List of countries
Travel in Europe
Travel in Africa
Travel in Asia
Travel in Europe :
Travel in France
Travel in Belgium
Travel in Finland
Travel in Germany
Travel in Asia :
Travel in America :
Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in manchester
Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in manchester, Bed and Breakfast!
Manchester is the largest city in the North of England. It lies at the centre of Greater Manchester, which has a population of over 2.5 million, and frequently contests the title of UK's second city with Birmingham.
Manchester is world-renowned for its influence on the histories of industry and music, and for its sporting connections. It is known as one of the most gay-friendly and multicultural cities in Europe, and boasts the largest campus university in Britain.
In addition to Manchester, Greater Manchester contains the boroughs of Salford, Trafford, Stockport, Oldham and Tameside which are also discussed under the subject of 'Manchester', as well as Bolton, Bury, Rochdale and Wigan. It is administered independently, but parts of it are often considered to be in their former counties, Lancashire and Cheshire.
Manchester is located in the centre of the Northwest of England, about equidistant from Liverpool and Leeds. Due to its proximity to the Pennines, it receives more than its fair share of wet weather. Make sure you have an umbrella if you're visiting Manchester, even in the summer!
Manchester used to have a reputation for being a dirty and boring city, but things have dramatically changed in the last decade and it is now a pleasant, open, clean and exciting place, and well worth a visit, even if just for a day.
The adjective associated with Manchester is Mancunian or simply Manc.
Manchester was the site of the Roman Fort Mamucium (breast-shaped) in AD 79 but a town was not built until the 13th Century. A priests' college and church (now Chetham's school & library and the Cathedral) were established in Manchester in 1421. It was not until the start of the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th Centuries that this small Medieval town would build its fortune.
The wet climate and presence of an existing cloth trade, coupled with the mechanisation of industry being invented in nearby Bolton created a thriving cotton industry in Manchester and in Trafford, which became the first industrial estate in the world. Manchester's success during the Victorian era and before is evident everywhere you look. Grandiose neo-Gothic buildings line the old financial district around King Street, and public institutions such as the University and the many libraries are dotted around everywhere. There is even a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln Square (Brazennose Street, straight across Albert Square from the Town Hall main entrance) commemorating his personal thanks for Manchester's support during a cotton crisis created by the American Civil War.
Manchester was instrumental in the establishment of socialism in the UK, and was the birthplace of the Trades Union Congress which led to the creation of the Labour Party. It was also home to a number of philanthropists of the industrial age such as John Owens and John Dalton, who bequeathed large parts of their fortunes to improving the city.
In more recent times Manchester has been famous for its influence on the world music scene. The Madchester movement of the early 1980s, started by Factory Records and Joy Division led to the creation of the Haçienda nightclub (now unfortunately demolished after standing empty for many years) and the birth of modern club culture. Manchester has given life to many hugely successful musicians, among them The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Joy Division/New Order, The Happy Mondays, Oasis, James and Badly Drawn Boy.
In 1996 Manchester's city centre was rocked by a huge IRA bomb blast. Although preliminary intelligence managed to clear people from the scene enough for there to be no fatalities, the very heart of the city was ripped to shreds. A huge amount of money and effort was put into regenerating the blasted region of the centre, redubbed the Millennium Quarter. The area has renewed interest in the centre and contains the entertainment and shopping heart of the city.
Manchester is home to two of the largest universities in the UK, University of Manchester (formerly Victoria University and UMIST) and Manchester Metropolitan University (aka 'Man Met'). There is also a university in Salford and the Royal Northern College of Music is housed in the city. Together they create a body of over 65 thousand students living full-time in the city.
Manchester is often compared with Sheffield when competing for 'best student city' titles. It is very welcoming to the student lifestyle and many establishments in the centre and South Manchester are geared towards students; eating and drinking in Manchester can be very inexpensive due to the high competition that goes on between these establishments.
However, if you don't like hanging around with students, there are many places which are not frequented by students, although you may have to be prepared to pay a little extra. Also, because of the high numbers of students, some places have a strictly over-21s only policy, so it would do to take identification with you when you go out if you look like you might be under 21.
Manchester is famous all over Europe thanks to its two world-class football clubs, Manchester United (Old Trafford) and Manchester City (City of Manchester Stadium, Sportcity). In 2005 a new club was formed by disenfranchised Manchester United supporters opposed to the takeover of United by Malcolm Glazer, and the state of modern football in general. FC United of Manchester play their home games at Gigg Lane, Bury.
Old Trafford is also home to the Lancashire Country Cricket Club.
In 2002 Manchester was the host to the Commonwealth Games, and a large area of East Manchester was converted into a new Sportcity, the centrepiece of which is the new athletics and football stadium.
Manchester is a very mixed city. Many races and religions have communities in the city, and it has a long history of being more tolerant than most cities to people of any background. Bear in mind, however, that it's not very used to tourists so you might get the occasional funny look if you're dressed in a backpack and trying to read this guide in a loud voice.
