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Revision as of 17:34, 8 January 2008

Manchester Town Hall
For other places with the same name, see Manchester (disambiguation).
Manchester is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.

Manchester [1] is one of the major cities in the UK. It is the main city in the North West of England. For most of the last two hundred years it was the largest city in Lancashire, but is now the centre of its own metropolitan county of Greater Manchester, which has a population of over 2.5 million.

Manchester is world-renowned for its influence on the histories of industry and music, and for its sporting connections. It is one of the most gay-friendly and multicultural cities in Europe, and boasts the largest university in Britain.

Contents

Districts

The Lowry Art Gallery at the Salford Quays

Central Manchester:

  • East central Manchester - covers the area of the city centre bounded by the A57 (M), Oxford Road and the A62. It covers the locales of Picadilly, the Northern Quarter, Chinatown, the Gay Village and Picadilly Gardens.
  • North central Manchester - covers the area in central Manchester north of Picadilly Gardens and east of Quay St and Peter St. It covers the locales of the Millennium Quarter, Deansgate, Albert square and St Ann's Square as well as the newly developed business district of Spinningfields.
  • West central Manchester - covers the area in central Manchester west of Quay St, Peter St and Oxford St. It covers the locales of Castlefield and St Peter's Fields.

Further out:

  • North Manchester - covers the area north of the centre as far as the M60. Includes Sportcity.
  • South Manchester - covers the area south of the centre as far as the M60. Includes the neighbourhoods of Didsbury, Hulme, Moss Side, Old Trafford
  • University corridor - covers the Oxford Rd/Wilmslow Rd corridor from the A57(M) to the bottom of Fallowfield. Includes both universities, Rusholme and Fallowfield.
  • The Quays - the city's uber-fashionable redeveloped docks with award winning architecture and museums

Although not actually a district (it is a city in its own right) the city centre of Salford is immediately adjacent to Manchester's city centre, separated only by the river Irwell.

Understand

City information

Manchester is located in the centre of the Northwest of England, about equidistant between Liverpool and Leeds. Due to its proximity to the Pennines, which force the prevailing Atlantic Westerly clouds to rise, it receives more than its fair share of wet weather. Manchester once had a negative reputation derived from its industrial past. Things have dramatically changed in the last decade and now the city has a vibrant exciting air. Investment in the city's regeneration following the 1996 IRA bomb and 2002 Commonwealth Games have paid off. Manchester is well worth a visit, even if just for a day.

The adjective associated with Manchester is Mancunian or simply Manc. The distinctive linguistic accent of the city's indigenous inhabitants is much more closely related to that of Liverpool with its strong north-Waleian roots than it is to the Lancastrian or Cestrian of the neighbouring cotton towns.

  • Manchester Visitor Information Centre, Town Hall Extension, St. Peter's Square, +44 (0) 871 222 8223 (touristinformation@marketing-manchester.co.uk fax: +44 (0) 161 236 9900) [2] M-F 10AM-5.15PM (recorded information available by phone outside these times). The Visitor Centre has up-to-date lists of places to eat and sleep.

History

Manchester was the site of the Roman Fort Mamucium (breast-shaped) in AD 79 but a town was not built until the 13th Century. A priests' college and church (now Chetham's school & library and the Cathedral) were established in Manchester in 1421. Early evidence of its tendency towards political radicalism was its support for Parliament during the Civil War and in 1745 for the Jacobite forces of the Young Pretender.

It was not until the start of the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th Centuries that this small Medieval town would build its fortune. The presence of an existing cloth trade, coupled with the mechanisation of spinning being invented in nearby Bolton, created a thriving cotton industry in Manchester. Though the high and frequent rainfall may lower the spirits of today's inhabitants, the availability of copious supplies of clean, soft, water was of great utility to the various cotton processes particularly in the bleaching, printing and dyeing of cotton cloth. Water power rapidly gave way here to steam, and indeed the world's first steam-driven factory was built in the Ancoats Northern Quarter section of the city. By the end of the 19th Century Manchester was one of the ten biggest urban centres on earth (even before counting the wider population, within 50 miles, of the North of England region at large such as Liverpool, Sheffield, Bradford, Leeds and Central Lancashire).

Whitworth, inventor of the eponymous mass-cut screw thread also manufactured his equally revolutionary rifled guns in huge quantities at his factory in Sackville Street. And after their initial meeting at the Midland Hotel, still one of the city's most luxurious, Rolls and Royce began manufacture of their luxury motor cars in Hulme.

Trafford Park in Trafford, was to become the first industrial estate in the world, housing the Ford Motor Company and much of the pre-and wartime aircraft industry, notably the 'Lancaster' Bombers of the AVRO Co.

