Cameron’s PUREMEGĀ® MEG reclamation processing plant.

After finishing and having lunch in campus, we looked around Piccadilly train station that was a 20-minute walk from the university building. From the station, it’s possible to take the train between cities including London, Birmingham and Edinburgh in Scotland; also to closer cities, such as Leeds, Liverpool, etc.

Manchester buildings
In front of the train station
Atmosphere in Piccadilly station, Manchester

We continued our journey to the famous football stadium of Old Trafford, the iconic centre of Manchester United FC. This stadium is the second-largest in the UK (after Wembley) with an 80,000-person capacity. There are tours of the stadium available, but we didn’t go on one. Of course, we wouldn’t miss buying souvenirs from the ManU Megastore, hehe…

Next to the United Trinity statue (of George Best, Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlto, who helped ManU to be the first English FC to win the European Cup, 1968)
Selfies at old Trafford
Souvenir shop, Manchester United Megastore

Before long, our time in Manchester was soon ending. We had to continue on our journey south, towards Birmingham. Dusk was approaching and the main roads were quite heavy with traffic, that we decided to take an alternative route away from them and into the countryside lanes. In fact, this gave us the perfect chance to enjoy something else about England – its beautiful countryside sceneries and cottages in the sunset. We arrived in Birmingham well after dark, After checking in, we bought a pizza from near the hotel, and went to sleep in preparation for tomorrow’s journey.

House in the countryside
Roads between Manchester and Birmingham
Marching back to the barns as dusk falls
Catching the last silhouettes before nightfall

Continued in Discover the beauty of England outside London (Part 2)


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