Manchester is the ‘un-crowned’ powerhouse and capital of the North of England, not too far from its nearest neighbor Liverpool. Where most travelers make a bee-line for London to soak up the history and the hustle and bustle the vast majority fail to even consider Manchester, yet this city gave birth to the Industrial Revolution. Locals are classed as the most friendly and relaxed people within The UK and are fiercely proud of their roots. And why wouldn’t they? It has a rich history, promotes one of the worlds leading Medical and Science research facilities, and sports two of the worlds largest football (soccer) Teams, Ice Hockey Team and played host the ‘The Commonwealth Games’.
Guest post by Keith Evans
What’s the best time to visit Manchester?
Due to its geographical location in England it is known as ‘rain-chester’ due to the fact it rains a lot. The city is surrounded by hills and mountains and the weather tends to get trapped rolling in off the Atlantic Ocean. However, this is not to say the city is grey, far from it. Its colourful and vibrant. Like anywhere in Northern Europe the Summer months between June and September are your best chance to stay dry, plus, Summer days are very long. The Sun rises around 4am and does not set until almost 10pm!
What’s good to know about Manchester?
– Architecture! The buildings are stunning – most people tend not to look up but focus on the streets below. You miss out on so much.
– Its an incredibly easy city to get to. The city is fed by a direct train service from London Euston that takes about two hours, and outside of London Heathrow and London Gatwick, boasts the Country’s third largest airport with direct services from every Continent in the world.
– Manchester airport is roughly 7 miles from the city centre and trains leave every few minutes.
– Navigating the city is easy. The whole city is connected by the Metro service. Bright yellow trams meander the city and are relativity cheap. Do not bother with taxi’s. You will be faster on foot or using the Metro service.
– If you enjoy food, music and culture Manchester will not fail to please you. The city is divided into various districts. The CBD, The Green Quarter, The Northern quarter, Spinningfields, Exchange Square, Albert Square, and, boasts one of the largest Gay neighborhoods named the Gay Village.
One day in Manchester itinerary
Top things to do in Manchester, United Kingdom
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your one day in Manchester.
To do this city in 24 hours would actually be an injustice. However, if 24 hours is all you have then get out early and explore!
Museums And Libraries
Did you know Manchester is home to some of the most beautiful libraries in the world? Of course you did not, they are underrated. Chetham’s Library, is the oldest free public library in the English-speaking world. While the exact dates of construction for all of its buildings are unknown, the foundations were poured around 1080.
The John Rylands Library, is breathtaking in a kind of ‘Hogwart’s sort of way’. Named for John Rylands but actually founded by his wife it is the kind of place where you never stop looking up, even when you manage to score an alcove in the soaring Reading Room for yourself.
The Manchester Central Library, is considered one of the grand old buildings of Europe. Circular in design, it stands resolutely between the Midland Hotel (where Mr’s Rolls and Royce developed a car) and Manchester Town Hall. The galleries and exhibit halls flank the outside of the structure. Just downriver from the slightly more musically-famous Liverpool, other offspring of Manchester’s illustrious musical history include Morrissey, Joy Division and the Stone Roses.
MOSI or Manchester of Science and Industry, is a free museum and displays Manchester’s rich industrial legacy explored in this excellent museum set within the enormous grounds of old Liverpool St Station, the oldest rail terminus in the world. The large collection of steam engines and original factory machinery tell the story of the city from the sewers up, while a host of new technology talks of its future. You can access this museum using the Metro and disembarking at Castlefields-Deansgate stop.
Manchester Town Hall, is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city providing a decadent, historical setting. Catch the Metro to Albert Square. The Town Hall is regarded as one of the finest examples of neo-Gothic architecture in the United Kingdom, and, is one of the most important Grade 1 listed buildings in England. The Town Hall additionally creates an incredible backdrop to one of Europe’s biggest Christmas Markets.
Media City – Catch the Metro to MediaCityUK to discover the BBC’s Northern home. But this is just one significant element of this vast, 81-hectare site, it is also home to the set of the world’s longest running soap opera, the popular Coronation Street. At media city you will also discover other sites such as the Imperial War Museum – a huge beautifully designed aluminium clad building; The Lowry Theatre and Shopping Mall and from the Quayside the view of one of the biggest football clubs in the World Manchester United.
If shopping is your thing then you will be spoiled. There are three distinct areas of which all are accessible by foot or jumping on the relevant Metro services. If you are after Premium department stores offering lavish items then head to King Street where you will discover Chanel, Dior, Vivienne Westwood and Louis Vuitton, along with the designer restaurants of Rosso or Gotham. Most bars and restaurants in this area are owned by celebrities, and is probably the best place to spot international singers/actors etc.
If you are after High Street stores then head to Market Street and Exchange Square that is home to the usual Diesel, H&M, Lacoste and 2 huge department stores Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
The third shopping area is found in the Northern Quarter – this is probably the most relaxed area of the city and offers very independent, trendy and bohemian items. One of the best places to just loose yourself is Aflecks Palace. Floors of independent stalls selling everything from food, jewelry and clothing.
Food and drink
Food and drink is huge in this city. The locals are hard-drinkers and are ever so surprised foreigners choose this city over London. Locals have a genuine interest in knowing your business over a few beers. They have a great way of making you feel welcomed. Some of the best places to sample the local brews are in the Northern Quarter, fondly known as The NQ, where most bars serve local independent beers. Some of my favourite bars here are Tib Street Tavern, Lammars, Dry Bar and The Terrace.
If you head towards the Town Hall and Albert Square you will find numerous bars and restaurants that all offer great food and reasonably priced cocktails.
Where to stay in Manchester?
King Street Townhouse
King Street Townhouse offers contemporary accommodation as a great combination of historical features and modern standard. It is located in the center of Manchester, only 5 minutes walk from Manchester Town Hall. The hotel is set in an impressive Italian renaissance building, originally built in 1872. The hotel feature infinity spa pool on the rooftop, a relaxation room and steam room as well as the conference and event space. The rooms provide comfort and a contemporary design.
ibis Styles Manchester Portland
ibis Styles Manchester Portland is a nicely decorated, modern stay in the heart of the city. The hotel is located only a short walk to Piccadilly Gardens. It features charming, weather-themed rooms, on site restaurant and the bar. All the facilities boast unique design, cool details and modern furnishing.
YHA Manchester is a modern and comfortable hostel stay not so far from the city center. The hostel features café bar, cinema room, communal kitchen and canal side restaurant. Bright rooms provide comfortable stay in bunk beds and are en-suite.
Manchester allows London to have the attention it so desires because Manchester already knows what it has. The city is just waiting for everyone else to figure this out.
If you want the traditional English experience of castles, red tourist buses and people too socially stunted to look or speak to a stranger, stay to London. Despite the business, it really is beautiful, and everyone should go at least once.
However, if you want the kind of city that makes you feel at home, if you want to make friends, if you want to stroll amidst gorgeous architecture and good books and better music — visit Manchester. You will be the only person you know who did.
Make your trip to Manchester even more exciting! Check out Tripadvisor for the detailed list of all the activities and organized tours in Manchester or around the area.
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