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Travel guide – Manchester

‘The capital of the north’ is a name best kept for a city deserving such a title. Manchester, England’s second most­visited city after London is just such a place, full of history and culture with a multitude of sights on offer for the visitor. Read through Finnair’s travel guide to Manchester and pick up the best the city has to offer.

Ask a visitor what they know about Manchester and more often than not it will be about that most famous of football teams, Manchester United. Their home ground, Old Trafford, is a place of football legend and worth a visit, even for those not into football. Moving on we find several areas with a distinctive foreign flavour, like Chinatown and the Curry Mile, with Chinese and Indian influences attesting to the city’s long history of welcoming those from overseas. Originally a Roman settlement, Manchester’s ancient origins are on display at Castlefield where Roman ruins transition into Medieval walls. Manchester’s cathedral is a beautiful example, well preserved and right in the heart of the city. Several canals weave through the city, providing an interface between the land and sea along with pretty places to relax and people­watch. For further relaxation, head to Piccadilly Gardens and pick a spot on the green with the locals and watch the day go by.

Liverpool – Just 60 kilometres away and easily accessible by train or car, the home of the Beatles is an easy day trip for those wanting a city experience.

Chester – This pretty walled city is another example of England’s Roman history, sporting quaint centuries­old houses and cobbled squares more at home in Central Europe.

Lake District – Get out into the great outdoors in this renowned nature area full of lakes and dales. Any number of outdoor activities are available here.

Peak district – A perfect complement to the Lake District, this is where you come for some altitude. Soaring peaks give stunning views over the countryside for those willing to take a good hike.

Being such a large city, the shopping options in Manchester are quite diverse. You can find anything from fashion to homewares and everything in between.

The Millennium Quarter – Investment has reinvigorated this area into the prime shopping district in town. Visit Arndale, one of Europe’s largest shopping centres, and drop by Selfridges for a taste of British elegance and luxury.

Deansgate – Home to more refined brands, this shopping area has something for everyone including internationally­known brands.

The Trafford Centre – For an all­out shopping experience, this massive mall is a must. One of the largest in Europe, it has hundreds of stores, eateries and services on offer.

As expected from a city of mixed cultures, Manchester’s food offering is astounding. Anything you crave can probably be found.

Curry – Now known as the official dish of England, this import from the subcontinent is a huge favourite in Manchester. You’ll find it served in every possible style in a range of eateries from budget to posh. Best enjoyed with a cold lager, British or not.

Asian – Chinese influences are strong in Manchester but that’s not all; pretty much every Asian cuisine is present making it a gourmet delight for those looking for something more exotic. Thai, Malay and Vietnamese are among those found throughout town.

Fish and chips – A quintessential British dish, this filling favourite should use fresh fish for the best experience. Side serves of all kinds are available to go with.

Roast – Slow­cooked beef served with roasted vegetables and gravy. An English classic, often enjoyed on Sundays across the country.

High tea – Enjoy a refined tea experience, served in the afternoon along with scones and small appetisers.

Beer and wine – Widely available including many local brews. All wine is imported.

A medium­sized city, Manchester is quite easy to get around. Public transport is efficient and easy to use and all sights of interest to the tourists are served by the transport network.

Foot – Manchester centre is easily walkable with many pedestrian malls.

Tram – The Metrolink tram service is fast and easy to use and easily delivers travellers to most parts of the city centre with high frequencies.

Train – Mostly of interest for those wanting to head out of the city, rail services leave from the centre of town.

Bus – A free bus service called Metroshuttle runs three routes that cover most parts of town. Excellent for getting to city sights not served by the tram.

Currency – British pound (£)

Electricity – 230 volts, 50Hz, type­ G plug.

Tips – Not common except in fine dining restaurants.

Payment/card – Cards are widely accepted.

Time zone – Manchester (United Kingdom) UTC/GMT +0 hours

Water – Tap water is safe to drink.

Manchester Airport (MAN)

The airport is located 16km south of Manchester.

  • Finnair flights: Terminal 1
  • Check-in opens 3 hours before departure
  • Check-in closes 45 minutes before departure

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