Manchester was hailed as the world’s first modern city in the early 19th century, and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution...
... 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.
Manchester played a pivotal role in UK club culture. It’s also one of the country’s greatest cities for live music, and as good for indie newcomers as international icons. If you're looking for something more upmarket, you'll also find venues for dance, opera, classical and theatre.
For a concentrated run of swanky, lively bars, head to Deansgate Locks. The venues at this canal-side quarter are housed in converted railway arches, and offer a ready-made bar crawl – there are even laughs on offer at Manchester Comedy Store. Craft beer fans should head to nearby The Knott, a relaxed pub under Deansgate station.
Where to start? There are countless little venues putting on up-and-coming acts – Night and Day, over in the Northern Quarter, is one of the most long-standing. For bigger acts there's the O2 Ritz and the vast Manchester Arena, one of the planet’s largest concert venues. If you prefer jazz or classical, try the Bridgewater Hall, or head out to Salford and see the BBC Philharmonic recording live for Radio 3.
Manchester might be famous for music, but don't overlook the city's theatre scene. You'll find innovative small-scale work at boutique theatres like Contact, and more high-profile work at the Lowry and the Royal Exchange. The latter's auditorium sits in a futuristic pod inside a historic building, and still looks shockingly modern decades after its opening in 1976.