A compact centre and cultural vibrance make this northern city a top weekend destination

A compact centre and cultural vibrance make this northern city a top weekend destination

Whether you have just 24 hours or several days to spare, the city of Manchester offers culinary delights, historic attractions and cultural wonders to entertain visitors of all ages.

The city centre
Manchester’s city centre is a vibrant hub for locals and visitors alike. Start your trip by visiting the Exchange Square. It’s a prime place to soak up the atmosphere of the city, and you may catch one of the musical events hosted there. All around the square you’ll find a wealth of expensive designer shops, including Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, as well as the Manchester Arndale Centre, the UK’s most visited shopping centre. For more high-end shopping opportunities, head to the Avenue in the Spinningfields area.
Manchester’s tourist attractions
Just a short walk from Exchange Square, the Gothic architecture of Manchester Cathedral is a must-see. Take in the beautiful stained glass and intricate carvings that make this one of the UK’s most prized cathedrals. Culture-lovers will find plenty to occupy then at the Manchester Art Gallery, which features a selection of works by local artists alongside international stars. Get an insight into life in the city and the way it has inspired great art across the centuries. The gallery is family-friendly too, with a dedicated art studio for children and plenty of ramps for buggies. For a different perspective on Manchester’s history, visit Chinatown and explore foods and goods from across Southeast Asia. The area wasn’t ‘created’ by the city authorities – it’s been growing organically over the last 100 years. Our Novotel Manchester central hotel is just moments away.
Local tips
Go behind the scenes and get away from the main tourist areas with a visit to the quirky Northern Quarter where independent boutiques, vintage shops and hip cafes thrive. For a delicious burger at one of the area’s most famous restaurants head to Almost Famous or visit one of the Quarter’s trendiest additions, Solita Bar and Grill, which has made a name for itself amongst the fashionable set. For an ever-changing mix of great art, live music and cocktails, head to Kosmonaut. Local tip: happy hour is from 4pm-7pm.
Manchester transport
Travel around Manchester is easy. The city centre is best seen on foot and most of the main attractions are within easy walking distance of each other. For trips to areas outside the centre, including fashionable Didsbury and the Northern Quarter, take a taxi or use the city’s reliable bus service. If you’re moving around a lot it’s worth considering a day ticket, which you can buy from any bus driver. You can plan your route and find fares on the Transport for Greater Manchester website.
Eating & drinking
There are plenty of good-quality restaurants and cafes around the city centre. Set on the ground floor of Manchester’s oldest department store, San Carlo Cicchetti serves up delicious small sharing plates Venetian-style: Italy’s version of tapas. Plates include gnocchi gorgonzola, lamb cutlets and fresh bruschetta. In the pretty suburb of Didsbury, The Lime Tree is a long-standing local favourite, serving up tantalizing British food with ingredients grown on the restaurant’s own farm or supplied by local producers. Local tip: opt for the early evening set menu for great value. To really get a good overview of the city’s food scene, eat like the locals on the celebrated Curry Mile, where the sweet smells of spices spill on to the streets. Mughli is one of the best and the waiting staff are known for being helpful and polite.

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