Booked on a flight to Manchester? You are in for a surprise, as this city, despite its less than stellar rep, is decidedly unboring.
A developer’s dream, Manchester is full of eye-popping contemporary building designs, with all the old industrial haunts and dilapidated quays gradually being transformed into state-of-the-art functional urban spaces.
The arts crowd will enjoy perusing the Whitworth Art Gallery and hanging around the Lowry Arts Centre and the Cornerhouse. My very favourite spot was the Manchester Art Gallery on Mosley Street, which houses a large collection not only of European paintings, but also of Pre-Raphaelite art, and I admit I am a sucker for them. In addition, there’s usually some kind of cultural festival on, so you are unlikely to want for things to do, in fact you may have to face the tough dilemma of choosing your fix!
For those special souls on their Manchester United pilgrimages, besides the obligatory guided stadium tour and gracious exploring of the Manchester City Football Club, there soon will be another shrine to visit: the National Football Museum, opening in July 2012. Yes, that’s right, you’ll be able to contemplate the hallowed ball used in the famous 1966 World Cup final (I am sure those in the know will just know what I’m on about) and other sport memorabilia – to which you can add from your own collection, if you are willing to share, that is! The museum itself will be housed inside Urbis, one of those stunning space-age architectural glass wonders increasingly springing up around the city.
Bars and Parties
The loungers, bohemians and other urban culture sophisticates are bound to find their own niche somewhere. A good place to start is Cloud 23, a modish Manchester bar on the 23rd floor of Beetham Tower, from where you can fully appreciate the Manchester cityscape through floor-to-ceiling windows. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also an oval glass insert in the floor, offering a view of the street far down below – vertigo victims should ignore this spot.
If you’re in Manchester towards the end of the year, you’re bound to get swept up by the Warehouse Project. Eventually, offering a plethora of rather grand scale underground dance parties happening in (not so) secret locations around the city.
Whatever your reason for being in Manchester, it is well worth your while to look into all this city has to offer – you will not be disappointed!