Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me….this weekend just passed was my birthday and one of my gifts was a weekend break in Hannover. You might not instantly think of Hannover as an exciting city break destination, but a weekend spent in this friendly, compact and affordable city has taught me that this place should not be overlooked. What else did I learn about Hannover over the course of the weekend? Well, here we go…
You really should walk the (red) line.
The Red Thread is a 4200m long line that meanders round the city of Hannover taking you to 36 of Hannover’s most interesting sites and areas. Pick up the accompanying booklet at the tourist information office for the princely sum of €3 and begin the trail that starts at the tourist office door. From iconic architecture to hidden gems, the Red Thread literally lays the city out at your feet. Booklet not essential but does help you make the most of it and details where to find toilets, areas with accessibility issues etc.
It has two Town Halls
Opened in 1913 the Chateau-esque New Town Hall is a jaw dropper, inside and out. The grandiose interior with its soaring ceiling and sweeping staircase is like something Disney would create for one of its Princesses. Four exhibits on the ground floor show how Hannover has looked from 1689 to the present day. You can also take the lift to the observation platform for amazing views. On a clear day you should be able to see the Harz Mountains.
The Old Town Hall although more subtle in style, in just as impressive. Dating from 1410, the building has been through multiple restorations. Building in stone or brick back in the day was a sign of great wealth, so this hall was quite the statement piece.
It has a lot of history…even though most of it isn’t that old.
Hannover , in theory, is an old place. But like many German cities, it was virtually destroyed by the WW2. Much of what you see is a brilliant restoration job but this doesn’t detract from the experience. Remains of the city walls, the restored Altstadt ,the bombed out church now a memorial to the victims of war, the Stolperstein outside our hotel…there are layers of history everywhere.
You don’t need to go South for a Beer Hall experience.
Hannover has put its own spin in the Beer Hall experience and it does it very well. You have a few options to choose from. We visited Brauhaus Ernst August. The main attraction is the Hanoversch beer, brewed on site. But add to that a great atmosphere, friendly staff and cosy but stylish interior and its a winner. Reservations recommended, although they do hold some tables for walk ins.
It is home to Germany’s Oldest Flea Market
Stretching along the riverside, the Saturday flohmarkt is quite something. We saw just about everything you can think of on offer and I’m sure there were some bargains or genuinely valuable antiques in there…somewhere! Even if you don’t intend to buy this is a fascinating place to browse. Easiest way to find the flohmarkt is to head for the colourful, buxom sculptures known as the Nanas. The market spreads in both directions from here.
Hannover is twinned with Bristol
Links between the cities date back to 1947, when the citizens of Bristol sent shoes to Hannover after discovering that German children were unable to go to school due to a lack of footwear. This act of goodwill was the beginning of a long-term relationship, and the twinning of the cities. The relationship between the two cities continues to flourish to this day.
Have you visited any where that offers more than meets the eye lately ?