Manchester's success during the Victorian era and before is evident everywhere you look. Great Ancoats street was a source of wonder to Schinkel the neo-classical architect of Berlin. Equally grandiose neo-Gothic buildings line the old financial district around King Street, and public institutions such as the University and the many libraries are dotted around everywhere. There is even a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln Square (Brazennose Street, straight across Albert Square from the Town Hall main entrance) commemorating his personal thanks for Manchester's support during a cotton 'famine' created by Britain's refusal to run the Federal blockade of the slave-owning Confederacy during the American Civil War.

Continuing its radical political tradition, Manchester was the home of opposition to the Corn Laws and espoused Free Trade as well as Chartism and the Great Reform Act. It was instrumental in the establishment of socialism in the UK. Both Engels and Marx frequented the city, where the former conducted his famous enquiry into the condition of the working class; the latter seeking to draw 'universal' rules from the particular circumstances of the early industrial evolution with disastrous consequences for the history of the 20th century. Cleaving to a more gently pragmatic English tradition it was the birthplace of the Trades Union Congress which led to the creation of the Labour Party. It was also home to a number of philanthropists of the industrial age such as John Owens and John Dalton, who bequeathed large parts of their fortunes to improving the city.

In more recent times Manchester has been famous for its influence on the world music scene. The Madchester movement of the early 1980s, started by Factory Records and Joy Division led to the creation of the Haçienda nightclub (now unfortunately demolished after standing empty for many years) and the birth of modern club culture. Manchester has given life to many hugely successful musicians, among them The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Joy Division/New Order, The Happy Mondays, Oasis, James and Badly Drawn Boy.

At 11.20am on Saturday 15th June 1996 Manchester's city centre was rocked by a huge IRA bomb blast. Although preliminary intelligence managed to clear people from the scene enough for there to be no fatalities, the very heart of the city was ripped to shreds. A huge amount of money and effort was put into regenerating the blasted region of the centre, redubbed the Millennium Quarter. The area has renewed interest in the centre and contains the entertainment and shopping heart of the city.

Student life

Manchester is home to two of the largest universities in the UK, The University of Manchester (formerly Owens College and subsequently the Victoria University and its Institute of Science and Technology UMIST) [3] and Manchester Metropolitan University (aka 'Man Met', formerly the Polytechnic, itself a conglomeration of municipal colleges) as well as the Royal Northern College of Music. There is a university in Salford (within 1 mile of the city centre which is renowned as a European Centre of excellence in Media) as well as a university in Bolton in the North West of Greater Manchester. Together they create a body of over 86 thousand students living full-time in the city.

Manchester is often compared with Sheffield when competing for 'best student city' titles. It is very welcoming to the student lifestyle and many establishments in the centre and South Manchester are geared towards students; eating and drinking in Manchester can be very inexpensive due to the high competition that goes on between these establishments.

However, if you don't like hanging around with students, there are many places which are not frequented by students, although you may have to be prepared to pay a little extra. Also, because of the high numbers of students, some places have a strictly over-21s only policy, so it would do to take identification with you when you go out if you look like you might be under 21, although the number of bars or clubs that are for over-21s is relatively low. When visiting the student areas of Fallowfield and Withington, some venues operate a student only policy, so production of a student card (or something resembling a student card) is necessary.

Sporting

Manchester is famous all over Europe thanks to its world-class football club, Manchester United (Old Trafford) and Manchester City (City of Manchester Stadium, Sportcity).

Old Trafford is also home to the Lancashire County Cricket Club.

In 2002 Manchester was the host to the Commonwealth Games, and a large area of East Manchester was converted into a new Sportcity, the centrepiece of which is the new athletics and football stadium.

Cosmopolitan

Manchester is a very mixed city. Many races and religions have communities in the city, and it has a long history of being more tolerant than most cities to people of any background. Bear in mind, however, that it's not very used to tourists so you might get the occasional funny look if you're dressed in a backpack and trying to read this guide in a loud voice.

Manchester is also very gay-friendly. The Village is an area concentrated around Canal Street and is very popular with people of all sexualities. It is also home to an annual Pride festival and Mardi Gras. Thanks to its high homosexual population, most Mancunians have grown up with gay people and homophobia is rare but not unheard-of in the centre.

Climate

Manchester has a temperate maritime climate and rarely gets too warm or too cold. It receives less precipitation than most major cities (less than 900mm per year) but has unfairly developed a reputation for poor weather mainly due to the predominance of the London based media. It has an almost identical climate to London with an statistcally identical average number of hours sunlight per day as the capital (within 9 minutes per day, based on the last 100 years data from Met office). As a result of the mild winter conditions there is never a period where one should avoid visiting due to extreme weather conditions.

Get in

By plane

Manchester International Airport (IATA: MAN) (ICAO: EGCC). [4] in the South of the city is the largest airport in the UK outside of London. Nearly 100 operators fly to and from hundreds of locations worldwide, including most major cities in Europe, along with services from North America, South America, Africa and Asia.

Direct trains run from the airport station (reached by Skyway, between terminals 1 and 2) to Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations about every 20 minutes and cost about £3. Taxis are available from outside each terminal, costing about £15 and taking about 30-45 minutes.

