Manchester On a BudgetLocated in the heart of Northern England, Manchester is the unofficial Capital of the North. Though it dates back as a Roman city, the city boomed in growth during the Industrial Revolution in textiles, and is today one of the most-visited cities in England by overseas travelers.
SightsHistorically, Manchester dates back to the ancient Roman settlement of Mamucium. The area of this settlement is today known as Castlefield, which still features architectural remnants from the 16th century. Other highlights of this area include its central location in Manchester's canal network, greenery and wildlife at the Urban Heritage Park, and its important role in industrial times, which is showcased at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Landmarks in architecture and history include sights like the University of Manchester, Manchester Cathedral, Manchester Town Hall, St. Ann's Church, and John Ryland's Library, which is home to the earliest known fragment of the New Testament. Known as the "Manchester Fragment," it is a part of St. John’s gospel found near Alexandria, and dates from the first half of the second century, not long after the gospel was first written.
As far as culture, art, and historical learning go, some of Manchester's best museums and galleries include the Museum of Science and Industry, Imperial War Museum North, Manchester Museum, Home, Manchester Art Gallery, and the People’s History Museum, amongst others.
For sports enthusiasts, Old Trafford is the stadium that is home to the Lancashire County Cricket Club and the Manchester United Football Club.
NeighborhoodsManchester is generally divided into seven districts, which are further broken down into neighborhoods. East Central, North Central, and West Central make up the very heart of the city, and are surrounded by the remaining districts-North, South, University Corridor, and Salford and the Western Districts.
East Central: Includes the Northern Quarter (many independent shops, local live music), Chinatown (east-Asian restaurants, Chinese food and goods), the Gay Village (historic cotton warehouses, famous bars and club, one of the oldest and most-established gay communities in Europe), and Piccadilly Gardens.
North Central: Millennium Quarter, Deansgate, Spinningfields (business district), St. Anne's Square (upmarket shopping), Market Street (shopping), Arndale Center (shopping), St. Peter's Square, and Albert Square (political center, town hall).
West Central: Castlefield (site of the original Roman settlement Mamucium and has been known as Castlefield since Medieval times), and Peter’s Fields (also known as the Exhibition Quarter, with concert halls and exhibition centers).
ActivitiesVisitors can explore the sights of central Manchester easily on foot, either at their own pace or on planned tours for a more guided experience. You might be interested in acquiring a tourist discount card known as the Manchester Card to save money on tours and the city's main attractions. There is plenty to see and do throughout the city from art galleries, historic and cultural museums, and architectural landmarks, to shopping, dining, and theatre entertainment.
Food and DiningLike any metropolitan hub, Manchester has a rich and varied dining scene. Traditional fare of England consists of anything you might find in a British pub-fish and chips, bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes), stews, soups, and just about any kind of meat pie you could ask for. A few additional specialties include black pudding (black sausage), Manchester caviar (mushy peas), a carbonated beverage called Vimto, the Manchester egg (a pickled egg coated in black pudding and sausage meat, wrapped in panko breadcrumbs, and deep-fried until golden-brown), a pastry known as the Manchester tart, and the Lancashire hotpot made with lamb or mutton and onions and topped with sliced potatoes. With England's imperial history, curry is also a very popular specialty in many British cities, including Manchester-the Curry Mile, for example, features an 800 meter-long stretch of curry restaurants and other Indian goods. English pubs can be found just about everywhere, as well as kebab and pizza shops, but there are also plenty of restaurants serving Asian, Indian, Italian, American, and more.
TransportationThe city is served by Manchester Airport, located at the southern end of Manchester. It is the largest airport in the United Kingdom outside of London and is listed amongst the 50 largest airports in the world. Destinations include hundreds of locations worldwide, including most major cities in Europe, along with services from the Americas, Africa, and Asia. A full list can be found on Manchester Airport's website.
Direct trains run from the airport to Manchester Piccadilly, and a Metrolink connects the airport to parts of Manchester and outlying towns. Taxis and buses are also available from the airport.