Keeping in mind that a well-placed six might land on your pillow.

The steel and glass hotel looks space-age next to the old Victorian pavilion, and its balconies will be at a premium when the touring Aussies arrive to play two post-Ashes Twenty20 matches on August 30 and September 1.

A city reborn

This unique way to enjoy the national summer sport is in keeping with Manchester’s new-found reputation for innovation. The world’s first industrialised city has undergone a second revolution over the past decade to become the cosmopolitan capital of the north.

It is a transformation born from tragedy, though.

In June 1996 the IRA detonated the largest bomb to explode on British soil outside a branch of Marks & Spencer on Corporation Street in the city centre. More than 200 people were injured in the explosion.

The renovations, along with preparations for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, prompted regeneration in the city centre – transforming run-down neighbourhoods into an enticing mix of shops, culture and sport.

The developments are best seen from the 55m Air Shard Tower (left) beside the Manchester Ship Canal.

The tower offers the city’s finest views, including the new Quays Peace Garden being built opposite the 169m Beetham Tower, Britain’s tallest building outside London, and the other perhaps more famous Old Trafford: the UK’s largest football league stadium.

Out on the town

While a lot might have changed in Manchester, the city’s famous nightlife lives on. Kick-start your night out on the world-famous Curry Mile, which boasts the largest concentration of Asian restaurants outside the Indian subcontinent.

Nearby King Street also offers fabulous places to dine, from Greek eatery Bacchanalia, which dishes up mouth-watering Mediterranean fare to buzzing Italian restaurant San Carlo.

Manchester’s clubbing scene has been the stuff of legend since house and techno music arrived in the city more than 20 years ago.

At weekends the streets resemble Ibiza as partygoers flock to some of Britain’s finest superclubs. Pure and One Central Street host live gigs, foam parties and superstar DJs, while old favourite Sankeys on Radium Street has a summertime beach, with deckchairs, volleyball and an art gallery.

And unlike in London, these clubs don’t cost a fortune to get into – with most charging less than £10 for entry.

The morning after

Next morning, back at the Old Trafford Lodge, there is no need for a wake-up call if you want to snooze until the start of play.

The quintessentially English sound of leather on willow wafting through your window will get you out of bed in good time to catch a hearty breakfast and any Flintoff cover drives heading straight for your duvet.


While you’re there 

■ Hit the shops at the huge Trafford Centre, where you’ll find 230 stores and 47 restaurants under one roof.

■ Head to The Lowry, the city’s home of theatre and entertainment.

■ Look around the interactive displays at the moving Imperial War Museum North (main image).

■ Go behind the scenes at the other Old Trafford, home of Manchester United Football Club, and visit the home changing room, the players’ tunnel and Sir Alex Ferguson’s dug-out seat. A ticket for two costs £22.

■ Go skiing on real snow at The Chill Factore in Trafford Quays Leisure Village. Lift passes cost £19 off-peak, £24 during peak times.