2015-04-30

Manchester Guide

Welcome to Manchester

Get cultural at the Royal Exchange Theatre

Enjoy some laughs at The Comedy Store

Head to The Molly House for a warm welcome and chilled atmosphere

Legoland Discovery Centre

Explore the history of the childhood favourite, Lego and discover what it takes to create the amazing structures we all know and love. With over 2 million Lego bricks, a 4D cinema, the fun Kingdom Quest laser chariot ride and much more, this amazing kaleidoscope of colour will keep you busy for hours. Join Professor Brick-a-Brack as he guides you around the tour, and explore Merlin’s potion room to see what he’s been up to. The Legoland Discover Centre is destined to be a huge hit with all the family, whatever your age. 

Manchester United Museum + Tour

The Museum and Tour Centre is a fun-packed day out. 

Tatton park near Manchester

Nearby Tatton Park is a beautiful historic estate and parklands

Travelling to Manchester

Manchester Overview

With one of the largest UK airports, visitors flying into Manchester can begin their holiday as soon as they take off. Excellent motorway links connect the city to roads leading in every direction across the country, and frequent and efficient rail links can get you to or from London in just over 2 hours. 

By Rail

With four key train stations around Manchester city centre, travelling to the city by train is a very popular choice. Deansgate, Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria are the four stations, with Piccadilly bringing in most of the visitors due to its size. 

By Road

Manchester’s main ring-road connects the city to motorways heading north, south, east and west across the country. These excellent links make driving to the city very easy, and each of the major attractions are well signposted so you can find them with ease. 

By Air

Over 100 airlines offer flights to 190 international destinations from Manchester Airport. The airport connects visitors to more destinations in the world than any other UK airport, making it the perfect gateway to the North West of England. 

Getting Around in Manchester

Manchester Overview

As Manchester’s city centre hosts most of the attractions getting around is quite simple by bike or on foot. However, the Metrolink tram system is great if you need to travel further afield, and the free Metroshuttle buses can take you to and from any of the stations.

By Bus

A comprehensive network of buses links the whole of Manchester to the city centre and beyond. In the city centre, you can hop on one of the Metroshuttle buses. These are free and link to all the main rail stations, shopping districts and businesses in the city centre

By Metro

Manchester's Metrolink tram system has been developed to encourage easier and faster travel in the city centre and beyond. Connecting all major railway stations and tourist attractions, the Metrolink runs every five minutes making it the perfect mode of transport for those who don't require a strict timetable. 

By Bike

Manchester is a bike-friendly city with many marked cycle lanes and dedicated routes throughout the city centre and beyond. You don’t even have to take your own bike as cycle hire points are located all around the city. 

Malmaison Manchester

The Malmaison Manchester is a firm favourite amongst visitors to the city thanks to its location in the heart of the centre, and its elegant and modern design. Just minutes from Piccadilly station, it’s the perfect city centre hotel.

Getting to Manchester

Manchester is one of the UK’s busiest cities for business as well as visitor attractions, so great transport links allow people to travel to the city with ease and efficiency. With one of the largest UK airports, visitors flying into Manchester can begin their holiday as soon as they take off and when you land, trains and taxis will be waiting to take you directly to the centre of the city. Excellent motorway links connect the city to roads leading in every direction across the country, and frequent and efficient rail links can get you to or from London in just over 2 hours.

Top 3 Travel Tips

  • 1Book your train tickets in advance to save as much money as possible
  • 2Make sure you set off early as queues on the motorway can get bad at peak times
  • 3If you’re flying, make sure you plan your connecting transport to your hotel for when you land, although taxi’s will be waiting outside if you need one
Getting to [location] by Rail

By Rail

There are four main railway stations located in or around the centre of Manchester. Deansgate, Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria are all busy stations, with Piccadilly transporting the majority of visitors. Virgin trains run services throughout the UK and can bring or take visitors to London in a little over two hours. TransPennine Express operates services North of Manchester to destinations such as Newcastle and Edinburgh. For shorter journeys, Northern Rail trains transport travellers around to the more nearby cities around the North.

