When you walk on the streets of Manchester, you feel like you are walking in - between two different worlds - one of the ancient architecture and one of new modern architecture and new technology. I still remember when I first walked out the Manchester train station and immediately took a liking to it. Just walk on any street at the city centre and you will see the contrast is so strikingly not only reflected in the buildings but in the atmosphere. Manchester is the second largest city in the United Kingdom and is known for its vibrant nightlife, arts and culture scene and the Manchester United Football League, which is ranked second and Manchester City is ranked first in the premier league. The University of Manchester is also located here, and is world renowned for having 25 Nobel Prize winners originated from here. It is a great city to take a weekend trip to from London, Birmingham, or other European cities and is conveniently located at the hub of Northern England. Manchester today is known as a global city for known for the arts, culture and cosmopolitan structure of the city itself.
Known for being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, the first programming computer and the first steam-driven mill, Manchester today is continually driven by industry, as it was during the late 18th century. Always a progressive city by nature, Manchester was the first city to embrace gay rights, socialism, women’s rights, and today creative architecture, modern music and art.Every street that you pass and walk by has its own particular story, especially the libraries that surround the city centre that give it character and depth, along with its music legends that have entranced the city.
Getting there :
Manchester can be easily reached by train by London, Birmingham, from all major UK cities and by airplane. The train is very convenient as from Birmingham City Centre it only takes around an hour to get to the city centre and is a great weekend away from other cities.
Top Experiences to Have:
1. John Rylands Library & Others
This library is well quoted by the travel experts to be a must see when in Manchester but its real significance lies in the detailed maintenance of the gothic architecture and scholarly works that still seek to inspire 21st modern architecture. Opened to the public in 1900, its always interesting to see the architecture of ancient libraries and the works that are deemed important in the era. The library culture is very exuberant here too as Chetham's library was the first free public library built in 1421. Chetham’s library was established here in Manchester and is the oldest library in the English-speaking world. Conveniently located near the city centre, the library was a former powerhouse during the early days of history and still is an inspiration today for scholars' works and famous pieces of architecture.
2. Walk through the City Centre
Coming from Birmingham, I noticed that in Manchester, the city centre really embraced the architectural styles of wide open spaces and using creative spaces for retail advertising. For example when I was there, there was a golf advertisement shaped as a mini golf playing set on the street and children playing life- sized chess on the street, giving to shape of a community through creative endeavours by the city. I found that the streets were very inviting, harbouring an open and welcoming atmosphere, with outdoor sofas and patios for people to socialize during their breaks away from the office. The city centre is also a great place to walk to other areas of Manchester, such as the Gay Village and the entertainment village.
3. Explore Manchester’s Tea Culture
Although many places in the United Kingdom have acclaimed English high tea, such as the acclaimed high tea at Piccadilly Circus in London, the various regions of the United Kingdom all have their own varieties and interpretations of high tea, including my favourite: The Richmond Tea Rooms, located in the heart of Manchester near the Gay Village, home to some of the oldest LGBTQ bars in the world. Here, you will be transported back into a Alice in Wonderland theme, and sip high tea and eat savoury sandwiches among fairytale like sightings.
4. Old Trafford Stadium
If you are interested in football and cheer for Manchester United, then you have to visit Old Trafford, built in 1910 and is a iconic symbol of the origins of football and home of the Manchester United team today. Take a museum and stadium tour and immerse yourself in the history of football. 2 premier football leagues are located here in Manchester, Manchester City and Manchester United accordingly, and are both ranked 1st and second on the premier football rankings.
The Chinatown in Manchester is the second largest in the United Kingdom, and is known for its proximity to the city centre and serves a fusion of eastern-western food. Explore this neighbourhood and allow yourself to immerse yourself in the immigrant culture of Manchester and the contributions that the Chinese community has made for Manchester.
1.Manchester is also known as the Gateway to the North, and is easy to get to the northern countryside regions of the Lake District and the Peak district. These areas are a great excursion from the city centre to get acquainted with the hiking trails and scenic views of Northern England.
2.National Football Museum - Come here to learn more about a sport that is so heavily ingrained in Manchester’s history: football and tour the 5 story building with over 2000 exhibits on display. Known as the city that prides itself with a strong connection to the origin and importance of the sport of football, this museum should definitely be on your list even if you don’t enjoy football.
The history of World War 2 impacted the city of Manchester greatly and the Imperial War museum in particular showcases the popular aircrafts and fighting vehicles used in the world wars. The People’s History Museum and the Science and Industry Museums are also great choices to look at to get a glimpse of Manchester’s past. With machines from the textile industry on display, you will learn more about the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
Chelsea Reviews: 4.5/5
Although I was only in Manchester for a short time, I remember the hospitality that the people there showed when I visited, including photographers on the streets and children playing on mobile chess sets. In my memory, Manchester will be that city that inspires to rival London, because of the hospitality on the city streets, and the small town feeling that inspires. People from Manchester are known from being “worker bees” because of the industrious nature of the working nature of the Industrial Revolution, however today Manchester is a city that still strives to accomplish more, though the combination of hard work, new developments in technology and embracing change as society evolves.