Sitting pretty in the north west of England, you’ll discover the cosmopolitan city of Manchester. Whether you’re after sightseeing, shopping or a vibrant nightlife, Manchester city breaks are just the ticket for a great weekend away. Explore Manchester Cathedral, take a leisurely stroll through Heaton Park, and book a tour of City or United’s famous football stadiums. Looking for a spot of retail therapy? You’ve got the Trafford Centre right on your doorstep. When the sun goes down, head to the Northern Quarter, the trendiest part of the city, or the glamorous nightlife found on Deansgate. With all this and so much more, Manchester is a great city to uncover for your next city break.
Things to do
Often known as the UK’s second city, Manchester promises something for everyone. It isn’t just a vibrant entertainment hub, with some of the finest clubs in the country, it also ticks the boxes for sightseeing, shopping and so much more. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the best things to do up north.
See the sights
The best way to explore Manchester is on foot. Make your way through the city, stopping off at iconic buildings along the way; these include the Gothic John Ryland’s Library and the futuristic Urbis Building (where you’ll find the National Football Museum). Head over to the Museum of Science and Industry to explore the rich history of this city, before taking a leisurely stroll along the pretty canal. Head to Chinatown for a bite to eat or grab a curry along the city’s infamous “curry mile” in Rusholme.
Shop 'till you drop
For keen shoppers, Manchester city breaks are just the ticket. You’ll find a wealth of destinations to choose from, including the Manchester Arndale and Trafford Centre. You’ll find high street shops in Exchange Square and Market Street (think British favourites like John Lewis and Selfridges). For a more boutique feel, make your way to King Street, Spinningfields and New Cathedral, where you’ll find beautiful designer shops. The Northern Quarter, the creative heart of the cuty, is the place to go for one-off vintage gems, independent shops and handmade goodies.
Stay out late
If you don’t already know, Manchester boasts an extraordinary live music heritage. Some big names hail from this city; Oasis, The Stone Roses, Joy Division and The Smiths to name a few. Today, Manchester continues to be a popular hotspot for rock, indie and alternative gigs. Oxford Street has some great live music venues, so take a look at what’s on before you go. The Northern Quarter is the place for a bohemian night out where you’ll find really cool bars, like The Mint Lounge and Cane & Grain. There’s also Canal Street, otherwise known as the gay village, which is a lively cobbled street brimming with bars and restaurants.
Shoppers: Beyond the bustling city centre shops, you’ve also got the popular Trafford Centre in the suburbs, which is a great place to spend an afternoon. For city centre shopping, head to the Arndale Centre for all your high-street favourites or try King Street for something a bit more luxury.
Night owls: Manchester has one of the best nightlife scenes in the UK, with great live music, major clubs and more. From the trendy bars of the Northern Quarter to the vibrant Canal Street gay village, there’s plenty to keep you busy after dark.
Foodies: This city is home to a booming food and drink scene, with new and exciting destinations popping up all the time. From brunch in Federal Bar + Café and lunch in Mackie Mayor, to dinner in The Northern Quarter Restaurant & Bar and drinks in The Alchemist, a Manchester city break makes it oh-so easy to indulge yourself.
Currency: British Pound (£)
Local time: GMT/UK time
Fly to: Manchester Airport (MAN)
Tourist information: Further Manchester tourist information can be found at www.visitmanchester.com
Best time to visit: Summer, when the weather is warm and daylight lasts well into the evening.
When summer rolls around, Manchester tends to be mild and warm, and there’s the chance of hotter weather too. The summer season runs from June to August, when average daytime temperatures range from 18°C to 20°C. Winters tend to be cool here and the weather can be very unpredictable so make sure you pack for all weather possibilities. You’ll want to bring a brolly, too, as you never know when a shower might send you back into Manchester’s awesome indoor attractions. It’s well worth checking the weather just before you head off on your Manchester city break, so you know what to expect.
Metroshuttle: This is a free bus service that covers three routes around the city centre. Grab a map from the tourist office to see where you can go. Most local bus services begin at Piccadilly Gardens.
Metrolink: The tram network is a great way to travel between Victoria and Piccadilly train stations, and you can use it to get further afield too (for example, Salford Quays and Didsbury). They run every few minutes from 6am to 11pm.
Taxi: Taxis are readily available in the city centre and around popular tourist attractions, so just hail one down when you need one. Alternatively, you can book in advance at your hotel.
Parklife: This independent music festival kicks off the summer season here in the city, with big name artists taking centre stage at Heaton Park in north Manchester. Make sure you book tickets in advance.
Chinese New Year: During the two weeks running up to Chinese New Year, Chinatown and Albert Square light up with thousands of pretty red lanterns. There’s also a tasty Chinese food market and lots of arts and craft stalls too.
Manchester Christmas Markets: Running from the second week of November annually, these magical markets bring in big crowds to the city every year and the atmosphere is wonderful. Expect food and drinks galore and a wealth of handcrafted goodies to boot. It’s a great time of year for a Manchester city break.