Manchester is a fascinating mix of the historical and the modern where the ornate and sometimes austere Victorian architecture sits happily alongside contemporary metallic and glass structures. Its industrial and trading past has been preserved with many of the warehouses, trading halls, factories and civic buildings having been renovated and rejuvenated as luxury hotels, museums, businesses and even domestic dwellings. However, it’s 21st century too, with recent regeneration projects transforming areas that suffered from industrial decline into thriving conurbations. Symbols of this modernisation are contemporary buildings such as the Lowry Centre, Imperial War Museum and Urbis, which are stunning feats of architecture that would not be out of place in any major city.

As a major trading port Manchester has been a gateway to the world, attracting trade from far and wide. The legacy is a cosmopolitan city that embraces diverse cultures from Europe, Asia and the Americas as well as the colonies of old. This mix caters to most tastes in food and drink, music and entertainment.

Its offering of places to see and things to do is varied and diverse with two Premier League football teams, two major television companies, three universities, two symphony orchestras, and many small chamber ensembles, numerous theatres, cinemas, museums and galleries. The city is also attractive to shoppers offering the ultimate in choice, from designer chic to antiques and crafts, specialist to second-hand, within compact pedestrian areas that are easy to find your way around. Its credentials as an entertainment capital night and day are unquestionable with a music and club scene of worldwide renown that has been an oasis for pop culture in recent years.

Getting Around

The city’s compact layout, a lot of which is pedestrianised, means most of the hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars and attractions are within easy walking distance of each other.

However, there is a free public bus service, the Metroshuttle, which links all of the city centre railway stations, the main NCP car parks, and many hotels, bus and Metrolink tram stops. It provides three circular routes covering all of the main city centre areas with stops near the G-MEX/MICC and at Piccadilly railway station (Services 1 and 3). The service is frequent, about every five minutes on Service 1 (orange), every 10 minutes on Service 2 (green) and every 10 minutes on Service 3 (purple), which does not operate on Sundays. You can use the free city centre buses to get around, hopping on and off as often as you wish. There is also a modern tram service, the Metrolink, which has two stops near G-MEX. It covers parts of the city and extends out to the suburbs.

Manchester’s Districts

The city’s compact city centre is less than one mile in diameter and within this and the surrounding area are a number of distinct areas that you might want to visit.

Peter’s Fields

This is the Conference Quarter and will soon become familiar to visitors of European Microwave Week as it is home to G-MEX/MICC, the event’s venue. Directly opposite the centre is the recently built Bridgewater Hall, which has won accolades for its appearance and superb acoustics and is the home to the Hallé Orchestra. Peter’s Fields is also the location of the Great Northern shopping and leisure development in the Grade II listed Great Northern Warehouse, with a mixture of retail and leisure venues including bars, cafés and restaurants.

Manchester Arndale & Market Street

Market Street has department stores and independent shops, while the Manchester Arndale dominates the city’s central shopping area. It fell victim to an IRA bomb attack in 1996 and has since undergone extensive redevelopment. The site now has over 200 shops on two levels, including fast food outlets and restaurants.

Exchange Square & Shambles Square

Adjacent to Arndale Shopping Centre and the Printworks entertainment complex you’ll find Exchange Square, around which is a cluster of hotels. This square has been a focus for redevelopment and in particular the Old Corn Exchange has been transformed into the Triangle Shopping Centre. Leading from the square is Shambles Square, with Sinclair’s Oyster Bar and the Old Wellington Inn (see Eating and Drinking), Manchester’s oldest pubs, while a recent addition is the modern Urbis, Manchester’s Centre for Urban Culture (see Places of Interest).

Deansgate, King Street and St Anne’s Square

In what is one of Manchester’s most fashionable shopping areas look out for Kendals, a department store with a listed Art Deco façade. St Anne’s Square was laid out in Georgian times and is named after the elegant neo-Classical St Ann’s Church, which dates back to 1712. At the centre of the square is a memorial commemorating the Boer War and to one side is the Royal Exchange, once the historic Cotton Exchange (see Places of Interest).


