The third-most visited city in the UK is famous around the world as much for its football clubs and arts and music scene, as it is for being the birthplace of the industrial revolution.
Fringed by the Pennines to the north and east, and the Peak District National Park to the south east, Manchester is an energetic and engaging city with beautiful rural surroundings. And it’s dead easy to get in and around by train.
You’ll find old and new side by side - from the converted mills of Ancoats and Castlefield to the modern architecture of Salford Quays. Celebrate its industrial history and vibrant, multicultural outlook.
Trains to Manchester:
- Cardiff Central to Manchester Piccadilly: 3 hours 30 minutes
- London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly: 2 hours
- Shrewsbury to Manchester Piccadilly: 1 hour 15 minutes
- BBC tour at MediaCityUK, go behind the scenes of some of your favourite TV and radio shows and have a go at making your own news and weather bulletin
- LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre, unleash your creativity with ten build and play zones, three rides and a 4D cinema. All adults must be accompanied by a child U18
- Old Trafford museum and stadium, explore the Manchester United dressing room, head down the players’ tunnel to the pitch and take the manager’s seat in the dugout
- The Manchester City Stadium tour, walk in the footsteps of your favourite players with this fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of the Etihad Stadium.
- Museum of Science and Industry, be inspired by ideas that have changed the world - past and present - on the site of the world’s first inter-city railway terminus
- Corn Exchange, enjoy flavours from around the world in newly renovated Edwardian splendour - these bars and restaurants are the city’s gastronomical highlights
A weekend in Manchester
With loads to see and do in a relatively compact area, Manchester’s perfect for a weekend city break or family getaway. Choose a section of the city and go explore.
The City Centre is bursting with galleries, museums and music venues, not to mention great shopping, pubs and restaurants. Shopaholics can hit the designer stores on King’s Street and Exchange Square. For culture vultures, Manchester Art Gallery has a fabulous collection of fine art, decorative art and costume. Take the kids to the Manchester Museum - it’s free and has over four million objects spanning dinosaur skeletons and Ancient Egyptian artefacts to technology and the environment. Or head to the National Football Museum for more than 140,000 football-related items, a kids' discovery zone and skills-testing simulators.
The Northern Quarter holds a treasure trove of vintage and independent shops, vibrant street art, trendy bars and restaurants, and buzzing music venues. World famous Afflecks Palace has four floors of independent designers and traders. While the Manchester Craft & Design Centre houses artists studios selling the best local design, jewellery, bags and accessories in a restored Victorian fish and poultry market. For a lively night out, the area is full of live music venues showcasing local and international bands.
Salford Quays, the northern home of the BBC, is just a short tram ride from the city centre. Grab a bargain at the Lowry Outlet with up to 70% off high street and designer clothes. Then relax at one of the many riverside bars and restaurants. Explore the iconic Imperial War Museum North for immersive and unsettling stories of war; it’s the first building in the UK designed by internationally-acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind. Just across the river, Corrie fans can walk the cobbled streets on a tour of the original filming location. Finish your day at The Lowry and enjoy theatre, opera, musicals, dance, music, comedy or visual art at this world-class arts centre on the waterfront.
Staying longer? Visit Manchester has 101 things to do in Greater Manchester