Visting Manchester

If you were to look at the index page of a book about the City of Manchester, you’d find a list of chapters that include heritage, shopping, food and drink, sport, culture, nightlife, and attractions. Each one of these chapters would be packed full of ideas and inspiration, which just goes to show how much this metropolis has to offer business and leisure visitors.

Not to be confused with the county of Greater Manchester which it lays in, the City of Manchester is a thriving part of North West England. You’ll find the Pennines to the North and East, and Cheshire to the South of the city.

Manchester’s recorded history includes tales of Roman forts, one of which was built around 79 AD in the River Medlock/River Irwell area. Later records show a boom in the textile industry in the industrial revolution, and the now well-known Manchester Ship Canal which was finished in 1894. Much may be made of Manchester’s links to the cotton trade, but visitors to the city today can also find out about its links with social revolutions, and how academic discoveries made major contributions to the worlds of science and computing.  Find out more about the history and heritage of the city at the Museum of Science and Industry, or the Manchester Museum, which can be found at the University of Manchester. There’s a lot in one space, including an aquarium, collections on everything from animal life to ancient Egypt, and a yearly calendar of events for all ages.

If you’d rather explore the city, then there are examples of built and industrial heritage around every corner. ‘Visit Manchester’ recommends The Central Library, The Royal Exchange, and The Victoria Baths.  Architecture and art and design also mix together in the form of Whitworth Art Gallery,  housed in an Edwardian building, and containing a varied mix of modern and historic art collections.

Manchester of course, is known for far more than just its museums and fine buildings though, it’s also a sporting mecca, with Old Trafford Cricket Ground, along with Manchester United and Manchester City Football Stadiums attracting huge numbers of sports fans each year.

Shoppers are also well served in Manchester, and while the Trafford Centre may understandably dwarf its rivals in terms of size and number of shops, the other shopping options in and around the city are well worth checking out. There’s the new designer shopping outlet called Lowry Outlet Mall, Greenfields Real Ale Brewery, Manchester Craft and Design Centre, and The Triangle, which you will find in a new retail hub, in the Exchange Square area.

Looking for some entertainment instead? How about taking the children to Legoland Discovery Centre in Barton Square, or taking in a concert at the Manchester Apollo or Manchester Arena. If you don’t mind driving, then you could also visit Alton Towers, Drayton Manor Theme Park, or take a day trip to Blackpool and the Pleasure Beach.

With a thriving LGBT community, varied nightlife, plenty of places to stay, eat, and drink, along with parks, gardens, festivals and events, you’ll never be short of things to do if you visit Manchester

Travelling to Manchester
Rail: Rail travel to and from Manchester has never been easier, and there are quite a few options wherever you are travelling from. The main arrival point in the city is Piccadilly Train Station, and there are also 3 other train stations at Deansgate, Oxford Road, and Victoria. Train operators offering services to/from Manchester include Virgin Trains, which cover all the UK, and the First Trans Pennine Express, which runs trains over the North of England, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, and also runs a service to the airport.Leisure users can also choose to take a trip out on the East Lancashire Steam Railway, or take the Orient Express from Victoria Station.

Air: Manchester Airport is one of the major international airports in the UK, and in terms of global reach, the biggest in the North of England. 100 plus airlines offer flights to 190 or more destinations from Manchester Airport.

Road: Manchester is well connected, via its ring road to motorways going North, South, East, and West, so you’ll easily be able to plan a journey from where you are. You can arrive by car, and make use of hotel car parks, city council run car parks, or NCP Car Parks. There are also National Express Coach services running from major cities into Manchester.

Getting around the city: You could go eco-friendly and hire a bike to travel around the city, or go on foot, and find your way around with the Manchester Walking Routes Planner. This is available on the Visit Manchester website. Other options include Metrolink Tram Services, free Metroshuttle buses, and other buses operated by First Buses and Stagecoach.