Manchester – the Capital of the North?

Travel Ideas

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Posted by Sarah

A lot of my northern friends – especially the ones from Yorkshire – balk at the idea of Manchester being called “the capital of the North”. I can’t say I blame them either; just as people from Somerset or Kent might reject the idea of London being ‘close to home’, the north of England is so fantastically diverse that Manchester really is just one of several bustling cities in the region.

That said, it’s a city that really doesn’t disappoint! I was lucky enough to spend a few days there over my festive break and it really hammered home what a vibrant cultural and artistic mix Manchester hotels offers. For example, I had (shamefully) never visited the Lowry Centre in Salford before but was really mesmerised by the building, which houses a theatre, some fantastic exhibition space, a great range of kids’ activities and – my favourite bit of any tourist attraction – a café with a range of scrumptious eats.

Manchester is also home to a great range of art galleries and museums. A few years ago, I visited the Manchester Art Gallery and was really impressed with the photographic collection I saw there, although unfortunately the name of the artist escapes me now. This time, I went to the Manchester Museum too and was riveted by their mummified remains – it took me right back to my primary school day trip to the British Museum to see their excellent Egypt collection.

But by far my favourite new discovery in Manchester was the Cornerhouse, an arts venue that screens films and hosts contemporary visual art exhibitions. It’s located right next to the city’s Oxford Road railway station and across from the Palace Theatre (which was showing the fantastic Mary Poppins stage musical when I visited), so it’s really easy to find. During my short visit in Manchester, I went into the Cornerhouse several times, finding myself unable to keep away from its treasure-teeming bookshop and delightful café/bar (are you noticing a pattern here?).

If you’ve never been to the Cornerhouse before, I’d really recommend it – the environment is laidback but it really makes you feel as though you’re in the centre of things. Trivia buffs might be interested to know that one of its patrons is Lancashire-born director Danny Boyle, whose new film Slumdog Millionaire is sweeping up all the awards this season – just another reason to visit this scintillating place.

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