Getting to [location] by Rail

By Road

Manchester is well connected to the rest of the UK by excellent motorway links. The M6 in both north and south directions is the busiest motorway in the UK, and can bring visitors from Scotland and most cities in the Midlands. The M62 Eastbound is the main motorway with links over the Pennines to Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. National Express run coaches to Manchester from all major UK cities, so if you don’t fancy driving that’s a great option. Cheaper too!

Getting to [location] by Rail

By Air

Manchester Airport is the only ‘Global gateway’ to Northern England. One of the busiest airports in the UK, Manchester Airport is used by more than 100 airlines, connecting 22 million passengers to more destinations in the world that any other airport in the country. Flying to 190 destinations, visitors come and go from all over the world, making it really easy if you’re coming to the city from abroad. Trains run from the airport to the city centre train stations every ten minutes, and a large tai rank waits outside for passengers not wishing to take the train. 

Getting Around in Manchester

The city centre is very much in walking distance, although you can also hop on and off the free city shuttle buses that nip around connecting the 4 main railway stations and bus terminals. Trams traverse the city too, and passes known as 'daysavers' are available for all the principal forms of transport from £4. Free maps can be gained from tourist information centres at Piccadilly Train Station and the Town Hall Annex. Hotels will often have copies available too. The main attractions are all signposted really well so planning your trip around the sights is easy. Just pick up an all day ticket or hire a bike and head out exploring the best that Manchester has to offer. 

Top 3 Travel Tips

  • 1Buy an all day Metrolink ticket for around £5 so you can travel as much as you want
  • 2If you’re driving to the Trafford centre, head of early as big queues are not uncommon
  • 3Don’t bother taking your own bike – Hire docks are all around the city and it’s really cheap to hire one for a day or even a weekend
Getting to [location] by Rail

By Bus

When in the city centre, you can hop on one of the Metroshuttle buses. These are free and link to all the main rail stations, shopping districts and businesses in the city centre and operate from 7am - 7pm Monday to Saturday, running approximately every 10 minutes. The Metroshuttle can take you from car parks, stations and tram stops around the city centre's main attractions so you can visit as many places as you have time for, without paying for travel. 

Getting to [location] by Rail

By Metro

Manchester's Metrolink tram system has been developed to encourage easier and faster travel in the city centre and beyond. Connecting all major railway stations and tourist attractions, the Metrolink runs every five minutes, making it the perfect mode of transport for those who don't require a strict timetable. Trams run from the early morning until late in the evening, and you purchase your ticket from the machine at the platform before you board. Be ready though as some ticket machines don’t accept card payment. 

Getting to [location] by Rail

By Bike

Manchester is a bike-friendly city with many marked cycle lanes and dedicated routes throughout the city centre and beyond. With most of the main attractions and venues being around the city centre, cycling is a great way to avoid the main traffic and discover the city at your own pace. You don’t even have to take your own bike as there are numerous bike hire points around the city. The one inside Piccadilly Station is the most popular due to its convenient location. 

Shopping in Manchester

With two huge shopping centres in the Arndale and Trafford Centre, shopping in Manchester can take up a lot of your time. If you love shopping, Manchester will make you feel like a child in a sweet shop. From designer labels to quirky boutiques, Manchester’s shopping scene is as varied as the rest of its attractions. There are a lot of ‘hidden gems’ to keep your eyes open for, whether it’s a cute vintage store or somewhere full of local produce there’s definitely somewhere for you to find what you’re looking for.

Hidden Gem

Renegade Marmalade 

Hidden Gem in [location]

A subterranean boutique flaunting rock chick style with iconic t-shirts and stand out prints. Internationally sourced labels and limited edition lines are a must see. 

