Known to be the birthplace of the industrial revolution as well as for its popular football team, Manchester is one of the must-visit destinations in England. It features a rich history and vibrant happenings worth exploring. Not only does it offer the best in arts and culture and the best museums, but it also features exquisite drinks and food for every taste.
How to Get There
Located at Ringway, Manchester Airport is the third busiest airport in England catering to at least 27 million passengers yearly.
Since Manchester is a bustling city and where most tourists usually land to get to nearby European cities, it offers many convenient modes of transportation to get to the heart of the city.
A short walk from the airport are the trains that can get you anywhere in Manchester. Trains from Manchester Airport to Manchester Piccadilly station takes about twenty minutes. They run every ten minutes daily through train operators TransPennine Express and Northern Rail. Once you get to Manchester Piccadilly you can pretty much get anywhere in the city. You can also save money by pre-booking your train tickets online.
The airport is also well-served by a network of local and regional buses that are available 24/7. Ridesharing apps are also prevalent in the city as well as taxis.
Traveling through Manchester and its surrounding areas is easy due to a wide array of buses, trams, and trans. The official public transport body in Manchester is called Transport for Greater Manchester.
There are also free buses around the city, formerly called Metroshuttle. They provide free ‘hop on and hop off’ services and conveniently takes you to the main rail stations, shopping districts, and business areas. Commercial buses are also available for more specific destinations.
Trams or the Metrolink network is one of the best and most successful railway systems in the United Kingdom. Metrolink is available in every area possible and can transport you easily to popular venues and attractions within the region. Travelcards also offer unlimited travel across the network.
Things to Do
Since Manchester is in the process of reawakening, its list of tourist spots and attractions are constantly changing as well. A top attraction to see in Manchester begins at Castlefield, which is the city’s designated “Urban Heritage Park”. It is located among restored Victorian houses and boasts of the picturesque Bridgewater Canal. One of the favorite tourist activities is going on the Bridgewater tour boats to learn more about its rich history. Castlefield also boasts of the Castlefield Art Gallery. It features contemporary art as well as the Bridgewater Hall, home to the Halle Orchestra and first-class concerts.
Another lovely sight to add to any tourist’s to-do list is the lovely Manchester Cathedral that dates to 1422. It officially became a cathedral in 1847. Another popular church to visit is St. Mary’s Catholic Church, which is dubbed as the “hidden gem” and features a lot of Victorian carvings.
Of course, a trip to Manchester should include a visit to the National Football Museum. All tourists, whether a football fan or not, will fall in love with its unique structure and fascinating memorabilia.
For art lovers, Manchester has a lot to offer including The Manchester Art Gallery, The People’s Museum, The Whitworth Art Gallery, and Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. It’s also important to visit the Manchester Opera House, the Palace Theater and the Royal Exchange Theater. The John Rylands Library is also a notable destination.
What to Eat
Just like the city, Manchester’s culinary scene is also getting a lot of attention due to the many young entrepreneurs infusing the city with fresh offerings for all types of travelers. Hidden railway arches are now home to many street food markets. Also, Victorian warehouses have been turned into world-class restaurants for every budget. There is also a wide range of Manchester pubs that will satisfy cravings of all kinds.
Meanwhile, Where the Light Gets In may not be in the city centre but is worth the travel. It offers an inspired seasonal tasting menu, a great wine list, and relaxed service. It is also housed in a former Victorian coffee warehouse adding even more to the experience.
Steak lovers will enjoy eating at Hawksmoor, a steakhouse that is housed with dark, paneled rooms. It also serves cocktails that make it perfect date night spot.
If you want to try something more relaxed, you can also enjoy Bundobust – an Indian restaurant that serves Indian street food and craft beer. It has a retro Bollywood feel that most tourists enjoy. Other notable places are Yuzu, 63 Degrees, and The Creameries.
Manchester is meant to be enjoyed at night time. It has long been known for its “Madchester” music scene and has produced talents such as The Smiths, The Charlatans, and The Happy Mondays.
Manchester is also known as a city that embraces creativity, freedom of expression, and has been one of the first cities to openly welcome the LGBT community. There are many bars to choose from, but you will never go wrong with Hold Fast, The Gas Lamp, The Whiskey Jar, and Albert’s Schloss.
Those who want to dance the night away will also enjoy Warehouse Project, Sankeys, and the Manchester Academy.
Where to Stay
For travelers, especially families, who want to be in close distance to everything, Manchester City Centre is the best place to stay. It also houses the biggest numbers of hotels in Manchester. You can try Hatters Hilton Chambers, Lower Turks Head, Holiday Inn, and even the luxurious Hotel Gotham.
If you are a solo traveler who wants to party it up in Manchester, the best option for you will be the Northern Quarter. The Northern Quarter is a former warehouse district that is housed on the edge of the city centre. It also houses the cheapest hotels in Manchester but is still close enough to the city centre for exploration.
Salford Quays used to be the former dock area of Manchester, but it has now been revitalized into one of Manchester’s most sought-after destination. For football fanatics, this is the best place to stay.
• Purchase a System One Travelcard. This card enables you to travel easily with a great combination of bus, train, and tram.
• Utility supplied voltage is 240V so check your gadgets before traveling.
• The national currency is the best way to pay for purchases. Be ready and exchange them ahead of time.