Arriving into the UK’s capital of modern industry, Manchester is not only a friendly city in the North West of England, it is also home to a wonderfully eclectic selection of musical haunts, museums and cultural institutions. The streets of Manchester are a sight to behold, with a mix of 19th Century and early 20th Century architecture, laced with contemporary buildings that add colour to the skyline. Because Manchester boasts three world-class Universities, you will receive a warm international welcome as soon as you step foot in the growing city.
Obviously you cannot ignore the city’s great Premiership football clubs; to the south is the iconic Old Trafford Manchester United stadium, where fans describe themselves as ‘reds’, while to the North lies The Etihad Manchester City ground and it’s devoted ‘blues’ fans. If you cannot get enough of the game, then you must visit the world’s biggest National Football Museum in the Cathedral Gardens, which offers free entry. 
The Victorian Neogothic town hall lies in the heart of Manchester and is a place you need to visit to truly absorb the grandeur of the era. For the best places to eat, you must either head to the up-market Spinningfields for luxury dining experiences, like at the ultra-modern Australasia, which serves Pacific-inspired cuisine. Or try the Northern Quarter, which will spoil you with an array of casual restaurants and bars along its narrow and quirky cobbled streets. On the edge of the Northern Quarter is the indoor market Afflecks Palace, which is an emporium of diverse indie commerce that ranges from alternative fancy dress, skateboards, music memorabilia, to tattoo and piercing bars.
Getting around Manchester could not be easier; either use your trusted feet, catch a bus or hop aboard the very regular Metrolink, otherwise known to locals as the ‘tram’. The tram will connect you to all of the major railway stations and attractions, including Heaton Park, which has an animal park and hosts several outdoor music concerts and dance festivals throughout the year. If it is music that you crave, then you have picked the perfect city! Manchester is the birthplace of English Dance Music, with many late-night clubs offering the ‘Madchester’ clubbing experience. If indie music is more your scene, then you should walk down Oxford Road, popular with students, and bask in the sounds of the Britpop era. Make the most of your city break and pre-book your UK transfers with hoppa today to enjoy a reasonably priced and relaxing transfer from Manchester International Airport.

 

Overview

Often described as ‘the capital of the North’, Manchester is a large city in the northwest of England. It was once an industrial powerhouse, but has had to revive and reinvent itself following the demise of many of its traditional functions. Shipyards, textile factories, and canals have all been brought back to life in the 21st century, giving the city a fascinating cultural mix of history and innovation. Never dampened by the sometimes unreliable northern weather, Manchester is a buzzing destination where modern buildings sit shoulder to shoulder with impressive neo-Gothic architecture, and where people from all cultures and nationalities come together in the pursuit of the famous hedonistic Mancunion lifestyle.

Manchester’s diversity is reflected in its different districts. Walk the Curry Mile to try some of the country’s best Indian food; wander through Chinatown, stopping for a bubble tea; or stroll beside the leafy canal-side pubs and bars in the gay village. The city’s Northern Quarter is known for its vintage cafes, shops and galleries along quaint, narrow streets, and has a real bohemian feel. Alternatively the city centre, along with the Manchester’s enormous Trafford Centre shopping mall, has every top brand and designer that shoppers could want. The city’s Quays are a trendy area, with cool bars and restaurants lining the waterfront.

Manchester is alive with energy, with new events and festivals springing up, such as the city’s lively International Festival. Add in innovative museums, spectacular galleries, cool clubs and bars, and plenty of live music and you have a fantastic destination.

Key Facts

  • Currency: GBP: Pound Sterling
    Language: English
    Time zone: GMT +00

Great For

Nightlife and music: While Manchester’s famous Hacienda rave scene of the 90s may be all but over, the city is still bursting with bars, pubs, clubs and music venues. From large arenas to intimate venues, this is one of the best cities in the world for a night of fun and dancing.
Culture: Manchester’s unique blend of old industrial heritage and modern creativity, make it a cultural hub. Museums, galleries, exhibitions, concerts, and theatre to suit all tastes can be found here, all with that interesting Manchester spin.
Football: Manchester is synonymous with football thanks to the fame of its top clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City. Visitors can tour the stadiums, visit the team shops, or head to the National Football Stadium to revel in the history of the ‘beautiful game’.

Museum of Science and Industry

Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry is a fantastic family day out, with lots of hands-on exhibits. Housed over five buildings, the permanent collections tell the story of the development of science and industry from early machinery to modern medical equipment. Temporary events, shows and exhibitions are constantly changing so there is always something new to see here. The simulator ride and 4D cinema are a lot of fun, and a real emphasis is placed on making the museum as interactive as possible. There’s also a great café so you can really make a day of it.
Address: Liverpool Road, Manchester M3 4FP, England
Opening hours: Everyday 10am – 5pm
Entry cost: Free
Official website: http://msimanchester.org.uk/

Castlefield Urban Heritage Park

Take a canal-side stroll through Castlefield’s Urban Heritage Park for a real glimpse into Manchester’s lost industrial past. Red brick buildings line the canal, where pretty painted barges take visitors on sightseeing trips. Take in the Roman fort, the early railway architecture, and stop for a drink in one of the local waterside pubs. The perfect place for an interesting afternoon walk.
Address: Beaufort Street, Manchester, England

 

Manchester Art Gallery

Housing works from over six centuries, Manchester Art Gallery has an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, craft and design, and costume. The gallery has recently been refurbished and is one of the city’s most popular cultural hotspots. Particularly famous for it’s 19th century pre-Raphaelite paintings, this gallery has such an extensive collection there is something for everyone to enjoy. Tours are available and there is a great souvenir shop.
Address: Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL, England
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 10am-5pm, late night opening until 9pm on Thursday
Official website: http://manchesterartgallery.org/

Royal Exchange Theatre

Seating up to 750 people on three levels, this spectacular 360° theatre in the round is the largest of its kind in the country. Strikingly modern in design, with glass domes and impressive columns, the Royal Exchange puts on a fantastic range of productions from classics to plays from new playwrights. Some big names have graced the stage here, from Helen Mirren to Hugh Grant, and with no seat further than 9 metres from the stage, audiences have a unique chance to get up close and personal with their favourite stars. 
Address: St. Ann's Square, Manchester M2 7DH, England
Official website: http://www.royalexchange.co.uk/

The Quays

Another reminder of Manchester’s industrial past, the Salford Quays area have been transformed from abandoned shipyards into a thriving place to visit, with bars, restaurants, shops and museums packed along the waterfront. The Lowry, the Imperial War Museum North and Old Trafford are all housed within this vibrant area, and there are often food markets and outdoor art events to enjoy. Wander along at sunset for great views, and to watch the night lights bouncing off the rippling waters.
Address: Salford M50 3AZ, England
Official website: http://www.thequays.org.uk/

Have you been to Manchester recently? What are the must-do experiences that you'd suggest? Do you have tips on how to stretch that holiday budget a bit further or know of a hidden-gem that’s easy to miss?


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