Top 5 Shopping Centres in Manchester

Shopping in [location]

1

Trafford Centre, Barton Dock Road, Trafford Park, Manchester

A huge centre of fashion, dining and leisure including a cinema, high-ropes adventure course, laser quest and Lego DiscoveryLand

2

Arndale, Manchester , M4 3AQ

Every high street store you can imagine all under one roof, with delicious food courts and all in the heart of the city

3

The Corn Exchange, ExchangeSquare, M4 3TR

Sat in the heart of Manchester’s shopping district, this refurbished corn exchange is a haven of boutique stores and great health and beauty brands

4

GREATnorthern, Management Suite, 235 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN

A very modern complex housing cinemas, bars and bustling contemporary stores. The place to be, day or night

5

Manchester Fort, Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester, M8 8EP

Located just half a mile from the city centre, this late night shopping centre houses great fashion, food and fun for all the family

Top 5 Designer Shops in Manchester

Shopping in [location]
1

Selfridges, 1 Exchange Square, M3 1BD

Selfridges offers high end and shopping on a huge five floors. Combining big-name fashion, accessories and cosmetics with the edgier high street brands, positioning it firmly ahead of other retail leaders.

2

Vivienne Westwood, 47 Spring Gardens, King Street, M2 2BG

The well-know, international luxury brand has expanded from its flagship store in London and opened up in fashion haven, Manchester

3

John Lewis, Peel Ave  The Trafford Centre, Manchester M17 8JL

Whether you need clothes, home ware, electrical or beauty products, this high street leader has everything under one roof

4

House of Fraser, Deansgate, M3 2QG

Housed in a striking art-deco building, the store offers the best of the high street and those harder-to-find brands under one rather large roof.

5

Harvey Nicholls, 21 New CathedralStreet, M1 1AD

With the world’s leading designers, floor to ceiling glamour and some of the nicest food courts you’ll find, Harvey Nichols is the perfect place to go I you’re looking to splash some cash.

Top 5 Vintage Shops in Manchester

Shopping in [location]
1

Afflecks,  52 Church St.., Manchester

Afflecks is legendary in Manchester, and for good reason. This towering indie emporium kick-started the careers of many a local entrepreneur, including Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemingway

2

Retro Rehab, 91 Oldham Street  Manchester M1 1JR

This neat boutique stocks a good range of clothing from the '50s to the '80s, alongside its own reworked garments. There's a great choice of accessories, jewellery and bags, but dresses are the specialty.

3

Cow, Unit C1 City Tower, ParkerStreet, M1 4BD

Cow faces PiccadillyGardens with the boldness of a vintage American Apparel. The innumerable handbags and shoes offer an easy way to bring an edge to a modern outfit.

4

Pop Boutique, 34-36 Oldham Street  ManchesterM1 1JN

One of the oldest vintage shops in the Northern Quarter, Pop Boutique purveys carefully selected clothing, accessories and furniture from the 50s to the 80s across two floors.

5

Oxfam Originals, 51 Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JR

Buying fashion has never been so rewarding. Oxfam Originals sells the best of donated designer clothes so you can enjoy a one-off piece for the fraction of the price while assisting Oxfam in their good work.

Eating Out in Manchester

With over 300 restaurants in Manchester city centre to choose from, eating out in the city is a real treat. A hugely diverse restaurant scene means you have pretty much every cuisine you can think of to choose from, and all in high quality and fine dining establishments. From Indian to French, Greek to Australasian, the variety in nationality is huge and gives visitors the chance to try things they may never have had before. Eat somewhere different every night and discover the taste of the world’s cuisine

Hidden Gem

El Rincon de Rafa 

Hidden Gem in [location]

Hidden off the main street, this restaurant is easily missed but is definitely worth finding. Serving what is said to be the best tapas in Manchester, El Rincon de Rafa is a basement haven with a quirky and laid back Spanish atmosphere.

