North West – Manchester

top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in north west england


1. The Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester is located on the historic site of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station. It contains a huge collection of machinery, engines and trains, tracing the development of British technology and industry from the Industrial revolution to the recent past. It’s an extremely impressive collection of Victorian engineering, making modern gadgets seem almost trivial in comparison to the grandeur, scale and soul of these steam engines, trains and machines.

2. Shopping in Manchester

Manchester has hundreds of retail outlets in the city centre, ranging from the more exclusive upmarket designer shops, jewelers and luggage stores, to familiar names such as Top Shop, Lacoste and many more. Large chains like Selfridges and Harvey Nichols sell everything from clothes to furniture and perfume, with Armani and Vivienne Westwood catering for Manchester United Footballers and their WAGS. Affleck’s Palace, a warehouse building of ‘alternative’ type shops sells records, vintage clothes and T-shirts.

3. Manchester Art Gallery

Perhaps the best gallery in Manchester, Manchester Art Gallery is located close to the city centre and consists of an impressive Victorian building with a modern steel and glass extension bolted on to the back. A large contingent of modernist and contemporary artists are represented such as Howard Hodgkin and Patrick Caulfield, as well as lesser known 20th century figurative artists. Manchester Art Gallery is also renowned for its superb collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings by artists such as Rossetti, and works by Turner and Constable.

4. Imperial War Museum North

The award winning Imperial War Museum North is about people and their stories, about how lives are shaped by war and conflict. The dimly lit hangar like interior and angular design create a feeling of  disorientation, engendering a sense of emotional unease with which the large interactive exhibits are then engaged. Designed by international architect Daniel Libeskind, the building is a symbol of our world torn apart by conflict.

5. The John Ryland’s Library

The John Rylands Library on Deansgate houses some of the most significant books and manuscripts ever produced. The magnificent neo-gothic building in Manchester’s city centre is a major visitor attraction as well as a research library of world renown. The collections include exquisite medieval illuminated manuscripts, examples of the earliest forms of modern printing including the Gutenberg Bible as well as the personal papers of historical figures including Elizabeth Gaskell and John Wesley.

6. The Royal Exchange Theatre

Housed in the converted Victorian Manchester stock exchange on St Anne’s Square, The Royal Exchange Theatre is Manchester’s premier venue for the performing arts. Watching a play here is an intimate experience, with the seating arranged in a circle around the main stage. The theatre itself is a seven-sided, glass-walled capsule, literally suspended from huge marble pillars situated in the Great Hall of the Exchange. There is also a regular programme of concerts, usually by smaller scale or acoustic acts which suit the surroundings, and a selection of bars and cafes.

7. The Lowry Centre

Developed in the 1990’s as part of the urban regeneration of the Salford docks, the Lowry Centre ascribes to the “all under one roof” school of cultural industry. It’s a philosophy that works well, with the Lowry’s mix of theatres, workshops and travelling exhibitions attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. There is also a good selection of cafe’s and a bookshop, not to mention a permanent display of L.S. Lowry’s paintings.

8. Chinatown Restaurants

Whilst smaller than London’s, Manchester’s Chinatown still has a good selection of restaurants to choose from. The Little Yang Sing isn’t that little any more, with new branches continuing to open, but is a good place to start. Another is Sweet Mandarin, an award-winning restaurant and sought after cookery school serving delicious Chinese cuisine and exotic cocktails in the Northern Quarter

9. Urbis (National Football Museum)

Formerly an an exhibition centre focusing on city life, Urbis is currently being converted into the National Football Museum which will open in 2011. In the meantime, you can still visit the Urbis shop and restaurant/bar, and view an online archive of past Urbis exhibitions.

10. Manchester United at Old Trafford

Love them or hate them, Manchester United are probably the most famous football club in the world and famed for an exciting, attacking style of play are nearly always thrilling to watch. Expect to pay around £30 to £50 for a ticket to watch a match. If you don’t have the time or money for that, here’s an award winning museum and tour centre to visit, where you can soak up the atmosphere of the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.

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