Manchester: The city filled with history, culture, and nature

Manchester Airport Directory (MAN)
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Football may be one of the things that Manchester is most famous for but there are other things that make this city one of the best places to visit in the United Kingdom (UK). Being the cultural and commercial capital of the non-metropolitan county of Lancashire, Manchester is an incredible place to be at. From the mélange of restaurants to marvellous museums, buzzing nightlife, and green spaces to spend a relaxing afternoon, this city has it all. A fun fact: a few scenes of the TV series Peaky Blinders were filmed in Manchester. For the show, Victoria Baths was transformed into a horse fair.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Manchester is between June and August. During this time of the year, the weather remains warm and several events also take place. The months between September and November are also an ideal time to visit before the cold season kicks in.

How to Reach?

By Air: The main gateway to northern England is Manchester International Airport. It is the third largest airport in the UK with over 60 airlines that fly directly to the city from over 200 destinations across the globe. Located around 30 minutes from the city centre, Manchester Airport has three terminals and offers a variety of services for a hassle-free travel.

By Train: The United Kingdom has excellent train network that traverses cities, towns, and villages. The city of Manchester has three railway stations: Piccadilly, Oxford Road, and Victoria. You can find several rail service operators like Avanti West Coast, Transport for Wales, TransPennine Express, CrossCountry Trains, Northern Rail, and Great Western Railway.

By Road: The bus or coach service in the UK is convenient and easy on the pocket. Service providers like National Express and Megabus travel all over the country. The coaches in Manchester have a variety of eight-seater minibuses or 70-seat cruisers that travel across the country.

Getting Around

Getting around Manchester is easy with buses, trams, and trains. Most locals prefer to walk or cycle to nearby places, thanks to the sidewalks and cycle lanes. Manchester has a free bus (formerly called Metroshuttle) service that provides a free hop-on, hop-off service. These buses link to all the main railway stations and shopping areas. The tram services are also convenient and frequent. To get to neighbouring places, the inter-city rail network is a popular choice. You can get one of the travel cards called System One Travelcard from the stations. These offer unlimited travel access across bus, train, and tram.

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Places to visit in Manchester

  • Manchester Cathedral: Get ready to be amazed by the beauty of this chapel in Manchester. It was formally called the Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St. Mary, St. Denys, and St. George. This cathedral is seated on the banks of the River Irwell, displaying its stunning architectural beauty, built in the 1486s and 1508s. However, it was after 1847 that the status of this place really took off.
  • Manchester Museum: One of the museums to visit in the city is the Manchester Museum, which displays archaeology, anthropology, and natural history. It has large Chinese cultural collections. This building itself can be called a museum since it was first established in 1888. Manchester Museum displays around 4.5 million artefacts from all over the world.
  • The Quays: You can easily spend a day exploring the Quays. This is one of Manchester’s unique places, located a few minutes from the city centre. You can get here by using the Metrolink trams. It is a popular place to spend time on a weekend. There are several things to do at the Quays. Here, you can find places for entertainment and leisure, which include sites like the Imperial War Museum North, The Lowry, Ordsall Hall, and Emirates Old Trafford.
  • Chinatown: While exploring Chinatown, you can find fun in the chaos. This neighbourhood is considered the second-largest Chinatown in the UK. The first thing you will see here is the majestic archway which was completed in 1987 on Faulkner Street. You can come here and try the traditional Chinese delicacies from Hong Kong and Beijing, shop for clothes, handicrafts, artwork, and enjoy sweet snacks at the bakeries. You can also visit the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art (CFCCA).
  • Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden: A worth-seeing attraction on the outskirts of Manchester is the Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden. This garden was founded in 1917. Half of the space is dedicated to a botanical garden and another half, as a wildlife habitat. Being a nature site, you can find many species of birds here. Most locals visit Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden for a fun day out, picnics, nature strolls, and playing sports.

Places to eat in Manchester

  • The Black Friar: On the periphery of Manchester center is the Black Friar, a gastropub named after a Benedictine monk. This place has been serving people with delicious meals for a while. After a fire damage, it has been rebuilt and refurbished. It now has a blend of old and new, where the old pub has been extended into a modern restaurant, with a garden. While here, treat yourself to a Sunday roast.
  • Albert’s Schloss: Probably one of the coolest places to eat in Manchester is Albert’s Schloss. It is a Bavarian-inspired restaurant with pilsner beers on tap and a beer cellar. The restaurant's extraordinary dimensions and stunning design are a win; it has well-preserved original plaster, an original fireplace, and a wall stuffed with flowers.
  • The Sparrows: It is a casual restaurant that serves drinks, pasta dishes, and hand-made European dumplings. The ambience itself is cosy, like a Zen-inspired setting with a brick patio. The Sparrows specialty is egg pasta, which is common in southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. If you are looking for something worth your while without travelling around a lot, then you need to flock to the Sparrows.

Shopping in Manchester

  • Arndale Market: Visit the Arndale Market and enjoy a wide variety from different cuisines. This market is inside the Arndale Shopping Centre and sells a diverse mix of street food, British comfort foods, and dishes from all around the world, like South American, Asian, and more. You can find restaurants like Salt & Pepper, Fusion Lab, Pancho’s Burritos, and Suppa.
  • Levenshulme Market: This is a lively, community-led initiative market that is held from March to December. Here, you can find vintage clothes, antiques, trinkets, and even British comfort food. One of the interesting elements of this place is that music is played throughout the day, till shops are open. So, if you are here on a sunny day, you are bound to have fun with the warm sun shining on your face, music, and lively ambience.
  • Affleck’s: Affleck’s is an indoor market located in a former department store. It is a casual shopping destination in Manchester for vintage fashion, streetwear, and lifestyle brands. Here, you can find a range of independent shops and small boutiques, along with food stalls. Shopping from here may make you feel like a local, since many young people come here to find something unique.

Where to stay in Manchester?

  • Stock Exchange Hotel: The hotel we know today was a former stock exchange building in Manchester. Although the hotel is run under the same name, by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, it still oozes old-world charm through its typical British architecture. It consists of modern interiors with 40 luxurious rooms, a checkerboard marble floor, soaring pillars, and framed artefacts depicting the glorious history of the place.
  • King Street Townhouse: One of the highlights that may make you immediately book a stay at King Street Townhouse is their infinity pool. Located on the seventh floor, you get a lovely view of the city and its skyline. This 40-room hotel is one of the most popular in Manchester. It features a theatre, a terrace for cocktails located on the sixth floor, and artwork that surrounds the hotel walls.
  • The Midland: The beauty of the Midland Hotel is beyond compare to any new-age hotel in Manchester. This hotel, built in 1903, boasts of gothic architecture. With a red-coloured exterior, the building faces the historical St. Peter's Square. After going through refurbishments, the hotel has added newer additions like a slick bar in the lobby, where you can have a glass of champagne before heading to the restaurant to savour delicious food.

More reasons to visit Manchester

  • Canals of Castlefield: Manchester’s Castlefield is filled with canals, green spaces, and walkable areas, making it a relaxing neighbourhood. It is one of the best places to see houseboats, beautiful Victorian houses, and the reconstructed Mamucium Roman Fort. You will notice a series of bridges around this neighbourhood, and one not to miss is the Bridgewater Canal that was constructed in 1761. It was built to transport coal from the mines at Worsley to Manchester. Other tourist sites of interest are the Castlefield Art Gallery and Hallé Orchestra, among others.
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