Top 5 Fine Dining Restaurants in Manchester

Shopping in [location]

1

Room, 81 King Street, Manchester, M2 4AH

2AA Rosette accredited restaurant, set in the grand surroundings of the former Reform Club, which offers classic British dishes, all produced with a unique contemporary twist.

2

Linen, 2 Watson Street, Manchester, M3 4LP

Excellent value for money, plush fine dining British restaurant inside the lavish Manchester235 casino, making it one of the most impressive dining arenas in Manchester

3

Choice, Castle Quay, Castlefield, Manchester, M15 4NT

Excellent multi-award winning restaurant & piano bar in the beautiful Castlefield canal basin, offering local dishes with a fine-dining twist

4

Livebait, 18-22 Lloyd Street, Manchester, M2 5WA

Fresh seafood restaurant and oyster bar, arguably boasting the most impressive restaurant entrance in Manchester and an extensive ethically sourced fish menu.

5

Vertigo, 36 John Dalton Street, Manchester M2 6LE

This stunning decadent £4 million establishment offers exciting new chapter of British fine dining to Manchester's food lovers modern, elegant, creative food in exquisite surroundings

Top 5 Restaurants for International Cuisine in Manchester

Shopping in [location]
1

The Alchemist, 3 Hardman Street, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3HF

Fashionable restaurant and cocktail bar, the menu features such worldly delights as Fish & Chips, Special Fried Chicken in a Basket, Mexican Fajitas, salads and fantastic breakfasts

2

The Armenian Taverna, 3 Princess Street, Manchester,M2 4DF

A Eurassian restaurant next to the town hall in a basement just off Albert Square, serving homely Armenian and Persian delights at great prices

3

RICE, Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, M1 1RG

A very popular fast food outlet and restaurant which serves sushi and authentic rice based dishes from around the world

4

Rosso, 43 SpringGardens, King Street, Manchester,M2 2BG

Rio Ferdinand's plush Italian restaurant and celebrity haunt stands proudly at the top of Manchester's prestigious King Street in a stunning 116-year-old Grade II listed building

5

Vermillion, Lord North Street, Manchester, M40 8AD

The out-of-this-world £4.5 million Thai influenced Asian fusion restaurant is said to be the most spectacular restaurant and bar to have ever opened in Manchester

Top 5 Family Friendly Restaurants in Manchester

Shopping in [location]
1

Dough Pizza Kitchen, 75 - 77 High Street, Manchester,M4 1FS

Wonderful family-friendly pizzeria in the Northern Quarter, offering fresh traditional, whole-wheat, gluten-free & dairy-free pizzas. Kids eat for only £3.50

2

Stresa, 17 Trafford Road, Manchester, M5 3AW

Excellent Italian restaurant inside the Ramada Salford Quays hotel, where kids under 5 eat free and under 12’s eat and drink for £6.95

3

The Printworks, 27 Withy Grove, Manchester, M4 2BS

A huge family-friendly entertainment complex located next to the MEN Arena, which is home to over fifteen restaurants, with something to savour for everyone's taste

4

Hard Rock Café, Exchange Square, Manchester,M4 2BS

Probably the biggest food portions in Manchester can be found at this family-friendly branch of the legendary chain. Great cocktails, grills and music next door to the MEN Arena and the shops 

5

Sapporo Teppanyaki, 91 Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4JN

This Japanese restaurant boasts a unique dining experience with all the entertainment and theatre style of Teppanyaki cooking. Great chef shows to keep the kids entertained during meal time 

Manchester Nightlife

Night time in Manchester usually means going out drinking and hitting the best clubs for most visitors of the city, but for those who want a more cultured and relaxed evening, there are plenty of attractions to keep you busy. Whether it’s a night of laughs in one of the many comedy clubs, a family night out at the cinema or a trip to the MEN Arena for your favourite singer, Manchester’s nightlife has something to offer everyone. 

