In recent years, development and regeneration has seen Manchester grow to rival Birmingham as England's second city. Manchester is a thriving business centre for new businesses, sports and the entertainment industries to name a few. It's also surrounded with lovely countryside, has a legendary nightlife and music scene, and great shopping.
Avoid the depths of winter as it can be cold, but the rest of the year is fine, if typically British and changeable. Manchester also has an excellent selection of annual events. The best known are the Jazz Festival at the end of July, the Manchester Literature Festival in September and October, and the Manchester Food and Drink Festival in September. The Manchester Chinese New Year celebration, (Jan-Feb), are noisy and fun, thanks to a high local Chinese population.
Daily living costs in Manchester are generally cheaper than in London but about average for the UK. Eating our is varied and fun, with lots of Indian, Chinese and Italian alongside some great pub food and modern British cooking to choose from.
Manchester airport has a railway station and travel to Manchester Piccadilly, the central station costs around £4.50 taking about 15 minutes. There is also a Metrolink to central Manchester which takes 35 minutes, also around £4.50. The Number 43 bus also takes you there. The taxi rank is at Terminal 1, and it will cost about £18 and take around 25 minutes to get into the centre.Budget accommodation is from around £15 per person in shared room. Mid range Hotels (3*) are from around £60 per room, and Manchester has a wide range of business and luxury hotels. Local travel is easy, the Metroshuttle bus is free, and has 3 routes serving all major central areas. Stegecoach buses for elsewhere are around £1.50 per trip, but a day ticket is appx. £5, and TfGM sells the "any bus day ticket" or "system one" which are valid on all buses regardless of operator.
The city centre sights are also close enough to be explored on foot. Taxis are a bit cheaper in Manchester than London, but traffic in centre can be very slow.
Tip: The Manchester Visitor Information Centre at Piccadilly Plaza is very good.