- Manchester

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The city of Manchester is part of the county of Lancaster, but with seven million people, the area stands alone as a destination in itself. The metropolitan county of Greater Manchester includes (among others) Oldham, Altrincham, Stockport, Salford, Ashton-under-Lyne, Rochdale, Trafford, Tameside, Wigan, Bury, and Bolton.

Transportation to the city is easy as it is a crossroads for trains, and the busy station reflects that. It's also home to an international airport that beats London's Heathrow airport in every way for comfort and convenience.

Manchester was the centre of a cotton trade with the American colonies, but its mills have long since closed. Its prosperity in those times is reflected in the Georgian and Victorian buildings that followed on the wealth of local families.

The millennium was a signal for Manchester to revitalize itself. The downtown centre and the area along the river have especially benefited. In the Albert Square is the Town Hall, Gothic in style and built from 1868-77, it is an extravagant civic building. The octagonal tower is 286 feet high. The building is enhanced by a hammerbeam roof in its Great Hall, and 12 pre-Raphaelite style murals of Manchester.

Other attractions include the city art gallery, constructed in the 19th century and now restored. The Pumphouse People's History museum gives you the social history of Manchester's working people. The Castlefield area was the centre of a canal system in the 18th century. The Castlefield Urban Heritage Park tells about Manchester from Roman times and has reconstructed a north gate and west wall on their original site.

The first passenger train station in the world, Liverpool Road, was built in Manchester and now houses a museum of Science and Industry. Themed galleries and exhibitions include computers, photography, steam engines, electricity, air and space, gas, water, and cotton.

Other museums are glass-walled Urbis (how people live in and use cities), the Gallery of Costume, the Police Museum (set in a Victorian police station), the Jewish Museum, Manchester United Museum and Tour, Ordsall Hall Museum, the Museum of Transport, and the Quays and Manchester Ship Canal. One of Manchester's best known tourist draws was the Granada Studios, where the TV soap Coronation Street was filmed.

The Imperial War Museum North is a modern aluminum building with exhibits taking advantage of all the latest technical innovations. The focus is on the people involved in wars. Manchester has a local nature reserve, Chorlton Water Park. Canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, and model boating are offered.

Manchester's cathedral consists of six bays forming a nave, the widest of any of England's churches. Take note of the medieval choir screen's woodcarving, the misericords (c1500), and the stalls and canopies.

People who live in Manchester are known as Mancunians.

Manchester Tourist Attractions

Imperial War Museum
North Trafford
Wharf Road,
Trafford Park
Tel: 0161 877 9240, Website: www.iwm.org.uk, Open: daily, 10am-6pm

Manchester Cathedral
Victoria Street
Tel: 0161 833 2220

Manchester City Hall
Tours throughout year on Sat at 2pm from Visitor Information Centre in St Peter's Square; self-guided tours at other times.

Manchester Jewish Museum
190 Cheetham Hill Road
Tel: 0161 832 9879, Open: Mon-Thu, 10.30am-4.30pm, Sun until 5pm

Manchester Police Museum
Newton Street
Tel: 0161-856 3287, Open: Tue, 10.30am-3.30pm

Museum of Science and Industry
Liverpool Road
Castlefield
Tel: 0161 832 2244, Website: www.msim.org.uk, Open: daily, 10am-5pm

Museum of Transport
Boyle St
Cheetham
Manchester
Tel: 0161 205 2122, Open: Sat, Sun, Wed and BH, 10am-5pm

People's History Museum
Left Bank
Bridge St
Tel: 0161 228 7212, Website: www.peopleshistorymuseum.org.uk, Open: Tue-Sun, 11am-4.30pm

Chorlton Water Park
Maitland Avenue
Chorlton
Manchester
Tel: 0161 881 5639

Greater Manchester Tourist Information Centres

Bolton Town Hall
Victoria Square
Bolton
Greater Manchester
Tel: 01204 334400

The Met Arts Centre
Market Street
Bury
Greater Manchester
Tel: 0161 253 5111

England North-west Visitor Centre
Tourist Information Centre
Portland Street
Manchester
Tel: 0845 600 6040

Manchester Visitor Centre
Town Hall Extension
Lloyd St
Manchester
Tel: 0871 222 8223
Email: touristinformation@marketing-manchester.co.uk

Manchester Airport Terminals 1 and 2
International Arrivals Hall
Manchester
Tel: 0871 222 8223
Email: touristinformation@marketing-manchester.co.uk

Saddleworth Museum
High Street
Uppermill
Saddleworth
Oldham
Greater Manchester
Tel: 01457 870336

Salford
1 The Quays
Salford
Greater Manchester
Tel: 0161 848 8601

Wigan
Trencherfield Mill
Wallgate
Wigan
Greater Manchester
Tel: 01942 825677

Destination guide by kind permission of Barbara Ballard of Destinations-UK

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