Manchester

Manchester was hailed as the world’s first modern city in the early 19th century, and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution...

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... still bristles with confidence and energy today. Whether you're coming for the buzzing cultural scene, one of the two huge football teams, or something else entirely, you'll be joining over 40 million leisure and business visitors a year. Manchester shows no signs of slowing down.

Arriving at Manchester Airport

Manchester is one of the best-connected business and leisure destinations in the country, and its airport has three terminals handling over 23 million passengers a year. With direct flights to more than 200 destinations, and 60 national and international carriers, it’s the third busiest airport in the UK, after London Heathrow and Gatwick.

Train is the quickest and most convenient form of public transport for getting into the city. You can reach the station from the terminals via a covered walkway, and the journey to central Manchester takes around 20 minutes, with regular services seven days a week. You can also join the Metrolink tram network at the station. Trams run every 12 minutes, but they're stopping services that run through the city's southern suburbs. Unless you're heading to that part of town, the train is a better option.

For a cheaper journey, try local bus and coach services, which reach the city centre, in 20 to 35 minutes. Or save your energy for seeing the city and splash out on a metred taxi, available outside all three airport terminals.

Essential sights

Manchester Museum

Millennia-spanning Manchester Museum contains four million objects; the Egyptology collection alone is the UK’s fifth largest, with over 70 mummies. And it isn't all about inanimate objects. Hop into the Vivarium to see Costa Rican Tree Frogs, some of the first ever successfully bred in captivity.

The Whitworth

The Whitworth is a grand Victorian museum, made even grander with the opening of The New Gallery in 2015. A work of art in its own right, the extension doubled the original exhibition space, creating more room for the gallery's 55,000-strong collection, which ranges from historic textiles to Tracey Emin drawings.

Imperial War Museum North

When you visit the Imperial War Museum North, don’t expect a mere offshoot of the London original. Manchester's IWM is a unique experience in its own right, exploring modern conflict through personal stories and art as well as military artefacts. Even the building is thought-provoking – it was designed by Daniel Libeskind to represent a shattered globe.

National Football Museum

These days, Manchester is more famous for football than factories. Explore the city’s passion at the National Football Museum. It’s the largest museum of its type in the world, covering the home teams comprehensively and putting a global slant on the beautiful game too.

The Lowry

The great early 20th century painter L. S. Lowry specialised in scenes of industrialised Lancashire, including Salford itself. So this Salford Quays-based cultural centre is the perfect place to discover his work. As well as hosting the world's largest collection of Lowry paintings, it is home to three theatres and several exhibition spaces. The interior is a work of art in itself, with orange staircases and strangely sloped floors.