Manchester - cultural capital of cool
Manchester has long laid claim to the title of Britain's second city, and it's not hard to see why - with world class shopping, a vibrant nightlife and its cultural quarter housing theatres, museums and galleries, this Northern city has something to offer to everyone.
When to head to Manchester
Manchester offers fun events and activities all year round, from the huge Chinese New Year Celebrations in January to the Jazz Festival at the end of July, plus the Manchester Food and Drink and Literature festivals in September. Other popular attractions such as the theatres, galleries, museums, restaurants, nightclubs and shops are also well worth exploring.
Before you travel to Manchester
Be sure to budget well for your trip to Manchester. The cost of living in the city is about average for the UK, but is cheaper than London, so you should be able to afford a few more cocktails than you might in the capital.
Local information - how to get in and how to get around
Getting from Manchester airport to the city centre couldn't be simpler. The rail link is fast and cost effective, with the journey from Manchester Airport Railway station to Manchester Piccadilly taking just 15 minutes, at a cost of about £4.50. Alternatively, the Metrolink to central Manchester takes 35 minutes for the same cost, or for a cheaper option, take the number 43 bus to the city centre. If you'd rather hop in a taxi, the journey takes around 25 minutes and will set you back about £18. The taxi rank is outside Terminal 1.
There are also plenty of options for getting around once you're in the city - the Metroshuttle is free and has 3 routes serving all major central areas. Stagecoach buses cost around £1.50 for a single fare. Other options include a tram day ticket at £5 for unlimited travel, or a TfGM "any bus day" or "system one" tickets, which are valid on all buses regardless of operator. If you're not planning on leaving the city centre, you'll find you can easily reach most sights on foot, although if you're tired after a hard day pounding the pavement, cabs are plentiful, and generally cheaper than in London, although the traffic in the centre during rush hour can be very slow.