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4/5Very Good!(2,171 area reviews)
Known for its fantastic nightlife and popular shops, there's plenty to explore in Manchester City Centre. Check out top attractions like The Gay Village and Albert Square, and jump on the metro at St Peters Square Station or Mosley Street Station to see more of the city.
Travellers choose Old Trafford for its abundant dining options. Hop aboard the metro at Trafford Bar Tram Stop or Old Trafford Tram Stop and check out top sights like Old Trafford.
4/5Very Good!(539 area reviews)
Consider a visit to Trafford Centre and take some time to enjoy the abundant dining options during your time in Trafford. If you want to see more of the city, jump on the metro at Brooklands Tram Stop or Timperley Tram Stop.
4/5Very Good!(465 area reviews)
This collection of restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries and other shops is one of Manchester’s most interesting cultural districts.
4/5Very Good!(353 area reviews)
Taste craft beers and stroll down the lively streets of this alternative district, noticing the vinyl record stores, street art and indie fashion boutiques.
Reviewed on 9 Mar 2020
Energetic, diverse and with a buzz all of its own, Manchester is a fantastic place for a city break. Its rich history is writ large across the cityscape, while it’s staunchly independent streak – and strong desire to do things ‘the Mancunian way’ – is there for all to see in a thriving arts scene, pop-up bars and restaurants, and great choice of music venues. There are two world-class football teams, too.
The city centre is compact and easily covered on foot. If you do want to go further afield and out to Salford Quays, for instance, or Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, the Metrolink tram system is the best way to get there.
As you’d expect from a great city, there’s an excellent range of hotels to suit all tastes and budgets. At the higher end, The Midland is an ornate red-brick and terracotta edifice near St Peter’s Square that’s impossible to miss. It’s a four-star spa hotel that’s also home to The French, constantly one of the city’s top restaurants.
At the other side of the city centre, Roomzzz Manchester Corn Exchange offers a range of apartments, all with free Wifi, and there’s a 24-hour fitness centre. Other popular city centre hotels include Jurys Inn Manchester City Centre, which has the option of connecting rooms, and the Princess St Hotel on the edge of China Town.
Manchester is a great destination for a family break, and surprisingly it’s a trio of museums that could catch youngsters’ imaginations.
In the Millennium Quarter, close to the city’s impressive cathedral, the futuristic-looking National Football Museum traces the history of the beautiful game and there’s also the chance to test your skills in the Football Plus Zone.
Also in the city centre is the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), which takes you through a whirlwind tour of discovery, from steam engines to the first computers, before bringing you bang up to date with a virtual reality space mission.
The trio is completed by the Imperial War Museum North, and a trip out to Salford Quays and the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal. An undoubted highlight are the regular Big Picture Shows, when images are projected on to the walls of the main exhibition hall, reflecting a different aspect of war.
Also at The Quays is the Lowry, another great space for the arts that’s home a huge collection of Lowry paintings, as well as two theatres with a varied programme of shows for all the family.
Cultural highs back in the city centre include HOME, with its mix of theatres, cinemas and bars, and the Royal Exchange, a theatre that fits perfectly in the heart of Manchester’s ornate, old cotton exchange.
The City Art Gallery, with its stunning portico entrance, has an excellent collection of art, most notably Pre-Raphaelites such as Holman Hunt and Rossetti. Diagonally opposite sits the Central Library, worth a visit just to see the great circular reading room.
Other architectural gems include Manchester Town Hall on Albert Square, a neo-Gothic masterpiece built as a symbol of the city’s wealth and power during the Industrial Revolution. Even older is Chetham’s Library, which was founded in 1653 and is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world.
From the Bee Gees to The Smiths and New Order, Manchester has a rich musical heritage, too. The city centre is dotted with small venues such as the legendary Band on the Wall, while larger bands head for the Manchester Arena. For classical, the Bridgwater Hall is home to the world-famous Hallé Orchestra.
Ten years ago, the area to the north of the city centre was run down and unloved. Today, the Northern Quarter is home to many of Manchester’s best bars and cafés, as well as a smattering of independent boutiques and Mancunian institution Affleck’s Palace, with its second-hand vinyl and retro fashions.
There’s more mainstream shopping to be had in the Arndale Centre, and high-end shops around Spinningfields and Exchange Square, which is also good for bars and restaurants.