Planning your Manchester trip – Biggest Attractions

21 January 2021 Off By Preeti Asri

Planning a trip to Manchester anytime soon? There are tons of things to do in Manchester during lockdown and you will simply have to book your UK hotels and get going accordingly. You will have a swell time with your family members and friends if you visit Manchester which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK itself. 

If you were wondering are hotels open in UK, you need not worry. Simply follow all the guidelines of authorities and book yourself sanitized stays in Manchester, complete with all the necessary amenities and facilities that you require and also highly strategic locations that fall near prominent tourist destinations and landmarks alike. Enjoy a fulfilling stay in Manchester with plenty of attractions to visit and explore. Manchester is known as Lancashire’s cultural and commercial capital and is a major center for media, arts and higher education alike. In combination with 8 municipalities and Salford, it comprises the metropolitan Greater Manchester County. 

Manchester has already undergone extensive renovation with several initiatives being introduced including the Castlefield project along with possessing a museum complex on the Liverpool Road. The extension of the sports and entertainment facilities has also majorly built up overall appeal for tourists and visitors, making it one of the top destinations to check out in northern England. Key examples include the fabulous Opera House with its lineup of musical and theatrical performances along with the exciting Chill Factor which is the widest and longest indoor ski slope in all of Britain. This has become a key destination for shoppers with a huge range of retail opportunities including several charming shops dotting King Street, St. Anne’s Square and the Royal Exchange along with huge covered market halls in Bolton Arcade. 

Best things to do in Manchester 

There are several things to do in Manchester and various attractions to look out for as well. Here are some attractions that you simply should not miss: 

