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City guide – Manchester, England
Commonly called the second city of the United Kingdom, many regular visitors would rather travel to Manchester than any other city in England. Known worldwide for its major football clubs, Manchester also houses a lively music scene, plus architectural delights like the Gothic John Rylands Library, Manchester Cathedral and Arley Hall & Gardens – a wondrous Victorian mansion. Several shopping centres ensure that you can find souvenirs in boutiques, designer and high street stores, while restaurants like Manchester House Restaurant and Lounge and The French Restaurant, where many celebrities including Posh and Becks have dined, are difficult to rival.
Manchester is described by many historians as the world's first industrial city due to its role in cotton and coal production in the late 1700s. The building of Bridgewater Canal, one of England's first canals, helped hasten the transportation of these products into Manchester in 1761. When the canal was finished, Manchester had yet to open its first school, library or theatre, and the city's population was just 22,000 in 1773. By 1823, that figure jumped to around 108,000, and it would peak at 766,000 in 1931.
Things to see and do
The music scene in Manchester has helped shape the careers of some of the world's most beloved musicians including the Bee Gees, Oasis and Morrissey. In the spring of 1965, three bands from Manchester — the Dreamers, Herman's Hermits, and Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders — filled the top three spots of the Billboard Hot 100.
Much of the world's most popular music today is regularly performed at the 21,000-seat Manchester Arena, one of the planet's busiest facilities along with London's O2 Arena and Madison Square Garden in New York. Many of the more than 250 events that take place at Manchester Arena every year are musical concerts.
Live shows also take place in front of tens of thousands of people at Old Trafford cricket ground and the City of Manchester Stadium, while some of the more intimate concert venues here include the O2 Apollo Manchester, Manchester Academy and Manchester Central.
This football-mad city is enviable as the home of some pretty incredible football history as well as a pair of famous modern-era clubs. In 1888, the world's first professional league was founded at the Royal Hotel in Manchester. Years later, Manchester United and Manchester City combined to win seven of eight Premier League titles from the 2006-07 season through to the 2013-14 campaign. City plays two miles east of the centre at the City of Manchester Stadium, and United's Old Trafford is three miles to the west.
Several fun festivals take place in Manchester so you might want to want to schedule your trip to coincide with them. Sports fans should consider attending the British National Squash Championships, which are held at the National Squash Centre every February. Those with Irish blood, or those who simply want to be Irish for a couple of weeks, are encouraged to visit during the Manchester Irish Festival in March – its St. Patrick's Day parade is especially popular.
Runners can join 38,000 likeminded people for the Great Manchester Run, a 10-kilometre race held every May, while the Great Manchester Cycle race takes place on a 13-mile course in June.
Arts and cultural events
The Manchester International, a cultural gathering focused on new art, is held in June and July every other year. Party enthusiasts will want to make the trip to Manchester at some point between September and New Year's Day to take in the Warehouse Project and the tremendous industrial energy that surrounds this special club night in the city.
Contrary to popular belief, it actually rains less in Manchester than it does in the United Kingdom in general; Manchester's annual rainfall totals 1,125 millimetres. High temperatures in the summer usually reach 21 degrees Celsius while winter temperatures normally stay just above the freezing mark. Snow falls here between November and February – although it doesn’t occur every year.
Getting to Manchester
Manchester Airport is the country's largest outside of the London metropolitan area, and it serves passengers flying in from major cities situated throughout Europe and the world. Some of the most popular airlines that serve this airport include easyJet, Flybe, Jet2.com, Monarch Airlines, Ryanair and Thomas Cook Airlines. Free Wi-Fi is available in all of its terminals, and many business travellers enjoy spending time in the Escape Lounges.
Those using public transportation can get into the city by taking one of the trains that depart Manchester Airport railway station, which is conveniently situated between Terminals 1 and 2. Once in the city, you will find that it is very easy to get around by using public transportation.
Manchester Metrolink will be the country's largest tram network once renovations are completed in 2016; Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria are two of England's busiest railway stations. Several bus companies provide further transportation options for those looking to get around Manchester.
This city is actually one of the most historic places in the world for rail travel. Liverpool Road railway station, which was open from 1830-44, served as a terminus for the oldest inter-city passenger railway in the world, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.
Once you have your travel dates in mind, use our search function to choose from a wide array of hotels situated in Greater Manchester.