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325km (202 miles) NW of London; 138km (86 miles) N of Birmingham; 56km (35 miles) E of Liverpool
One of the largest cities in England, Manchester is becoming increasingly important, as major airlines now fly here from North America, making the city a gateway to northern England. In recent years, Manchester has made great strides to shake its image as an industrial wasteland. Though chimneys still spike the skyline, they no longer make the metropolitan sky an ash-filled canopy. Abandoned warehouses are being renovated to provide sleek new loft apartments. Rustic factory equipment turns up in museums rather than piling up in salvage yards. Even the old Victorian architecture has been given a face-lift. The overall effect is a gritty kind of charm.
Manchester's roots date from A.D. 79, when the Romans settled here. It remained under Roman occupation until A.D. 410 when the empire began its fall. The city's west gate has since been reconstructed upon its original site, and reminders from the city's storied role as a leader during the Industrial Revolution are literally everywhere.
But then in the mid-17th century, the city began to capitalize on the wealth of opportunity that the burgeoning textile industry offered. Manchester eventually became the Dickensian paradigm of the gritty industrial city. The railways were equally responsible for catapulting the city to the forefront of the industrial movement. England found Manchester both a convenient terminus and a refinement center through which raw goods became viable exports. It is apt indeed that the Museum of Science and Industry resides here.
Many of the factory laborers were immigrants who flocked to the city for the promise of work. The atrocity of their conditions is well documented. But these immigrants had a profound effect on the city's culture. Today, Manchester's nearly 20,000 descendants of Chinese immigrants constitute England's highest Chinese population outside London. The Chinese residents have amalgamated their surroundings to fit their heritage. Falkner Street, particularly the monumental Imperial Chinese Archway, is brought to life by the murals, gardens, and vibrant decor that pay homage to the once-displaced working force.
The most recent stars of Manchester have been members of the Manchester United Football (that is, soccer) team, one of the most visible and successful in the world, with ardent legions of fans, and the rock group Oasis. They're best known in America for their album (What's the Story) Morning Glory. These rock stars haven't exactly done for Manchester what the Beatles did to put Liverpool on the map, but they certainly have made an impression. Of course, these self-styled "hard-drinking, groupie-shagging, drug-snorting geezers" make the Beatles seem like choirboys. As Manchester is increasingly cited for its hipness, Oasis, whose Definitely Maybe was the fastest-selling debut album in British history, helped make it so.
The once-dreary Manchester Docklands, evoking a painting by local son L. S. Lowry, has a spiffy new life following a £200-million restoration. It's called simply "the Lowry," and the complex is filled with theaters, shops, galleries, and restaurants. A plaza provides space for up to 10,000 at outdoor performances.
With flights to Manchester, England, from American Airlines, it's never been easier to visit this historically significant city. From visiting museums and historic sites to listening to live music to watching Premier League football, there are plenty of options when it comes to things to do in Manchester.
With roots tracing back to the Roman fort Mamucium in 79 A.D., there is a treasure trove of history in this United Kingdom metropolis. One of the most interesting activities in Manchester is delving into its heritage. Start with a visit to the site of the fort in the Castlefield Urban Heritage Park, where you can see reconstructed remains of the gatehouse and other structures. Then it's on to Manchester's fine museums, beginning with the expansive Museum of Science and Industry, or MOSI. It's comprised of five buildings that cover over seven acres. It's located on the site of the world's oldest surviving passenger railway station and its exhibits include everything from hands-on activities to working steam mill engines. Then visit the John Rylands Library, a superb example of Victorian Gothic architecture. Its collection includes the oldest known portion of the New Testament known as the St. John Fragment and a 1476 edition of Canterbury Tales. Next, head to the family-friendly Manchester Art Gallery, where you can indulge your yen for fine art by viewing pre-Raphaelite paintings and your kids can indulge their I-want-to-touch-that inclination through hands-on exhibits. More places you won't want to miss include the Whitworth Art Gallery (with an excellent collection of British artwork) and the Stockport Air Raid Shelters (where you can get a real sense of daily life during the Blitz through a labyrinth of tunnels).
In addition to its historical attractions, the city also has a proud musical heritage. Many bands of worldwide renown began here, and hearing live music is one of our favorite things to do in Manchester. The primary venues to hear performances include Manchester Arena, Manchester Apollo and Manchester Academy. Of course, smaller venues abound throughout the city, making it easy to catch a few performances.
And residents are equally (if not more so) passionate about local sports, especially the city's two Premier League football clubs. Cheering for Manchester City or Manchester United is one of the most fun and boisterous activities in Manchester.
From football to art and history, Manchester offers something for everyone to enjoy. Let American Airlines help you fly to Manchester so you can explore every facet of the city for a memorable getaway. Search our flights and start planning your trip today.
|UK Backward Running Championships||May 2013 (annual)||Heaton Park|
|Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Recorders||18 Sep 2010 - 18 Jun 2013; not Mon||Manchester Art Gallery|
|Manchester Mega Mela||Jul 2013 (annual)||Platt Fields Park|
|Manchester International Festival||Jun - Jul 2013 (biennial)||Manchester|
|Manchester Jazz Festival||Jul 2013 (annual)||Manchester|
|24:7 Theatre Festival||Jul 2013 (annual)||Manchester|
|Sky Ride||Aug 2013 (annual)||Manchester|
|Twenty20 Cup: Lancashire Lightning||Jun - Aug 2013 (annual)||Old Trafford County Cricket Ground|
|Manchester Pride||Aug 2013 (annual)||Manchester|
|Abandon Normal Devices||Aug - Sep 2013 (annual)||Manchester|
|British International Taekwondo Open||Sep 2013 (annual)||Sportcity|
|Buy Art Fair||Sep 2013 (annual)||Spinningfields|
|Manchester Food & Drink Festival||Sep - Oct 2013 (annual)||Manchester|
|UEC European Masters Track Championships||Oct 2013 (annual)||Manchester Velodrome|
|Manchester Literature Festival||Oct 2013 (annual)||Manchester|
|Festival of Fantastic Films||Oct 2013 (annual)||Days Hotel|
|Manchester Christmas Lights Switch-on||Nov 2013 (annual)||Albert Square|
|Dazzle - Manchester||Nov - Dec 2013 (annual)||Royal Exchange Theatre|
|Manchester Camerata's New Year's Eve Gala Concert||Dec 2013 (annual)||The Bridgewater Hall|
|Caravan and Motorhome Show||Jan 2014 (annual)||EventCity|
|Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show||Jan 2014 (annual)||EventCity|
|National Winter Ales Festival||Jan 2014 (annual)||Sheridan Suite|
|English National Badminton Championships||Feb 2014 (annual)||National Cycling Centre|
|National Squash Championships||Feb 2014 (annual)||Sportcity|
|Manchester Irish Festival||Mar 2014 (annual)||Manchester|
|¡Viva! Spanish Film Festival||Mar 2014 (annual)||Cornerhouse|
|Manchester City FC 2012/13||Aug 2013 - May 2014 (annual)||Etihad Stadium|
|Manchester United FC 2012/13||Aug 2013 - May 2014 (annual)||Manchester United Museum and Stadium Tour|
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