  • Castlefield- Listed as an Urban Heritage Park, it is a fabulous place to start exploring the city of Manchester. You can take a walk amongst the beautifully restored Victorian homes lining the ancient canals or even through the Roman Fort that has been reconstructed. You should also venture alongside the Bridgewater Canal which was built in the year 1761 for transportation of coal from the Worsley mines till Manchester. Several warehouses have been lovingly restored as well and have been transformed into shops, offices, restaurants and hotels. A trip on the tour boats at Bridgewater is highly recommended. The Castlefield Art Gallery is another key attraction with several contemporary art exhibitions and also the Bridgewater Hall which is the home of the Halle orchestra and several top-notch concerts. The Castlefield Bowl is also host to several classical and pop concerts while being worth visiting as well. 
  • Science and Industry Museum- The Science and Industry Museum is located on the site of the oldest railroad station in the world. This is one of the best things to do with family and has 12 galleries including the Power Hall, with water and steam-driven machines coming from the golden age of the textile industry. There are several vintage cars from Manchester inclusive of a rare Rolls Royce from 1904. The history of the city right from Roman times through the entire Industrial Revolution till the current times has been wonderfully documented in the Station Building. You should also visit the Air and Space Gallery for a fabulous experience in this regard. 
  • Imperial War Museum North- The Imperial War Museum North (IWM North) is also worth a visit, particularly if you possess an interest in history of warfare. Opened in the year 2002, this branch of the museum is a major attraction for its huge collection of fighting vehicles and other aircraft. Key highlights of visits include several exhibits and audiovisual presentations that cover the history of warfare along with its overall role in shaping and building civilizations over the years. There are several kinds of static displays as well which showcase big machines including aircraft, tanks, handheld weaponry and artillery alike. The premises also contain a café and shop. 
  • Manchester Cathedral- The Manchester Cathedral is nestled alongside the banks of the River Irwell and is officially known as the Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St. Mary, St. Denys and St. George, dating between 1422 and 1506 and this attained the status of a cathedral back in 1847. The chapels are quite attractive upon both sides of the choir and nave. It was developed between 1486 and 1508 with several alterations and additions throughout almost each century. The choir stalls deserve special mention since they have some of the most lovingly decorated misericords in the whole of UK. St. John’s Chapel is the chapel of the Manchester Regiment and the Little Lady Chapel comes with a wooden screen going all the way back till 1440. The octagonal sized chapterhouse was built in 1465 and comes with various murals including a figure of Christ in contemporary garb. 
  • St. Mary’s Catholic Church- Another religious site that is worth visiting and a hidden gem by all means, is the St. Mary’s Catholic Church. It was built in the year 1794 and is situated adjacent to the famous Market Hall and locally called The Hidden Gem. The plain exteriors, however, should not deceive you with regard to taking a look inside. You will come across various Victorian carvings of an exquisite nature here while key attractions include several statues of saints, a marble high altar and innovative Expressionist-esque Stations of the Cross too. 
  • National Football Museum- One of the best things to do in Manchester for couples, that is, if you are a staunch football fan, is to pay a visit to the National Football Museum. This houses Manchester United and Manchester City, two of the leading football teams in all of Europe. The first port of call will be the National Football Museum and this shrine to football comes with interesting memorabilia linked to the sport including some gems like the first rulebook and also famous clothing and trophies. There are several charming short movies displaying the history of football over the ages while there is ample entertainment on offer for youngsters as well. You should also consider paying a visit to the Etihad Stadium which is the home for Manchester City. Old Trafford, the home of the football club, comes with several guided tours, enabling easier access to private boxes and the opportunity to get down on the field itself! 
  • Chetham’s Library- Chetham’s Hospital lies just northwards from the Manchester Cathedral and this dates back to 1422. It was originally a residence built for priests while currently housing a music school and also England’s oldest public library, namely the Chetham Library. Used continually from the year 1653 onwards, the library has a scintillating collection exceeding 100,000 books and half of them or more were printed prior to the year 1850. Chetham’s has also attained fame as the meeting place for both Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx during the latter’s visit to the city. Other noteworthy libraries include the Manchester Central Library which is adjacent to the Town Hall and Portico Library which accommodates the literary collection of Dalton and Joule who are the founders of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society. The Victorian John Rylands Library is now part of the Manchester University and has several collections including the Gutenberg Bible, a variety of medieval texts and early printing collection by William Caxton. 
  • Manchester Art Gallery- The Manchester Art Gallery is home to one of the biggest British art collections outside of the city of London. There are works by several legends including Pre-Raphaelite painters along with Flemish artists from the 17th century and Fresh impressionist artists like Manet, Gauguin and Monet along with Max Ernst and other German artists. There are works by several leading English artists such as Constable, Stubbs and Turner while the gallery also has a fabulous collection of sculptures including works by Maillol, Rodin, Henry Moore and Jacob Epstein. You should also visit HOME which is the global center for contemporary independent films and visual arts in Manchester at 70 Oxford Street. 
  • Chinatown- Chinatown is a vibrant destination and is home to one of the biggest Chinese communities in all of Britain. This is near the Manchester Art Gallery and has a wonderfully arched gateway that goes into the district. There are numerous restaurants and shops present here which offer a diverse range of culinary attractions straight from Beijing and Hong Kong alike. You can also go shopping for novel Chinese artwork and handicrafts here at the CFCCA or the Center for Contemporary Chinese Art. 
  • Manchester Town Hall- The Manchester Town Hall is another must-visit for serious travelers. The majestic façade of this neo-Gothic town hall is a sight to behold and it is located along the Albert Square with fabulous and panoramic views of the city as well. The Council Chamber is a key attraction inside with the cycle of Ford Madox Brown murals which showcase Manchester’s chequered history over the years. While you are here, you should visit the Free Trade Hall that opened its doors in the year 1951. The centrally situated Manchester Central Convention Complex is one of the biggest such sites in England and plays host to various musical performances round the year. The building was built amidst the earlier Victorian railroad station located alongside Windmill Street. 
  • People’s History Museum- This is located within a previous pumping station and is a national center for collection, interpretation, conservation and study of all material linked to working people in Britain and their history over the years. This museum depicts the history of democracy in Britain and its overall impact on the population along with vast collections of artifacts linked to women’s suffrage and trade unions. Two other museums nearby include the Manchester Jewish Museum with the collection covering the Jewish community of the city along with the Museum of Transport with its variety of old buses and other vehicles that belong to the transport services division of the city. 
  • Heaton Park- Encompassing more than 600 acres, Heaton Park is the biggest such park in all of Greater Manchester while being one of the biggest municipal parks in Europe. Heaton Hall, which was built in 1772, is situated at the very heart of this park, is a highly impressive attraction as well. The park has been restored extensively while retaining several original structures and other vistas. Sports lovers will enjoy the 18 hole golf course along with a driving range, tennis courts and mini putt while families may explore the animal farm, boating lake, ornamental gardens, adventure playground, woodlands and observatory. There is a museum and tramway that are run by volunteers. 
  • Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden- The Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden was established in the year 1917 and is a huge green space which encompasses a wildlife habitat and botanical garden alike. This is a major contrast to the bustling city center of Manchester. This is one of the best things to do in Manchester with toddlers since there is ample green space for them to play around. There are multiple walking trails dotting this park along with several popular activities including picnics, leisurely strolls and even games like rugby, tennis and football. You will find a charming café within the premises as well for satiating those hunger pangs. 