  • Jet2, [5] is one of several 'low cost airlines' that operate between Manchester and a large number of major European cities and resorts.

John Lennon Airport, [6] in Liverpool is served by budget carriers Easyjet [7] and Ryanair [8] and is also relatively conveniently located for access to Manchester. A coach service runs connecting the airport to Manchester's central coach station and takes about 45 minutes. Some airlines will provide this service for free. There is now a direct train link between Liverpool Parkway (ie the station at John Lennon Airport) and Manchester Oxford Road Train Station (in the city centre). Services currently run once per hour but are planned to increase to every half hour in late 2008.

By train

Manchester city centre is served by two major railway stations, Victoria in the north and Piccadilly in the south. These stations are well-connected with the rest of the UK, although it is more likely that you will arrive at Piccadilly as it deals with the most services in and out of Manchester. Fares vary dramatically depending on time of day and rail operator.

Other stations close to the centre are Deansgate/G-Mex, Oxford Road and Salford Central but generally only local services will stop at these stations.

Connections from London Euston to Piccadilly are run by Virgin Trains. The journey on the West Coast Mainline takes about 2hrs 15 in Pendolino trains that do not need to slow down when going round bends. Online Virgin Value fares can dramatically reduce the cost of this trip [9] if you book well enough in advance (at least 14 days is advisable), purchase two single tickets (one for each leg of the journey) and/or travel outside of peak times (after 9.00am and before 3.00pm during the day, after 6.30pm in the evening).

By car

The outer ring road of the Manchester conurbation is the M60. It is accessible from Leeds or Liverpool by the M62, and from Scotland and the South by the M6 (followed by M61 and M56 from the North or South respectively).

Bear in mind that parking in the city centre of Manchester can be very expensive (£10-20 per day). Avoid the multi-storey car parks if you can and look for some open-air car parks just outside the centre, such as in Castlefield or on Bridge Street in Salford. Ladywell Park & Ride[10] is situated near Eccles (M602, Junction 2); the car park is free and there is a tram station. Similarly, parking at the Trafford Centre (M60, junctions 9 and 10) is free and there are buses to the centre and Stretford tram station.

ParkatmyHouse.com is a free service that allows users to search and compare parking rates and locations for commercial and private parking facilities in Manchester.

By bus

Chorlton Street Coach Station is the central coach station in Manchester, located close to the centre, between Chinatown and The Village. Coaches run from all over the country and are generally the most reasonably-priced way to get into Manchester. London to Manchester on the coach can take about 4 hours, but it depends on the time of day and number of stops.

  • National Express [11] is a comfortable and frequent service which runs 24 hours a day from some cities, including London.
  • Stagecoach Megabus [12] is less comfortable but can be very cheap (some cities have buses to Manchester for as little as £1). You must book in advance over the web.

Get around

Manchester trams

Transport in Greater Manchester is overseen and co-ordinated by the GMPTE (Information: 0870 608 2 608) [13]. GMPTE sells a number of tickets which are valid for multiple operators, such as the any bus day ticket or the Wayfarer. If you are planning to do a lot of travelling in one day, these might be your cheapest option.

Maps

Dotted around the city centre in all the places you wouldn't look for them are the pedestrian-level street maps. They are usually placed in normal advertising hoardings, which makes them all the more difficult to spot. From a distance the map looks like a light-brown horse's head on a blue background.

Once found, the elusive maps are very handy for navigating all regions of the centre, even as far south as the universities. Your position is marked by a blue circle.

By bus

Most of the buses in Greater Manchester are operated by First [14] or Stagecoach [15] and serve most places you are likely to want to go in the conurbation. The main bus station for the south is Piccadilly Gardens and a new state-of-the-art £24 million interchange has been built at Shudehill for the north.

Metroshuttle [16] is a free minibus run jointly by the local council and First. It runs three lines that between them cover most of the major areas in the city centre as well as all the stations and many of the larger car parks.

The number 250 bus [17] goes from Piccadilly Gardens to the Trafford Centre and is much more reasonably-priced and convenient than the tram.

The South Manchester corridor that begins with Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road is the most-served bus route in Europe. Buses connect the centre with the universities and Rusholme as often as every 1 minute. The general rule on this street is to get on any bus that is not operated by Stagecoach, and your fare is likely to be under £1. Some buses have a student fare, which they will charge you if you look like a student, regardless of whether you ask for it or not. Be warned, though, that during peak hours it can take as long as 30 minutes to make the relatively short 3-mile journey from Piccadilly Gardens to Rusholme.

By tram

Map of the Metrolink network

Metrolink [18], also known as the tram, is the name for Manchester's troubled local mass-transit system.

