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New Order, The Bee Gees, Oasis, the list goes on. Manchester’s musical back catalogue is filled with hits, leaving a legacy of top talent matched only by its sport stars. Birthplace of the computer, today’s Manchester is quirky, edgy, innovative … and did we mention the food?
Known for fun and revelry, Canal Street was the filming location for TV’s ‘Queer as Folk’. A clutch of clubs and bars cater to every imaginable subculture – plus a few new ones. Whether you’re flying the rainbow flag for Pride, a drag queen in search of a feather boa, or a group of friends out on the town, you’ll be welcomed with open arms whatever your persuasion.Accommodation near Canal Street
“The finest example of Neo-Gothic architecture in the world”, so experts say – Manchester’s town hall bell tower is the city’s pride and joy. The clock bell, Great Abel (like Westminster’s, Big Ben), is inscribed with an admonishment from the poet Tennyson: “Ring out the false, ring in the true”. Counting out the hours since 1879, if this doesn’t move you, you have no soul.Accommodation near Manchester Town Hall
Inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, the city library is now a classic in its own right. After four years of restoration, at a cost of £50 million, this circular, neoclassical gem reopened in 2014. Settle yourself in one of the comfy chairs and make a start on the library’s two million books – and when you fancy a breath of fresh air, cross St Peter’s Square to the war memorial.Accommodation near Manchester Central Library
Deansgate is Manchester’s good-time central. It’s one of Manchester’s most popular areas in the evening (especially after work on Fridays), and at weekends. 250+ bars, restaurants and cafes are in and around the street and Deansgate Locks (aka ‘party town’). Business casual, gussied up or jeans and a tee, if you really want to let your hair down, this is the place to be.Accommodation near Deansgate
The lifeblood of the city, the history of the River Irwell is as deep as the water itself – and remains a traditional icon for the city. Marking the natural boundary between Manchester and Salford, its banks are dotted with waterside bars, restaurants and spots to picnic, fish, swim or just watch the world float by.Accommodation near The River Irwell
Stadiums and arenas
Until recently, Manchester City were considered the poor relations of city rivals, Manchester United. The arrival of Sheikh Mansour changed all that. These days, you can see the world’s brightest soccer stars shine at the Etihad Stadium. And if you can’t get a match ticket, opt for a stadium tour instead and see the home of the Premier League champions close up.Accommodation near City of Manchester 'Etihad' Stadium
Stadiums and arenas
The “Theatre of Dreams” has been making fans dreams a reality here for years. Manchester United has become one of the most popular football clubs in the world, and their titles and trophies are held at an onsite museum. Whether you’re planning to see a match or simply take a stadium tour, a visit here is an absolute must (unless you’re a Manchester City fan!).Accommodation near Old Trafford
Both the BBC and Britain’s independent broadcaster, ITV, are based here. And where you have journalists and TV types, can the city’s best eateries and watering holes be far away? Go at the end of the day to see the reflections of the modern office blocks light up the waterfront and you never know who you might bump into having an after-work pint in one of the locals.Accommodation near Salford Quays
Over 240 hectares of historic estate, Heaton Park is one of the largest green spaces in Europe. There’s no better place for golf, strolling in the woods, boating on the lake during the day … and stargazing at night. Festivals, feasts and fun-runs are held here throughout the year and the Animal Centre is always a children’s favourite – just keep them at arms length.Accommodation near Heaton Park
The Queen shops at Harrods. Everyone else shops at the Trafford Centre. If you fancy yourself a retail prince or princess, browse around this giant mall beneath its Romanesque arches. Among your royal subjects – Selfridges, Debenhams, John Lewis, Apple, Omega and Topman, Europe’s largest food court, the 20-screen Odeon cinema, mini-golf, bowling alleys and more.Accommodation near Trafford Centre
Amid the welcoming bustle of the city centre, Piccadilly Gardens is a green space with a difference. Redesigned by a Japanese architect, these 21st-century gardens are cool, modernistic and controversial. Take a bird’s-eye view from the Manchester Wheel, then steady the vertigo with a real ale at the KRO Bar.Accommodation in Manchester City Centre
Don’t dismiss Manchester’s most “alternative” quarter as merely a hipster’s paradise. Sample a dizzying range of beers – locally brewed and from all parts of the world – in Port Street Beer House. Then soak up the brews with a chewy, cheesy, crispy pizza in “Dough”. There’s lots to do in this night-owl’s hotspot.Accommodation in Northern Quarter
