If you are planning a visit to the UK this year, we dare you to think a little further afield than London! The nation's capital is full of wonder, of course. Yet just a few hours away by train, plane, or bus if that's your kind of thing, you will find even more incredible places that will capture your heart. So without further ado, let's tell you what great things there are to explore in… Manchester!
First things first…
Manchester has its own airport, and dare we say it, airfares to anywhere but London can make flights to the UK quite a bit cheaper. There are great connections between the airport and Manchester's two train stations that will take you straight into the heart of the city. Manchester has a great tram network so if you don't want to explore on foot you have a good public transport option. And if you are making your way around the UK, Manchester is about two hours from London by train, and two and a half from Manchester.
There are some truly stunning buildings in Manchester. The Central Library and John Ryland Library are both beautiful, as is Manchester Cathedral and the Corn Exchange. If you are pushed for time then head for the Town Hall, built in 1877 in a neo-Gothic style. Outside there is a clock tower and spires begging to be photographed, and inside features include murals, ornate fireplaces, and painted ceilings. One look and you will understand why the Town Hall is a venue for weddings, banquets, and other grand events!
Learning English? Check out our free placement test to see how your level measures up!
Want to soak up a bit of culture? We are afraid you'll be pushed for time to get all that Manchester has to offer in! The Manchester Museum is a natural history museum filled with incredible dinosaur skeletons. The Museum of Transport has buses, trams, and all kinds of other historical public transport exhibits for you to both look at and in some cases climb on board.
The Science and Industry Museum celebrates Manchester's important history in the industrial revolution, and the Peoples History Museum discusses the development of democracy in Britain. You also have the Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth Art Gallery if you want to take in some beautiful artistic talent both old and new. And the Imperial War Museum in Manchester is equally impressive to the one in London; definitely worth a look!
If you want to see a concert or show then Manchester has a lot to offer you! There is the Opera House, and both the RNCM and Palace Theatres, and the Stoller Hall for musical performances. The O2 Apollo and Manchester Arena attract some of the biggest names in international music, and the Lowry gives a more intimate home to touring places and both comedy and music events.
Manchester may be a thriving, sprawling city, yet there are some green spaces that are worth a visit too. If you want a moment to catch your breath then here are some great places to head. Alexandra Park is a Victorian park fishing lake, community orchard, and an artisan cafe. There are numerous footpaths for you to wander through on a flat landscape so your stroll won't be much of a struggle! Another option is Heaton Park, typically famous for the Park Life Festival it hosts. As well as the festival the park boasts a golf course, football grounds, a fishing lake, and animals for you to pet and watch. You can even watch bees making honey — which you can buy a sample of to take home!
Sometimes the most fun you can have in a place you are visiting is not to make plans at all. For example, you could start your day on Market Street, which is a bustling pedestrianised area of the city full of famous high street stores as well as the Arndale Centre. There are sandwich bars, cafes, and even the Curry Mile if you want to stop for a bite to eat. And if you still have energy left there is the Levenshulme Market to explore, along with Northern Quarter Makers Market which features upcyclists, artists, and designers, as well as lots of food trucks that will entice you in for a snack.
Manchester can easily compete with London for things to see and do. When are you going?