Not surprisingly for a town that split the atom, gave us the cobbles of Coronation Street and played a major part in the industrial revolution, Manchester has history, heritage and sightseeing opportunities at every turn. Take photos of its medieval Cathedral then walk in the footsteps of sporting legends - or just amble along its stunning waterfront area to admire the regeneration of its docks. If you weren’t mad for this city already, book into one of our Manchester hotels and you soon will be!
Attractions in Manchester
From restored mills that will take you back in time to the city’s industrial heyday, to the National Trust properties right on its doorstep, Manchester is blessed with a wealth of buildings steeped in heritage. So if you’re interested in the history of the city, or just love gazing at beautiful architecture, make sure these buildings make your must-see list.
Manchester Cathedral is a Grade-I listed masterpiece, which today plays host to both religious and community events. From family services and carol concerts through to classical music shows and wine fairs, there’s always something going on under its stained glass windows. Although smaller than other city centre Cathedrals, what Manchester Cathedral lacks in size, it more than makes up for in interesting features - such as its intricate wooden carvings that date back to Saxon times.
Get a glimpse of Manchester’s industrial heritage at Salford Quays. Once called Salford Docks, it was one of the busiest ports in the UK, but the area was mostly run down by the 1970s. Since then, the Quays has risen from the ashes and its waterfront piazzas are now one of the city’s biggest success stories. Here, historic waterways mingle with post-modern architecture - and you can really make the most of it by following a Salford Quays Heritage Trail that you can download from the Visit Salford website.
If you prefer your architecture to look more futuristic than old and dusty, head to MediaCityUK. Just three miles west of the city centre, its gleaming glass towers, sparkling waterside location and trendy bars and restaurants make it the perfect place for a stroll or a spot of sightseeing. Staying in Premier Inn’s Manchester Salford Media City hotel puts you right in the heart of this buzzing area - and it has some great waterfront views of its own.
Thoughts will be well and truly provoked at the National Trust property Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire. This living museum gives a fantastic glimpse into what life was like at this 18th century mill, both for its rich owners and the workhouse children who provided it with cheap labour. See the steam-powered water wheel, take a tour round the enchanting apprentice house and explore its beautiful garden.
You may be staying in one of our Manchester hotels to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city, but if you fancy a breather, you’ll find acres of green space to enjoy. Manchester has 138 parks, 31 of which have been awarded the Green Flag award for excellence, so you’re in for something special.
Green spaces don't come much bigger than Manchester's Heaton Park. Just three miles north of the city centre, at 600 acres it’s even bigger than London’s massive Hyde Park. From fireworks to spooky Halloween trails (and even an urban beach in the summer), it’s also the setting for spectacular events like the Parklife music festival.
If you’re staying at our Manchester (Cheadle) hotel, close to Manchester Airport, the nearby Bruntwood Park is well worth a visit. With well-kept ornamental gardens as well as woods and hay meadows to explore, there’s plenty of wildlife to keep you occupied. But if that doesn’t sound exciting enough, test your skills at the 18-hole pitch and putt, race around the cycle track or try your hand at a spot of archery.
Get panoramic views over Manchester and even across to the mountains of Wales in the stunning Werneth Low Country Park in Hyde. Less than 10 miles from the city centre, the area is a haven for wildlife, but it’s best known for its magnificent war memorial - a tribute to the 710 local people who perished in First World War. It does get windy up there,though - as you can tell by the number of kites waving in the breeze.
If all of Manchester’s many spectacular sightseeing options weren’t enough, having its own Arena really put Manchester on the map as a city break mecca.
The largest indoor arena in the UK, Manchester Arena cost £52 million to build; certainly money well-spent. It’s widely thought of as one of the city’s best assets and, in terms of size, it really is humungous. Over a million people visit each year, drawn by international pop acts, the world’s best comedians and huge sporting events, from boxing to ice skating.
You can’t leave town without paying a visit to one of Manchester’s temples to the beautiful game. Even if you’re not exactly a superfan of either the Reds or the Blues, both stadiums are steeped in history - and their fascinating tours give you the chance to find out all about it.
If you’re visiting Manchester and love sport, Old Trafford should be top of your list of things to do. More than a hundred years old, it’s the UK’s second biggest football ground after Wembley. Nicknamed the theatre of dreams, it’s seen more drama and tension than a double episode of Coronation Street - something you’ll find out all about by doing a behind-the-scenes tour.
Home to Man City, the Etihad Stadium was originally built to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games. And even if you’re not lucky enough to watch the Gallagher brothers’ favourite team play here, a stadium tour will show you all the best bits, from dressing room to dugout. There's even a Legends Tour, where you’re shown around by a former Man City player - a great way to get all the insider gossip.