People live in Manchester for many reasons, with the city being one of the most vibrant, economically important and regionally significant locations in the country. It offers a high level of sport, music and nightlife, is close to outstanding countryside and provides a wide variety of residential experiences. Moreover, it has undergone a major revival in recent years, both architecturally and economically.
Top attractions in Manchester
- The Big Wheel - Not exactly the London eye, but offers a panoramic view of the city nonetheless
- The Royal Exchange Theatre - Manchester has many theatres, but only one offers a futuristic theatre in the round inside the old Corn Exchange. Once described as a space ship inside a cathedral
- The Nightlife - Manchester is famous for its nightlife, which in these post-Madchester days revolves around the many clubs and bars through the city, not just in the centre but also in southern districts such as Withington and Didsbury
- Curry Mile - Rusholme in the south of the city offers a vast array of culinary treats for those who want to go berserk for Balti or mad for Madras
- Football - Manchester United is reputed to be the most popular football club in the world, with the highest average home attendance in Europe. In 2010, Manchester United defeated Aston Villa 2¿1 at Wembley to retain the League Cup, its first successful defence of a knockout cup competition. Whereas Manchester City has regained top flight status in the premier league since being purchased by Abu Dhabi Group in 2008 and their subsequent financial injection.
- National Cycling centre - the velodrome in east Manchester that produced so many medals in Beijing is also open to the public, offering a chance for everyone to share the same track as the champions
- Free museums - There are plenty of interesting free museums and art galleries in the city, meaning visitors can enjoy finding out about the modern city at Urbis, look at fossils and Egyptian mummies at the Manchester Museum and interactive wartime displays at the Imperial War Museum North
How to get around
- By Rail - The city is served by two main hubs, Piccadilly and Victoria. Of these, Piccadilly takes in the intercity routes from north and south as well as local services, while Victoria is mainly served by local trains and those from other parts of the north including Bradford and Leeds. The local train network is not particularly extensive, although some of the older lines have been converted to the Metrolink
- Metrolink - capable of running on rails like a train or as a tram on the road, Metrolink provides a connection between Piccadilly and Victoria, as well as serving the line up to Bury to the north of the city, Altrincham to the south-west and Eccles to the west.
- Bus - The city region has an extensive bus network, with the Wilmslow road corridor running south from the city centre through the main student areas being particularly busy. Buses literally call every few seconds
- Air - Manchester has a large international airport at the southern end of the city, flying to a wide variety of international destinations. As well as two main terminals there is a small third one for domestic flights
- Motorways - The city is very well served by the national motorway network, having an orbital motorway (M60) ringing the inner city. The M62 links Liverpool to the west and West Yorkshire to the east, while the M6 provides a link southwards towards Birmingham and then London
Living in Manchester
- Universities - Manchester has the biggest student population of any city outside London at 73,000, according to recent Halifax figures. The city had three universities until 2006, when Manchester and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology merged. The new University of Manchester is ranked 30th in the Times Good University Guide league table, while Manchester Metropolitan University is ranked 92nd. Together with other institutions like the Manchester Business School and the Royal Northern College of Music, the Oxford Road corridor forms the largest student campus in the country. Just outside the city boundaries is Salford University, which the Times ranks 83rd.
- Major hospitals - Manchester Royal infirmary lies close to the universities, alongside the Royal Eye hospital and St Mary’s maternity hospital. Other major hospitals include North Manchester General and Wythenshawe.
- History - Originally the Roman fort of Mamucium in Roman times, Manchester emerged as the world’s first industrial city, with cotton as its main product. The development of the Manchester Ship Canal in the 19th century enabled Manchester to become a port, while the city has had many firsts: The first passenger railway, the first computer, the first splitting of the atom, the first radio telescope (owned by Manchester University at Jodrell Bank in nearby Cheshire). It was also the cradle of major social, political and trade union movements, from the Suffragettes to the Professional Footballers’ Association.Like many cities it suffered from industrial decline in the latter part of the 20th century, but a major rebuilding programme following the 1996 IRA bomb that damaged part of the city centre, plus the high profile gained from bidding for the Olympics twice and then hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2002 has greatly raised the city’s image.
- Traditions - Manchester has a reputation for political radicalism and a fierce sense of independence from London. Although Birmingham is a larger city, Manchester often claims the title of second city through its greater perceived importance as a regional and economic centre, as well as the closer association with it that surrounding towns and suburbs have in comparison to Birmingham, hence the naming of the metropolitan county as Greater Manchester.
- Music and sport has been a major part of the city’s heritage, although the transformation of the Hacienda from the ‘Madchester’ nightclub of 20 years ago to the apartment block of today perhaps encapsulates the city’s changing and comparably gentrified image. Sport remains a major topic, with the local footballing rivalry between United and City supplemented by the hosting of international cricket at Old Trafford, plus the swimming and cycling facilities the city has gained from the Commonwealth Games and Olympic bids. The future will see the media side of the city grow due to the arrival of the BBC at nearby Salford Quays.
Manchester has a huge range of housing, although the traditional back-to-back terraced streets of stereotype and Coronation Street dominate many inner city areas. Those looking for family homes will find the best (but also priciest) in fashionable southern suburbs such as Didsbury and Chorlton. The NAEA lists well over 100 different agents in the city, with more across the wider metropolitan area.
Apartments are now commonplace in the city centre, with the same questions of oversupply as elsewhere. These have also sprung up in areas close to the city centre such as central Salford, Ardwick, Hulme and Ancoats, with other developments in east Manchester and in Didsbury. Average house prices in Greater Manchester vary considerably between apartments and homes in fashionable suburbs on the one hand and still down-at-heel inner city areas on the other.
Events for the diary
- Boxing - major championship bouts are held at the Manchester Evening News arena next to Victoria Station
- Great Manchester Run - tens of thousands from world class athletes to charity fun runners take part in the 10k race from the city centre out to Old Trafford and the quays then back in May
- International cricket - England play matches at Old Trafford in the summer
- Moss Side carnival - An inner city area often suffering with a bad reputation for crime and poverty shows another side when it puts on a display of Caribbean-style colour and noise every August
- Manchester pride - the city’s gay community stages its annual parade on the August bank holiday Saturday
- Christmas markets - a chance to sample exotic or unusual food and buy odd presents at the European markets held from mid-November. Everything from unusual art to bright green Dutch cheese is available