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Things to do in Manchester

In 1844, former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli wrote "Certainly Manchester is the most wonderful city of modern times." He was referring to the city’s thriving industry and commerce, but you could easily say the same about 21st century Manchester.

FACT FILE:Manchester

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Whilst the mills and factories may have been silenced, the ‘capital of the north’ has reinvented itself as a centre of culture, arts and hedonistic nightlife, with some world-class attractions like the Manchester Art Gallery, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Lowry Arts Centre at Salford Quays.

It’s a city with heart, passion and pride, whether it’s in the football stands of Old Trafford, the gay bars of Canal Street or the trendy nightclubs of the Northern Quarter. 

Restaurants in Manchester

As you’d expect from such a large and cosmopolitan city, Manchester’s dining and drinking scene is outstanding, with authentic cuisine on offer from all over the world.

The city may not have any Michelin stars (at least at time of writing – it’s a sore point with local foodies), but there are plenty of outstanding restaurants serving superb cuisine, like The French and Manchester House. Most of the restaurants and bars are in the city centre, but the southern suburb of Rusholme is well worth a visit if you’re looking for great quality Asian food, and West Didsbury is renowned for its indie bistros.

Manchester is a great place for a night out – head for the stylish cocktail bars and clubs that are dotted around the city centre, or the indie bars and music venues of the Northern Quarter. 

Shopping in Manchester

If you’re ready to shop ‘til you drop, Manchester definitely won’t disappoint.

It’s full of huge shopping malls, designer quarters, markets and indie boutiques, and is arguably one of the best cities in the UK for a weekend shopping break. For High Street brands and some great boutiques, the Arndale shopping centre is the biggest in Manchester, or you can head just out of town to the Trafford Centre, which is the largest shopping and leisure complex in the country. If your arms can carry any more bags, The Triangle (near the Arndale) has some gorgeous designer fashion boutiques, with more of the same in The Avenue, plus some great eateries too.

For market lovers, Piccadilly Gardens hosts a Real Food Market every Thursday and Sunday, where you can pick up local meats, artisan breads and cakes and delicious deli foods which you can use to cook up a storm in your serviced apartment. 

Local businesses

Manchester may no longer be an industry hub, but it’s evolved into an important business and media centre for the north of England.

Local businesses based here include PZ Cussons, The Co-operative Group, Umbro and The Peel Group, as well as companies like Kellogg's, Adidas, Siemens, Warburtons and M&S. In recent years the Salford Quays area of the city has been transformed into MediaCityUK, home to ITV Granada and the BBC, which moved much of its operation from London to Manchester in 2013.

Transport in Manchester

Manchester city centre is pretty compact, and most of the shopping centres and attractions are easily explored on foot from your serviced apartment. If you want to get around a little faster, there are plenty of public transport options that will quickly get you from A to B, including a free shuttle bus for people in and around the city.

Manchester’s tram network is excellent and connects all the major railway stations, museums, shopping centres and business districts. The city’s buses are reliable and frequent, and cover the city area and the outlying towns and villages.

If you prefer two wheels, you’ll find that Manchester is a bike-friendly city, with plenty of marked bike lanes and dedicated cycle routes through the city - you can hire bikes from The Hub at Piccadilly Place. Taxis are plentiful in Manchester - you can choose from black Hackney cabs that you can hail on the street, or book a licensed cab from a private firm.

Things to watch out for

Manchester loves its football, but passions can run a little high when Manchester United and Manchester City are playing in a local derby. There’s always been tension between the two sets of supporters, but this can often get out of hand in the city centre bars and clubs after a few beers, so the area is best avoided on match days.