Blazing a trail when it comes to music, sport and culture, Manchester brims with attitude and innovation. It’s long been at the forefront of social change – the suffragette movement has its roots in the city, parts of the communist manifesto were written here, and it’s even claimed that the world’s first computer was a Mancunian invention. Today’s bars, restaurants and arts venues help it draw comparison with big-name world cities, but it remains a place apart.
With a heritage that includes The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Oasis and New Order, Manchester has for decades stood as one of the UK’s most influential musical cities. Local operators Manchester Music Tours give visitors the chance to see landmarks relating to key bands and artists, from the Gallagher brothers’ rehearsal room to Morrissey’s old house. To check out the next big thing, call in at authentic live music venues such as Night & Day (26 Oldham Street).
A sporting soul
With ManchesterCity now rivalling Manchester United as the city’s number one football team, the destination finds itself with two huge global sporting brands. Both clubs’ stadiums offer tours, but more rewarding still is a visit to the excellent NationalFootballMuseum (UrbisBuilding, CathedralGardens) – it’s free, too. On another sporting note, Manchester is also home to the National Cycling Centre (Stuart Street), where sessions on the Olympic-standard track can be pre-booked.
Old and new
A city break to Manchester from Glasgow Airport shines a light on somewhere with a proud history and a confident present. Heritage sites like the Victorian Gothic masterpiece of the John Rylands Library (150 Deansgate) evoke the destination’s past, while attractions such as arts centre Cornerhouse (70 Oxford Street) are emblematic of Manchester’s ongoing creativity – part-gallery and part-cinema, its patrons include Danny Boyle.