Over the past few decades Manchester has really emerged as perhaps the powerhouse city within the north west of England – perhaps the whole north of England – which is why it had to feature prominently in the new Ladbrokes online travel roulette wheel of places to visit. Recent decades have the seen the city transformed into a world of modernist architecture, with luxury accommodation and impressive cultural attractions, with this being a guide to some of the main ones.
People’s History Museum
If you want to learn more about the history of the working classes, not just in Manchester, but the whole United Kingdom, then the People’s History Museum is the place to do so. Detailing the country’s democratic history through two permanent galleries – called Revolution and Reformers respectively – as well as numerous temporary displays, it has been a feature of the city since 1990. It is housed in a beautiful Grade II listed building and used to be known as the National Museum of Labour History.
Piccadilly’s Food Market
Located right in the centre of Manchester, Piccadilly’s Food Market offers the chance to buy delicious fresh produce from local vendors – and its 15-plus stalls selling food from all over the world will make it a treat for anyone who loves sampling exotic dishes. Cuisine from Africa can be found here, alongside dim sum, wraps from the Middle East and pasta-based meals – while the Street Crafts Market on Friday and Saturday features lots of vintage craft goods.
Found within a building owned by the University of Manchester, where it is high up in the tower, the Godlee Observatory holds plenty of historic interest as a building alone – as Francis Godlee presented Manchester with it over a century ago. The main double telescopes date back to this 1903 presentation and can be seen – along with its fascinating reference library and Octagon Room – during tours of the building.
Having been founded back in 1653, Chetham’s Library is the oldest remaining public library to be found within the English-speaking world. Housing a remarkable collection of books, manuscripts, archives, photographs, programmes, posters and other treasures, it is considered an internationally importance collection. Highlights include medieval manuscripts by the likes of Matthew Paris and a copy of Plato originally owned by Ben Johnson. Easy to find in Long Millgate, this is a cultural treasure trove.
Whitworth Art Gallery
This gallery is an even more essential stop during a stay in Manchester since it was redeveloped and expanded at a cost of £15 million. Situated within the beautiful environs of Whitworth Park, it houses more than 55,000 pieces – including paintings by Turner, Blake and Rossetti, as well as more modernist works by Van Gogh, Gaugin and Hockney. The mix of old and newer within this gallery, founded by Robert Dukinfield Darbishire in 1889, means there is something to suit all tastes.
Manchester is a superb place to pay a day trip to, as there is so much to do there, so why not give it a try.