Manchester, in the heart of North West England, is a lively, post-industrial treasure. The city dubbed ‘Cottonopolis’ (after its most famous product) has hung up its clogs and, owing to a series of reconstruction initiatives, is now a significant center for culture and trade; many see it as the ‘capital’ of the north of England and the UK’s’second city.’
Manchester, home to the world’s oldest surviving passenger train station and possibly the cradle of socialism and the industrial revolution, continues to be at the forefront of British culture and technology, with its own unique energy and attitude. The city’s two world-famous football clubs and large student population add to the city’s vibrant spirit; while the mills have been replaced with Michelin stars and the warehouses with world-class shopping and museums, this is still a city proud of its industrial past as well as its influences on music and sport.
Manchester, which is smaller than London and several other cities, has the ‘buzz’ of a big metropolis without the overpowering size of the capital. Greater Manchester, located outside of the ‘main’ city, is home to 2.6 million people, as well as distinctive retail attractions, urban havens, and stunning countryside. Manchester Airport, one of the best-run international airports in the UK and the busiest British airport outside of South East England, is also located in the area.
Manchester has been described as “the belly and guts of the Nation” by George Orwell, “a synonym for vitality and independence” by Edward Abbott Parry, but Ian Brown, lead singer of The Stone Roses, probably best summed up the Mancunian mentality when he remarked, “Manchester’s got everything but a beach.” The sand is probably definitely already on its way.
Manchester used to have a bad image because of its industrial heritage. Things have changed considerably in the previous decade, and the city now has a bustling, energetic atmosphere. Manchester is well worth a visit, even if only for a couple of days, or longer if you plan to use it as a base to explore northern England and North Wales. Investment in the city’s regeneration following the 1996 IRA bomb and the 2002 Commonwealth Games has paid off, and Manchester is well worth a visit, even if only for a couple of days, or longer if you plan to use it as a base to explore northern England and North Wales.
The city is situated in England’s North West, almost halfway between Liverpool and Leeds. Despite its reputation for being a wet city, Manchester’s rainfall and number of rainy days are actually lower than the UK average.
Manchester is increasingly becoming a place where people want to live. Many people consider it to be a youthful, energetic, and cutting-edge city where there is always something going on. Many people consider their city as a competitor to London, although on a smaller scale; forget about the continuing rivalry with Birmingham for the title of “Second City.” This rivalry seems to go on forever, and it all comes down to how you tally up the statistics, at least in terms of population size. When the population of Greater Manchester is compared to that of Birmingham and its surrounding towns and regions, Birmingham comes out on top by around 100,000 people. However, the real population of Birmingham, which is more than 1 million people, is more than twice as large as the actual population of Manchester, which is roughly 450,000 people. However, the city claims that population is just one factor to consider, and that history and contributions to the globe should also be taken into account. The “Manchester brand” is seen to spread well beyond the city limits (to include all of neighboring Salford & Trafford, as well as areas in other boroughs) and even beyond the Greater Manchester bounds. This helps to show the region’s overall impact.
Many people have relocated to Manchester from London throughout the years. By no means are all of these folks returning to their northern origins. Some are visitors from other countries who stopped here on their way north in pursuit of a more economical metropolitan lifestyle. Manchester is also a welcoming city. Northerners converse with one another and outsiders. If you compare asking for directions in London with Manchester, you’ll notice a significant difference. Locals seem to be more proud than ever of Manchester and everything it has to offer recently. Some may consider this passionate pride in their city “un-British,” although it is quite comparable to Australians’ pride in their homeland. Positive words and compliments are always well received by the residents, and given all that has transpired in recent years, it is understandable.
Mancunian, or simply Manc, is an adjective connected with Manchester. The natives’ peculiar linguistic accent is much more closely akin to that of Liverpool, which has significant north-Waleian (Welsh) origins, than to the Lancastrian or Cestrian of the neighboring cotton towns.
The bulk of city centre stores are within acceptable walking distance (15 minutes at most) of each other, and most are accessible by a metroshuttle service. Manchester’s retail sector is one of the most diversified shopping districts in the UK. Even in the most upscale businesses, you will be greeted with courtesy, something many believe is lacking in the capital. The Arndale Centre, which was recently refurbished, is a major 1970s city-centre shopping area with 280 shops spread over well under 185 000 m2 of retail space, making it Europe’s biggest city-mall shopping centre, featuring the world’s largest Next store. Parts of the 1970s concrete charms remain, as do some of the famed yellow tiles that are a tribute to terrible urban planning at the time. It is linked to the Marks & Spencer and Selfridges department shops in Exchange Square through a link bridge. The outside needs to be updated, although the area that was modernized following the 1996 bomb is a huge improvement, however distinct from that of The Trafford Centre, with a more contemporary basic vibe compared to the Trafford Centre’s majestic façade. The inside has been completely redone. It becomes quite packed on weekends, and there are much too few places to sit, unlike The Trafford Centre. If you need to sit down, there are a few seats on the lower level near the market’s stairway.
There are many major businesses geared at bargain seekers, including the country’s largest Primark, which is wonderful for a deal and popular with US cabin crew when they visit, and an Aldi food hall on Market Street (just off Piccadilly Gardens).
Manchester boasts a plethora of theatres and performance venues (The Opera House, Palace Theatre, Royal Exchange, Green Room, Dancehouse Theatre, Library Theatre, and The Contact, not forgetting The Lowry at The Quays, which has three theatre spaces). The Bolton Octagon, Bury Met, Oldham Coliseum, and the magnificently preserved 1930’s Stockport Plaza, which has a lovely 1930’s tearoom overlooking Mersey Square, are all worth seeing. The Plaza organizes cinema screenings, theater plays, and Christmas pantomimes, which are growing more popular. The Garrick Theatre in Stockport and The Gracie Fields Theatre in Rochdale, as well as university and RNCM (Royal Northern College of Music) venues, are also worth mentioning.
The MEN Arena, Europe’s biggest of its type and widely regarded as one of the top such venues in the world, is where you can watch Madonna and Kylie. The Apollo, Bridgewater Hall, and the remodeled Manchester Central are all examples of such venues.