Peter's Post: What to do in Manchester
Our travel expert answers queries on routes and destinations around the world
WHEN YOU'RE TIRED OF LONDON
We are considering a visit to Manchester during a trip to Britain later this year. Is it worth spending a few days there? If so, can you recommend some good hotels, restaurants and attractions? - Les Sharwood
Besides being home to two of the country's top football clubs, Manchester has much to offer culturally and has a vibe that puts other British cities to shame.
Top of the list of places to visit is The People's Museum (www.phm.org.uk), which is what all museums should be: exciting, interactive and pleasant to visit. It tells the story of British democracy, with a new wing connected to a great riverside café.
To get your fill of the city's galleries and museums, you need only stick to bustling Oxford Road. At one end, you will find Cornerhouse, a contemporary art complex, while at the other end is the Whitworth Art Gallery. In between, you can find the Manchester Museum, a number of theatres and the University of Manchester's impressive campus.
A cultural high is the bi-annual Manchester International Festival (www.mif.co.uk), which will be back in July 2013 with innovative music, dance and theatre. Manchester has great shopping, from the stores of King Street to the boutiques around the Northern Quarter. Make sure you visit Afflecks, a four-floor alternative shopping mecca for new designers.
If you are visiting during or after September this year, you can check out the Warehouse Project, a season of underground parties, which runs for 12 weeks until New Year's Day. The project features big-name acts alongside edgy new artists at venues throughout the city (www.thewarehouseproject.com).
If food is more your thing, the restaurants to try include Abode, devised by Michelin-starred Michael Caines; Isinglass in south Manchester; and An Outlet, a deli housed in a converted warehouse.
Top places to stay include singer Cliff Richard's sleek Arora Hotel; the vintage Great John Street Hotel; the very hip Lowry; and the Malmaison, regarded as the most tasteful place to lay your head.
Finally, this being Manchester, you cannot ignore the city's famous football clubs. Both Manchester United and Manchester City offer stadium tours, museums and shops selling merchandise. Of the two, the museum at Old Trafford is most impressive and kids can try to kick a ball as hard as Wayne Rooney. You should also try to pop into the National Football Museum, which houses the ball used in England's victorious 1966 World Cup final.
TRAVELS IN CHINA
What would be the easiest way to get to the city of Dalian in China in early August? Also, can you recommend a Western-style hotel there? - Arnold Roebuck
SAA now flies from Johannesburg to Beijing three times a week and Dalian is a 50-minute flight from there, so this is your best choice. There are plenty of connecting flights on China Southern and Air China.
An alternative is to fly through Hong Kong on SAA or Cathay Pacific and then connect to Dalian on China Air, but you won't have the wide choice of connecting flights and you may be in for a long wait at the airport in Hong Kong.
Dalian has a population of more than 6-million people, so it has a wide range of international hotels for you to choose from. I checked on the discount website www.booking.com and your options include the Hilton Dalian (from R1307 per double room), the Hotel Ibis Sanba (R422), Holiday Inn Dalian Software Park Apartments (R369) and the five-star Shangri-La (R1668).
TURKEY TO GREECE
My wife and I are going to Istanbul and would like to visit the Greek islands Mykonos and Santorini. What's the best way of doing this? Is a ferry from Kusadasi an option? - Mohamed Rahim
There are no direct ferries from Istanbul to the Greek islands. You can go via other Turkish ports to some islands, but not the two you want. Going via Kusadasi is an option, but it is time-consuming. You would take two buses to get from Istanbul to Kusadasi and then a ferry to Samos and another ferry to Mykonos. It is easier to fly, but you will have to go via Athens. Budget around R2300 for a return on Aegean Air.
We will be in Dubai next month and want to visit Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. How could we get there? - Farouk Kadwa
You don't have to be a fan of the Ferrari brand to enjoy this attraction (www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com), the largest indoor amusement park in the world. It has more than 20 rides and is home to the world's fastest roller coaster. There is also a carousel featuring only cars, an interactive 3-D show, a driving school for children, a virtual tour of the factory and a space-shot tower, which launches riders over 62m up and out of the building. A day pass costs AED225 (R500). It is on Yas island, 90km from Dubai. Either join an organised tour or take your own transport or taxi.