Manchester: A Whistle-Stop Tour of one of Britain’s Coolest Cities

by Notorious Spinks on 09.26.2012

Back in the 1970s, Manchester was regarded as an example of everything that was wrong with post-industrial England. However, since then it has bounced back in style, giving birth to a world-famous music scene and establishing itself as one of the best cities in Europe to go for a night out. So, if you are thinking of paying a visit to see what all the fuss is about, you might want to check out this guide to some of the city’s most vibrant areas. For more information about hotels in Manchester, visit the Millennium & Copthorne website.

Manchester City Centre 

Manchester’s City Centre has been transformed almost beyond recognition in the past couple of decades, and is now a vibrant modern city centre packed with gleaming shopping arcades, cafes and museums. That said, some of the centre’s historic past has been lovingly preserved, such as the neo-Gothic John Rylands Library, the neoclassical Portico, and Alfred Waterhouse’s Town Hall, which contains some memorable murals by Ford Madox Ford, stunning mosaic floors, and impressive vaulted ceilings.

Northern Quarter 

Nowhere is Manchester’s reputation as an indie mecca more evident than in the trendy Northern Quarter, which is packed with vintage clothing boutiques, record shops, and cool independent pubs and cafes. These are set amidst a rag-tag mixture of 18th and 19th century warehouses, many of which have been restored to their former glory.

Canal Street, Piccadilly & Chinatown 

If you’re heading for a night out in Manchester, then you might be tempted to take a stroll down Canal Street to check out the many pubs and clubs. This cosmopolitan area is the heart of Manchester’s thriving gay scene, and is the focal point of the annual Manchester Pride festival. From here, you can stroll down to the recently-remodeled Piccadilly Gardens, which is surrounded by open-air cafes and bars with an almost continental feel, or Chinatown, a lively area that is considered one of the best places to see in the Chinese New Year.

Chinatown in the UK

Oxford Road 

With two universities within spitting distance of one another, this is widely considered to be the student quarter of Manchester, which ensures a lively bar and club scene. And with a theatres, galleries, music venues, and museums aplenty, there are lots of reasons for an avid culture vulture to visit this area.

Castlefield & Deansgate Locks 

If you need a break from all the hustle and bustle, then this quiet, historic part of town is the perfect place to spend a few hours. Once a Victorian industrial hub, its railway arches, cleaned-up canals, and cobbled streets lend this area an air of tranquility, although there are still plenty of things to see and do such as the Museum of Science and Industry, Castlefield Gallery, and the Comedy Store.

Photo: Manchester Chinatown, courtesy of Sean Dodson

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Penelope (NYC Blogger) October 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm

My best friend is from Manchester

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Jennifer October 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm

That is one city we didn’t get a chance to visit on our last trip to Europe. Hopefully we will be able to take the family back for an extended visit, and try to hit all the must-sees!

Thanks for the great article!

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Marcie W. October 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I would love to travel to as many places as possible. Britain is certainly on that list!

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Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies October 7, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I totally want to go to England someday!

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Anne October 7, 2012 at 10:00 am

This is on my list of places to go!

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Kathleen October 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Oooh. I would love to be able to visit one day!

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Stefanie October 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I really want to visit Britain!

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Rachel @ Following In My Shoes October 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I’m adding it to my bucket list!

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Louise October 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I would love to go there sometime

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Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell October 3, 2012 at 7:38 am

I hope to see that one day in person!

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Toni October 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

I would love to go there someday!

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Jennifer October 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I should check out Manchester, it sounds like a really cool city!

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Jenn September 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm

My uncle is from Manchester but lives in FL now. I think he and my aunt need to move back so I can visit them! ;)

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Christa September 28, 2012 at 11:47 am

I’ve never been to Britain! I reallly want to go!

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Jenn @therebelchick September 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

I want to get over to England one day, but I had never really thought about visiting Manchester – I guess I will have to add it to my places to see!

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HilLesha September 28, 2012 at 10:23 am

I’d love to visit there!

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Connie Seattle Mom Blogger September 28, 2012 at 2:04 am

I’ve never been to Europe – it looks divine!

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Leilani September 28, 2012 at 1:23 am

We’re waiting for the girls to get a little older before we travel to Europe. Manchester is definitely on our list.

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Jennifer @TheRebelChick September 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Great history lesson here! Visiting there may have to go on the list of places to see :)

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Penelope (NYC Blogger) September 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

I’d love to go to Manchester! I’ve been to England, but not around as fully as I would have liked (missed a lot, too short a trip)

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Monique Burkes (@armsofasister) September 27, 2012 at 9:55 am

It’s been over 20 years since I’ve been to England, and I’m not sure I’ll return, but thanks for sharing. I learned a little bit of history.

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Lolo September 27, 2012 at 1:51 am

I would love to travel there someday!

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Kelly September 27, 2012 at 1:35 am

This is on my travel bucket list.

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A Time Out for Mommy- Elaina September 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I can’t wait to go to England!

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Jennifer September 26, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I would love to visit England one of these days

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Donna September 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I’d really love to visit England one day!

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