Tourist Information Guide to Manchester

By: Ms Leisha Greenfield
Manchester is world renowned as the first industrialised city in the world, but the city also boasts an important cultural and musical heritage. The city's role in showcasing innovative punk bands in the 70s, and underground music in the 80s, cemented Manchester's reputation as a modern and vibrant area.

The city's nightlife, restaurants and cultural facilities rival those of the capital city, and the shopping facilities are unparalleled. Millions of pounds of regeneration funding have flooded in since the IRA bomb of 1996, and the city developed world-class sporting facilities for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Manchester's continued rise in importance is evidenced by the new Beetham Tower, the tallest residential building in the UK, and 'B of the Bang', the tallest sculpture in Britain.

History

Manchester was the first industrialised city in the world. Friedrich Engels wrote his 1844 treaty 'The Condition of the Working Class in England' whilst living in the city; and Elizabeth Gaskell was just one of the enlightenment authors to set novels in Manchester.

The Manchester Museum explores local and national history, and boasts an incredible 6million exhibits. Displays are separated by theme, and these include anthropology, archaeology, botany and zoology.

Other museums include Greater Manchester Police Museum, Imperial War Museum and People's History Museum.

Art Galleries

Manchester Art Gallery is the largest of several galleries in the city, located in a nineteenth century, Grade I listed building and showcasing works by local, national and international artists.

The Whitworth Gallery is home to 31,000 watercolours, prints, drawings, modern art, sculpture and textiles. Displayed items from the permanent collection are regularly alternated, and temporary exhibitions are hosted frequently.

The Castlefield Gallery comprises numerous exhibition spaces, and changes displays regularly. Cornerhouse exhibits contemporary art works in its galleries, and The Centre for the Urban Built Environment explores innovative architectural design.

Theatres

The Manchester Opera House is one of three in the city's theatre complex, and has a capacity of just less than 2000 people. Productions hosted in the venue tend to be large-scale, touring shows, and have included West End shows.

The Palace Theatre is nineteenth century, Grade II listed, and comprises three levels, two balconies and stalls, with seating for 2000 people. The Royal Exchange is also Grade II listed, and specialises in classic theatre, contemporary drama and new writing. The Studio Theatre was opened in 1998 and has a capacity of 120.

The Library Theatre is an intimate venue, in the basement of the central library. Others include The Dancehouse, The Contact Theatre and The Greenroom.

Restaurants

110 Restaurant is a popular, fine dining establishment, located inside a casino and serving British and European cuisine until 1am. The bar and gaming areas are open until 6am and, for legal reasons, children are not permitted inside the building.

Manchester's 'Curry Mile' is known around the country, and is home to more than seventy restaurants and takeaways. Shaandaar, Hanaan and Lal Haweli are popular Indian restaurants on 'the mile', and Saki Turkish Bar and Grill is well loved by locals.

Wong Chu is a traditional Chinese restaurant; and Pan Asia a more upmarket establishment serving Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Chaophraya comprises a bar and gourmet Thai restaurant, with seating for 120 people.

Pubs/Bars

The Temple is one of 500 pubs in Manchester, but unique in its location inside a converted public toilet. There is a wide selection of real ales, a unisex toilet and a jukebox stocked with the works of Manchester bands.

Cocktail bars in the city include Panacea, with a restaurant and selective door policy that attracts celebrities; Pure Space, also serving tapas and situated above a Northern Soul and funk club; Opus One, inside the 5* Radisson Edwardian Hotel; and Mojo, presenting classic rock from the 50s to the 90s.

Canal Street is home to a variety of lively gay bars. Queer has a 'men only' area and its own in-toilet radio station; Tribeca & Bed is a 'New York Attic' style establishment, with luxurious seating – including full-sized beds; and Churchill's presents karaoke and talent contests in traditional pub surroundings.

Nightclubs

One Central Street is located in the basement of a Grade II listed building, and presents funky house and disco four nights a week. The door policy is selective, and the bar serves a variety of wines, beers and cocktails.

Sankeys is an award-winning deep house, funky house, tribal and break beats club, boasting stylish d?r and top of the range sound system.

Essential is Manchester's top gay club, with a strict gay-only door policy and a fashionably kitsch d?r that includes spiral staircases and neon lighting. The club is open four nights a week, with live music events on Mondays, and commercial pop and funky house the rest of the week.

5th Avenue is a popular indie club, open six nights a week until 3am. Jilly's Rockworld presents rock, metal and goth music four nights a week, with live music on Wednesdays, and came third in Kerrang!'s 100 top UK club nights.

Shopping

Most of Manchester's plentiful shopping streets are entirely pedestrianised, and some of the walkways are covered. The Shambles and King Street are the places to find designer clothes boutiques; St Ann's Arcade is home to a number of prestigious jewellery, clothes and shoe stores; and Barton Arcade is a shopping and office complex. The Arndale Centre comprises 200 high street shops and several restaurants, with parking for 2000 cars.

Covering an area the size of thirty football pitches, and comprising four separate shopping areas, the Trafford Centre has been dubbed 'a temple to consumerism'. There is parking for 10,000 cars, numerous leisure facilities and a children's play area. There is also a multi-kiosk food hall, including a mini-Chinatown.

Sports

Manchester Aquatics Centre is one of twenty leisure centres in the city, and contains two 50-metre pools, a fitness studio, a workout studio, a health suite and sun beds. There is a full programme of classes and groups, including 'women only' sessions.

The Ten Acres Astro Centre comprises an outdoor Astroturf pitch and sports hall.

The UK's main Olympic cycle track is the Manchester Velodrome, which also contains twelve netball courts, ten badminton courts and a basketball court. Cycling tuition is also available for adults and children.

Manchester Golf Club and The New North Manchester Golf Club are two of fifteen golf courses in the area, and both comprise eighteen holes.
North America Destinations
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on North America Destinations
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles