This weekend, Aurelia and I decided to join the buzz, the latest craze to hit Manchester, the Manchester Bee Trail. Over 230 bee statues had been placed all over Manchester and Mancunians spent the summer in competition to see who could find the most. The bee statues had been created by artists and well-known icons as well as school children from schools across the city. The bee trail was a great way to get people to explore Manchester as well as raise money for charity. The bees will be auctioned in October to raise money for the Mayor of Manchester’s We Love MCR Charity.
Why a Bee?
The bee has been the emblem of Manchester since the 19th century appearing on the coat of arms used since 1842. The bee has come to represent the city as a hive of activity during this period with the hard work undertaken by Mancunians compared to that of the worker bee. Following the terrorist attack on the Manchester Evening News Arena in May 2017, the bee became a symbol of solidarity in the city as well all stood together in grief.
The Bee Statues
101 ‘super sized bees’ stand at 1.8 metres whereas the 130 ‘little bees’ are roughly half the size. Each bee represents a different aspect of Mancunian life. Some of the bees hold a special message. They are all eye-catching and beautiful bringing colour to the buzzing city. The bees were dotted around Manchester from 23rd July until 23rd September 2018. All the bees have now been collected and and will be on display at the HSBC Cycling Centre from 12th-14th October 2018 and then auctioned off.
The Bee Trail
Finding a map in our local library, Aurelia and I plotted our route and took to the streets of Manchester. The map was extremely easy to follow and on our first day, we had found 56 bees around Manchester city centre.
The trail took us all through the city centre and we visited places we had never been to before, such as the National Football Museum.
Manchester Cathedral was another place we had not previously visited, but called in to see some of the mini bees they housed.
The People’s History Museum was another place we had never before ventured into it.
All three of the above places have been placed at the top of our ‘places to visit list’ for this winter!
The Printworks had an especially Mancunian bee!
Victoria and Piccadilly stations embraced the bee trail too!
Manchester Movement Bee
The bees were also located inside Manchester Arndale.
Bees also appeared throughout the streets of Manchester.
We liked the names of some of the bees in particular:
I Wanna Bee Adored
The John Rylands Library was a buzz with bee hunters.
Outside of the City Centre
Day 2 of our expedition took us out of Manchester city centre. Following the map we visited a number of iconic sites. Firstly, my husband is a devoted Manchester City fan, so we made a trip to the Etihad. Their blue city bee was adorable.
We also visited the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre to see their cycling themed bee.
I’d Rather Bee Cycling
Clayton Hall really embraced the bee hunt and had an extremely colourful bee they named Polly. The gates of the hall remained opened for extended hours to allow visitors to see their bee.
Our expedition took us to the Blue Peter Garden in Media City.
Our Bee Adventure
Our grand total was 99 bees! I had not anticipated quite how enjoyable our bee hunt through Manchester would have been. Not only did Aurelia and I spend a lot of precious time together making some wonderful memories, we also got a huge amount of exercise and fresh air. My fitbit registered over 18,000 steps on our first outing! We visited places we had not previously been to and found a number of local places we would love to visit again.
Cbeebies Studio – Media City
The bee trail also made us feel a part of Manchester and proud to be Mancunians. The city centre is a thriving place full of people too busy to acknowledge each other. As we followed the bee trail, we found others looking for bees too. We would often stop and chat to these people as they offered their assistance or we assisted them to find the next bee. A certain community spirit arose which is rare in such big cities.
Rock ‘n’ Roll
Aurelia and I will treasure our weekend spent together buzzing around the city on the hunt for the beautiful bees.