Manchester City Guide
During the middle ages, Manchester was just a manorial township, however it began to expand at an astonishing rate around the turn of the 19th century. This was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, and resulted in it becoming the world's first industrialised city.
Today Manchester is the second most populous urban area in the UK, with a population of around 2.55 million people and is ranked as a beta world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Manchester has some pretty impressive companies headquartered there, such as Brother, Umbro, Google's only office outside London and of course ITV Granada Television.
For a spot of shopping, the Arndale Centre is not to be missed. With a vast array of shops (it's home to a HUGE Marks and Spencer's!) cafes and eateries its the perfect place to mooch around when the typical Northern weather rears its head! More famous is the Trafford Centre which is around a 25 minute drive from the centre but easily accessible by public transport.
The Lowry Centre is a Manchester venue unlike anything you will have seen before. One look at the building and it is easy to see that this is something else. But that's only the half of it. It's the idea behind the Lowry that sets it apart. There are art galleries and theatre, opera and ballet. There's cabaret, comedy and jazz too. There are shops and restaurants. And there is Artworks, which really is a world apart.
Culturally, Manchester Art Gallery is a must see, as is John Rylands Library on Deansgate which is a true gothic masterpiece.
OUR TOP 5 RESTAURANTS IN MANCHESTER
Manchester has some of the UKs best restaurants, from Michelin starred chefs to back street homely grub, there will be something for everyone and everyone's pocket! Here are our top 5.
The French by Simon Rogan
The Mancunian sister to his 2 Michelin starred L'Enclume in Cartmel, this place has held on to the Pride of Manchester Award - winning 'Manchester's Best Restaurant' since opening in 2013. The food is outstanding and most of the produce is grown on the farm at L'Enclume. There is a choice of six or 10 course tasting menu, all of which showcase some of his award winning dishes.
Punters at 186
A real hidden gem. Set in the suburbs of Manchester, around a 20 minute drive from the city centre, this unassuming place is perfect for an evening away from the hustle bustle. Competitively priced, attentive staff and fabulous food all make this currently Trip Advisors number one restaurant in Manchester.
Fazenda Rodizio Bar and Grill
A unique dining experience. It's probably best to give this place a miss is you're not into meat as it's not for the faint hearted. Various cuts of meat are brought to your table, freshly cooked in a variety of ways, for you to chose from. There is a salad bar of which you can pick at to your hearts content to accompany the succulent meats. If you're after something a bit lighter, there is a tapas menu which is equally as fabulous.
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has opened this plush Italian restaurant, located at the top of the prestigious King Street in a stunning 120 year old building. Don't let the name, plush cars parked outside or the location put you off; the food is very well priced and offers a good selection of pasta, steaks, pizza and fish dishes all cooked to a high standard. Live Jazz, soul and swing music plays, something which sets this place out from the rest.
The Northern version of the fabulous London restaurants. A relaxed yet fun atmosphere means this place has it all. Possibly the best steak you will ever taste and the finest cocktails that will have ever passed your lips makes this place the perfect choice for a spontaneous Saturday lunch.
Manchester transport Tips
Manchester city centre is quite compact which it makes it easy to get around on foot or bicycle, however you can also hop on one of the handy Metroshuttle buses. These little buses are free and link to all the main rail stations, shopping districts and businesses in the city centre. Metroshuttle operates from 7am - 7pm Monday to Saturday and 10am - 6pm on Sundays and runs approximately every 10 minutes.
If you want to venture a further afield, the Manchester Metrolink network is one of the most successful light rail systems in the UK, carrying nearly 20 million passengers every year. There are three lines which run from Bury, Altrincham and Eccles right into the heart of Manchester city centre.
Cycling around Manchester is a pleasant experience as back in 2012 the Transport for Greater Manchester was granted £20 million to create a better cycling infrastructure. Across Manchester, 'Cycleways' are being developed making it safer and easier to travel by bike. 'Cycle Hubs' also feature at many train, tram and bus terminuses making it a safe place to leave your bike should you want to travel further afield by other means of transport.
Manchester is very easy to get to by car with many major motorways surrounding it. Once in Manchester there are plenty of places to park such as the Trafford Centre or many other multi-storey car parks closer to the centre. There is no congestion charge but do be aware of controlled parking zones.
To plan your route around Manchester, whatever method of transport you chose, we suggest you go to the online journey planner for all the upto date information.
WHAT TO DO IN MANCHESTER
Listed below are some of the great places to visit in Manchester. Click one to find out more.
- The Trafford Centre
This is a personal favourite of ours!! We've been!
On a recent visit to Manchester we explored The Trafford Centre. A very impressive indoor shopping centre and leisure complex in Dumplington, Greater Manchester. Situated in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, the Centre is located close to the Trafford Park industrial estate and lies approximately five miles west of Manchester city centre. The Trafford Centre is the second largest shopping centre in the United Kingdom by retail size.
You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping. For more information on the centre -http://intu.co.uk/traffordcentre
Various activities offered for children. For more information on leisure activities - http://intu.co.uk/traffordcentre/leisure
- Manchester Art Gallery
Manchester Art Gallery houses many of the city's most important fine and decorative art works, which have been designated as being of national importance. The collection covers over six centuries up to the present day, being especially renowned for the 19th century British paintings. Particular visitor favourites include the major Pre-Raphaelite works and the impressionistic paintings of Adolphe Valette.
Visitors can also enjoy a diverse programme of changing exhibitions, ranging from historic to cutting edge contemporary art, photography, design, decorative art and family friendly exhibitions.
For more information visit: http://www.manchestergalleries.org
- The Lowry
The Lowry is a Manchester venue unlike anything you will have seen before. One look at the building and it is easy to see that this is something else. But that's only the half of it. It's the idea behind the Lowry that sets it apart. There are art galleries and theatre, opera and ballet. There's cabaret, comedy and jazz too. There are shops and restaurants. And there is Artworks, which really is a world apart.
For more information visit: http://www.thelowry.com
- Manchester United Museum and Tour
Manchester United Museum is located on Sir Matt Busby Way at Old Trafford, the Theatre of Dreams that's one of the world's most famous football stadiums. A ticket to Manchester United Museum might not get its holder into the Director's box on match days, but it certainly affords otherwise unprecedented access to a host of a hallowed artefacts and makes for an awe-inspiring family day out, whether you're a Red Devil or not.
Moreover, a supplement to the ticket to the Manchester United Museum allows visitors to go behind the scenes of the club in a way that's not otherwise possible, with a tour of the Away and Home players' changing rooms and the player's lounge (where the manager is banned unless invited by the team captain!). There's also a heady walk down the tunnel to the pitchside and the hallowed turf of Old Trafford. Additionally, the Stadium Tour from Manchester United Museum incorporates a sit in the lofty heights of the North Stand for a bird's eye view of the pitch, while a fun family day out peaks with an invitation to stand in Sir Alex Ferguson's spot in the dug out - just the ticket!
For more information visit: http://www.manchesterunitedmuseumguide.co.uk
- Walking tours of Manchester
If you want to see Manchester at a slower pace then why not take a walking tour of the main sites with your very own Blue Badge Tourist guide. Tours are available for groups or for individuals from abroad, from within Great Britain or locally, and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
For more information visit:http://www.toursofmanchester.co.uk