Manchester is one of the biggest and most popular cities in the north of England. Located just a three and a half hour drive from London, the city is packed with things to do, whether you’re a sports nut, music fan, enjoy a spot of sightseeing or just fancy a bit of retail therapy. There are always good deals to be had on hotels in Manchester too, so if you’re heading to the UK, here are some more reasons to take a trip up to this lively cultural hub. Who said it’s grim ‘oop north?!
1. Listen to some live music
With famous British bands such as the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, The Smiths, Oasis and of course Take That all originating from here, it’s no wonder the city is often referred to as ‘Madchester’. Anyone looking for a weekend packed with live music is in for a real treat in no matter what type of genre they’re into. For a night dedicated entirely to jazz, ‘Matt & Phreds’ is a great option while ‘Band on the Wall’ - playing everything from jazz to electronica to reggae - has been part of the music scene since the 1930’s. The Warehouse Project, Sankeys and The Deaf Institute are also all worth checking out for those who like to dance until the sun comes up.
2. Catch a game of football
Pretty much everyone in Manchester is talking about football at the moment, and with the two best teams in the UK coming from the city, it’s easy to see why. Manchester United are the most successful team in English football, while Premier League Champions Manchester City (complete with billionaire owner) are now the team to beat in the country. Footy fans visiting the city can experience the atmosphere at Old Trafford or the Etihad Stadium on match days, or alternatively book a stadium tour with behind-the-scenes access to the changing rooms, press box and players’ tunnel.
3. Visit the Cathedral
For a bit of culture in the city, take a trip to the Manchester Cathedral, which dates back to the 15th century. Standing in the heart of Manchester’s downtown community, this magnificent building has a medieval and gothic style and plenty to see inside. Take a look at the carvings of 15th century angels playing musical instruments, the angel stone - the oldest object in the cathedral - and plenty of colourful glass windows. Outside, there are various stone gargoyles that are well-worth checking out too.
4. Tuck into a curry
Anyone who likes their food hot and spicy should head to the world famous ‘Curry Mile’ - a long road in the south of the city filled with various restaurants, kebab houses and takeaways that runs for - yes that’s right - a mile! There are at least seventy places to eat here that specialise in Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisine. Popular with tourists and students alike, there is often a lively atmosphere along the mile which lasts long into the early hours of the morning.
5. Enjoy some retail therapy
Home to many top brands, the ‘Triangle’ shopping centre is ideal for anyone looking to update their wardrobe or pick up a few bargains before heading home. Formally the city’s Corn Exchange, the shopping centre is an iconic sight and now specialises in fashion and health and beauty brands. In between shopping, there are plenty of opportunities to stop off for a coffee or a bite to eat. For those who love high-end fashion, the city also has branches of the famous department stores Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, which should keep the big spenders happy.
Steve Alexander is a London-based travel writer who has visited a number of top destinations around Europe. Rather than heading to the more popular tourist hotspots, he enjoys discovering some of the lesser known attractions available.