City of Manchester

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Manchester UK

Smaller than London, Manchester (map) offers the ‘buzz’ of a large city without the overwhelming scale of the capital. It is a vibrant, post-industrial gem at the heart of North West England, between Liverpool and Leeds. It is seen by many as a young, vibrant and cutting edge city, where there is always something happening.

Throughout time, writers have sought to describe the magic of Manchester: George Orwell called it “the belly and guts of the Nation”; Edward Abbott Parry “a synonym for energy and freedom”, but Ian Brown, lead singer of The Stone Roses, perhaps summed up the Mancunian spirit best when he said “Manchester’s got everything except a beach”. The sand is almost certainly on order already.

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Manchester is often named ‘best student city’. It is very welcoming to the student lifestyle and many establishments in the centre and South Manchester are geared towards students.

*Manchester’s Chinatown (map) has been a feature of Manchester since the late 1970s. It’s a genuine experience! It’s home to the bulk of Manchester’s east Asian restaurants as well as many traders in Chinese food and goods.

St. Ann’s Square (map) is the centre of Manchester’s main shopping district. It is usually packed with shoppers and usually the odd one or two street entertainers. The Council holds many events in the square, including specialist markets and musical events.

Spinningfields (map) & Albert Square (map) covers the area in central Manchester. It covers the locales of central Deansgate, Albert Square, as well as the newly developed business district of Spinningfields, and is focussed upon the heart of the city centre.

Manchester Cathedral (map) in the Millennium Quarter. The widest cathedral in England with important carved choir stalls (school of Lincoln) and pulpitum.

*Manchester Town Hall (map) on Albert Square. This imposing and beautiful neo-Gothic masterpiece by Alfred Waterhouse is a symbol of the wealth and power of Manchester during the Industrial Revolution. The Town Hall is on the wide cobbled area of Albert Square, which is all accessible from St Peter’s Square Metrolink station (map).

The Trafford Centre (map) is a huge out-of-town shopping centre and accessible by car, taxi, bus or tram. It was linked to the Metrolink tram system in March 2020. Dubbed by many a Temple to Consumerism, it is one of the largest, and possibly the grandest of such centres in Europe. The centre is spectacular, luxurious, and ‘posh’ inside and out.

Rusholme’s Curry Mile (map) is, as the name suggests, home to a lot of Indian restaurants! Due to the high concentration of curry houses, and all the competition, you should be able to get a really good curry in just about any restaurant.

During the period leading up to Christmas from November, there is a Christmas Market stretching from the Town Hall towards St Ann’s Square and New Cathedral Street. By the Town Hall section there is a spectacular range of international cuisine.

Public transport

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Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) + journey planner

TRAVELINE – Provides online travel planner services for all public transportation across Great Britain. They also have separate planners dedicated to specific regions.

+ Getting around Britain (visitbritain.com).

 BUS >   The free bus has replaced the old Metroshuttle bus service. It runs on two routes starting from Piccadilly station.

Most of the buses in North Manchester are operated by First whilst Stagecoach operate in South Manchester and serve most places that you are likely to want to go in the conurbation.

National Express | UK Stop finder

 RAIL >   Manchester city centre is served by two major railway stations, Piccadilly in the south and Victoria in the north.

The essential source for rail travel information in Great Britain is the National Rail website. It includes an extremely useful journey planner, ticket prices and detailed information about every railway station in the country. (*Rail travel in Great Britain).

 AIRPORTS >   The number 43 bus not only runs all day to the airport but also throughout the night at regular intervals. Train services from Piccadilly also serve the airport all night.

airportguides.co.uk. The most important airports are London HeathrowLondon Gatwick and Manchester Airport. All three have multiple terminals and are collectively served by a vast range of airlines and flights from the four corners of the map.

 WATERWAYS >   There are many ferry routes into the UK from continental Europe. (*Ferry routes to Great Britain)

Bicycles may be taken on car ferries and on Eurotunnel shuttle trains. Eurostar allows folding bikes on all its trains, and offers a more restricted service for other bikes, but has quite strict and specific rules that are worth reading up on before you travel.

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