Currently, Metrolink runs two lines, Altrincham-Bury (every 6 minutes at peak times, every 12 off-peak, at peak times trams either terminate at Piccadilly or do not stop at Piccadilly Gardens or Piccadilly at all) and Piccadilly-Eccles (every 12 minutes at peak times, every 15 off-peak). A small part of the city centre from Piccadilly to Cornbrook is shared between the two lines. There are plans to extend the system to 5 lines, with the three new destinations at Oldham/Rochdale, Ashton-under-Lyne/Tameside and Manchester Airport. This expansion will be carried out in two phases, with work on the first phase expected to commence once the current round of track renewals on the Bury/Altrincham lines is completed.

In part due to its financial difficulties, Metrolink is quite expensive to travel on. If you are going to be using it for more than one journey in a day, your best bet is to buy a Metromax ticket. Tickets must be purchased in advance from the automated vending machines at each station. Press the required destination followed by the required ticket type and then insert your money. Most machines accept notes, but if your note is anything more than even slightly crumpled, it will more then likely be rejected by the machine. Change is not guaranteed over £7 at any machines, or at all at some machines with the appropriate warning lamp.

The following stations might be useful to you:

  • Piccadilly and Victoria - the city's two main rail stations are joined only by tram.
  • Altrincham - the end of the line is the interchange for buses and trains in Cheshire.
  • Harbour City - closest station at Salford Quays to the Lowry and Imperial War Museum North.
  • Heaton Park - alight here for Manchester's chief parkland.
  • Ladywell - large free car park for Park & Ride service to Salford Quays and the city.
  • Old Trafford - for Manchester United and the cricket ground.
  • Stretford - change here for a connecting bus to the Trafford Centre. Joint tickets are available from the usual machines.

By taxi

Taxis are considerably cheaper than in London. As a general rule, you should be able to get anywhere you need to go within the city for £5-10. You may only flag down the black cabs (London-style Hackney carriages) - other taxis must be booked in advance over the phone, and are marked with the yellow Manchester City Council sign on the bonnet, and the firm's phone number (again on a yellow strip) on the sides.

You may find it difficult to get a black cab after the pubs shut on Friday and Saturday nights in the city centre, so it serves to have a back-up plan for getting back to your accommodation. The black cabs with the amber "TAXI" sign illuminated are the ones that are looking for fares.

There are a number of taxi ranks within the city centre, that are staffed by security/logistical staff during busy periods. These ranks are serviced only by 'black cabs', but there are also 'private hire' taxi companies that you can walk to, and then wait (inside, or usually outside) until a taxi becomes available.

By train

Local rail services run regularly, and to most places in the surrounding area and beyond. Most trains will pass through Piccadilly or Victoria, but it will do to call National Rail Enquiries (08457 48 49 50) [19] to find out which one before setting off.

National Rail have a map of the Greater Manchester rail network, including trams and overground.

See

Piccadilly Gardens
  • The Manchester Wheel, in Exchange Square in the Millennium Quarter is a good way of seeing Manchester from an elevated height!

Cosmopolitan Manchester

The Imperial Chinese Archway in Manchester's Chinatown
  • Manchester's Chinatown around George Street and Faulkner Street has been a feature of Manchester since the late 1970s. It's a genuine experience - you'll find people on the streets of Chinatown speaking Chinese to each other and most of the signs are bilingual. It's home to the bulk of Manchester's east-Asian restaurants as well as many traders in Chinese food and goods.
  • The Village, also known as the Gay Village, has built up around Canal Street out of the many cotton warehouses in the area. It is home to one of the oldest and most-established gay communities in Europe and is known for its tolerance toward all kinds of people. Many of Manchester's most famous bars and clubs are to be found here, most of which are as popular with heterosexual party-animals as they are with the gay crowd. The Village hosts a major Pride festival every year (around the end of August), when the whole region of town is closed to the public for an expensive and exclusive weekend for gay and gay-friendly people from all over the UK.
  • Check out the Curry Mile, a mile long stretch of curry restaurants, sari shops and jewellery store in Rusholme.

