Why travel Manchester, England? Home to the first industrial revolution, and now an amazing food scene in the world, Manchester, England is a surprising delight.
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It’s Not London, It’s Better
In the northwest of England and just 20 miles from the western coast, Manchester is England’s second city but first in our hearts. London gets all of the attention for good reason, its skyscrapers, history, and busy-feel. But for those who want to see what it means to be British, Manchester is more of a walk through the daily life of an English person. It’s more manageable and walkable than the capital, costs are far lower, and the city has a certain soul that’s unmistakable.
What Makes Manchester Great
Manchester is experiencing a renaissance moment and is a cultural hub for the country. It’s centered mostly around the new creative class moving away from London due to costs and the crowded busyness of living in London. BBC headquarters moved there as well and those who visit Manchester will discover terrific restaurants and bars too.
Northern England (the “Northwest”) has many excellent traits but one stands out. The football scene is home to perennial powerhouse, Manchester United – the most valuable sports franchise in the world, and their noisy neighbors who have been quite successful as of late, Manchester City football club. If in the city centre, the National Football Museum is worthwhile too, but for culture vultures, check out the Manchester Art Gallery, John Rylands Library, the Gay Village (this is what it’s called by Mancunians with zero prejudice.)
It’s incredibly easy to quickly get in and out via Manchester International Airport, or Piccadilly Station in the city centre. But don’t just take our advice as tourists or concierges, one of our Directors lived in Manchester for three years and visits annually. There can be no better travel guide than Scott & Thomas.
Restaurants in Manchester face stiff competition so only the best survive. As such, restaurants not only have to serve delicious food but also must supply a compelling atmosphere with excellent service. Dishoom (pictured below) delivers both excellent Indian food in a Bombay 1940s style. Pi cooks traditional savory pies: (think Chicken Pot Pie) with modern takes like the Matador featuring rich steak, red wine reduction and olives or the Heidi, a vegetarian pie with sweet potato, goat cheese, spinach, red onion and roasted garlic – all served with mashed potatoes and gravy and mint flavored mushy peas in the traditional British manner.
Forget pubs (though Manchester has plenty of those) and head to the Northern Quarter (City Centre) for unique takes on modern car experiences. For example, consider Dusk Til Pawn, a bar that is so expertly camoflauged as a pawn shop as it faces the street that would-be traders brought guitars to hawk on opening night. The inside, however, offers an understated interior with modern cocktails and repurposed collectibles.
As former residents of Manchester, we make a pilgrimage each year. Instead of trying to pinpoint the warm, dry, two weeks that Manchester calls summer, we instead never miss the Christmas markets, the largest in the UK. The Christmas Markets (a concept brought over from Germany) is a seven-week village set up in the main squares around the city where vendors sell gift items. Mulled wine, hot chocolate, grilled sausages, and cold beer only further enhance the charming scene.
Premium hotels in the city will fetch $200-300/nt while boutique locations can be found for $150 or even less. Food and beverage range from downright cheap (just a few dollars for a sandwich or a beer) to high-end dining at premier restaurants. However, the city is still offered at a discount when compared to large cities throughout Europe without sacrificing quality.
There are many beautiful hotels around the city, but our favorite is the historic Kimpton Manchester, formerly the Palace Hotel. It’s classic Victorian-style with glazed bricks and ornate lobby hide the contemporary and colorful decor of its recently renovated suites.
There’s good news and there’s bad news with respect to the climate. Dreary weather befalls the entire island, and Manchester in particular gets close to 300 days of rainfall every year. That said, due to its proximity to the water, Manchester almost never receives snowfall and spring and fall are often mild. June and July are great for patio culture as every Mancunian will occupy them the moment the day is finished.
Want to see a sample itinerary? Contact us and get a no-obligation itinerary customized for you. We can select dates that are convenient for you, flights to and from your home airport, hotel preferences and even dining choices. Contact one of our concierges today!