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Manchester Travel Guide

About Manchester

A city of swagger and spirit, heritage and hedonism, fashion and football, Manchester warrants its billing as England’s “capital of the north”. Best known for its industrial past and a near-peerless musical and sporting legacy, it has been transformed in recent decades to become somewhere defined by creative talent, fresh ideas and an international outlook.

In the late 1980s and 1990s, Manchester was arguably the centre of the British music scene, spawning The Smiths, The Stone Roses, The Happy Mondays and Oasis. But its bubble was shockingly blown apart in 1996 when the IRA detonated a bomb in the city centre, the largest ever on British soil.

Huge sums of money were subsequently pumped into rebuilding Manchester. New city and canalside developments sprung up and it went from strength to strength. Notable modern projects include Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium (initially built to host the Commonwealth Games) and the 47-storey Beetham Tower, the UK’s tallest building outside of London.

Elsewhere, eye-catching exhibition venue Urbis now plays home to the National Football Museum, while the new MediaCity UK complex on the banks of the Ship Canal has welcomed many of the BBC’s operations.

The city, which was at the forefront of the industrial revolution in the 19th century, now has a deserved reputation as a great place to shop, drink and eat. Many of the city’s most fashionable watering holes and eateries can be found in the Canal Street area, the Printworks district and the bohemian Northern Quarter.

Meanwhile, Manchester’s diverse ethnic mix is leaving its stamp on the city. The St Patrick’s Day parade is one of the largest in Europe, and there’s both a well-established Chinatown and a ‘Curry Mile’, named after the Bangladeshi and Pakistani restaurants stretching along Wilmslow Road in Rusholme.

Combine all this with art galleries such as The Lowry and some impressive Victorian buildings, and it’s easy to understand why Manchester has become such a beacon for visitors.

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Featured Hotels


Premier Inn

This budget hotel chain has several locations in and around the city, but the stay with the best setting is at Deansgate Locks, situated close to Old Trafford. It's conveniently located close to a seven-day free city centre shuttle bus service and also offers free onsite car parking.

Radisson Blu Edwardian

Retaining the vintage features of the Free Trade Hall, where the suffragettes rallied, Bob Dylan went electric in 1965, and the Sex Pistols played in 1976, the Radisson Edwardian is a contemporary hotel with every kind of creature comfort. Within easy walking distance of some of the city's best attractions, the hotel has an indoor infinity pool, a fitness centre and high-speed Internet access.

Lowry Hotel

Located in the Chapel Wharf area on the Salford-Manchester boundary, this is one of the finest hotels in Manchester, a stunning haven of glittering glass and steel, with 164 elegant rooms that include intense flashes of colour amid quietly expensive neutral colour schemes. Bathrooms are marble-lined and there's also a gym and spa, and a spectacular riverside restaurant. There is live entertainment in the River Bar and Terrace most evenings.

The Midland

The Midland is a Grade II-listed Edwardian building that exudes elegance and charm, but is reasonably priced. There are 312 en-suite bedrooms decorated in a contemporary style that's in keeping with the building. Rooms are dotted with polished wood furniture and each comes with air conditioning, flat-screen TVs and Internet access.

Great John Street

Housed in a former Victorian schoolhouse, the Great John Street Hotel is one of Manchester's slickest new boutique hotels. Duplex suites come with flatscreen TVs, free Wi-Fi and rainforest showers. Some even have views of the set of Coronation Street. Be sure to try out the swanky bar too.

The Light Aparthotel

If you want a place to hunker down for a longer stay, this apartment hotel is the perfect fit. It's slap bang in the middle of town and rooms are surprisingly good value considering the space offered. There's even a penthouse if you're feeling flush.