Historical Manchester

  • Castlefield is the site of the original Roman settlement Mamucium and has been known as Castlefield since Medieval times, the walls still standing to over 2 metres as late as the 16thC. It is the centre of Manchester's canal network and a transport nexuss of unique historical importance. The Castlefield Basin, joins the Rochdale and Bridgewater canals, the latter being the first cut canal in Britain and the nearby Museum of Science and Industry contains Liverpool Road station, the first passenger railway station in the world. Very important in industrial times, it became run down in post-war times until it was completely regenerated in the 1990s and designated Britain's first Urban Heritage site. These days the area is like a small country oasis in the heart of the city, with regular events and a handful of great pubs around the canals and the neighbouring streets. It is also the only place to see wildlife in Manchester's centre.
  • The University of Manchester, on Oxford Road, where amongst other things, the atom was first probed by Rutherford, the first computer was built and where radio astronomy was pioneered. It was here too that the element Vanadium was first isolated.
  • St Mary's The Hidden Gem, near Albert Square. The oldest post-Reformation Catholic church in the counry, dating from 1794. Contains one of the greatest pieces of art in Manchester.
  • Manchester Cathedral, near the Millennium Quarter. The widest cathedral in England with important carved choir stalls (school of Lincoln) and pulpitum.
Manchester Cathedral
  • Manchester Town Hall, near Albert Square. This imposing and beautiful neo-Gothic masterpiece by Alfred Waterhouse is a symbol of the wealth and power of Manchester during the Industrial Revolution. Tours can be arranged and the state rooms are generally open to visitors (and free) when not otherwise in use. The Great Hall contains a series of pre-Raphaelite wall paintings by Ford Maddox Brown depicting historical scenes (some rather fanciful) from Manchester's past. The corridors are often seen on television dramas standing in for the Palace of Westminster, although the Commons chamber itself is usually depicted in a permanent set at Granada TV studios.
  • John Rylands Library, on Deansgate. The bequest to the people of Manchester by the world's richest widow, Henriquetta Rylands, in memory of her husband John, but now administered by the University of Manchester. It Contains the 'Manchester Fragment' the earliest known fragment of the New Testament, part of St. John's gospel found near Alexandria and dating from the first part of the second century, shortly after the gospel itself was first written. Tours can be booked around lunchtime. The library was designed by Basil Champneys and is the last building built in the perpendicular gothic style.

Cultural Manchester

There are many museums and art galleries in Manchester, these are the pick of the bunch.

  • Imperial War Museum North, at The Quays Great museum with great architecture designed by Daniel Libeskind. The museum focuses on the people involved in war, whether it's the people who worked in the factories in WW2, or the soldiers who suffered in the battlefield.
The award winning architecture of the Imperial War Museum North at the Quays
  • The Lowry, at The Quays Home to the City of Salford's collection of the paintings of L.S. Lowry. The centre also contains two theatres.
  • Manchester Art Gallery, near Albert Square. Designed by Sir Chrles Barry architect of the Houses of Parliament. The city has a particulalry fine collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings.
  • Manchester Museum, on Oxford Road. Highlights include a fossil skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex and Egyptology including painted mummy masks of the Roman era.
  • Gallery of English Costume, in Rusholme.
  • Portico Library and Gallery, near Piccadilly Gardens. Home of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical society. Speakers here have included Dalton,the father of Atomic theory and describer of his own colour blindness, the Salford physicist Joule for whom the S.I. unit of energy is named and Roget (who compiled his celebrated Thesaurus here. The Austrian Philosopher Wittgenstein here claimed to have attempted to repeat Franklin's celebrated kite and lightning experiment in the Peak District while employed at Manchester University.
  • Urbis, in Millennium Quarter. A "museum of the modern city" in its unmistakable all-glass building. Exhibitions change regularly, so check ahead to see what's on.
  • Bridgewater Hall, near Albert Square. Completed 1996 is the home of the Halle Orchestra world's first municipal symphony orchestra. The centrepiece of the hall is the 5500 pipe organ by Rasmussen. An elegant bistro and restaurant are open at normal meal times to the general public.
  • Manchester Jewish Museum, 190 Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester. Open Mon-Thurs 10.30 - 4, Sun 11-5. Closed on Jewish holidays. Tells the story of the large Jewish population in Manchester. Adults £3.95, concessions £2.95.

Sporting Manchester

The B of the Bang - the tallest sculpture in the UK.
  • Sportcity is located to the east of the city centre, about 45 minutes' walk from Piccadilly Station. It was built to host most of the events for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and is home to the National Cycling Centre, Manchester City FC and other important sporting venues, as well as tallest sculpture in the UK.

Buy

Manchester's shopping district is not as diverse as London's, but it is less spread out, and the vast majority of town centre shops are within walking distance of each other. The recently redeveloped Arndale Centre is the largest city-centre shopping centre in Europe, with 280 stores, including the largest Next store in the UK.

There are a lot of large shops (including the largest Primark in the country) in Piccadilly Gardens, and Market Street (just off Piccadilly Gardens).

The Millennium Quarter (at the back of the Arndale Centre is now very smart and good for shopping. There's the Triangle an upmarket shopping centre based in the beautiful old Corn Exchange, worth a visit for the building: Selfridges, with its large Louis Vuitton concession and Harvey Nichols opposite the Triangle offer luxury fashions and produce to Manchester's rich and famous, with the old Kendals department store nearby. The centre of Manchester's shopping area has traditionally been St Anne's Square, and there are many shops nearby. King Street city centre possesses Vivienne Westwood (a local girl), Joseph and DKNY, as well as both Collezione and Emporio Armani, the former presumably catering for the city's Premiership footballers.

Deansgate has a fair number of decent shops, as do some of the roads off it. There is a factory outlet mall in the redeveloped Salford Quays.

The Trafford Centre is a huge out-of-town shopping centre only accessible by car, taxi or a bus journey. It has been designated the Temple to Consumerism, and is the largest centre of its kind to date in Europe. The centre is spectacular, luxurious and 'posh' inside and out, perhaps over the top and tacky.

