Being the birthplace of Oasis, The Smiths, Chemical Brothers and even Take That – it’s fair to say that Manchester is a music lover’s haven. And, of course, footy fans will be overjoyed when visiting the hallowed grounds of Old Trafford and cheering Man U on as they practice. But Manchester is more than just music and sports. You’ll find great foodie spots, upcoming hipster areas and cultural events taking place all the time. Whatever you’re after on your holiday, Manchester has it.
It may seem a little odd but some of our favourite places to visit in Manchester are the libraries. For instance, Chetham Library is the oldest English-speaking library in the world and looks like it was plucked right out of a Harry Potter film. It is so much fun to wander around. There's also The Central Library which was recently refurbished as well as the Victorian gothic John Rylands Library on Deansgate.
Art lovers are spoiled for choice in Manchester. The Whitworth Gallery has an extensive textile collection dating back to 300AD, and is located in one of the prettiest settings – Whitworth Park. Other notable galleries include The Lowry, Gallery Oldham and Manchester Art Gallery.
If you just want to wander, take in the brilliant architecture and people-watch along the canals in Manchester's huge conservation area, Castlefield. Here you can walk past big warehouses, old mills and beautiful bridges – a nod to the city's important industrial past.
Out and about
The Northern Quarter is the place to go for shopping. Check out Manchester Craft and Design Centre where more than 30 designers sell their handmade work direct from their studios. Find more independent stores at HOME which boasts a theatre, a cinema and a handful of restaurants.
For the best burgers in town, go to Almost Famous in the incredibly cool Northern Quarter. Head to Fress for brunch and then pop back in the evening for a cocktail. Find some time in your schedule to eat as many cronuts as is humanly possible at Albert Schloss and check out their burlesque shows every Tuesday evening. Food-loving travellers can’t miss Altrincham Market for all the best street food and local produce.
The hotspot to be seen at night is 20 Stories, located at the top of a high-rise building and boasting brilliant views over the entire city. For a laugh with cheap and honest drinks, look no further than the Frog and Bucket comedy club.
If you love a bit of glamour, book a room at indie boutique Cow Hollow Hotel in the heart of the Northern Quarter. The rooms are modern, without losing the charm of their restored Victorian textile factory setting. Indulge in the complimentary bubbly and snacks delivered to your door during ‘Prosecco Hour’. While Hotel Gotham is more like the roaring 20s Manhattan than modern day Manchester. Its rooms are decorated to mirror the era and create a luxurious feel. There’s even a rooftop bar and private members club looking over the impressive city skyline.
Dates for the diary
Manchester International Festival, June
Every two years, Manchester’s main landmarks are overrun with artists, performers and musicians for the month long Manchester International Festival. Enjoy world premieres of plays and concerts or discover intimate performances in hidden locations. Don’t miss the chance to witness the city in all its glory.
Manchester Food and Drink Festival, September
In September, the entire city brims with pop-up markets and food trucks alongside more immersive and creative supper clubs and workshops at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival. Discover the new foodie trends taking over the UK and the rest of the world while going home with a slightly expanded belly as a souvenir.
Manchester is in north-west England, two hours and 15 minutes north of London by train. Britain’s third busiest airport, Manchester Airport, is also served by many international airlines.
- Manchester Unlocked