Manchester Travel Guide

Introduction to Manchester

The unofficial capital of the north of England, Manchester is London’s closest rival in terms of visitor attractions, fine dining and cultural fireworks and is as vibrant and engaging as any major European city.

Once one of the key sites of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester has since shaken off its gritty manufacturing image to become an exciting, cosmopolitan destination, with a celebrated gay scene, chic boutique shopping, tireless nightlife – and, of course, one of the world’s most famous football teams playing at Old Trafford. From the waterfront bars of Castlefield to the bohemian chic of the Northern Quarter, England’s second city could be described as many things – ‘boring’ is not one of them. So book a hotel in Manchester and enjoy this exciting city's many sights!

Manchester Cathedral

Manchester Cathedral

The cathedral which is the seat of the Bishop of Manchester

Canal Street

The heart of the Manchester gay scene guarantees great nights out, gay or straight

 

The Lowry

The Lowry

Banked on Salford Quay the Lowry art gallery is a visually stunning must-see!

Other things to do in Manchester

Manchester city centre is dotted with free museums, galleries and architectural attractions. Start with the Manchester Museum, where you’ll find an eclectic mix of Egyptian artefacts, live amphibians and a T-Rex skeleton called Stan, among other things. An imposing Victorian building on Deansgate houses the John Rylands Library, home to a fascinating collection of mediaeval manuscripts and historic texts, including the oldest surviving fragment of the New Testament.

On Mosley Street, the three buildings of the Manchester City Art Gallery contain a good many masterpieces, with a particularly impressive Pre-Raphaelite collection. The Museum of Science & Industry lies by the site of the original Roman settlement of Mamucium, detailing Manchester’s industrial heritage. For a lighter dose of Manc culture, head for the Comedy Store at Deansgate Locks where stand-ups (good and bad) grace the stage from Wednesday to Sunday.

Manchester’s neighbour, Salford, is just 15 minutes away and feels like part of the same city. The works of renowned Lancashire artist LS Lowry are displayed in the Lowry arts centre on the recently redeveloped Salford Quays, which is also the site of the Imperial War Museum North.

Football fans flock to Old Trafford, home to arguably the world’s most famous team, Manchester United. Their rivals, Manchester City FC, play at Sportcity on Rowsley Street.

Eating and drinking in Manchester

The county’s traditional dish is the Lancashire hotpot (lamb casserole topped with potato), but today Manchester’s restaurants serve up some distinctly cosmopolitan cuisine. As well as the numerous fine-dining options in the city centre, there’s the ‘curry mile’ in Rusholme, the UK’s biggest concentration of Asian restaurants, with offerings from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Behind Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester’s Chinatown is the third largest in Europe. It’s conveniently located right next to the heart of Manchester’s nightlife, the Gay Village centred on Canal Street, so you can step straight into a waterside bar for after-dinner cocktails.

Manchester climate

Like most of Britain, Manchester is generally warm in summer and cold and wet in winter, although the UK climate is notoriously unpredictable and rain can fall at any time. July and August are the warmest months, but still subject to showers. March and April are usually a little drier.

When to go to Manchester

The city is a year-round destination, with attractions to suit all seasons, but in summer, when café tables spill out onto the street and restaurants move alfresco, you can look forward to long, laidback evenings on bar terraces or by the canal.

Flying to Manchester

ManchesterAirport is one of the UK’s biggest, receiving traffic from all over Europe and beyond. Flights to Manchester airport land just 10 miles outside the city centre, and easily reached by public transport or taxi. There’s a station in the airport complex, where you can catch a train to the city centre – it takes around 20 minutes.

 Manchester Deals

Hotels in Manchester

Car hire in Manchester

Images by Flickr/Iris Chase