What I Love About Manchester UK

Manchester Town Hall

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Capital Of The North

Famous for its football teams and ditto music scene, which unleashed the likes of the Smiths and Oasis, this hub for sports and arts is a down-to-earth and welcoming city.

Manchester, aka Capital of the North has mastered industrial decay, bombing (in WWII and by the IRA) to shift into a confident and very cosmopolitan city.

Easy to discover by a dense bus, metro and rail network. There's a lot to see and do.

Top attractions include the Imperial North Museum, the Lowry art complex, Manchester Art gallery, arcade Affleck's Palace, Etihad Stadium and Canal Street gay village.

First Encounters

I remember very well my first trip to Manchester. My son and I cycled to Manchester, leaving Liverpool in the early morning. Our stay at the Luther King House turned out to be a pleasant one. Notwithstanding a dreadful mistake by England goalie Robert Green costing England a victory in their opening game at the World Cub 2010. We watched the match in the lounge. The local residents were not happy.

The next day we took the bus to Manchester City center. The chauffeur drove the bus through Wimslow Road (the famous curry mile), past the Manchester University into the city center. The city seemed very much alive and welcoming.

To be honest though, we have never dined at the curry mile. If we took a curry it was in the Northern Quarter at the Indian cafe where you can eat rice and three curries for a bargain price called This & That.

Two years later our son moved to Manchester. We have visited it several times over the past few years and have come to love this city and its beautiful surrounding countryside.

Manchester Rain

Manchester Interesting Facts

  • Manchester began as a Roman settlement and fort.
  • Central Manchester has remained inhabited since the Romans constructed a fort Mamucium in that place in AD79.
  • The train station, Liverpool Road, is the oldest remaining terminal railway station. On 15 September 1830, it was opened. One of the earliest two railway passenger terminals.The world’s first passenger train departed from Manchester.
  • It has long been nicknamed ‘The Rainy City’. Hence the video you can watch on the right.
  • The world's first professional football (what Americans call soccer) league was established in Manchester in 1888. It is now home to four premiership football clubs including Manchester United and Manchester City.
  • A fair bit of the UK’s music talent originated in Manchester.
  • Manchester developed into a city in 1853 and was the world’s first industrialized city.
  • In the 18th century, Manchester was the principal city of cotton making in the world.
  • Manchester is the third-most visited city in the United Kingdom by visitors from abroad and the most visited in England outside the capital London.

Greater Manchester

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Manchester Bomb 1996

In 1996 a massive IRA bomb exploded in Manchester city centre. The immense damage done to buildings in the city centre led to a total regeneration.

It could even be argued that without the bomb, Manchester may not have had such a dramatic opportunity for rebirth, funded by private investors and the government. Two hundred people were injured in the attack.

When we visited Manchester in October 2013 we stumbled on a BBC film crew recreating a scene of the aftermath of the Manchester IRA bomb on Northern Quarter streets, for a coming TV serie. You can see some impressions of this scene below.

The impact of the explosion must have been massive. You can read more about this bombing and its consequences in an interesting article here.

A markerCorporation Street, Manchester -
Corporation Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, UK
[get directions]

A bomb exploded at about 1120 BST 15 June 1996, on Corporation Street outside the Arndale shopping centre.

Manchester!

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Manchester City Skyline

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Piccadilly Gardens

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Pollard Street

Manchester Architecture

The architecture you encounter in Manchester demonstrates a rich variety of architectural styles.

The heritage of the Industrial Revolution is omnipresent. Manchester could well be the first modern industrial city where warehouses, railway viaducts, canals and cotton mills appeared as the city produced and traded goods.

I didn't expect to see canals in the city, but there actually are more than one. They meander right into the city center. For instance, you can walk all the way from the Manchester City Stadium (the Etihad) to Piccadilly Train Station.

Manchester offers a vast display of 19th and early 20th-century building styles; including Palazzo, Neo-Gothic, Edwardian baroque, Venetian Gothic, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and Neo-Classical.

I certainly am not an expert on architectural styles so I'll leave it to our virtual guide in the youtube video below.

Personally I love the combination old and new, decay and regeneration, high rise and warehouses. There are still quite a few ugly sites and vacant spots left. On the other hand, there's quite a lot of construction work going on leading to an ever changing skyline and city layout.

When you visit Manchester the large regeneration project that followed the 1996 IRA bombing catches the eye with new buildings such as Urbis forming a centrepiece of this redevelopment.
Beetham Tower (completed in the Autumn of 2006) is still the tallest building in the UK outside of London.

Manchester Architecture Tour

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Manchester Shopping

If you are a shopaholic you don't have to spend your time looking for shopping opportunities. The city has it all. From large shopping malls like the Arnsdale Center in the city center and Trafford city center outside the city center.

Our favorite shop on Deanstreat undoubtedly is the bookstore Waterstones. We bought Wild Tales from Graham Nash there on a book signing opportunity. We joined in the crowd and were happy to meet him. Crosby, Stills & Nash rank amongst our favorite bands.

