- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Travel to Manchester, England
Arts and culture
This year alone has seen the opening of the £25m HOME arts centre in First Street as well as the long-awaited reopening of The Whitworth art gallery after a £15m revamp - and the future for Manchester’s arts scene looks bright too.
Plans have been unveiled for a £110m new arts space, The Factory, complete with a 2,200-seater theatre, at the old Granada Studios site, which is being turned into a new creative neighbourhood for the city.
The venue is due to open in 2019 as a permanent base for the biennial Manchester International Festival, which has turned the city into a world stage for the arts over the past decade with its diverse programme of theatre, dance, music and more.
This year’s festival was another resounding success that showcased the city’s many other arts venues, with shows including Damon Albarn’s musical wonder.land at the Palace, The Skriker starring Maxine Peake at the Royal Exchange and Bjork’s first European performance since the release of her latest album Vulnicura at Castlefield Bowl.
We’re officially home to the UK’s museum of the year in aforementioned art gallery The Whitworth, which has welcomed record visitor numbers through its doors since reopening in February.
And it’s not alone: visitor numbers at the Imperial War Museum North in Trafford are also at an all-time high, driven by interest in the First World War centenary commemorations.
Visitors is also home to the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester Museum, the People’s History Museum and many, many more.
The Hacienda may be long gone but its indomitable spirit lives on at clubbing institutions like The Warehouse Project and Sankeys, which regularly bring some of the biggest names in dance music to the city.
Whatever beat you dance to, Manchester’s eclectic nightlife offers something for everyone, from the hipster bars of the Northern Quarter to the glitz and glamour of Spinningfields, while Canal Street is home to one of the liveliest gay villages in Europe.
The music scene
Few cities can claim the musical pedigree that Manchester can, as the birthplace of The Smiths, Joy Division, Oasis and many more bands besides.
The city’s still-thriving music scene is a major stop-off on the UK gig circuit and its venues regularly host global superstars as well as up-and-coming acts.
Manchester Arena is one of the largest indoor music venues in Europe and has set the stage for shows by everyone from Madonna and Prince to Take That and Kylie Minogue over the last 20 years.
The Apollo and the Academies also command plenty of heavyweight acts, while more intimate venues like Dry Bar and Night and Day have helped to launch the careers of countless bands and offer audiences the chance to say ‘I saw them first’.
Whether you’re rummaging through the treasures of the Northern Quarter’s vintage boutiques and record stores, hunting for bargains in the high street brands of the Arndale Centre or splashing the cash in the luxury designer shops and department stores of New Cathedral Street and Exchange Square, Manchester truly is the shopping capital of the north west.
We’ve also got one of the largest shopping centres in Europe on our doorstep at the Trafford Centre.