Best Places to Shop in Manchester 

Manchester has an abundance of shopping destinations. These include the following: 

  • The Trafford Center- The Trafford Center shops have favorite and high-end brands from across the globe. Tailored as a highly imposing and beautiful building from yesteryears, this structure gives you a truly royal feeling that is hard to put into words. It comes with fake marble columns, fountains and several mock-classical sculptures along with free parking facilities too. This is almost like going back in time with a historical slant, i.e. everything here seems right out of a Victorian Britain setting. 
  • Exchange Square Fashion- This has now turned into a fashionable destination for shoppers in the city with multiple shopping malls and shopping centers dotting the thoroughfares. 
  • Manchester Arndale- The city’s largest indoor shopping hub, Arndale is where you will find more than 240 retail stores including the likes of Marks and Spencer’s, Apple and River Island among others. There are several local brands offering a variety of items at this shopping center as well. This is truly the numero uno shopping place in Manchester. 
  • The Northern Quarter- The Northern Quarter is a hip and trendy locality that is filled with several innovative and highly artistic stores which offer the best artistic and creative items galore. The bohemian ambience of the place is a major draw and it is steadily becoming home to several global designers and artists who have carved a niche for themselves with their exciting artwork down the ages. There are several studios and art galleries along with high-end fashion stores aplenty. 
  • Afflecks Palace- Afflecks Palace is located on the popular Church Street and comes with a flea-market meets warehouse vibe. Affleck’s Palace is paradise for enthusiasts of street fashion while every floor of the structure has several shops retailing t-shirts, vintage apparel and a lot more. There are several bargains in store for shoppers at this unique shopping center. 
  • The Barton Arcade- The Barton Arcade is situated along Barton Square and is one structure which is both architecturally and historically appealing. It was built in the year 1870 and is a Grade-II listed structure which has now been renovated and restored for housing the charming shopping arcade. This arcade comprises 15 highly independent and exclusive stores which offer premier women and men’s fashion in tandem with the best footwear, clothing, jewelry and more. It is one of the best shopping destinations for truly discerning shoppers. 

Top Restaurants in Manchester

There are several top restaurants worth checking out in Manchester during your trip. These include the following: 

  • Where The Light Gets In- This is where you will find a fabulous wine list and wonderful menus along with a Victorian ambience that is a major draw. 
  • Mana- Mana was the city’s first restaurant to receive a Michelin star back in 2019 ever since the year 1977 and serves up dishes crafted with classic ingredients from Britain including nixtamalised corn broth and even reindeer moss. 
  • The French at the Midland- This noted restaurant is now helmed by Adam Reid, its head Chef and the Grade-II listed dining room ambience is spectacular along with the dishes which are contemporary interpretations of classic British dishes. 
  • Hispi- Hispi is where you will find some of the best comfort dishes and classic cooking techniques. This place is where you should definitely try the custard tart for its sheer artistry and tantalizing flavors. 

Check out OYO hotels, book your accommodation today and plan for a fun holiday in Manchester with your loved ones for company.

Book Hotels in Manchester