One of the most vibrant and colourful areas of the city, Chinatown boasts a plethora of oriental restaurants including Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Thai plus interesting supermarkets and bakeries. The district is bordered by Charlotte Street, Portland Street, Oxford Street and Mosley Street but it is Faulkner Street that is spanned by the magnificent Ming Dynasty Imperial Arch, which was presented to the city by the people of China in 1987. To discover more about Chinese culture visit the Chinese Arts Centre (see Places of Interest).

Northern Quarter

Bounded by Piccadilly to the south and Ancoats to the north, this district has become a hub for the city’s artists, designers and musicians. The creative theme continues at Afflecks Palace, which houses more than 50 traders on five floors, with designer fashion, music stores, bars and cafés on offer.


Known as the main gateway into Manchester and home to the city’s main railway station it has been the subject of major regeneration over recent years with Piccadilly Gardens being the main beneficiary. With its impressive fountain and surrounded by popular pubs and bars and hotels it has become a social focal point.


This district to the southwest of the city centre was the site of the settlement that grew up beside the Roman fortress of Mamucium and is regarded as the birthplace of Manchester. Once a wasteland it was designated Britain’s first Urban Hertiage Park in the 1980s. Now an attractive waterside district it offers bars, galleries and various tourist attractions including the Castlefield Urban Heritage Centre (see Places of Interest) that houses a reconstruction of the Roman fort. The southern part is centred around water, while the northern part is dominated by the Museum of Science and Industry (see Places of Interest).

Salford Quays

Two miles from Manchester city centre but with easy transport access, Salford Quays epitomises the modern Manchester. Once the industrial and dilapidated docks area it has been part of one of the largest regeneration schemes in the UK and is now known as Greater Manchester’s Waterfront. It has been transformed into a cultural and social hub and features some of the city’s most spectacular modern buildings in The Lowry and the Imperial War Museum (see Places of Interest). There are also hotels, theatres, cafés, restaurants, bars and a shopping mall not to mention its close proximity to Old Trafford, the home of the Manchester United Football Club.

Places of Interest

Manchester has a lot to see. Alongside the cultural, historic and contemporary buildings there is a lot to interest the engineer, particularly the Museum of Science and Industry and the Imperial War Museum.

Museum of Science and Industry

The museum’s 15 galleries are sited in five historic buildings, including the world’s first railway warehouse and passenger railway station on a 71⁄2 acre site. They are home to exhibitions, hands-on galleries, historic working machinery and special exhibitions. Look out for the intricately glazed Victorian market hall that holds the planes that made flying history and also a recreation of Stephenson’s Planet.

Imperial War Museum

Located in Salford Quays the modern building is an attraction in itself; the design is a dramatic and symbolic sculpture, with three linked buildings shaped as shards from a broken globe, designated as air, earth and water and representing three battlegrounds of war, to ‘reflect the way war has devastated the world.’ The IWM utilises many new and innovative modern exhibition design techniques and the very latest interactive technologies but also has more traditional displays of war memorabilia. There is also an extensive art collection with paintings and drawings commissioned during the two World Wars, as well as collections of photographs, film and other period documentation.

The Lowry

Close to the IWM and an equally stunning modern building, The Lowry houses the works of Manchester’s best known artist LS Lowry, famous for his ‘match stick’ figures, but is much more. It has two theatres, galleries showing the works of artists of regional, national and international standing, and cafés and restaurants.


Manchester’s Centre for Urban Culture is a dramatic glass building rising high above the centre of the city and is worth a visit just to take the one minute sky glide in the MEN Glass Elevator to savour the views. Inside the interactive exhibits lead you on a journey exploring life in different cities around the world.

