Visiting Manchester? Here’s What You Need To Know

Written by Chloe Harwood

Manchester is a wonderful place for a vacation: it’s one of England’s largest cities, with a rich cultural tradition and plenty to see. The city itself is located in the north-western part of England, inside a bowl-like land area on the River Irwell. It has a history dating back to the Roman era, excellent transport, plenty of sports, museums, shopping, a vibrant restaurant scene, and much more.

Manchester’s History

Manchester was originally settled during the Roman times, when General Agricola named a fort he set up in the area Maumucium, or “breast-shaped hill.” A reproduction of a Roman fort is now located in Castlefield’s city centre.

Up until the Industrial Revolution Manchester was a fairly small market town. Then, in the 18th century, it turned out that the damp climate was perfect for processing cotton and — as steam-powered engines developed for weaving and spinning — the cotton industry grew across the region. Manchester became the world’s most important industrial centre. Manchester was incorporated in the form of a municipal borough in 1838, by 1853 it gained the status of a city.

More recently, Manchester was the target of the 15th of June 1996 PIRA attacks, which badly hit the city centre. The reconstruction after the attacks represented a major rejuvenation of the city, with new focal points (like the Triangle and the Printworks) for entertainment and shopping springing up. The old, 1960s-era attractions were torn down and more modern, up-market ones sprang up.

Major Attractions

Major attractions in Manchester range from the Corn Exchange (which is now known as the Triangle shopping centre) to the Imperial War Museum North, St. Peter’s Square, the Piccadilly Gardens, the South Manchester Synagogue, the Trinity Bridge across the River Irwell, the Victoria Baths, and more.


Manchester’s International Airport is the UK’s third busiest, and the city also has two main railway stations — Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria — with high-speed trains from London to Manchester Piccadilly. There’s an extensive network of bus services in and around Manchester, as well as a city tram system known as the Metrolink.


Sports, particularly football, are a major part of Manchester’s culture. Both Manchester United as well as Manchester City are major focal points: it’s worth taking the time to find the best tickets for Manchester City when visiting the city, seeing a match is considered a must-do activity.

Museums and Galleries

Manchester has many art galleries, including “The Lowry,” home to the works of L.S. Lowry, the Salford Museum and Art Gallery, the Athenaeum, the Manchester Art Gallery, and more. There are also some fascinating museums — the Greater Manchester Police Museum, the Manchester Jewish Museum, the Imperial War Museum North, and the Manchester Museum.

Food and Drink

From Rusholme’s famous curry mile to more traditional “grub,” the Chinatown area, the modern bistros and bars of Deansgate Lock in Manchester centre, the city has a vibrant range of bars, restaurants, and clubs. Manchester is famous for its beer, with plenty of excellent breweries operating in the area. Another regional speciality is the HYPERLINK “”Eccles cake, and for pie lovers, a trip to Wigan (15 miles out of the city) is a must — it’s considered the UK’s pie capital.

About the author

Chloe Harwood