Yes, the weather’s often not great in Manchester but don’t let that put you off, Manchester is a lively, historic northern city which has spawned some excellent music (Oasis, The Smiths, Manchester’s Factory music label). Once a great manufacturing power, the city still has the buildings to show its affluent past.
Not the biggest cathedral around but it has wonderful medieval woodwork, including a scene of rabbits taking their revenge and cooking woodsmen! There is a beautiful song that is sung several times a week at 5:30pm.
2. The Town Hall
This magnificent High Victorian building is a testament to Manchester’s past glory. There are tours on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2pm, or you can go on your own at any time for free. Don’t miss the Great Hall ceiling or the Ford Madox Brown murals.
Despite a recent £35 million renovation doubling the space, entry to the gallery is still free. The collection includes Henry Moore, Gainsborough, Turner, Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud.
Housed in a late Victorian Gothic building, the library has an impressive collection of manuscripts, including some first edition Shakespeare sonnets and the oldest fragment of the New Testament. The reading room is gorgeous.
Yet another free and award-winning museum in Manchester, this is full of hands-on experiences, as well as Underground Manchester which includes a trip into a Victorian Sewer, and the history of the local cotton industry which is what made this city rich.
6. Manchester United Museum
If you like sports, head to the home of one of the world’s best known football teams. Take the tour and learn how a club like this really works.
7. The Royal Exchange Theater
This theater is equal to those found in London and in fact, many London shows begin life here.
A modern glass building rising above the dark walls of Manchester, this state of the art museum explores different cities around the world: Manchester, Los Angeles, Paris, Sao Paolo, Singapore and Tokyo. The Glass Elevator ride is a highlight.
9. The Lowry
This is another modern complex in the redeveloped quays area. It is a performance and arts center with a good restaurant and a small but worthwhile gallery of one of Manchester’s favorite and most humble artists, LS Lowry.
10. Eating and Drinking
Manchester has a huge Chinatown, a thriving gay scene around Canal Street and The Comedy Store which combines good food with great shows.