Top 10 Manchester Nightlife

1

Matt and Phred’s Jazz Club,  64 Tib Street, Manchester,M4 1LW 

Counted as a world landmark Jazz club having played host to artistes such as Wynton Marsalis, Jamie Cullum and The Small Faces, It’s open 6 nights a week with cocktails, food and live music every night. 
2

Royal Exchange Theatre, St. Ann's Square, Manchester M2 7DH

An award-winning Theatre in the centre of Manchester showing everything from original Shakespeare and Wilde to hundreds of brand new plays each year. 

3

The Comedy Store, Arches 3 & 4 Whitworth Street West, Deansgate Locks, M1 5LH

The Comedy Store offers a unique blend of stand up comedy, fine dining and live music so you enjoy a full evening of great entertainment in one place 
4

O2 Apollo, Stockport Road, ManchesterM12 6AP

Showing some of the greatest musical and comedy talent the world has to offer, this is a great place to visit for some world-class entertainment

5

Manchester235 Casino, 2 Watson Street, ManchesterM3 4LP

For a night of great food, quality bars and a little bit of gambling, this casino is a great venue for your whole evening’s entertainment

6

ODEON Manchester, 27 Withy Grove, City Centre, Manchester 

Enjoy the latest cinema releases in the comfort of a high quality cinema. Whether you like a gory horror or prefer a light-hearted chick-flick there’ll be something to make your night complete.
7

MEN Arena, Victoria Station, Hunts Bank, Manchester, M3 1AR 

The biggest music, theatre and comedy stars in the world take to the stage at the MEN, so if you have a favourite name in pop get your tickets and head to this huge arena
8

The Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester. M1 6FT

One of Manchester’s best theatres for the biggest shows on the stage. The likes of The Lion King, Madame Butterfly and Grease are showing there during 2012/2013

9

Manchester United at Old Trafford, Trafford  Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford M16 0RA

With two huge teams in the same city, competition is high and the level of anticipation makes for a great watch. Head to a night time match and see the beauty of the play under the floodlights

10

Afflecks, 52 Church St.., Manchester

With late night shopping, entertainment centres and full of bars and clubs, Afflecks is a great place to spend a lovely relaxed evening in a cocktail bar with your shopping bags.

Manchester Bars

The bar scene in Manchester is one of the reasons why so many people visit the city each year. Total diversity awaits you as the vibrant and cultured night life unfolds. From reggae bars to high-class cocktail bars, real-ale pubs to live music venues, Manchester has something to offer everybody. The Northern Quarter is the place to be for a more bohemian and alternative evening, but if you head towards Deansgate, you’ll find the best cocktail bars around, as well as some high prices. Whatever your style of drink or music, there’s a huge variety waiting for you in Manchester. 

Top 10 Bars in Manchester

1

Apotheca, 17 Thomas Street, ManchesterM4 1FS

Antique pharmacy cabinets and an almost gothic feel give this Northern Quarter cocktail bar plenty of character and atmosphere for a relaxed and soulful evening

2

The Liar’s Club, 19A Back Bridge Street, Manchester,M3 2PB

This basement Tiki dive bar and Caribbean rum shop is packed every night of the week, selling the largest rum collection in town and some of the best tropical cocktails around.

3

The Alchemist, 3 Hardman Street, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3HF

One of the most popular cocktail bars, its drinks are carefully crafted using a variety of molecular drinks-making techniques making presentation as important as their extraordinary taste.

4

The Briton’s Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester,M1 5LE

Winner of 'The Best Pub in Manchester' title for the past 2 years, this tardis-like haunt boasts over 200 whiskeys, great ales, a beer garden and two roaring fires

5

Cloud 23, Hilton Manchester, 303 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4LQ

Located on the 23rd floor of the landmark Hilton Beetham Tower, Manchester's sophisticated sky bar offers amazing views of the city and beyond

6

Bakerie, 45 Lever Street, Manchester,M60 7HP

This European style bread and wine bar offers great traditional ales and an impressive wine list with over 70 styles to choose from.

