Manchester is a vibrant, post-industrial gem at the heart of North West England. The city that used to be nicknamed ‘Cottonopolis’ (a reference to its most famous export) has hung up its clogs and, thanks to successive regeneration projects, is now a major centre for culture and commerce; seen by many as the capital of the north of England, and sometime regarded as England’s second city.
The site of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station and arguably the birthplace of socialism and the industrial revolution, Manchester remains at the vanguard of British culture and technology with a verve and vibe of its own. This vivacious spirit is augmented by the city’s two world-famous football clubs and large student population; whilst the mills have been swapped for Michelin stars and the warehouses for world-class shopping and museums, this is still a city that is very proud of its industrial past and of its influences on music and sport.
Smaller than London, Manchester offers the ‘buzz’ of a large city without the overwhelming scale of the capital. Outside of the city ‘proper’ lies Greater Manchester, home to 2.8 million inhabitants as well as unique shopping destinations, urban havens and beautiful countryside. The region also hosts Manchester Airport, one of the UK’s best-run international airports and the busiest British airport outside of South East England.
Throughout time, writers have sought to describe the magic of Manchester: George Orwell called it “the belly and guts of the Nation”; Edward Abbott Parry “a synonym for energy and freedom”, but Ian Brown, lead singer of The Stone Roses, perhaps summed up the Mancunian spirit best when he said “Manchester’s got everything except a beach”. The sand is almost certainly on order already.
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