- Travel and Places
What I Love About Manchester UK
Manchester Town Hall
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.
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 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.
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 bomb exploded at about 1120 BST 15 June 1996, on Corporation Street outside the Arndale shopping centre.
Have you ever been to Manchester, UK
Manchester City Skyline
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.
Mancunian dictionary: The 50 top words and phrases that say you're a Manc
- Mancunian sayings: our guide to common words and phrases - Manchester Evening News
We asked you for your top Manc words and sayings and here they are. Feel free to add any we've missed.
Manchester Architecture Tour
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
Manchester's National Football Museum
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 (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 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.
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.
Spinning Statuette in Manchester Museum
MOSI museum of science and industry
Imperial War Museum
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
I Wanna Be Adored, The Stone Roses
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 selects the very best of Manchester's sightseeing, restaurants, shopping, nightlife and entertainment, with Time Out's trademark expertise.
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- 21st Century Architecture in Manchester, UK
A look at some excellent examples of 21st century architecture in Manchester, England focussing on Manchester architecture of the 21st century.
- The Rochdale Nine, Manchester
A short illustrated description of the stretch of the Rochdale Canal through the centre of Manchester know as the Rochdale Nine. With original photographs by the author.
- History and Present of the Manchester City
Manchester is a North West England metropolitan borough and forms a part of U.K.'s 3rd-largest urban area. Manchester inhabitants are called as Mancunians and the colloquially are known as Mancs
- Classic Architecture in Manchester, UK
A look at some of the more classic Manchester architecture, and the influence of gothic in architecture in Manchester that form an interesting juxtaposition with the citys' more modern architecture.