Manchester Travel Guide

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Manchester Overview

A city best known for its football teams: Manchester United, the most supported and most hated team in England, and the up and coming billionaires across the street, Manchester City. It’s true, football is, and for decades has been, a key part of life in Manchester, but getting to a game can be a little like winning the lottery: the pre-planning and expenses necessary are mind-blowing. Fortunately, Manchester has plenty more to offer.(Cricket too, at Old Trafford).

Manchester's second claim to fame is its music. Having spawned an entire ‘Madchester’ Brit-pop scene in the early 90s (e.g. Oasis, The Stone Roses and Inspiral Carpets), the nightlife may have quietened down a bit these days, but it’s still the envy of most other British cities.

As for culture, the city boasts several prestigious theatres (The Palace, The Opera House, The Lowry, The Royal Exchange); the first two often playing host to major touring West-End productions, such as Evita, Mama-Mia, We Will Rock You etc.

There are also several world class music venues, such as the Bridgewater Hall (home to the BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata and Hallé Orchestras). The enormous M.E.N Arena is 'the' music venue for all the big A-List names in popular music.

Finally, there are several well-renowned city centre museums such as the Museum of Science and Industry (Manchester was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution) and the Manchester Museum (one of the best collections of Egyptian artefacts in the UK).

Interestingly, despite its huge reputation for football, music and culture, Manchester is a fairly typical British city. Once at the heart of industrialisation, it’s a rough-round-the-edges, honest kind of place which grew from little more than a village in the mid 18th century to the übercity it is now, largely off the back of cotton production.

Though traces of the city's history can be seen in much of its architecture, Manchester is today a thriving modern conurbation and shopper's haven, with many high-end designer outlets dotted in clusters around the centre and several luxury department stores.

It’s easy to dismiss Manchester in favour of more traditional tourist destinations like London, Oxford, York or Durham. However, its significance in Britain’s history, its sporting presence (the envy of even London), its interesting nightlife and rich cultural scene make it well worthy of a visit.

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