Stay in the city of Manchester, where an astonishing industrial heritage rubs shoulders with tremendous artistic creativity

Manchester is perhaps one of the more underrated British cities - at least by the inhabitants of the United Kingdom, since it's the third most popular tourist destination for non-UK residents, behind only London and Edinburgh. Although Manchester has its origins in a Roman settlement, it wasn't until the early 1800s that the city began to really make its mark. It racked up an amazing series of firsts during this period - home to the world's first intercity passenger railway and the first purpose-built railway station, the world's first industrial estate, host to the first Trades Union Congress - the list goes on and on.

Air France offers flights to Manchester Airport (the UK's busiest airport outside London) from Johannesburg or Cape Town via Paris and Amsterdam. The flight duration can be as little as 13 hours 30 minutes. Evidently, all the normal formalities for travel to the United Kingdom apply in terms of customs regulations and documentation for your journey. Manchester has a - not entirely undeserved - reputation for rainy weather, but its wealth of indoor attractions makes it a great all year-round destination, so good value airplane tickets are to be had at most times of the year.

It's not surprising, given the city's rich history, that many outstanding museums find a home here. These include:
  • The Museum of Science and Industry
  • Imperial War Museum North
  • The Museum of Transport
  • Manchester Art Gallery
  • The Whitworth Art Gallery
  • The Lowry art centre

Manchester - travel to a mecca for music fans of all stripes!

Manchester is the ideal place to spend your holidays if you are something of a culture vulture or a music fan. The city has had a huge influence upon contemporary British music, having given rise to mega groups like the Smiths, New Order, Oasis and the Stone Roses. The Manchester Arena pop music venue is one of the busiest indoor arenas on the planet, with a 21,000 capacity. A host of other venues, large and small, complete the local pop music scene. If your tastes trend towards the classical, you're equally spoilt for choice. The city is home to two symphony orchestras, the BBC Philharmonic and the Hallé. There is also a strong tradition of brass band music in the city (this often being originally linked to local industries and mining communities in the northern parts of the UK). Often these groups are based in rural areas, including the Peak District, a beautiful area of moorland and mountains which lies within easy reach of Manchester. As public transport within this area, the UK's first ever national park is limited, it may be best to look at the car rental options that are available to you.
Of course, we couldn't really talk about Manchester without mentioning one of its most famous 'industries', the footballing behemoths that are Manchester United and Manchester City. Competition for tickets to matches is fierce, but you can certainly catch something of the magic of the city's footballing traditions during your stay here by visiting the Manchester United Museum.

Your holiday shouldn't be a journey into the unknown - these websites will help you plan your perfect trip to Manchester.

This selection of internet sites will be invaluable to anyone thinking about a stay in Manchester:

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