7

Dukes 92, 18-25 Castle Street, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4LZ

Situated in a stunning position with a huge patio on the banks of the Bridgewater Canal, this Mancunian institution is without doubt Manchester's busiest bar when the sun is out

8

Australasia, Spinningfields, Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3AE

Located underneath the Georgio Armani store, this beautiful Pacific Rim themed cocktail bar boasts impressive drinks whilst the DJ emulator is a real talking point.

9

Odd Bar, 30-32 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1ER

This great bar is an unpretentious, bohemian styled, haven to relax in, spread over three floors with regular live music and a fantastic jukebox.

10

Sandinista!, Old Bank Street, off St Annes Square, Manchester,M2 7PF

Central American influenced classic rock bar, which is open until 3am every night of the week, serving fantastic cocktails and an eclectic soundtrack of rock, indie, funk, soul, reggae and 80's.

Manchester Attractions

Manchester is full of attractions to keep visitors entertained, and the wide variety means you can do something completely different on every day of your stay. There are a lot of museums in the city, all with diverse collections of everything from industry items to prehistoric creatures, music to football. There are also some great areas around the city to visit, including the picturesque Heaton park, and some delicious dining choices down intricately designed Chinatown. Whatever you feel like doing, there’s a Manchester attraction to keep you busy. 

Top 10 Attractions in Manchester

1

Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Road | Castlefield, Manchester M3 4FP

Take an interesting look into the history of  the city, with galleries spread across five historic buildings and collections ranging from early textile machinery to modern X-ray equipment

2

The Lowry, Pier 8 | Salford Quays, Manchester M50 3AZ

Three theatres, an art gallery, bars and restaurants are all enclosed within its walls making for a great place to discover some of the country’s greatest talents.

3

National Football Museum, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester M4 3BG

Whether you love football or not, this museums collection of memorabilia, facts and figures and quizzes are sure to keep you entertained.

4

The Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester | Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL

His museum is home to an array of treasures from the natural world and the many cultures it is home to. Highlights include a T.rex and fossils of other pre-historic creatures.

5

Chinatown, Manchester Centre

Manchester’s Chinatown is one of the largest outside of China. It’s home to great shops and delicious restaurants and is the centre of the city’s Chinese community

6

Albert Square

With ManchesterCity Hall and some wonderful statues, this square is a great place to see some fantastic architecture and the busy markets that fill the space. 

7

Heaton Park

This is a huge park with a number of facilities including a public golf course and a small farm that is great for young children. Perfect on a sunny day

8

Stonerig Raceway, Unit 2 Milking Green, Hartshead Street, Lees Oldham, OL4 5EE

Great for all ages, this award winning venue hosts some of the country’s best Scalextric racing. Compete against your family on 5 full themed tracks

9

John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester

The University Library of Manchester provides an extensive range of services and resources to actual and virtual visitors, and is one of the most popular attractions in the city. 

10

Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester M13 0FE

With a beautiful, ornate interior these baths are a stunning memory of past designs. See the incredible stained glass and tile work, along with the pools themselves, and enjoy some vintage fairs.

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Out and about in Manchester

Manchester Shopping

With so many great stores, shopping in Manchester can easily take up your whole trip so make sure you plan and visit your favourite stores

Eating Out in Manchester

With a really diverse culture, Manchester’s food and drink scene is great. From top-end restaurants to delis and local produce, whatever your taste in food there’s guaranteed to be something you’ll love. 

Manchester Nightlife

Live music venues sell-out and some of the biggest names in music hit the streets. Full of culture and excitement there’s a great range of activities for a night time in Manchester.

Manchester Bars

From real ale pubs to cutting edge club nights, Manchester’s pub scene is as varied as it gets. There’s a great selection of cocktail bars too, all popular with the local celebrities.

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