One of the jewels in Northern England’s crown, Manchester is a fun and vibrant city filled with more things than you could imagine that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Steeped in history that ranges from the city’s industrial revolution and impact on the music industry, which included Northern Soul and 90s dance culture, to its impact on science and culture, being the city where the stored program computer was developed.
Alongside this you’ll find a dynamic old meets new vibe visible in its stunning architecture, many museums, cosmopolitan bars, traditional pubs, varied shopping and dining opportunities and its eclectic and diverse community.
No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it in this Northern gem, so start planning your excursion today and book a bus to Manchester with megabus.com.
Culture & Heritage
When we think of English cities filled with history and culture we often let our minds wander to the south of the country; but Manchester has all this by the bucket load.
Delve into the city’s history at one of the many museums. The People Museum is Manchester’s only national museum, where you can learn the story of British democracy that spans more than 200 years, whereas those interested in the history of war, head to The Imperial War Museum. Here you’ll find a number of exhibitions encompassing moments that happened during the 20th and 21st centuries.
Situated amongst the remains of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station you’ll find The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) detailing the many scientific achievements that have taken place in Manchester, such as the splitting of the atom.
For those interested in places filled with outstanding beauty, there are a number of art galleries throughout the city landscape. The Manchester Art Gallery plays home to a number of permanent European artworks and also houses the most significant collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings in Britain, whereas the Whitworth Art Gallery showcases a whole host of modern day sculptures, art work and textiles.
Culture vultures will fall in love immediately with The Lowry, which plays home to an eclectic mixture of theatres, exhibitions and galleries; showcasing worldwide photography, sculptures and paintings, alongside playing home to world famous musicals, plays and performers across the years. Whereas the recent addition to the Manchester landscape, HOME, houses international theatre, art and film following the merger of the Library Theatre Company and the Cornerhouse.
If it’s theatre you like, Manchester knows how to put on a good show, with the Opera House and the Palace Theatre, regularly playing home to large scale touring shows and performances fresh off London’s West End. Whereas the Royal Exchange Theatre is the UK’s largest theatre in the round.
The musical history of Manchester can’t be denied, birthing some of the UKs biggest names in music and creating musical movements all of its own. Venues such as the Manchester Arena, the Manchester Apollo and the Manchester Academy regularly welcome emerging artists alongside some of the world’s most renowned entertainers.
Manchester’s vibrant, lively and diverse culture can be seen in a whole host of events that take place within the city, such as the bi-yearly Manchester International Festival; a huge arts festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of people. Alongside this you’ll also find annual festivals such as The Parklife weekender, which takes place in Heaton Park and welcomes people from across the country to watch acts like Dizzee Rascal and Snoop Dogg, and Manchester Pride, the annual gay pride festival and parade that take place throughout the city, primarily in the gay village around Canal Street.
So Many Free Things
With many of the museums and galleries (above), available for free throughout Manchester, it’s the perfect city to explore whether you’re on a budget or have cash to burn.
You’ll find excellent green spaces to wander around. Wythenshawe Park and Prestwich Forest are filled with thick, beautiful fields and woodland, making it a splendid place to sit down and enjoy the day. Whereas taking a trip to Heywood will introduce you to Queen’s Park; perfect for those family days out, with a playground, lake, outdoor gym and theatre and tennis courts.
Piccadilly Gardens, right in the middle of Manchester’s buzzing city centre, also offers a green space to sit and watch the hustle and bustle of city life pass you by, surrounded by a number of great places to grab a bite to eat.
Get to learn more about the history of Manchester and experience its fantastic architecture as you pay a visit to the Manchester Cathedral, which dates back to the 1800s and has sections belonging to the 7th century. Follow this up by exploring the Manchester Town Hall, which displays beautiful statues of famous locals in its forecourt; the largest being Prince Albert. This square also becomes the home of the famous Manchester Christmas Markets each year, so if you’re here in the winter months, be sure to check it out.
Literature lovers will also be in their element whilst exploring two treasure troves of the written word. John Rylands Library was constructed in 1889 and houses a vast collection of books. The Grade I listed building is part of the University of Manchester and is just as fascinating outside, with its late-Victorian neo-Gothic architecture, as it is inside. Whereas the Manchester Central Library brings old and new together with its historical collection of books that sit alongside its recent digital lease of life.
If you head over to the Castlefield Conservation Area, you’ll be treated to a wonderful green space that plays home to the ruins of a Roman fort and granary set. A short walk from here will bring you to the famous canal, where you can take a leisurely stroll and observe the canal boats on their daily excursions.
A Diverse Array of Attractions
Bursting at the seams with so many fantastic things to do, the magnitude of attractions in Manchester is almost endless in the bustling and vibrant city.
