Things to do in Manchester

Manchester Town Hall

Manchester Town Hall - Credit: Archant

The first city.

Looking toward Sinclair's Oyster Bar

Looking toward Sinclair's Oyster Bar - Credit: Archant

As Ian Brown of The Stone Roses said: ‘Manchester has everything except a beach’. This was the very first industrial city, the destination of the first industrial canal, the start of the first passenger railway, the one-time hub of the textile industry and later the birthplace of the modern computer. Discover all this fascinating history at Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.

Manchester has not one but two football teams renowned throughout the world, brilliant theatres such as the Royal Exchange and popular culture so infectious that in Oasis’s heyday even Londoners began affecting Manc accents.

But the thousands of new city centre dwellers and the increasing numbers of tourists who come here every week are drawn to Manchester because of one thing: it’s a fun place to be. The city centre is compact enough for you to browse all the shops on foot, take your pick of restaurants from the likes of the high-concept, high-priced Australasia and Manchester House to the legendary cheap and cheerful curry house This ‘n’ That, and spend hours if not days touring great museums and art galleries.

Want to know about Manchester’s place in the world? Stand in Albert Square and look up at the neo-gothic pile which is Manchester Town Hall. The city had chutzpah in 1877 and it’s never lost it.

National Football Museum

National Football Museum - Credit: Archant

While you’re there

Visit

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People’s History Museum

Bridgewater Canal and Beetham Tower

Bridgewater Canal and Beetham Tower - Credit: Archant

One commodity of which Manchester has never been short is stroppiness. It fuelled the agitation for electoral reform which ended with the Peterloo Massacre in 1819, it drove the suffragettes whose civil disobedience began in Manchester and it energised trade unions and equality campaigns of all kinds. This museum at Left Bank, Spinningfields, tells that tale.

0161 838 9190. www.phm.org.uk.

Stay

Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel

A very stylish hotel was created from one of Manchester’s most significant buildings, the Free Trade Hall - a mid-19th century pile which was a place of big political meetings, the home of the Halle Orchestra and the place where the newly-electric Bob Dylan was branded a ‘Judas’ by a heckler.

0161 835 9929 www.radissonblu-edwardian.com.

Dine

Mr Cooper’s House and Garden

Simon Rogan overhauled the famous French Restaurant at the Midland Hotel, then turned his attention to that hotel’s more informal eating place, rechristening it Mr Cooper’s. The result is a slightly quirky restaurant offering the best of contemporary British cooking, but without breaking the bank. Great cocktails too.

0161 932 4128 www.mrcoopershouseandgarden.co.uk

Famous faces

Thomas de Quincey, Emmeline Pankhurst, Anthony Burgess, Robert Donat, Les Dawson, Caroline Aherne, Liam and Noel Gallagher, John Thaw and many more.

Getting there

It’s a rail hub with an international airport and the motorway network close at hand.