Another fun place to visit is Afflecks. A totem of indie commerce. You can shop there for anything from top hats to tattoos.

Manchester City Etihad Stadium

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Manchester's National Football Museum

Manchester Football

For a football enthusiast, you can't go wrong in Manchester.

Two big premier league clubs offer sightseeing tours on their home ground, and the city even hosts a genuine football museum.

It doesn't get better than this.

Being a mcfc fan i never set foot in our rivals stadium. But don't let that detour you. But do realise that when you visit the reds in their stadium that Manchester United is an Old Trafford team and not, like the blues, a Manchester team.

Manchester City

Manchester (M) City (C) Football (F) Club (C) is an English Premier League football club, founded in 1880. In 2008, the club was purchased by an Abu Dhabi based Group. With their capital injection mcfc has became one of the richest clubs in the world. It is only fair to say that a huge amount of money has been invested by the new owners in the local community by developing "Sports City"

If you never get to visit their stadium do visit their website. I think it is a fabulous display of how a brand/team should use the web and social media.

I was able to see the match against Everton on 5 October 2013 that they won by 3-1. It was certainly a thrill to see David Silva and Yaya Toure, amongst many others, play.

Manchester United

Manchester United Football Club is another famous English professional football club, based in Old Trafford. Founded in 1878.
In August 2012, Manchester United got registered at the New York Stock Exchange. They are a public company now. You can look up how they are doing investment wise by looking up NYSE: MANU

Manchester United is undoubtedly the most successful club in the uk in this century.

Football Museum

At the Urbis building, that you can find in the Manchester city centre you can't miss The National Football Museum. It's lies opposite of the manchester music school in a prominent building. It is founded to preserve, conserve and interpret several important collections of association football memorabilia. As far as I am concerned they did an excellent job. And if you don't like football, well you have a good view of the city from within the museum.

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Spinning Statuette in Manchester Museum

MOSI museum of science and industry

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Imperial War Museum

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Manchester Museums

Over 2 million people a year visit Manchester's award-winning museums and galleries. And the number is growing fast.
All museums are free! But free does not mean they are cheap. Quite the opposite. Here are some museums I enjoyed visiting. There are many more. So be sure to visit the Manchester Visitor Information center for advice.

Manchester Museum

Address: Oxford Road

The museum is located in the university district of Manchester

Lots of exhibits and friendly staff to guide you around

I enjoyed this museum with its stuffed animals and bones, dinosaur skeletons and fossils, corals, reptiles and amphibians, ancient coins, Egyptian artifacts (including an Egyptian Mummy).

They have a peace collection of 1000 paper birds and a piece of material left by the Hiroshima nuclear bomb which I found very moving.

Lot's of hands-on things for kids too.

Whitworth Art Gallery

Address: Oxford Road

The Whitworth Art Gallery is part of the University of Manchester.

It is home to some of the UK's finest collections of art and design including modern and historic fine art, prints, textiles and a rare collection of wallpapers. Unfortunately, it is closed at the time of writing (February 2014), but it will reopen in august 2014.

Nice old building, with a large modern area overlooking a park.

Absolutely loved our visit there and the walk in the park outside. If you are interested to follow the progress read their blog here.

Manchester Art Gallery

Address: Mosley Street

This is such a well designed gallery. They spent over 35 million pounds recently to make their collection more accessible. Their collection includes pre-Raphaelite paintings, craft and design and early twentieth century British art.

Lots of temporary exhibitions are held here.

The staff is very friendly. They even gave us tips to find the optimal angle to take a photograph without even having to ask for it. How cool is that.

The Imperial War Museum North

Address: The Quays Trafford Wharf Road

Visit this award-winning war museum once and quite likely you will visit it again. It is housed in an iconic building representing a globe torn apart by conflict. Inside the building (that also boasts a tower with a fantastic view of Manchester) you will get a good impression how war shapes peoples lives. From a soldier’s last letter written to his family at home to the tangled steel of New York's World Trade Center. If you visit the museum you get a good feeling why war should be avoided at all cost.

Museum of Science and Industry

Address: Liverpool Road, Castlefield

The museum can be found on the site of the oldest passenger railway station in the world! Filled with hands-on exhibitions, a huge collection of vintage vehicles (including airplanes!) and working machinery from the textile mills. Working steam-powered machines can also be found.

The permanent exhibitions at M.O.S.I. allows you to experience how the Industrial Revolution sprang in Manchester and metamorphosed Britain's cities as well as the lives of its families.

People's History Museum

Address: Left Bank, Spinningfields

The industrial revolution and how it affected people's lives has always fascinated me. As does the rise of Trade Union, Labour and Coops. This museum provides valuable insights in the struggles that went on to give people a (fairer) share of the profits reaped in the industrial revolution.

Absolutely loved the museum.

National Football Museum

Address: Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens

Well what can you say. A real Football museum. A Walhalla for football fans but also of interest for anybody interested in sports and what it does to people and their communities. They look at the game of football - covering past and present - through world class expositions, looking at the sport from every angle, telling the tales that matter.

