Long known as being one of the birthplaces of the UK’s industrial revolution, Manchester has had the reputation of being a gritty and counter-culture city. Recently, however, opinions on this North-Western city have changed dramatically; since the 1990s, mammoth-sized efforts have been made to transform the place into an exuberant and cosmopolitan place to live in and visit.
Now famous for its rich culture, diversity, night-life and sports, Manchester is proving itself a force to be reckoned with. For the past couple of years, the Global Liveability Survey (under the direction of the Economist Intelligence Unit) has ranked Manchester as the most desirable place in the UK to live, beating London numerous times. This in itself is sure to spark the interest of visiting tourists. Without further ado, here are 10 reasons to visit Manchester:
Home to four universities, Manchester is sure to have a vibrant youth culture and, along with this, an impressive array of clubs, bars and evening entertainment. Although the legendary Hacienda rarely hosts nights, its legacy lives on and has trickled down into a melting pot of exciting nightlife. The LGBT-friendly Canal Street is packed with bars and must-see for those who love a party. The city is always bustling, day or night, and, because of this, nights out are always exciting and safe.
Manchester also has numerous theatres which offer excellent alternatives for those wishing to escape the rush of the evening’s club scene. The Palace Theatre, for example, is located on the busy Oxford Street but is nevertheless a tranquil and enjoyable haven for lovers of plays and musicals in general.
Manchester United and Manchester City are undoubtedly some of the most famous football clubs in the world. Fans from all over the country flock to the city to witness the most talked about matches and watch the most well-known players practise their craft in the city’s impressive stadiums. These Premier League teams offer hospitality packages and tours of the stadiums, perfect for any fan of any age.
Rugby fans are additionally sure to be aware of the city’s sporting culture; Manchester Rugby Club, founded in 1890, is one of the world’s oldest rugby unions. The area is also home to the acclaimed Sale Sharks team, with well-respected names such as Sébastien Chabal, Ben Cohen and Jason White being former players of the team.
Despite its reputation for being a non-stop whirlwind of activity, Manchester boasts a number of important museums, making the city a surprising fountain of knowledge and heritage. Fans of football can visit the National Football Museum and learn much about the sport’s rich history and spectator culture.
The Whitworth Art Galley, Art Fund’s 2015 Museum of the Year, is a must-visit, having recently undergone modern refurbishments. Other important museums include the historically and artistically significant Manchester Museum, the People’s History Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry.
Simply walking around Manchester can be enriching itself. The city’s long history and development over the years render it one that immerses the past with the future. The Gothic design of the domineering town hall, the red-brick rustic quality of the numerous warehouses and the sleek glass panes of 21st Century renovation demonstrate that Manchester has it all.
Manchester’s shopping scene perfectly reflects the diversity of its inhabitants and the success of its development. No matter what you’re looking for, Manchester’s shops will have it. For those searching for oddities, Afflecks indoor markets are perfect because of their variety of stalls and independent boutiques. For the lovers of contemporary fashion (and those who can afford it), New Cathedral Street is the heart of the city’s luxury market, housing Harvey Nichols and Selfridges amongst high-end brands. The Trafford Centre is furthermore a place of interest: the eclectic architecture and vast size make it the UK’s most memorable shopping experiences.
Manchester’s diverse population has opened doors to a rich array of cultural heritage and, with it, a food scene which rivals that of London. The ‘curry mile’, located in Rusholme, is as its name suggests and definitely worth a visit for lovers of Asian food. There is additionally a European influence that has seeped into Manchester dining, such as Portuguese and French gastronomy. The relatively low cost of restaurants means that the food can be enjoyed freely and in larger quantities compared to the capital.
The legendary status of Manchester’s music scene needs no introduction. Having given birth to Oasis, the Smiths, Joy Division, Take That and many more, Manchester’s musical legacy is an immortal one. The musical heritage is not only reflected in the city’s nightlife, but also in its investment of music venus, such as the aforementioned Hacienda and the colossal Manchester Arena. What makes this city great, however, is its nurturing of up-and-coming talent; music lovers will gather in Manchester to support any great musician no matter the level of their fame.
Although Manchester’s industrial history has garnered it a smoggy, bleak image, it is in fact surrounded by the country’s most idyllic parks and countryside. The untouched beauty of the Peak District is a mere 12 miles away from the city centre and the Edge in Cheshire is perfect for its mythical past and hiker-friendly environment. Be sure to also visit Tatton Park, Lyme Park or the reservoirs in the Rochdale area.
As implied in the previous paragraph, Manchester is in fact the centre to a vast hub of attractions in the North-West. Places to visit include Chester Zoo, Blue Planet Aquarium, the Jodrell Bank Observatory or the peaceful and historical villages dotted around the affluent Cheshire county for example. The modern and efficient transport system means that any of these places are easy and cheap to get to.
Finally, if you’re ever in the area during November or December, you cannot miss the huge Christmas Markets which host 350 stalls from all over Europe. Like a city in itself, the Markets immerse the visitors in a fantasy world of foreign food, drink and craft.