Why Manchester is the UK's cultural mecca
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Why Manchester is the UK's cultural mecca




Manchester has come a long way since becoming synonymous with heavy industry in the 19th century. The Manchester of today is a sophisticated metropolis, combining a vibrant culture, stunning architecture and a down-to-earth charm missing from many UK cities.






Manchester has a number of museums devoted to different aspects of the city's history. The Imperial War Museum North is worth a visit, even if it's just to admire Daniel Libeskind's iconic building, which represents a globe torn about by conflict. The Museum of Science and Industry celebrates Manchester's innovative past and present, while the People's History Museum provides a fascinating insight into everything from temperance and the working class to the city's role in the industrial revolution.


For a broader stroke of the historical brush, visit the University of Manchester's Museum, which is home to collections covering everything from archery to ancient Egypt. Sports fans will enjoy the National Football Museum - home to the world's largest football collection.




No visit to Manchester would be complete without sampling some of the city's famed musical output. Some notable bands to come from the city include the Hollies, Herman's Hermits and the Bee Gees. Contemporary acts can be seen at the Manchester Arena, which is the busiest indoor arena in the world. Smaller venues include the Manchester Apollo and the Manchester Academy.


The city boasts two symphony orchestras - the Hall� and the BBC Philharmonic - and a chamber orchestra, the Manchester Camerata. For those who don't fancy a post-concert drive home, Manchester offers good-quality bed and breakfast accommodation




Art galleries


Any tour of Manchester's many art galleries should start with the Manchester Art Gallery. First opened in 1824, the gallery is free to enter and has a strong representation of the English school, featuring works by Thomas Gainsborough and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The Whitworth Art Gallery on Oxford Road has a similarly proud heritage, having opened in 1889 and containing one of the north-west's finest collections.


Those with more modern tastes can see what the city's current crop of artists is producing at places such as the Richard Goodall Gallery in the Northern Quarter. The Manchester Craft and Design Centre is in the same area and is well worth a visit. Other galleries of note include the Castlefield Gallery, the Cornerhouse and Urbis.


Comfortable, affordable accommodation is easy to find in and around the city. For visitors staying in central hotels, such as the Midland, or guest houses in more tranquil spots such as Luther King House, Manchester is a city that is at once exciting and accessible.






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