If you don’t want to follow the pack of tourists heading to London to experience the British lifestyle and culture, Manchester is also a great contender well worth a visit. As one of the UK’s biggest cities, with a rich industrial heritage, the unofficial capital of the northwest of England has a lot to offer, both in terms of experiences and attractions. Most people know the city for its famous football teams, Manchester City and Manchester United, but there’s definitely more than sports that make it a great tourist destination.
From an eclectic mix of bars and restaurants to museums, galleries, shops, enchanting markets, or beautiful green spaces and waterways, there’s a lot to see and do in Manchester. So, if you happen to land in the city for a few days, and you don’t want to miss any of its attractions, you better come prepared. Things would be a lot different if you’d have all the time in the world to visit and explore its every corner, but considering you’re only going for a short visit, you’ll have to spend your time wisely. Hopefully, this short guide will help you plan your itinerary, so you can make the most of your Manchester trip.
Football stadiums and museums
Since we’ve mentioned Manchester is best known for its football clubs, it would be a shame not to learn a bit more about the city’s relation to this sport and the significance they hold in the sporting world. If you’re a football fan, this is obviously a must. But even if you’re not a sports enthusiast, you’ll still enjoy a quick visit to one of the city’s main stadiums. You’ll have the opportunity to do a lot of cool things like walking through the players’ tunnel or seeing the pitch up close.
Alternatively, you can visit the National Football Museum, situated right in the heart of the city. Here, you’ll be able to gain a glimpse into the history of this world-renowned sport, admire impressive collections of football memorabilia, and have a bit of fun playing interactive games.
A trip down to the library
Manchester has some of the best libraries in the UK, so you might want to include one on your itinerary, even if you’re not a big bookworm. You can choose between Manchester Central Library and John Rylands Library. Ideally, you’d have time to visit both, but if you have to pick just one, we recommend opting for the latter.
The building itself, built in the Greek revival style in 1806, has a fascinating story – which we’ll let you discover for yourself. Once you step inside, you’ll discover a fascinating world filled with literary gems, rare books, and manuscripts, making for a unique experience. You’ll notice from the very beginning that this is not your average library – with its impressive vaulted ceilings, soaring pillars, candelabras, and stained-glass windows, it can easily be mistaken for a majestic cathedral.
Explore the historic city centre
However, John Rylands Library is far from being the only historic building worth visiting in Manchester. The city is packed with them, especially the historic centre where you’ll be able to feast your eyes on some exquisite architecture from centuries past. Albert Square, Manchester Cathedral, Piccadilly Gardens, or Castlefield conservation area are just some of the attractions you should include on your list.
If you want to make sure you don’t miss any of the important landmarks, you might want to book a guided tour. That’s a smart decision, both for time management and for safety reasons. As experts at Personal Injury Claims UK, accidents in public spaces can happen at any time, even when you are travelling, and making a personal injury claim as an independent traveller can prove quite challenging. So, if you want to keep unpleasant events at bay and enjoy every minute of your trip, try to plan your itinerary wisely.
Go on a river cruise
If you’re lucky enough to visit Manchester during warmer months, a river cruise can be a delightful and less common way to take in the beauty of the city. There are different cruise options, depending on the time of the year and how much time you have on your hands. For those who want to get the full experience, a 2-hour long trip can give you the chance to see many of the city’s iconic sites and landmarks from the tranquillity of the waterways. But if you don’t want to spend too much time on a boat (caution for those who usually experience motion sickness) and you want to do some exploration on your own two feet as well, a 1-hour cruise is the better choice.
Try some pubs and cafes
In that order, specifically. You can’t visit Manchester without taking a sip, or more, of its famous craft beer. The city is brimming with quaint little pubs and bars run by local brewers that come to life in the evening, offering visitors not only great drinks but also a lively and cheerful atmosphere and the possibility to socialise with the locals – and maybe strike up some friendships.
In the morning, there’s nothing like a good brew to help you get back on your feet from all the drinking and partying you did the previous night. Fortunately, Manchester’s got plenty of amazing cafés dotted all across the city, so you won’t have to search long for one.
A culture trip to the museums
If you have any energy left, might we suggest you use it to visit some of the wonderful museums Manchester has to offer? It’s going to be a tough choice, as there are quite a few amazing museums in the city, but if you ask us, the Science and Industry Museum or the Imperial War Museum are the ones that you shouldn’t miss.
Both museums are quite vast and feature captivating displays and galleries, providing immersive experiences for children and adults alike, so make sure you assign at least a few hours for a proper visit.