Raised on lofty ambition and not afraid to declare its considerable bona fides, Manchester is – by dint of geography and history – England’s second city (apologies to Birmingham), although if you were to ask a Mancunian what it’s like to be second they might reply: ‘Don’t know; ask a Londoner.’
Even accounting for northern bluster, the uncrowned capital of the north is well deserving of the title. It’s the world’s first modern city; the place where both capitalism and communism were given theoretical legs; it was here, during the Industrial Revolution, that the might of the British Empire was forged and the Age of Enlightenment was put through its first, tentative paces.
All of which accounts for the city’s rich historical and cultural heritage,easily explored in its plethora of noteworthy museums and galleries. History and heritage make Manchester interesting, but what makes it truly special are its distractions of pure pleasure. You can dine, drink and dance yourself into happy oblivion in the swirl of hedonism that is one of Manchester’s most cherished characteristics.
Best places to stay in Manchester
England - Manchester, Liverpool & the Northwest (Chapter)
Hedonism, history and music - just a taster of three good reasons to explore England's once-mighty industrial heartland, the birthplace of the first modern city, the cradle of capitalism and the Age of Enlightenment.
Europe's top 10 football stadiums
Football (soccer) is Europe's unofficial religion. And when summer turns to autumn, all over the continent cathedrals to the beautiful game are packed with worshippers. You too can heed the call to prayer. Though some clubs sell out every game, many still have tickets a few days in advance, and often you can book online.
Manchester destination guides
European history and culture weekends
Looking for a short European break where you can immerse yourself in the local history and culture? Whether you want to take a trip back to imperial Portugal, grab your gladioli and relive the glory days of The Smiths in Manchester or discover something new, Lonely Planet Magazine shows you how: Beaches and battlefields in Norm.
Hard Rock Cafe Manchester
The Hard Rock Cafe Manchester is the largest in the UK, regularly holding concerts and special events. It also boasts a large collection of memorabilia including: a gold lame jacket worn by Elvis, Pearl Jam signed Guitar, and a Natasha Bedingfield dress worn at the 2007 Grammy Awards.
Manchester Airport Private Arrival Transfer
Travel in style from the Manchester airport to your accommodations in Manchester. Private transfer services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and all cars come with fresh bottled water, newspapers and wet wipes to get the airport grime off your hands.
Weekend getaway: music in Manchester
Looking for a quick getaway and a big music fan? The February edition of Lonely Planet magazine has five history and culture weekends in Europe. We’re going share them with you one at a time. Second on the list is Manchester's music scene.