Whether it’s kickstarting the Industrial Revolution, splitting the atom or producing world-conquering guitar bands, Manchester lives and breathes the ethos of ‘work hard, play hard’. Recent years have seen it grow into one of Europe’s most go-getting locations, with a multitude of futuristic buildings popping up alongside the stunning old-world architecture that defines this proud city. Home to over half a million residents, it’s small enough to navigate by foot and rich in culture. You’re never far from must-visit examples of the booming food, arts and retail scenes. The nightlife is also legendary. You’ll find everything from megaclubs to forward-thinking festivals, plus a wealth of cutting-edge bars that prove Manchester’s underground spirit is alive and kicking.
When to go
Despite its reputation as a rainy city, Manchester weather is generally quite mild so it’s worth a visit anytime of the year. Things quieten down a little when the students leave in summer, so fun-seekers should hang on for the autumn-winter months. However, if you can only do summer, it is ideal for a relaxing break and exploring the city’s culinary and arts scenes, thanks to the plethora of outdoor festivals.
How to get around
The city centre is quite small and easily traversed by foot, but there’s an affordable and reliable Metrolink system that covers all corners of the city. If you fancy going further afield, the rail network delivers a scenic way to explore Manchester’s industrial past and take in the glorious views of the English countryside.