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In the late 1990s a gigantic building project was started, which is still in progress today, renovating the city’s beautiful old buildings one by one. In parallel with this, young creative and/or wealthy Mancunians have begun to look for flats in town. As a result, the Northern Quarter suburb has become as hip as Hoxton or Soho in London, and luxurious flats have sprung up along the canals in Castlefield, to the south. These days, Manchester is a lively and cultured city which can compete at any level with other international cities. Wherever you are, you’ll find yourself among the city’s historical waterways, including the Bridgewater Canal, the first man-made waterway, located in the Castlefield district. A trip along the Manchester Ship Canal, which runs from Salford Quays to Liverpool, is outstanding and displays locks and bridges that have been unchanged for 100 years. Greater Manchester is made up of ten borough towns, from the East Lancashire steam railway in Bury to the pier and rugby league side of Wigan, each district adding to the city’s unique identity. With easy access to the Peak District and Lake District National Parks, you’re also within reach of the breathtaking English countryside.
Manchester is perhaps best known internationally for two things: music and football. Huge musical acts, including The Hollies, The Bee Gees, New Order, Oasis, Simply Red and many more, have hailed from Manchester, and the yearly ‘In The City’ music festival has launched many to international stardom. Football fans will want to visit the legendary Old Trafford stadium, museum and megastore. But Manchester has a lot more to offer than just music and sports. It is a young and creative city, with outstanding museums, food and nightlife, crisscrossed by canals which give it a unique atmosphere, and one of the greatest pleasures about visiting Manchester is exploring the various districts on foot.
The dining scene in Manchester is more interesting and varied by the day. All manner of new restaurants, gastropubs and bars keep popping up around the city, which now ranks among the country’s best and most diverse culinary destinations. A local speciality is the Manchester Egg, the city’s take on the Scotch egg, which is wrapped in black pudding and sausage, then breaded and deep fried, and should not be missed.
Manchester has historically been overrun with big chain coffee shops (49 Costa Coffees and 17 Starbucks), but a new wave of independent, high-quality, and often quirky cafes and tea houses has been taking over the city, offering more diverse alternatives and more original products. Give these cafes a try, support local entrepreneurs, and while you're at it, enjoy a truly delicious cup of coffee.
Manchester boasts one of the UK's strongest and most diverse nightlife scenes, offering plenty of alternatives for drinking, partying and catching world-class concerts and performances. Hacienda was once perhaps Europe's most famous club (back in the 'Madchester' days), and though it is no longer in operation, the adventurous spirit of the city's nightlife remains intact in the numerous venues in the Northern Quarter, Castlefield and Gay Village.
Manchester has become northern England's shopping capital, offering variety, quality and bargains. From large shopping centres like Manchester Arndale and the Trafford Centre to the pedestrian boutique districts and markets dotting the city, to the unique items found at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, shoppers will be spoilt for choice with everything from designer fashion to local handicrafts on offer.
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