Manchester is a vibrant city with an excellent shopping centre, museums and arts venues. It’s about an hour from Chester by car or an hour and a half by train and makes a great day trip. You can wander about the city centre and soak up the atmosphere with plenty of opportunities to eat, drink and shop or drop in to one of its museums or galleries. Or get organised and book a show or a guided tour of the city centre or one of its football stadia.
Things to do in Manchester:
- The Science and Industry Museum houses permanent galleries exploring the industrial heritage of Manchester and the North West. You’ll aslo find changing exhibitions; hands-on activities and special events. Tel: 0161 832 2244.
- Manchester Art Gallery is home to a collection of British and European fine art dating back to the 17th Century. It’s best known for its collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings and also includes craft and costumes. There’s a changing programme of contemporary and classic art exhibitions and special events for families in the school holidays. Tel: 0161 235 8888.
- John Rylands Library is a stunning example of Victorian Gothic architecture in the heart of the city. Tel: 0161 275 3716.
- The National Football Museum in the city centre celebrates football’s greats and pays homage to the fans. You’ll find a brief history of the beautiful game, stories from the FA cup and football around the world. There are hands on activities and a chance to test your own skills. Tel: 0161 605 8200.
Within 30 minutes of the city centre:
- The Lowry at Pier 8, Salford Quays, houses a collection of paintings by the famous Manchester artist as well as changing exhibitions, two theatres, a restaurant, two bars and a coffee shop. Tel: 0843 208 6000.
- The Imperial War Museum North sits on the Manchester Quays in an impressive modernist building designed by Daniel Libeskind. A nearby footbridge links to Peir 8 and the Lowry centre so you can easily visit both attractions in one day. Tel: 020 74165000.
- The Coronation Street tour is also near to the Imperial War Museum and offers Corrie fans a guided trip down the famous street. This needs to be booked in advance and note that it’s all outdoors (no visits to indoor sets) so check the weather forecast. Tel: 0161 414 0781.
- The BBC Media City tour gives you a look behind the scenes of some of your favourite TV shows and offers fascinating insights into how TV and radio work. There’s also a CBBC version for families with children from 9-16 years old. Note that tours need to be booked at least a day ahead of your visit. Tel: 0370 901 1227.
- The Trafford Centre is one of the UK’s major shopping and leisure centres with 100s of stores, dozens of restaurants, bars and cafes. Leisure options include a multi screen cinema with an Imax; Laser Quest; a bowling arcade; climbing wall; indoor ski slope; aquarium and Legoland Discovery Centre, amongst others. Tel: 0161 749 1718.
- Old Trafford Museum and Stadium tours for Manchester United football fans include the team dressing rooms and a walk through the players tunnel onto the pitch. Tel: 0161 868 8000. And for Manchester City fans there are similar tours of the Etihad Stadium. Tel: 0161 444 1894.