Manchester is also very gay-friendly. The Village is an area concentrated around Canal Street and is very popular with people of all sexualities. It is also home to an annual Pride festival and Mardi Gras. Thanks to its high homosexual population, most Mancunians have grown up with gay people and homophobia is rare but not unheard-of in the centre.
Manchester International Airport 2 (http://www.manchesterairport.co.uk/) in the South of the city is the largest airport in the UK outside of London. Nearly 100 operators fly to and from hundreds of locations worldwide, including most major cities in Europe.
Direct trains run from the airport station (reached by Skyway, between terminals 1 and 2) to Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations about every 20 minutes and cost about £3. Taxis are available from outside each terminal, costing about £15 and taking about 30-45 minutes.
John Lennon Airport 4 (http://www.liverpooljohnlennonairport.com/) in Liverpool is served by budget carriers Easyjet 5 (http://www.easyjet.com/) and Ryanair 6 (http://www.ryanair.com/) and is also conveniently located for access to Manchester. A coach service runs connecting the airport to Manchester's central coach station and takes about 45 minutes. Some airlines will provide this service for free.
Manchester city centre is served by two major railway stations, Victoria in the north and Piccadilly in the south. These stations are well-connected with the rest of the UK. Fares vary dramatically depending on time of day and rail operator.
Other stations close to the centre are Deansgate/G-Mex, Oxford Road and Salford Central but generally only local services will stop at these stations.
Connections from London run from Euston to Piccadilly on the Virgin Voyager service, which can take between 2 and 3 hours, depending on whether Virgin is running its flagship Pendolino train which does not need to slow down when going round corners. The Voyager is a very expensive service, but dramatically cheaper fares are available online 7 (http://www.virgintrainsfares.co.uk/Virgin_Value_Retailing/vv_home_page.asp) if you book well enough in advance (at least 14 days is advisable).
The outer ring road of the Manchester conurbation is the M60. It is accessible from Leeds or Liverpool by the M62, and from Scotland and the South by the M6 (followed by M61 and M56 from the North or South respectively).
Bear in mind that parking in the city centre of Manchester can be very expensive (£10-20 per day). Avoid the multi-storey car parks if you can and look for some open-air car parks just outside the centre, such as in Castlefield or on Bridge Street in Salford. Ladywell Park & Ride is situated near Eccles (M602, Junction 2); the car park is free and there is a tram station. Similarly, parking at the Trafford Centre (M60, junctions 9 and 10) is free and there are buses to the centre and Stretford tram station.
Chorlton Street Coach Station is the central coach station in Manchester, located close to the centre, between Chinatown and The Village. Coaches run from all over the country and are generally the most reasonably-priced way to get into Manchester. London to Manchester on the coach can take about 4 hours, but it depends on the time of day and number of stops.
Transport in Greater Manchester is overseen and co-ordinated by the GMPTE (Information: 0870 608 2 608) 10 (http://www.gmpte.com/). GMPTE sells a number of tickets which are valid for multiple operators, such as the any bus day ticket or the Wayfarer. If you are planning to do a lot of travelling in one day, these might be your cheapest option.
Dotted around the city centre in all the places you wouldn't look for them are the pedestrian-level street maps. They are usually placed in normal advertising hoardings, which makes them all the more difficult to spot. From a distance the map looks like a light-brown horse's head on a blue background.
Once found, the elusive maps are very handy for navigating all regions of the centre, even as far south as the universities. Your position is marked by a blue circle.
Most of the buses in Greater Manchester are operated by First 11 (http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/northwest/manchester/home/index.php) or Stagecoach 12 (http://www.stagecoachbus.com/manchester/) and serve most places you are likely to want to go in the conurbation. The main bus station for the south is Piccadilly Gardens and a new state-of-the-art £24million Interchange has been built at Shudehill for the north, though will not be opened until January 2006, with buses in the meantime serving streets around the Victoria Train Station and a temporary bus station named Exchange.
Metroshuttle 13 (http://www.gmpte.com/content.cfm?subcategory_id=370432) is a free minibus run jointly by the local council and First. It runs three lines that bewtween them cover most of the major areas in the city centre as well as all the stations and many of the larger car parks.
The number 250 bus 14 (http://www.gmpte.com/travel-pics/routemaps/250_90_91_25083.pdf) goes from Piccadilly Gardens to the Trafford Centre and is much more reasonably-priced and convenient than the tram.
The South Manchester corridor that begins with Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road is the most-served bus route in Europe. Buses connect the centre with the universities and Rusholme as often as every 1 minute. The general rule on this street is to get on any bus that is not operated by Stagecoach, and your fare is likely to be under £1. Some buses have a student fare, which they will charge you if you look like a student, regardless of whether you ask for it or not.
Metrolink 15 (http://www.metrolink.co.uk/), also known as the tram, is the name for Manchester's troubled local mass-transit system.