Salford has arrived at last! Investment life-blood has transformed this urban wasteland into urbane sophisticate. The theatres and art galleries of the Lowry Centre – named for Salford’s most famed “matchstick men” painter – ensure that the area is beyond cool. And the presence of ITV and the BBC ensure the city’s role as MediaCity UK.Accommodation in Salford
Tradition meets inner-city calm. That’s what you’ll find in Castlefield, another area which proudly demonstrates the proud canal based history of the city. Recent redevelopments have not detracted from the charming character of this part of the city, with the Bridgewater Canal and the red brick bridges in particular worth a special visit.Accommodation in Castlefield
The streets of the outer suburb of Didsbury are peppered with Victorian mansions, homes of the mill owners who prospered there in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This district’s gracious, old-village atmosphere makes it the ideal place for quieter nights out in stylish surroundings. Pop in to the village for a choice selection of restaurants.Accommodation in Didsbury
Manchester United. For many, they are the only reason they have even heard of the city. The stadium stands like a sporting skyscraper, with upwards of 70,000 people regularly packing into the arena, turning the surrounding streets into a sea of red. Hungry on match day? Stop at one of the fish and chip shops for an English tradition.Accommodation in Old Trafford
With a large student population, there’s always something afoot in Fallowfield. Local bars and restaurants specialise in catering for champagne lifestyles on lemonade wages. It's worth venturing here if only for is fabulous comedy club XS Malarkey. The atmosphere is young and lively but you don’t have to be a student to get a kick out of this area.Accommodation in Fallowfield
After 4 years studying in Manchester, Sam now lives in London but still maintains his Northern Soul.
This legendary live music venue has been part of Manchester’s history for over 200 years – the unusual name comes from the height of the original stage. I have great memories of Luv Dub reggae nights here, and now regular sessions include Mr Scruff and the Craig Charles Funk and Soul club.Accommodation nearby
Mum-of-two Amanda lives just outside the city and has been working in Manchester for 15 years.
This welcoming milk bar/kitchen is located in the bohemian Northern Quarter and serves an amazing array of American-style breakfasts – the eggs Benedict and peanut butter malt milkshake are my personal favourites. It’s always busy so you may have to wait for a table, but it’s so worth it!Accommodation nearby
As a huge Man United fan, local girl Nicola can often be found at Old Trafford on match days.
Lounge on 12 is located in Manchester House, right in the heart of Spinningfields. It’s an amazing place to enjoy indulgent cocktails whilst experiencing panoramic views of Manchester's skyline. You’ve also got a great chance of spotting a celebrity here!Accommodation nearby
Scottish-born Caroline loves Manchester’s ever-changing atmosphere and amazing restaurants and bars.
As the name suggests, it’s a Cuban bar that has a massive choice of rums and often hosts live acoustic music. The delicious tapas-style food and mojito royale (that’s a mojito topped with champagne) are too good to miss out on. You might even spot the Booking.com Manchester crew here!Accommodation nearby
Tristan studied in nearby Lancaster and often ventured into Manchester for its live music scene.
The Manchester Academies on Oxford Road consistently have a choice of great bands and up-and-coming artists. Academy 1 holds 2600 people and offers the chance to experience well-known acts, while Academy 3 is much smaller – perfect for getting up close to your favourite singer-songwriters.Accommodation nearby
Lauren grew up in the countryside near Manchester and has since lived in Ireland, Spain and Mexico.
I know Christmas is almost here when the markets open up in mid-November. They’re spread all over the city but the best atmosphere is outside the town hall in Albert Square. Stalls sell food, drinks and gifts from all over Europe – great for Christmas shopping while sipping mulled wine!Accommodation nearby
Originally from Istanbul, Derin loves Manchester's multicultural people and witty northern humour.
The Comedy Store Manchester is one of the best places in the UK to see stand-up comedy. It hosts weekly shows from Thursday to Sunday, with a mix of big names and up-and-coming comedians. It’s great to be able to have a meal and a drink while watching live comedy!Accommodation nearby
Born near Manchester, Karl now lives in London and is getting to grips with life in the south.
Part of the University of Manchester, Manchester Museum is fascinating for visitors of any age and best of all, it’s free. Its 4 floors of galleries contain everything from Egyptian mummies to a giant Japanese spider crab, but the most famous inhabitant is a fossilised T-Rex named Stan.Accommodation nearby
Born and raised nearby, Dee has lived in cities all over Europe but says Manchester beats them all.
