Manchester: Travels through North England’s magnificent metropolis

Youthful, diverse, energetic and bursting with character; Manchester could surely be one of the most exciting places to visit in the UK in 2019. This magnificent metropolis also forms the perfect launching point from which to explore the travel treasures of Northern England. Wings of Oman took a look...
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As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the City of Manchester has a proud tradition of science, politics, music, arts and sport. Today, it combines this rich heritage with a progressive vision to be a city that delivers many delights to everyone and anyone that comes to visit.

Indeed, the city is packed full of unique and eclectic restaurants, bars, shops, museums, galleries, hotels and places to stay – while at the same time, its neighbouring Greater Manchester “boroughs” offer a patch-work of visitor experiences including charming market towns, traditional pubs and beautiful green spaces and waterways to be explored on foot or by bike.

The city’s many travel classics include the Castlefield urban heritage park, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester Cathedral, the National Football Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, Chinatown, Manchester Town Hall, and Heaton Park – one of the largest municipal parks in Europe.

But as many a local will tell you, the magic of Manchester is brought to life while walking through the city’s streets –especially when done with an expert local guide, who’ll give you an intimate insight into the special secrets, stories and folklore infused into each place. (There are dozens of pre-established routes around the city to do on your own, or with guides).

For something unique, you could also book yourself onto one of Manchester’s many themed walking tours – food walks, street art tours, excursions to local craft markets, Manchester United or Manchester City stadium tours, photography explorations, and many more.

When you’re done, keep in mind that Manchester is fast becoming a very trendy food destination. While it does do traditional English fare very well, it’s been said that city really shines as a foodie destination due to the huge diversity of international cuisine on offer – exotic flavours from India, the Middle East, Africa and Asia – and also due to the growing number of award-winning restaurants and fine dining venues that have recently sprung up around the city.

After you’ve dined on something delicious, you can continue the good times and indulge in the live music, theatre, comedy, art exhibits, and many more events taking place at venues across the city on almost every night of the week, from January through to December.

City of Manchester: Gateway to Northern England

Thanks to its position, the City of Manchester is the perfect place from which to explore Greater Manchester’s neighboring districts – made up of the City of Manchester itself, the City of Salford, and the eight boroughs of Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, and Wigan.

All of these all fill to the brim with heritage, history, arts and culture, fine food and drink, sport and outdoor adventure, and shopping – as the team from Manchester Tourism proudly points out.

Further afield, there’s also the breath-taking natural beauty of the Lake District and Peak District, and a world of experiences to be had in nearby cities like Chester, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and York.

If you’re keen to get out and about in Northern England, a convenient way to do it is to purchase a North of England “4 in 8 Day Rover” train ticket – where you can start your journey in Manchester, before rolling off through beautiful countryside to the three remaining cities of Leeds, Liverpool and Hull (the UK’s City of Culture 2017) within a period of eight days.

The city of events!

In Manchester, there isn’t a day or night that passes by without some form of fantastic event taking place somewhere around the city – especially at this time of the year as we head off into spring and summer…

In May, Manchester heads into summer with three big music events – the Sounds from the Other City festival (5 May), Manchester Jazz Festival (23 – 27 May), and Dot To Dot festival (24 May). For sports fans, there’s the GreatCity Games athletics festival taking place in the Manchester streets in mid-May, and a feast of food to be had at the Castlefield Food Festival (11 – 14 May).

In June, the action continues with King Street Festival (1 – 2 June), which is a time for art, food, games and music on Manchester’s famous shopping street. There’s also the Manchester Day Parade (23 June) that celebrates everything great about the city; and Parklife – Manchester’s biggest rock music festival from 8 – 9 June.

There’s loads more on the go in July. Running throughout the month, the Manchester Fringe Festival brings together the city’s best alternative music, theatre and comedy at various venues. For music fans, there’s the Sounds of the City festival during the first week of July, the Wigan International Jazz Festival (11 – 14 July); and the UK’s biggest free-of-charge tribute festival, Festwich, from 27 – 28 July.

You can also check out the lively Manchester International Festival (4 – 21 July); and the Bluedot festival at the Jodrell Bank observatory, which invites you to camp out under the stars, and to explore a stellar programme of music, science, technology, food and film from 18 – 21 July. Finally, there’s the Ironman UK triathlon, which will race off on 14 July in Bolton, just outside of Manchester; the beautiful RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park (17 – 21 July); and the always-popular MCM Manchester Comic Con from 27 – 28 July.

Fly Oman Air!

  • Oman Air flies direct Muscat to Manchester. To view the full flight schedules, visit www.omanair.com

Travel Info!

  • Travelling to Manchester? For more on what to do around the city, and surrounding region, go to the official site www.visitmanchester.com
  • If you’re a first-time traveller to Manchester, you’ll also find a very helpful “101 Things to do in Greater Manchester” list at www.visitmanchester.com

Images: © Shutterstock; Visit Manchester/ www.visitmanchester.com