The United Kingdom’s second-most populous urban hub, bustling Manchester is considered by many to be the nation’s “second city”–after London, of course. With a recorded history stretching nearly two thousand years, the metropolis’ heritage is extensive and powerful. Manchester boasts an incredible impact on world culture and one of the strongest economies in the UK, and is an extremely popular destination for tourists. When not exploring intriguing museums, opulent shopping streets, and ancient Roman ruins, visitors can enjoy the many opportunities for live music and performance. England has much to offer outside of its celebrated capital–come discover it for yourself.
Location: A Transportation Hub in the north of England
Manchester sits towards the southern end of North West England, about 260 km northwest of London and roughly equidistant between Sheffield and Liverpool. The mountainous Pennines rise to the north and east of the city, while Manchester itself lies low and flat along the River Irwell. Two of the busiest airports in England can be found here, and rail and road connections link the metropolis to the rest of the United Kingdom by land.
Business: A Global and Cosmopolitan City
The world’s first industrialized city, Manchester’s economy is one of the greatest in the UK, and quite substantial even compared to the rest of Europe. Once built up as a major textile-manufacturing center, the metropolis has diversified somewhat in modern times. Today, other major local industries include finance, business services, biotechnology, digital, and creative media, sports, and tourism. The award-winning Manchester Central Convention Centre attracts domestic and international companies year-round.
Culture: England’s (Unofficial) Second Capital
British journalist and broadcaster Brian Redhead once described Manchester as “…the capital, in every sense, of the North of England…” and few could argue against him. The city’s achievements in music, performance, and art are world-renowned (relatively recent emergences from the local music scene include The Smiths, Oasis, and Joy Division), and the local architecture showcases styles from Neoclassical and Victorian all the way through extreme modernism. Visitors will have no shortage of museums to explore, theaters to visit, and stunning streets to wander through.
Activities: Explore a Proud Heritage
The city is jam-packed with cinemas and live theater venues, so there are plenty of opportunities to take in a show. If sightseeing is more to your taste, try a visit to Castlefield in the West Central region–the site of an ancient Roman settlement known as Mamucium. Also, check out the recently redesigned façade of the bohemian Millennium Quarter in North Central Manchester–a stunning display of industrial and artistic legacies, and prized for its shopping opportunities.