I love going for food and cocktails at Dogs N Dough. It’s hidden away near Albert Square, and serves the best hotdogs and pizzas in the city. There are always great deals, including half-price cocktails midweek. They also do the best milkshakes ever, and the dessert pizza is to die for!Accommodation nearby
Booking.com asked travellers...Where should people go if they don't want to eat in a tourist trap?
The Alpine cafe in the park at Didsbury for snacks and lunch. The Royal Exchange theatre bar and restaurant.See all 34 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...Did the theatre performances in Manchester live up to their reputation?
Yes. We went to the Royal Exchange Theatre which is always very good.See all 36 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...Is there more to shopping in Manchester than main street stores?
Yes, Northern Quarter full of independent shops and restaurantsSee all 64 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Manchester.
shopping and numerous eating out places to suit all tastesSee all 94 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...What makes the people from Manchester so friendly? Tell us your story.
Relaxed atmosphere on the streets and when shopping.See all 19 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...What should you avoid to make the most of the nightlife in Manchester?
Off the beaten track locationsSee all 24 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...Was it cheap, fast, well-explained? What made it so easy to get around in Manchester?
The bus, we have bus passes.See all 17 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...What was the most entertaining thing you saw in Manchester?
Mrs brown,s boysSee all 45 answers
Follow signs for The Station to reach Manchester Airport’s central rail, tram and bus interchange. It’s a 20-minute train journey to Piccadilly Station (every 10 minutes from 05:30–23:30, less frequently overnight). Buy a ticket from the machines or booth for GBP 4.30. Metrolink trams leave every 12 minutes and cost GBP 4.20 – look out for the yellow ticket machines on the platform. It’s a 45-minute ride to Cornbrook, where you can change lines for the city centre.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport is a hub for budget airlines and is just a 50-minute drive from central Manchester. Terravision buses leave from right outside Arrivals approximately once an hour from 05:00–23:50, stopping at Manchester Sackville Street (next to the main coach station) and Shudehill Interchange. Tickets cost GBP 8 single or GBP 12 return: buy them online, at the airport’s Terravision desk, or from Terravision representatives at the bus stops in Manchester.
Manchester Piccadilly is a large modern station offering regional and cross-country services, including frequent connections to Manchester Airport and high-speed trains to London. It’s remarkably easy to navigate and has a good range of restaurants, cafés and shops. The smaller, more old-fashioned Manchester Victoria offers local services around the north-west of England. Free Metroshuttle buses link the two stations from 07:00–19:00 (Sundays 10:00–18:00).
Manchester’s main bus stations are at Piccadilly Gardens and Shudehill Interchange – from there, routes criss-cross the city and fan out to surrounding towns. Bus companies include Stagecoach, Arriva and First: all offer day passes for around GBP 4, available to buy from the driver. Free Metroshuttle buses also connect the city’s main train stations and shopping areas from 07:00–19:00 (Sundays 10:00–18:00). Night buses are mainly limited to the Oxford Road corridor.
Manchester has both London-style black cabs and private taxis. Black cabs can be flagged down in the street, found at a taxi rank or pre-booked. The metered fares are standardised and all vehicles are wheelchair accessible. Private taxis are either white or silver, with yellow number plates and a yellow sticker indicating the name of the company. They can’t be flagged down and need to be pre-booked. Fares vary but should always be displayed clearly inside the taxi.
Metrolink’s 6 lines radiate outwards from the city centre through the suburbs, reaching nearby towns such as Bury, Rochdale, Altrincham and Ashton-under-Lyne. A new service also links Manchester Airport to Cornbrook, where you can change to other lines. Tickets cost between GBP 1.40 and GBP 4.70 depending on the journey – buy before you travel from the yellow ticket machines on the platform. Trams are surprisingly quiet so take care when crossing roads in the city centre!
Driving in Manchester city centre is relatively straightforward – just look out for bus lanes, as driving in them is heavily fined. EU driving licences are valid in the UK, while non-EU citizens can use their foreign licence for up to 12 months. City-centre parking is very pricey: NCP car parks charge GBP 8 to GBP 12 for up to 4 hours, or GBP 13 to GBP 18 for 24 hours. Alternatively, there are free park-and-ride sites next to most train and tram stations on the outskirts of the city.
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