Of particular interest

  • Merchandise from the football club Manchester United is popular with some tourists. There is a dedicated superstore in the stadium at Old Trafford.
  • Manchester City FC also has its own dedicated retail outlet at the City of Manchester Stadium in Sportcity
  • Afflecks Palace in the Northern Quarter is a shopping arcade in a five storey Victorian building, featuring a range of 50+ independent stalls catering to a young alternative crowd. It's lots of fun: strange costumes, lots of goths and punks and hordes of teenagers.
  • The Northern Quarter is Manchesters answer to Soho, and there's a mish mash of stores that sell music, art and clothing.
  • Every Christmas time, a continental style Christmas market takes place in Albert Square. You can buy all the usual continental Christmas curios and various foodstuffs. Good fun and very atmospheric at night time when it's all lit up.
  • There is a marketplace inside the Arndale Centre, with an excellent small food court. farmers markets are held in Piccadilly Gardens.
  • The small, but perfectly stocked, food section of Harvey Nicholls has a particularly fine wine department. Wines range fromm relatively inexpensive to the highest levels e.g Chateau Latour, vertical ranges of Petrus, Vega Sicilia etc. They are still remarkably good value in context, e.g. 1990 Krug Clos de Mesnil 1990, arguably the greatest Champagne ever made and incomperably finer than the footballer's wildy over-rated Crystal is about £150.00 cheaper than usually quoted elsewhere. Remarkably they also have the rose. The section is also conspicuously better looked after than the nearby Selfridges food hall, though sadly the same cannot usually be said for the Ladies' lavatories associated with the Restaurant/Bistro, and the bar has given up dishing out nibbles, with no reduction in the price of drinks. Incidentally, a 'classic' Bellini is made with Prosecco, not Champagne.

Do

  • Visit the Trafford area and take a 90 min Tourist Tracks MP3 walking tour (can be downloaded here , £5) of this area of fascinating industrial heritage. Includes information on Old Trafford Cricket Ground and Manchester United FC.
  • Manchester has a couple of big multi screen cinemas located centrally, AMC off Oxford Street (as cheap as £3.20 if you're a student) and Odeon in the Printworks show the usual Hollywood fare, The Cornerhouse on Oxford Road tends to show smaller, independant, arthouse and foreign language movies. There is an IMAX inside The Odeon in the Printworks.

Arts festivals

  • Manchester International Film Festival [20] runs from February 24 - March 5 2007.
  • Manchester International Festival [21], a culture and arts festival of new work, runs from June 28 - July 15 2007.
  • Manchester Comedy Festival [22] starts October 17 2007.

Learn

Work

Eat

Manchester is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.


As you would expect from such a cosmopolitan city, Manchester has a huge selection of restaurants and eateries that serve a vast array of cuisines. Look hard enough and you will be able find any type of international food. It is also worth exploring some of the suburbs for supurb small independant bistros / restaurants. West Didsbury and Chorlton are noted for their large number of great eateries.

Free

Revolution on Oxford Road has a policy where your food is either ready within 15 minutes wait or it's free. Worth going at busy times of the day!

Budget

There are hundreds of kebab and pizza shops on Oxford Road and in Fallowfield and Rusholme. In Rusholme in particular locals speak of the £10 curry. Where if you bring your own drinks into the curry house, you should leave with change from a ten pound note.

Some of the cheapest, long-established curry cafes, though, are still to be found in the back streets of the Northern Quarter. The Little Aladdin cafe at 72 High St (on the corner of Turner St, near Arndale centre) is a tiny little curry house with real charm. They serve a range of delicious curries and kebabs for £3-£4. Here's the menu: [23].

Velvet in Canal Street in The Village has good standard cafe/restaurant food and is particularly popular with women. Sadly the opening of a separate upstairs bar has recently turned this into more of a conventional restaurant at the expense of some of its atmosphere. though not price.


Chinese

There are plenty of all-you-can-eat buffets in Chinatown for less than £10.00 (€ 14.00). Prices tend to change with the time of day and likely demand.

Wing's Dai Pai Dong in the Arndale Market city centre is set around a sushi counter. It serves a variety of mainstream Cantonese (Hong Kong), Thai and Japanese dishes. Particularly good value and well made are Hong Kong style roasting dishes where typically any or a mixture of Char Sui, Duck, Belly Pork, Jelly Fish and Cold Cuts etc can be paired with Rice, Soup Noodle or other fried noodles, typically for (autumn 2007) £4.50 for a very large and filling bowl/plate. Teamed with a bottle of, say, Asahi Beer the bill per person will be well under £10.00. It is difficult to think of anywhere in the city that offers better value.

Mid range

Chinese

Amongst the enormous range of Cantonese restaurants in Chinatown Wong Chou on Faulkner Street offers authentic, reasonably priced food, including many one bowl/plate dishes (Roast Pork and Roast Duck in soup noodle is particularly popular). The only downside is that the decor is rather authentic too and the service charge ups the bill.

