#Innsider’s guide to Manchester
Manchester, the uncrowned capital of England’s north. Steeped in intriguing history, it gave rise to both capitalism and communism (it was here that Marx cooked up the Communist Manifesto, after all). Luckily, Manchester knows a thing or two about reinvention and today it is a mix up of old and uber-trendy, with historic and modern architecture mingling oh so well. Partly due to the premier league footballers that can be spotted here, it also has a reputation for glamour, and its nightlife is known as legendary. Experience the city like a local with our top #innsider picks below.
Get down to street level
Slap bang in the city centre, the bohemian neighbourhood known as the Northern Quarter is packed with trendy bars and independent boutiques guaranteed to satisfy every customer. The main pursuits here are eating, drinking (both coffee and something stronger after dark), and vintage shopping. It’s no biggie if you get lost within its winding streets; the redbrick alleys are full of old and grand warehouses to discover (long before it became hip and happening, it was a place for mill workers and textile weavers to put in some hard work).
Scores of drinkers and revellers can be found hopping between its many pubs, top-notch cocktail bars and speakeasies after-hours. On the #innsider’s list are Trof NQ, Soup Kitchen and Dusk til Pawn. If you’re not one to be tempted by a fruity cocktail, sample a pint of Boddingtons Bitter (or Boddies to the locals), it’s been ‘the pride of Manchester’ since 1778.
Arguably one of the most beautiful libraries in Britain, the John Rylands Library on Deansgate is an incredible example of Victorian gothic architecture and well worth a visit when in the area. Complete with high-vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows, intricate stonework and ornate bookcases, it speaks volumes (get it?) about Manchester’s booming industrial past. The real show-stopper is the Reading Room, #innsiders ask one of the library’s guardians if you can see the upper part of this impressive room and you may well get a private tour. Entry is free, see here for more information
Manchester knows how to throw a good party and its nightlife is second to none. Stemming from an enviable musical heritage (scene-defining bands such as the Smiths, New Order, Stone Roses and Oasis all hail from this city), its obsession with live music is still alive and well.
Join partygoers at Sankey’s, known as Manchester’s best nightclub. First opened in an old soap factory, Sankey’s has now become a global clubbing brand with nights in Ibiza and New York. If you’re a fan of techno, electro or any other kind of non-mainstream house music, a club night here is not to be missed.
If you’re in Manchester during the Autumn/Winter season, #innsiders know The Warehouse Project offers up underground parties of epic proportions. Housed in a disused bomb shelter beneath Piccadilly Station, it mixes top-name DJs with a ‘secret’ warehouse vibe. Running for just 12 weeks from September to New Year’s Day, it’s a limited affair so book tickets early.
Home to one of the world’s most famous clubs, Manchester United F.C, the Old Trafford stadium is a shrine for its millions of fans worldwide, many of whom come to the ground to see some of the world’s top footballers in action. Just £18 will get you a full stadium tour, so you can soak up the atmosphere from the dressing room, take the manager’s seat in the dugout and follow in the footsteps of Manchester footballing greats down the tunnel.
No devoted fan should miss out on a trip to the National Football Museum. Located in the striking Urbis building in the city centre, it’s packed full with the world’s most extensive FIFA and FA collections, footballing memorabilia, trophies and other keepsakes, including the sacred ball that was used in that 1966 World Cup final, when England won its solitary star on the shirt.
A place to stay
Our Park Inn by Radisson Manchester City Centre Hotel is walking distance from the top city centre attractions. Nestled in the award-winning Green Quarter, this hotel enjoys a premium location where lush greenery complements streamlined high-rises. For more information, see here
What are your favourite Manchester hangouts? Tweet your #innsider tips @parkinn to help others when planning a visit.