Manchester Travel Guide
Why? Site of two of Britain's biggest universities and home to two world-class football clubs, a holiday in Manchester is bound to include plenty of partying and action. There is a side of Manchester reserved for serious sightseers too, with several historic and cultural attractions on offer.
When? When you travel to Manchester be prepared for the weather to be typically English, meaning highly unpredictable. Generally summer is a good time to holiday in Manchester, with mild, mainly sunny days. The city gets more than its fair share of rain, mainly during the cold winters.
Who for? Although it is not regarded as one of Britain's most important tourist destinations, a few days' holiday in Manchester is worthwhile for anyone touring the UK and interested in discovering this major northwestern metropolis. The city is also very gay-friendly and the area concentrated around Canal Street is the site of a popular annual Pride festival.
More Info: Anyone deciding whether or not to holiday in Manchester is well advised to read our comprehensive Manchester travel guide, which details many Manchester attractions, and may reveal some surprises about the merits of this vast English city.
Free Trade Hall ©
Although now best known for its football teams, Manchester was once one of England's greatest Victorian cities, and the birthplace of both rail travel and Rolls Royce cars. It is situated on the east bank of the Irwell River in the north west of the country, and is the centre of a huge metropolitan area which now encompasses the surrounding towns of Bury, Bolton, Wigan, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport and Oldham. Liverpool is just 30 miles (48km) down river. The area has long had a reputation as a drab, industrialised sprawl, but Manchester has succeeded in reinventing itself, becoming a vibrant metropolis with a nightlife second only to London. The city boasts more than 50 free museums and galleries, a world-class sports centre that recently hosted the Commonwealth Games, and plenty of parks, gardens and other attractions.
The city's architecture is largely a reminder of its central role in the cotton trade, and many of the original warehouses can still be seen, although modern-day Manchester is now very different from its heyday as an industrial hub. When the city centre was badly damaged in an IRA bombing in 1996, much of the central area was beautifully renovated. Now renamed the Millennium Quarter, it is a marvellous contrast of splendid Victorian architecture and towering glass edifices, including the eye-catching Urbis exhibition centre.
Manchester is home to two of the United Kingdom's largest universities: the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University. The Royal Northern College of Music is located here as well, bringing the total to roughly 86,000 students living in the city. This large student population ensures that there is always a buzz of activity in Manchester.
Manchester City and Manchester United are two of the biggest football clubs in England, and Old Trafford (home to Manchester United) has become a huge tourist destination. For those more interested in arts and culture than football, the new Lowry complex in Salford Quays boasts a fantastic selection of art galleries and theatres. The city also plays host to countless events, concerts, festivals and parades, is home to world-class bars and restaurants, and has plenty of shops and markets. Manchester is also home to the United Kingdom's largest Chinatown, and a vibrant and friendly Gay Village, concentrated around Canal and Chorlton Streets.
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