Red Chilli on Portland Street is of a very good standard indeed and is unusual in Manchester in specialising in Beijing and the very spicy Szechuan cooking. It has a large Chinese following.

Outside of Chinatown there is also Moso Moso on Oxford Road and also the increasingly esteemed Tai Pan on Upper Brook Street and Brunswick Street. Sunday dim sum pack this place out with chinese families finishing off their shopping trip to the ground floor supermarket.

Fusion Noodle Bar in Fallowfield does very good noodles.

Indian

Rusholme's Curry Mile is, as the name suggests, home to a lot of Indian restaurants! Due to the high concentration of curry houses, and all the competition, you should be able to get a really good curry in just about any restaurant.

Korean

  • Yechan Foods, 95 Mauldeth Road, Manchester M14 6SR, ph: (0161) 225 4447


  • Koreana Restaurant A Long established Korean Restaurant on King Street West in city centre just off Deansgate. A regular stop for Man Utd's Korean football star Ji-Sung Park.

Japanese

Wagamama's (located in the Printworks) is one of the chain of Japanese restaurants popping up all over the country. Wagamama's serve the best ramen, ebi gyoza and many other different Japanese cooked dishes... perfect with a hot flask of sake!

Samsi - Whitworth Street, city centre. A great sushi restaurant that also cater well for those that don't like raw fish. With a well stocked but small Japanese supermarket below (accessed from inside the restaurant)

Greek


Splurge

Chinese

Yang Sing on Princess Street at the south-western edge of Chinatown has long been considered the best Cantonese restaurant in the country, and perhaps in Europe. It is essential to eat in the downstairs dining room and its kitchen's quality shows most clearly away from day-to-day dishes and into chef Harry Yeung's deployment of western ingredients into Chinese (not 'fusion') cuisine.

Drink

Manchester has a diverse nightlife and can offer a wide range of night-time activities. It has a vibrant and varied nightlife scene including numerous clubs as well as a huge range of drinking establishments from traditional pubs to ultra chic concept bars.

Famed for its musical past, the University of Manchester Student's Union on Oxford Road hosts almost nightly gigs in it's three venues on Oxford road ranging from local unsigned bands, to international superstars. The Manchester Apollo in Ardwick is a slightly bigger venue having boasted appearences from Blondie to new-comers like Kasabian. Smaller bands can also be seen at a range of excellent venues in the city including the Roadhouse, Night and Day, both in the Northern Quarter, and Jabez Clegg, off Oxford Road.

The club scene in Manchester is varied with the dance-orientated clubs you'd expect from a city sitting comfortably alonside indie, rock and gay clubs. For the commercial dance music fan, the 'place to be' would be Deansgate Locks in Peter's Fields where the clubs and bars can be expensive but are always full of fashionable types and members of the local student population. More eclectic dance music styles are played at the Music Box and The Phoenix, both on Oxford Road.

For fans of rock music, Jillys on Oxford Road is something of an institution. On a Thursday it costs just £1 to get in, whilst Fridays see them open until 6 or 7 am. It has three rooms incorporating punk, ska, metal, goth and everything in between. Also check out Rock Kitchen on a Saturday night at the Manchester Metropolitan University Student's Union, again on Oxford Road. More rock can be found at the weekly Caged Asylum night, at Club OHM. Next door to Jilly's is Music Box, home to the very good (and increasingly famous) Mr Scruff. Come here once a month to have a good dance and a cup of tea!

For fans of indie and alternative music there are a whole host of new exciting clubs opening, so a listings magazine is helpful. Unfortunately City Life listings guide has closed, but Time Out are supposedly coming to Manchester at some point. Any late evening walk up Oxford Road should enable you to collect a variety of flyers for club nights.

Successful nights that were championed by City Life include Killing Fantasy on the last Thursday of the month at the Retro Bar on Sackville Street, with a playlist that includes Blondie, The Ramones and Le Tigre. Invest in Property at Joshua Brooks on Charles Street is also another of these nights, falling on the last Friday of the month. Again, expect a mix of indie, electro, punk and rock. Weekly, Smile at the Star and Garter [24] in East Manchester is something of a local indie institution with a great playlist but be warned, it sells out very early and can often be unbearably busy as a result of this. Saturday's also play host to Tiger Lounge at the Tiger Lounge near the Town Hall. This plays more in the way of lounge alongside experimental and indie sounds.

If you want to hear music by Manchester bands like The Stone Roses, visit Fifth Avenue on Princess Street, often brimming with students - unsurprising when you see the cheap drinks prices! However, the best city centre club for indie music is 42nd Street, just off Deansgate. It plays a mixture of classic and modern indie, 60's pop and 70's funk & soul.