Bridgewater Hall

Still on the contemporary theme this prestigious international concert hall should attract even non-music lovers just for its architecture, especially as it is very close to G-MEX/ MICC. It is home to the Hallé Orchestra and features a magnificent Marcussen pipe organ. At the time of EuMW it will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary.

Manchester Town Hall

One of the city’s finest historic buildings, this striking Victorian Gothic style edifice has magnificent Ford Maddox Brown murals, which portray Victorian ideas depicting science, invention, education, trade and the textile industry.

Manchester Cathedral

The cathedral boasts some of the finest medieval carving in Europe and a whole wall of twentieth-century stained glass. Next door the stunning Visitor Centre houses a hi-tech, interactive exhibition about the cathedral and its links with the city, community and the wider world.

Royal Exchange

Bridging the old and new the once historic Cotton Exchange is now home to the Royal Exchange Theatre, the world’s largest theatre in-the-round. As well as the theatre, this vast, stylish space under three impressive domes houses gift shops, restaurants, antiques gallery, specialist shops and fashion on three floors.

Chinese Arts Centre

This flagship centre for Chinese arts in Britain aims to develop an infrastructure to allow Chinese arts, and especially British Chinese artists, to flourish. It contains a gallery which features the best of British and international Chinese art, an artist residency studio, an education suite, resource area, offices, shop and tea house.

Castlefield Urban Heritage Park

Britain’s first Urban Heritage Park contains a wealth of Manchester’s industrial heritage, including railway viaducts, canal systems and museums as well as tourist attractions such as waterside pubs, pleasant walks, boat trips and frequent events in the Outdoor Arena. The Castlefield Visitors Centre on Liverpool Road provides information and guidance to visitors and houses a small permanent exhibition on the history and development of the area.

Eating and Drinking

Manchester offers food and drink for all tastes and all pockets and here is just a selection. Phone numbers are given but if calling from outside the UK use the International Dialling Code +44 and leave off the first zero.


No visit to the UK is complete without a visit to a traditional pub. Manchester has too many to list but here is a selection.

Old Wellington Inn and Restaurant
Claiming to be the oldest pub in Manchester it dates back to 1552. As well as the ground floor bar it also boasts an all day restaurant.
4 Cathedral Gates, Tel: 0161 830 1440

Bull’s Head
The character, including the stained glass, has been retained during sympathetic refurbishment. As well as good beers it is famous for its Sunday roasts.
84 London Road, Tel: 0161 236 1724

Peveril of the Peak
Immediately next door to the Bridgewater Hall this traditional Manchester pub dates from around the early 1800s. It has a Games Room where you can play darts and table football.
127 Great Bridgewater Street, Tel: 0161 236 6364

The Marble Arch
As well as the traditional real ales this pub is worth a visit for its ornate interiors, with decorative tiles and floor mosaics.
79 Rochdale Road, Tel: 0161 832 5914

Eating Out

Traditional British

39 Steps
The onus is on fresh produce and fish dishes but save some room for the desserts when visiting this basement restaurant.
39 South King Street, Tel: 0161 833 2432

The Lincoln
With its offering of traditional and modern British food this restaurant has earned a good reputation in a relatively short time.
1 Lincoln Square, Tel: 0161 834 9000.

As the name suggests the emphasis here is on fresh fish and shellfish. The menu can be exotic but there is always good old British fish and chips available.
22 Lloyd Street,
Albert Square, Tel: 0161 817 4110

Hotel Restaurants

Robbies Restaurant and Bar
With a Scottish theme you’ll find a good selection of whiskies alongside cocktails in the bar and good quality food, especially steaks in the restaurant.
The Renaissance Hotel, Blackfriars Street, Tel: 0161 831 6000

Opus One
The lavish surroundings of red glass, gold and black set the tone for culinary indulgence for British food with a twist.
Radisson Edwardian Hotel,
Peter Street, Tel: 0161 835 8904

The Waterhouse
Another example of sympathetic refurbishment this eatery has a modern flavour with a regularly changing a la carte menu and fine wine list.
The Palace Hotel, Oxford Street, Tel: 0161 236 9999

