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Things to do in Manchester

With so many things to do in Manchester, some pre-holiday prep is essential. In the heart of the city you’ll find weekly Manchester markets and historical sites like Manchester Town Hall. Make the most of the Metrolink tram and train lines and even more attractions will open up to you: excellent parks, gardens and shopping destinations around Greater Manchester are only a short trip away.

Old Trafford and Manchester United

Even if you're not a soccer fan, a tour around Old Trafford and Manchester United is a must. Home to one of the greatest soccer teams in the world, players like Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney have all graced the Old Trafford pitch. Now you can too. Stadium tours include a walk down the tunnel and a peek into the changing rooms.
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Old Trafford Stadium, home of Manchester United. Credit: VisitBritain/Andrew Pickett

Manchester Cathedral

A Grade I listed building, Manchester Cathedral has survived wartime bombings, witnessed the Industrial Revolution and is home to the remains of the Hanging Bridge, an important medieval bridge connecting the cathedral to the nearby town. Located on Victoria Street, Manchester Cathedral is open to the public every day. An onsite visitor centre provides more information on the church's past.
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Interior shot of Manchester Cathedral

Manchester Town Hall

It's the outside of Manchester Town Hall that really wows. In the heart of the city, the Gothic-style building sits dominant – the 85m clock tower very much a part of Manchester's skyline. Take time to spot some of the notable sculptures built into the exterior of the building, like King Henry III, Queen Elizabeth I, and St George, the Patron Saint of England.
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Looking up at the clock tower of Manchester Town Hall

Victoria Baths Manchester

When Victoria Baths Manchester opened in 1906 it was considered the most beautiful public bath in the country, where families could relax in sumptuous Victorian style. Today, Victoria Baths are a heritage visitor attraction and community hub. Enjoy a guided tour around the baths and learn about ongoing restoration projects. Check the Victoria Baths website before your departure to see what events are coming up.
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Manchester Ship Canal

No British industrial city is complete without a canal system. Manchester Ship Canal is just that: 58km of inland waterways linking the city to the Irish Sea. During a day-long cruise, discover how the ship canal shaped Manchester. Keep your camera handy! There are great waterside views of important buildings, locks and bridges that line the route from Manchester Salford Quays all the way to Liverpool.
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Salford Quays and the Manchester Ship Canal

National Football Museum

As Manchester is home to two of the biggest soccer clubs in the Premier League, it's fitting that the National Football Museum is here too. A celebration of ‘the beautiful game', here you can learn about players past and present, soccer's representation in the UK media, and even swot up on the finer laws of the game (off-side rule, anyone?).
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Couple at the National Football Museum. Credit: VisitBritain/Simon Winnall

People's History Museum

A nod to democracy in Britain and the history of the UK's ‘working class', the People's History Museum charts cultural and social change within the country. While ‘getting political' might not be at the top of your holiday to-do list, spend time browsing the collection and you'll come away with a better understanding of the UK's former class divisions and tensions.
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John Rylands Library

This Gothic building is impressive outside, but step indoors and you'll feel like you've been transported to Harry Potter's Hogwarts! Dedicated to one of the most successful Victorian-era businessmen, John Rylands, the library now belongs to The University of Manchester. Explore the library's world-famous collections, including some of the earliest books ever printed and the oldest known piece of the New Testament.
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The famous John Rylands Library

The Lowry

Catch some theatre, dance, opera and more by grabbing tickets to a show at The Lowry. Located in the City's Cultural Quarter, there's an ever-changing program. From performances by local talent to internationally acclaimed theatre shows, it's a good idea to check The Lowry website before you travel to see what's on. Make a night of it by grabbing pre- or post-show dinner at a nearby restaurant.
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Men walking outside the Lowry Centre. Credit: VisitBritain/Ben Selway