To enjoy Gay Manchester it is probably best just to visit Canal Street with its concentration of bars and clubs and visit places that appeal along the way. Just off Canal Street the most popular gay clubs are Essential, a multi-floor super-club open until the early hours and Poptastic, a two-room pop and indie club held at Alter Ego every Tuesday and Saturday night. Although entry can be expensive, this is usually reflected in a reduced price bar inside the club.

For bars, try the so-hip-it-hasn't-got-a-sign cocktail lounge Socio Rehab in the Northern Quarter (ask a taxi driver where it is) and Gaia or Tribeca, both on Sackville Street (in the popular Gay Village). Trof, a funky student bar in Fallowfield, has recently opened a second venture, Trof North, on Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter.


Although there are still plenty of cafes and traditional pubs in Manchester, bars and restaurants with much more bohemian and cosmopolitan feels to them are now dominating. The better traditional pubs include

  • Lass O'Gowrie on Charles Street
  • Salisbury on Oxford Road
  • Peveril of the Peak'
  • Britons Protection
  • Sinclairs
  • Grey Horse Inn
  • The Old Wellington Inn, the oldest pub in Manchester. It was opened in 1552.


Comedy wise, Manchester has a fair number of offerings: The Frog and Bucket on Oldham Street offers student friendly prices, The Comedy Store at the Deansgate Locks is the largest comedy venue in town, XS Malarkey in Fallowfield is cheap but good, and then there's Jongleurs on Chorlton Street.

Contact

Although you will find a whole bunch of available wifi hotspots in central Manchester, they can be very expensive. Until the free municipal wifi network comes live in a few years, make best use of the free Wifi available at

  • Cornerhouse, 70 Oxford Street - art gallery, cinema, bar.
  • Oklahoma Cafe, 74 - 76 High Street - coffee shop.
  • Suburb, Deansgate - trendy cafe.
  • The Castle Pub, Oldham Street - traditional pub.

Stay Safe

Manchester has or had a colourful reputation for gun crime: however, this is mostly gang-related and a problem for people involved in the drug trade, and as a visitor you will not face any greater danger than for any other large British city. Everyday common sense is the order of the day: groups of youths are generally to be avoided; keep your valuables safe; keep to well-lit areas etc.

If you're uncomfortable around thousands of very drunk young people then you should probably avoid Friday and Saturday night taxi queues in the city centre. You should also avoid any conflict with door staff.

Despite there being no real reason for visitors to enter, the following areas should be avoided by those who may wish to explore outside of Manchester City Centre:

  • Longsight
  • Moss Side
  • Parts of Hulme
  • Wythenshawe
  • Ordsall

Cope

Many countries have consulates and commissions in Manchester, for others, you may have to travel to London.

  • Australian Consulate Chatsworth House, Lever Street, Manchester M1 2QL Tel: 0161 228 1344 Fax: 0161 236 4074
  • High Commission People's Republic of Bangladesh
  • Consulate of Belgium 76 Moss Lane Bramhall, Stockport, SK7 1EJ, Tel. 0161 439 5999
  • Consulate General of The People's Republic of China Denison House, Denison Road, Rusholme, Manchester M14
  • Trade Office of Denmark 4th Floor, Arkwright House, Parsonage Gardens, Manchester M3
  • Trade Commission of France 24th Floor, Sunley Tower, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester M1
  • Consulate of France Davis Blank Furniss, 90 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2QJ Tel. 0161 832 3304
  • Consulate General of Germany Westminster House, 11 Portland Street, Manchester, M60 1HY, Tel. 0161 237 5255 (no longer operational)
  • Trade Board of Ireland 56 Oxford Street, Manchester M1
  • Consulate of Italy Rodwell Tower, 111 Piccadilly, Manchester M1
  • Consulate of Monaco Dene Manor, Dene Park, Manchester M20
  • The Royal Consulate of the Netherlands 123 Deansgate, Manchester M3
  • Vice-consulate of Pakistan 4th Floor Hilton House, 26/28 Hilton Street, Manchester M1.
  • Consulate General of Spain 1a Brook House, 70 Spring Gardens, Manchester M2 2BQ
  • Consulate General of Switzerland 24th Floor, Sunley Tower, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester M1

Get Out

  • Blackpool for Blackpool Pleasure Beach
  • Chester Direct train from Manchester Piccadilly or Oxford Road stations for this Roman city.
  • Huddersfield
  • The Lake District for a bit of greenery in a National Park to the north. Of international poetic repute and one of the most beautiful parts of England.
  • Leeds Post industrial city now a major financial centre, home to Leeds United who are traditional rivals to Manchester United.
  • Liverpool (take a train from Piccadilly or Oxford Road stations) for The Beatles, Liverpool FC (although don't tell anyone from Manchester this is why you're going there!)
  • Peak District for grass and hills. About 15 miles to the east of the city. A National Park and one of the most beautiful parts of the country.
  • Salford is adjacent to Manchester
  • Sheffield
  • York Direct train from Picadilly to this historic cathedral city.




This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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