Whereas the city is notable for its influence on the music industry, another area it’s thrived and impacted on throughout history is the world of sport; in particular football. Fans of the beautiful game can experience the passion for the sport that runs through the city’s veins at the stadiums for its two rival teams, Manchester City and Manchester United, which both offer tours of their famous grounds. If you want to delve a little deeper into the world of football, then take a trip to the National Football Museum, which plays home to a number of important collections of association football memorabilia.
Animal lovers will be pleased to hear about the Manchester Sea Life Centre, which provides hours of family fun with its wondrous underwater experience. Playing home to more than 5,000 aquatic animals, you can enjoy the sights of sharks, octopus, seahorse and many, many more. You can even embark on Europe’s first seabed walk, known as the SeaTREK.
A little bit outside the city centre, next to the Trafford Centre, you’ll find the amazing Chill Factore. Home to the UK’s longest indoor real snow slope, people of all ages and all levels, can take part in a number of exciting sports from sledging and snowboarding to skiing and snowscooting.
With so much to see and do in Manchester, from paid for attractions to the abundance of free things on offer, booking a bus to Manchester will open up more experiences than you could imagine.
A Shopping Paradise
With shopping unparalleled, Manchester is a go to destination for those who love nothing more than shopping until they drop; with everything from independent retailers and vintage finds to high street favourites and high end department stores.
In the Northern Quarter, you’ll find a host of independent retailers selling vintage steals and second hand bargains, from books and furniture, to vinyl records and fashion staples of time gone by to fawn over. Afflecks, formerly Affleck’s Palace, is also a great place to check out, filled with various independent retailers where you’ll find vintage numbers, fancy dress pieces, original wardrobe items and piercing shops galore.
The Arndale shopping centre, located at the city’s heart, is filled with a host of well-known high street staples popular across the country; whereas big department stores such as Selfridges and Harvey Nichols can be found right around the corner.
A little further out, the Trafford Centre offers another great shopping experience. Filled with a wide selection of High Street names and department stores, you’ll find everything from John Lewis and Selfridges to TopShop, All Saint’s, Debenhams and GAP, alongside the likes of Apple, Disney and Cath Kidston. You’ll also find an IMAX cinema and giant food court offering a variety of fast food and sit down dining opportunities.
Food for Thought
The city offers a whole host of different dining experiences wherever you are, chances are there’s somewhere to grab a bite right next to you. From fast food and fine dining, to food on the go and all you can eat, you’ll find everything from Chinese, Italian and sushi to traditional British dishes and gourmet American plates throughout.
China Town offers up a selection of different restaurant’s providing the best in Asian dining, including sushi bars and all you can eat buffet options; the perfect place to head for eastern food.
Back in the Northern Quarter you’ll find a wide selection of standout independent restaurants, cafes and coffee shops. All serving up a variety of different edible delights, you can chose to sit in for a large meal, a light snack or grab something for on the go.
If you want something quick to dine on whilst perusing the shops, then the food court at the Arndale shopping centre will provide you with everyone’s favourite fast food joints; including Subway, McDonalds and KFC, alongside a large seating area.
If you’re looking for some fine dining later in the evening, then just take a walk around. You’ll find delightful restaurants around every corner, alongside a number of chain restaurants that have been tried and tested throughout the country. A particular standout is Cloud 23 at Beetham Tower, where you can dine on fabulous food and cocktails, whilst observing spectacular views of the Manchester skyline through the floor to ceiling windows, in the city’s tallest building.
A Buzzing Nightlife
Renowned for its fantastic nightlife, Manchester is a city buzzing with bars and clubs perfect for anyone looking for a great night out. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, Manchester’s eclectic scene offers up a wealth of night time opportunities to be enjoyed by all.
The Northern Quarter once again provides a backdrop of unique and different bars to populate, often favoured by those looking to avoid the more mainstream bars and clubs for something with an alternative edge. Whereas Canal Street offers up a variety of bars and clubs in the heart of Manchester’s gay village; whether you’re looking for late night cheesy pop or dance music until early in the morning, you’ll find it here.
Deansgate caters more toward the higher end of drinking establishments, so if you’re looking for wine bars and footballer spotting this is the place to head. Whereas Deansgate Locks offers a row of swanky bars situated within converted railway arches.
If you’re looking for late night clubbing then Sankeys, Gorilla Club and Sound Control are three great places to check out; all offering late night dancing, with an excellent backdrop of eclectic music from a variety of different DJ sets.
No matter where you head in the city you’ll find somewhere to suit you, with comedy clubs, wine bars and traditional bars and restaurants located everywhere, providing the optimum nightlife experience.
Get a Bus to Manchester with megabus.com
So if you’re looking to visit the north of England, then look no further than Manchester. Filled with so many experiences to be had, this fantastic location will leave you wanting more each time. So book a bus to Manchester today with megabus.com, using the search and buy tool to the side or over the phone, and get your trip started.