Modern European

In the heart of the city this restaurant offers stylish and elegant modern décor with booths that can accommodate intimate couples or larger parties.
2 Mount Street, Tel: 0161 833 3339

This award winning restaurant is a former Grade II listed former banking hall where the 200 year old marbled interior has undergone a dramatic and stunning facelift, which is matched by the quality of the food and wine.
43-45 Spring Gardens, Tel: 0161 839 6300


Le Mont
Hit the heights in this restaurant located on the upper floors of Urbis (see Places of Interest). The cuisine is French with the menu in French and English. There is an extensive wine list.
Cathedral Gardens, Tel: 0161 605 8282

Brasserie St Pierre
If you have never eaten French food in Edwardian surroundings then try this popular and smart brasserie.
57 Princess Street, Tel: 0161 228 0231

Le Petit Blanc
Another brasserie, this one has been opened by famous chef, Raymond Blanc, and is small but perfectly formed.
55 King Street, off Chapel Walks, Tel: 0161 832 1000

Le Bouchon
Classic French cuisine in a small restaurant with a great atmosphere.
63 Bridge Street, Tel: 0161 832 9393


Offers pizza with pizzazz in trendy open surroundings of glass and steel. The salads and pasta dishes are also worth a look.
Clarence Street, Tel: 0161 237 9799

This converted railway arch is tastefully decorated with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel paintings over the bar.
57 Whitworth St West, Tel: 0161 237 5458


Tai Pan
They don’t have to go far for their ingredients as it located above a Chinese supermarket. It is inexpensive yet good quality.
Brunswick House, 81–97 Upper Brook Street, Tel: 0161 273 2798

Pearl City
One of Manchester’s oldest established Chinese restaurants offers classical Cantonese dishes and dim sum.
33 George Street, Chinatown, Tel: 0161 228 7683

Yang Sing
Risen from the ashes of a fire a few years ago the restaurant produces good food in an exquisite setting. Look out for special banquet meals.
34 Princess Street, Chinatown, Tel: 0161 236 2200


There are good Indian restaurants in central Manchester. However, the true enthusiast should venture to Rusholme, a couple of miles outside of the centre and the famous Curry Mile. This strip of curry houses is vast and varied and here is just a selection.

The restaurant’s name means Kings Court and every effort is made to make the food and atmosphere fit for a king.
65–67 Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, Tel: 0161 2244 392

King Cobra
As well as traditional food there is also the unique opportunity to sample exquisite Sri Lankan cuisine.
Tel: 0161 248 9999

Sanam Sweet House and Restaurant
One the oldest establishments on Wilmslow Road this curry house is completely Hilal, so no alcohol.
145-151 Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, Tel: 0161 2248 824

The Unusual

Red Café
At the home of Manchester United this is a sports café with a video screen and football memorabilia. The food leans towards burgers, baguettes and salads.
Manchester United, Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Tel: 0161 868 8303

As well as the Latin American cuisine there is also the chance to savour and join in with the nightly salsa classes.
Dale Street, Tel: 0161 237 3441.

Matt and Phreds
Jazz is on the menu here with a stage where a jazz band accompanies the food, which is as varied as the music.
64 Tib Street, Tel: 0161 831 7002

A Selection of Tastes

The Cedar Tree
This award winning Lebanese restaurant offers traditional food incorporating a wide variety of exotic fresh ingredients.
69 Thomas Street, Tel: 0161 834 5016

The modest entrance belies the expansive and stylish basement dining space where local Asians flock to savour true Korean food.
40A King Street West

New Samsi
Exotic and adventurous Japanese food brings a taste of the orient to what was an historic cotton warehouse.
38 Whitworth Street, Tel: 0161 279 0022

This is just a fraction of what Manchester has to offer. Use this guide to make the most of any spare time you have at European Microwave Week and enjoy your visit.

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