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Manchester - United Kingdom

City Destinations - Manchester (UK) in detail

The Arndale Shopping Centre Manchester
Five star hotels, waterside properties, top restaurants and leading fashion labels, this is not a description of Milan, Paris or even London but of Manchester. For our new regular slot- City Destinations in Detail each issue we will be bringing you all you need to know about some of the worlds major cities. Jennifer Gaskin explores the new face of Manchester and all it has to offer.
Once only synonymous with cobbled streets, coal smudged faces and Coronation Street, Manchester is now the epitome of urban style and sophistication. New buildings have sprung up and old ones have been refurbished to accommodate some of the cities hippest bars and restaurants.
All the major names in retail have stores in the city and many businesses- including the BBC- are re-locating ‘up-north’.

There are a plethora of bars, restaurants, hotels and theatres to rival any major city in the world and Manchester will soon be home to the UK’s first super casino. Yet, amidst all these changes Manchester has not lost any of its quintessential ‘northerness’- the people remain as friendly as ever and an unexpected chat with a friendly local remains commonplace.

Getting to know Manchester is easy. Market Street is home to the majority of the cities high street stores, it is the location of the newly renovated Arndale Shopping Centre and it links the edgy Northern Quarter with the more high end Millennium Quarter where Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, amongst others, have set up shop.

Walking further onto Deansgate, a parade of cafes, bars and restaurants will take you towards the towering structure of the Hilton, and beyond that into Castlefield. The Manchester Ship Canal winds through the city, and several new developments have emerged on its banks.

Castlefield has grown in recent years to become a firm favourite with urban professionals. On a warm summers day there is nothing better than sitting outside one of the areas many bars overlooking the canal, with a glass of wine in hand and watching the geese meander down the water.

Another water-side area is Deansgate Locks. Walking inside one of the areas many bars is like walking onto the set of ITV drama Footballers’ Wives, young girls with too much make-up and not enough clothes and young men who have spent far too much time styling their hair. Un-surprisingly Deansgate Locks is a popular hangout for many of the cast of Hollyoaks.

However, the biggest canal side development is Salford Quays. Five minutes away from the city centre, the area is saturated with several of the most desirable apartments in the city, it is the base for many top businesses as well as The Lowry Hotel.

Art and Architecture
Manchester’s architecture encompasses and integrates the best of two extremes. Regal Victorian buildings stand as a testament to old Manchester, the industrial mills, factories and railway buildings convey the working class ethos that many have come to associate with the city, and the ultra-modern, glass fronted buildings of new Manchester stand together to create the face of a city re-invented.

On the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, about two miles from the city centre is the striking architecture of the Imperial War Museum. Designed by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind to reflect a world torn apart by conflict, The Imperial War Museum North is one of the most talked about new museums in the country today. The museum tells the story of how war has affected the lives of British and Commonwealth citizens since 1914. It is the fifth branch of the Imperial War Museum and the first outside the south-east of England.

Manchester City Art Gallery is the premier art exhibition centre in the city. The gallery underwent a £35million, four year redevelopment before re-opening its doors in 2002. The refurbishment project involved linking the two original buildings with a new development to create a contemporary art space of international significance and the result is a fine example of Manchester’s post-bomb transformation.

Urbis, Manchester’s newest exhibition space, hosts more outlandish and unusual multi-media art exhibitions. The gallery focuses on city life and explores the culture and dynamism of cities around the world through photography, music, design and contemporary art. The glass skin of the building reflects the surrounding cityscape and the surrounding Cathedral Gardens are also a popular weekend hang-out for the cities teenagers.

The Imperial War Museum North
The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester
Open seven days a week from 10am-6pm (Nov to Feb 10am-5pm) with free admission.
For exhibition information visit http://north.iwm.org.uk

Manchester City Art Gallery
Mosley Street, Manchester
Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm, closed Mondays (except Band Holidays) with free admission
For exhibition information visit www.manchestergalleries.org

Cathedral Gardens, Manchester
Open daily from 10am-6pm
For exhibition information visit www.urbis.org.uk
Getting Around
The free Metro Shuttle buses are the fastest way around the city centre the but to travel further out of the centre the Metro Link Tram system connects the city centre with several surrounding towns as well as Old Trafford football ground. Black cabs can be flagged down easily anywhere in the city centre and there are also several local train services from Piccadilly, Victoria, Oxford Road and Deansgate stations.

Getting There

Virgin Trains operate frequent daily services to Manchester from London Euston, journey times vary between 2 hours 15 minutes and 3 hours 30 minutes. For discounted fares it is best to book as far in advance as possible. For timetable information visit Virgin Trains or call 08457 222 333.
Several carriers operate flights between Manchester and London.

Contact your preferred airline for further schedule information;
British Airways
bmi airlines
Jet2 airlines

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