For an alternative look at England, leave London to the usual crowd and head up to the cultural capital of the North: Manchester. With its long and sometimes bloody history, this English city is famous for its industrial past, many famous music bands, dance clubs and humorous locals. Check out the art gallery, tour Manchester Utd’s Old Trafford Stadium or have a pint in the city’s famous Gay Village – you’ll find Manchester tolerant and welcoming.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry: The Manchester Food and Drink Festival
The Manchester Food and Drink Festival takes over the city each Autumn, leaving locals and tourists utterly stuffed with assorted delicacies and their thirst quenched by gallons of wine and beer. There is no single venue, but rather the festival is spread over various locations in the city with a huge number of organised events and workshops (even for kids!). You won’t be going to any fast food outlets on this holiday, not when you can eat and drink like royalty at this wonderful festival!
Pages of History: The John Rylands Library
This beautiful neo-Gothic library houses all manner of rare and antique books and is named after John Rylands, Britain’s largest textile manufacturer and Manchester’s first millionaire. When he died, his widow began the project that would become a gift to the people of Manchester: The Rylands Library. Anyone interested in rare books must pay a visit. The building was commissioned in 1889 and contains 43,000 fine pieces, and in particular, rare prints that predate 1501. The atmosphere is quiet and monastic, a real oasis of tranquillity in the centre of Manchester.
Huge Choice of Bargains: The Levenshulme Market
The Levenshulme Market makes Saturday shopping something to look forward to! Each Saturday the market hosts a new theme. The first Saturday of each month is for handmade and domestic goods, the 2nd focuses on food and drink with organic and artisanal produce widely available. Fashion and Flea on the 3rd Saturday offers a huge range of second-hand clothes and accessories, and on the 4th Saturday there’s an end-of-month mix with everything from vintage vinyl to freshly baked homemade pies. And if the month has a 5th Saturday, the market will be held on the preceding Friday night.