(Last?) Annual Manchester Trip, Summer 2019


I have gone to the UK at least once a year since 2016 but this is the first time I've gone to the UK in summer. And this is most likely the end of our annual trips there because Danial graduated!

And now that the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the world, international borders are closed so, this was definitely our last trip to the UK (at least for the foreseeable future).

The UK was home to my family back when we were kids. Everyone who knows me knows that English is my first language and I do mean this literally. I only started learning Bahasa Melayu when I was 5 years old. Anyway, enough fun facts about me. Let's talk itinerary and things to wear on a summer's day.

My parents and brother's family went earlier because their annual leave is double mine. My sister and I flew on a Saturday morning and arrived in the evening, just in time to buy some groceries with my dad and brothers. We went to the house to a feverish Faisal because my darling boy refuses to wear his jacket even though it's cold! I went straight to bed that night after fighting with my eyes for hours.

DAY #1: Knowsley Safari & Kenyon Hall Farm


We woke up bright and early and checked out of the Airbnb as we've already booked ourselves a week in the middle of the city. In the UK, we usually check-out at 10am and are only allowed to check-in after 3pm. So we have to find things to do to occupy the 5 hours in between. Which isn't that difficult in a foreign country especially if you have a car.

Tip #1: If you are travelling in a huge group in the UK, renting a car is a really good idea. Especially if you want to do some exploring. But if you are a small group, you really don't need a car. Public transport can bring you most everywhere.

As a huge family, we usually rent a huge car, 7 - 9 seaters, depending on how many of us are joining the trip. So we put all our luggage in (which is a LOT of luggage) and headed to Knowsley Safari. According to my parents, this is not our first safari but I felt like it was! We saw lions, giraffes, meerkats, baboons on the car and so many more animals that came out to play. Faisal and Faris had a great time and honestly, so did us adults.

After our animal adventure, we stopped by Kenyon Hall Farm where we did some strawberry picking. This is an activity my family has always enjoyed except me. I love the idea of it, but not really the doing it. But Faisal enjoyed it tremendously. He came running to me while I was in the middle of taking photos showing off how many strawberries he picked. If picking strawberries was real life, I probably would be the one that lazed around all day. Probably not moving to New Zealand.

Tip #2: Notice how in the beginning I was wearing a jacket and in the next, I was just wearing a t-shirt? That's because the weather in England in summer is like crazy. One minute (when there's no sun), it's freezing cold and the next minute, I'm sweating sampai ketibas sis. So my advice is to always pack layers. Wear something light underneath and a jacket on top so when it's cold you can put on the jacket and when it's hot, you can just take it off.

DAY #2: Danial's Convocation Ceremony

This one was pretty straightforward. As my parents were the only ones that could go into the hall, we (the others) were fashionably late. We headed to University Place to watch the ceremony on the screen until my dearest nephew decided they wanted to eat. After the ceremony, we lined up for a formal photoshoot and then went out for an informal one.

That night, we went to Ribeye Steakhouse, a Halal steakhouse on First Street for a celebration. That night, my dad stayed up looking for caravans to check-in for the next day. Which is how we ended up with our plan for day three.

DAY #3: Lake District & Haven Lakeland Holiday Park

Why did we decide to stay at a caravan? Because it's fun, duh! In 2016, we stayed in a cabin in the woods, in 2019, we went for a caravan stay. We are adventurous like that. And we would only be able to take this shot in a caravan!

This shot was actually taken on Day #4 but eh, who cares. We got in the car bright and early after Mama made fried rice and packed them for a picnic and off we went to Lake District where it drizzled and was pretty chilly. We had to take a boat to Fell Foot Park and it was such a pretty boat!

After some kayaking by my brothers and feeding the ducks and swan, we headed to check in to our caravan. I have to say, Haven Lakeland Holiday Park is AMAZING! There's so many activities you can do and they even have cafes and convenient shops so that you don't have to go out to find food. We played football right outside the caravan and just had so much fun reminiscing (we used to stay at caravan parks when we were little).

DAY #4: Sizergh Castle & Shopping at intu Trafford Centre, Manchester 

After a cold morning in England, we headed back to the city. On the way, we stopped by the beautiful Sizergh Castle and the public walk in the middle of nowhere. 

Then, we headed to intu Trafford Centre for some shopping. And, boy, did we shop! I finally got a designer laptop bag so now I can look professional when attending client meetings instead of the bright purple laptop bag I've been using.

DAY #5: Liverpool: Anfield, Albert Dock & Croxteth Park

I have mentioned that we used to live in Liverpool. So every chance we get, we would head back to windy and chilly Liverpool and reminisce on my kindergarten days.

At Anfield, Faisal actually wanted to play ball on the pitch. But he got a stare-down from everyone around. Liverpool is our happy place and it feels like home whenever we head there. I've always had a soft spot for the English weather, I guess.


DAY #6: Arndale, Whitworth Park & Home 

After checking out, we left our bags in the car and the car at Danial's place. We then went to Arndale for some serious shopping, with that being our last day in the UK. Of course, I had to stop by Charlotte Tilbury for a lipstick and face palette because they are just soooo good. I, then, looked for my brother and SIL who were also shopping with Faris who was 10 months at the time. 

Here's when shit got crazy. We went back to Arndale because my brother wanted to buy some game when we saw crowds of people just running for their lives screaming "He's got a gun!". Having no idea what was happening, we went into one of the stores in a state of confusion, only for us to be chased out by the guards , screaming "He's got a bomb. Everybody, get out!"

So we ran out and saw that they evacuated the mall and shut it down with lots of police around. I was shit scared with my anxiety acting up and creating all these scenarios in my head. We found out later that there was no bomb or gun via news. Nonetheless, it was the scariest experience I've ever had to go through.

Once we left and headed to my brother's place, all of us just wanted to go home. That pretty much sums up my last annual trip to Manchester. 


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