Currently, Metrolink runs two lines, Altrincham-Bury (every 6 minutes at peak times, every 12 off-peak, at peak times trams either terminate at Piccadilly or do not stop at Piccadilly Gardens or Piccadilly at all) and Piccadilly-Eccles (every 12 minutes at peak times, every 15 off-peak). A small part of the city centre from Piccadilly to Cornbrook is shared between the two lines. There are plans to extend the system to 5 lines, with the three new destinations at Oldham/Rochdale, Ashton-under-Lyne/Tameside and the airport, but these have been hit by major setbacks, including the withdrawal of several million pounds pledged by the government.
In part due to its financial difficulties, Metrolink is quite expensive to travel on. If you are going to be using it for more than one journey in a day, your best bet is to buy a Metromax ticket. Tickets must be purchased in advance from the automated vending machines at each station. Press the required destination followed by the required ticket type and then insert your money - most machines accept notes. Change is not guaranteed over £7 at any machines, or at all at some machines with the appropriate warning lamp.
The following stations might be useful to you:
Taxis are considerably cheaper than in London. As a general rule, you should be able to get anywhere you need to go within the city for £5-10. You may only flag down the black cabs (London-style Hackney carriages) - other taxis must be booked in advance over the phone, and are marked with the yellow Manchester City Council sign on the bonnet, and the firm's phone number (again on a yellow strip) on the sides.
You may find it difficult to get a black cab after the pubs shut on Friday and Saturday nights in the city centre, so it serves to have a back-up plan for getting back to your accommodation. The black cabs with the amber "TAXI" sign illuminated are the ones that are looking for fares.
Local rail services run regularly, and to most places in the surrounding area and beyond. Most trains will pass through Piccadilly or Victoria, but it will do to call National Rail Enquiries (08457 48 49 50) 16 (http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/planmyjourney/) to find out which one before setting off.
Manchester has a diverse nightlife and can offer a wide range of night-time activities. Famed for it's musical past, the University of Manchester Student' Union (http://www.manchesteracademy.net) hosts almost nightly gigs in it's three venues on Oxford road ranging from local unsigned bands, to international superstars. The Manchester Apollo is a slightly bigger venue having boasted appearences from Blondie to new-comers like Kasabian. Smaller bands can also be seen at a range of excellent venues in the city including the Roadhouse, Night and Day (http://www.nightnday.org/) and Jabez Clegg.
The club scene in Manchester is varied with the dance-orientated clubs you'd expect from a city sitting comfortably alonside indie, rock and gay clubs. For the commercial dance music fan, the 'place to be' would be Deansgate Locks where the clubs and bars can be expensive but are always full of fashionable types and members of the local student population. More eclectic dance music styles are played at the Music Box near Jillys, and The Phoenix on Oxford Road.
For fans of rock music, Jillys on Oxford Road is something of an institution. On a Thursday is costs just £1 to get in, whilst Friday's see them open until 6 or 7 am. It has three rooms incorperating punk, ska, metal, goth and everything in between. Also check out Rock Kitchen on a Saturday night at the Manchester Metropolitan University Student's Union, again on Oxford Road.
For fans of indie and alternative music there are a whole host of new exciting clubs opening, to keep up to date with what's one it pays to purchase a copy of the weekly City Life listings guide, which is very complete and always up-to-date. Current successful nights being championed by City Life (http://www.citylife.co.uk/) include Killing Fantasy (http://www.killingfantasy.com/) on the last Thursday of the month at the Retro Bar on Sackville Street, with a playlist that includes Blondie, The Ramones and Le Tigre. Invest in Property (http://www.myspace.com/investinproperty) at Joshua Brooks is also another of these nights, falling on the last Friday of the month. Again, expect a mix of indie, electro, punk and rock. Weekly, Smile at the Star and Garter (http://www.starandgarter.co.uk/) is something of a local indie institution with a great playlist but be warned, it sells out very early and can often be unbearably busy as a result of this. Saturday's also play host to Tiger Lounge at the Tiger Lounge near the Town Hall. This plays more in the way of lounge alongside experimental and indie sounds. If you want to hear music by Manchester bands like The Stone Roses, visit Fifth Avenue, often brimming with students - unsuprising when you see the cheap drinks prices!
To enjoy Gay Manchester it is probably best just to visit Canal Street with its concentration of bars and clubs and visit places that appeal along the way. Just off Canal Street the most popular gay clubs are Essential, a multi-floor super-club open until the early hours and Poptastic (http://www.poptastic.co.uk/), a two-room pop and indie club held at Mutz Nutz every Tuesday and Saturday night. Although entry can be expensive, this is usually reflected in a reduced price bar inside the club.
For bars, try the so-hip-it-hasn't-got-a-sign cocktail lounge Socio Rehab on Edge Street (ask a taxi driver where it is) and Gaia or Tribeca, both on Sackville Street (near the Gay Village).
Manchester has or had a colourful reputation for gun crime: however, this was mostly gang-related and as a visitor you won't face any greater danger than for any other large U.K. city. If you're uncomfortable around thousands of very drunk young people then you should probably avoid Friday and Saturday night taxi queues in the city centre. Generally, however, be sensible and you'll be fine.