The harbor over 140,000 items - including a great FIFA football Collection.

Why not make your day a football day by visiting the football museum and doing a stadium tour.

Canal St and the Gay Village

The largest UK’s LGBT centre, outside of London.
The largest UK’s LGBT centre, outside of London. | Source

Manchester History

The history of Manchester includes its transformation from an unimportant Lancastrian township into the pre-eminent manufacturing metropolis of the United Kingdom and at one time even the world.

Around the corner of the 19th century Manchester began expanding "at an astonishing rate". Resulting in urbanisation brought on by a rush in textile production during the Industrial Revolution.
This unprecedented transformation took little more than a century. The M.O.S.I. museum illustrates part of this evolution perfectly.

World's first passenger railway station as well as many scientific achievements of great value had their origin in Manchester. Manchester also led the economic and political reform of 19th-century Britain as the forerunners of free trade.
The People's museum does a good job illustrating these struggles.

Manchester's industrial importance saw a decline in the mid-20th century prompting a depression in economic and social circumstances.
Subsequent investment, renovation, and rebranding from the 1990s onwards improved its fortunes and established Manchester as a post-industrial center with varied sporting, broadcasting, educational and cultural institutions.

Since the 1996 IRA bombing, local officials have insisted on a course of economic improvement rather than prioritising the past. This economic growth is perhaps best demonstrated with the Beetham Tower that is 170 metre high.

Fortunately though, areas recognized as important in the history of the Industrial Revolution such as Ancoats and Castlefield have been redeveloped with respect to Manchester's past.

Wonderwall, Oasis

I Wanna Be Adored, The Stone Roses

Manchester Music

Manchester's popular music scene had some successful groups hitting the charts before the mid-1970s, including 10cc, The Bee Gees, The Hollies and for instance Herman's Hermits.
The Smiths, with front man Morrissey, were the classic Manchester band of the 1980s. .
In the 1990s, the city Manchester saw the appearance of Britpop bands, most notably Oasis. I was lucky to see Oasis once. Not so long before their split. In 2013, I watched a collaboration between former Oasis guitarist Bonehead & Vinny Peculiar with his new band Parlour Flames performing at the Deaf Institute. Loved it.

If you are interested in the Manchester Music scene there are walking tours available past several highlights from the Manchester Music history. The Manchester visitor information center at Piccadilly Plaza (Portland Street, Manchester, M1 4BT) will be more than glad to help you.

Time Out Shortlist Manchester

Time Out Shortlist Manchester
Time Out Shortlist Manchester

Time Out Shortlist Manchester selects the very best of Manchester's sightseeing, restaurants, shopping, nightlife and entertainment, with Time Out's trademark expertise.

 

Manchester Quiz

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12 comments

Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Beth Eaglescliffe 2 years ago from UK

I agree, Manchester is a great city. The 1996 bomb was devastating but the city has reinvented itself, bolder and better.

This is an excellent hub. Voted up.


raymondphilippe profile image

raymondphilippe 2 years ago from The Netherlands Author

Thanks Beth. Bolder and better indeed.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

This was a great run-down of all the things that Manchester has to offer. I've never been there -- I have instead stayed in London and hit the historic sites like Stonehenge in the countryside,too -- but it looks like it has a lot to offer. The 1996 bombing is sad. Congratulations on your HubPot winning!


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 2 years ago from Malaysia

Congratulations in winning the daily HubPot and another good reason for that extra cup of coffee!


raymondphilippe profile image

raymondphilippe 2 years ago from The Netherlands Author

FlourishAnyway you can't beat London :-) But indeed there's much more to the UK than London alone. And greatstuff , I think it's time for yet another cup of coffee. Thanks both for your kind words.


Deltachord profile image

Deltachord 2 years ago from United States

Good detailed hub. Congratulations on your win.


raymondphilippe profile image

raymondphilippe 2 years ago from The Netherlands Author

Thanks! Appreciated


old albion profile image

old albion 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Congratulations on your win. It is so well deserved, I am a Manchester man having been brought up at the rear of curry mile, long before the first 'curry house' appeared. I live 12 mile from Manchester centre these days. You have done an excellent job on Manchester. Thank you.

Graham.


raymondphilippe profile image

raymondphilippe 2 years ago from The Netherlands Author

wow thanks Graham for your kind words. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. I hope to visit Manchester again this year, because it has so much to offer.


peterunderhill 2 years ago

Great review of Manchester. I have never been but it is on my trip ticket for my next journey to England. You did a great job of bringing the city to life for me.


raymondphilippe profile image

raymondphilippe 2 years ago from The Netherlands Author

Thanks Peter. I certainly hope you'll enjoy that trip to Manchester. They have a great visitor centre with kind folks that will certainly be able and willing to help you out if you have questions.


taiwokareem profile image

taiwokareem 2 years ago from Salford

everything you've said about Manchester is right Raymond and yes the rain!!! I hate it and the unpredictable weather

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