In this city — one of the country’s biggest urban sprawls — you’ll discover a captivating mix of Victorian buildings and modern glass cubes, hushed tones in an industrial museum and roaring laughter in comedy clubs. And we haven’t even mentioned football yet.
Published February 2, 2024
This article was produced by National Geographic Traveller (UK).
Manchester has long had a progressive spirit, from its role as the cradle of the Industrial Revolution to a nightlife that’s spoken about with revered tones all around the country. But today, a visit to this Northern city is just as likely to be about its varied architecture, Scandi-style bars serving natural wines and larger-than-life football clubs. Here’s how to take it all in on a perfect 14-hour itinerary.
8am: Breakfast at Federal
Start your day with a tantalizing Australian breakfast experience at Federal. Their signature dishes include smashed avocado, halloumi and mushrooms on toasted sourdough, all served in a laid-back atmosphere that perfectly embodies Manchester cool. Be sure to arrive early as space is limited and reservations are not accepted.
10am: Explore the industrial past
Discover the origins of the Industrial Revolution in Manchester by visiting the fascinating Science and Industry Museum. This museum chronicles the city’s contributions to commerce, transport, and computing, showcasing its rich industrial history in an engaging way.
12pm: Admire awesome architecture
Take a stroll up Deansgate to admire the unique mix of modern glass structures and stunning Victorian buildings that define Manchester’s iconic skyline. Don’t miss the chance to visit the turreted neo-gothic architecture of the John Rylands Library, home to medieval manuscripts and other treasures.
2pm: Lunch at Hawksmoor
Indulge in a delectable lunch at Hawksmoor, housed in a historic Victorian courthouse. Their renowned seafood dishes and dry-aged steak are a must-try, accompanied by sides that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. After lunch, enjoy a martini in the Lowback Bar for a true taste of Manchester’s culinary delights.
4pm: Discover football heritage
Experience Manchester’s passion for football by visiting the Manchester Cathedral and exploring its beautifully carved medieval woodwork. Then, dive into the city’s football legacy next door. It can be challenging to secure tickets for Manchester United or Manchester City matches, but the football experience in Manchester is worth the effort.