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Things to do in Manchester

Catch a gig in a famous Manchester venue

The 'Madchester' scene may have passed, but the city is still thriving musically. From classical concerts in a state-of-the-art setting at Bridgewater Hall (tel: +44161 907 9000; www.bridgewater-hall.co.uk) to the local showcases at the Night & Day Café (tel: +44 161 236 1822; www.nightnday.org), the city has still got it.

Explore the reinvigorated quayside

Deprived of purpose, Salford Quays spent decades as wasteland but now culture and hyper-futuristic architecture has the area flourishing. The Lowry Theatre (tel: +44 843 208 6000; www.thelowry.com) is its landmark arts venue and the IWM (tel: +44 161 836 4000; www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-north) is an exceptional history museum.

Hike high over the Pennine Hills

Located in the stunning Peak District National Park (tel: +44 1629 816 200; www.peakdistrict.gov.uk), the Pennine Hills flank Manchester on three sides and are an easy train ride away. The national park is wonderful for hiking and with abseiling, caving, climbing, windsurfing and canoeing, will tempt adventurers too.

Join the revolution at the People's History Museum

A museum dedicated to Britain's 200-year struggle for democracy feels like a hard sell but the People's History Museum (tel: +44 161 838 9190; www.phm.org.uk) makes it anything but. Interactive exhibitions are entertaining, the setting contemporary and bright, and the subject as pertinent as the struggle is still ongoing.

Pick a team and support the beautiful game

Home to two of England's most dominant teams, United and City, Manchester is a great place to catch a football match. For those who don't want to choose sides, explore the history of the beautiful game at the National Football Museum (tel: +44 161 605 8200; www.nationalfootballmuseum.com) instead.

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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.

Novotel

This hotel is not unlike the others in this well-established chain with contemporary bedrooms featuring in-room entertainment and eco-friendly toiletries. There are also two junior suites should you wish to upgrade. Novotel has extensive dining facilities too plus a fully-equipped gym and relaxation zone featuring a sauna steam room and heated loungers.

Hilton Manchester Deansgate

Housed in the 47-storey Beetham Tower, and occupying the lower 23 floors, this contemporary hotel offers stunning views from floor-to-ceiling windows featured in spacious, elegantly-furnished rooms. There is a gym, a 20m (60ft) indoor pool with underwater viewing panels, a spa, restaurant and a bar on the highest floor.

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.