This is the city that spawned the alternative rock genre Madchester, home of New Order and England’s clubbing capital, and the city took a smack in the ribs after an IRA bomb in 1996, but it has been reinventing itself ever since.

Now, with a new shopping centre and glitzy cultural hubs, Manchester is a worthy rival to London – something none of its inhabitants need telling.

Best thing to do in Manchester over winter? Visit the Chill Factore

Whether you want to limber up for a ski holiday, or hit the slopes for he first time, The Chill Factore is the place to do it. Manchester’s snow dome in Trafford Quays Leisure Village boasts the largest indoor slope in the country as well as a 60m luge slide and an Alpine village full of shops, bars and restaurants.

Other things to do in Manchester

The Madchester days might be long gone, but the city still leaves night owls spoilt for choice. Take your pick from the cavernous bars of Deansgate Locks, the quirky clubs of the Northern Quarter, and the superstar DJs at Pure and One Central Street.

Chow down in Manchester

Head to the world-famous Curry Mile that stretches from Rusholme to Wilmslow Road. The area boasts the largest concentration of Asian restaurants outside the Indian subcontinent. Nearby King Street also offers great places to dine out, from Greek eatery Bacchanalia to buzzing Italian restaurant San Carlo.

Get the camera out

Arguably the most stunning modern building in the city is The Lowry, a futuristic glass and metal construction. Located in redeveloped Salford Quays, wander its art gallery, see some theatre or relax in one of the restaurants or bars.

Manchester’s stadium of dreams

You might struggle to get a ticket to watch Manchester United, but their homeground, Old Trafford, is open for tours. Walk down the player’s tunnel, and stand in Alex Ferguson’s spot in the dug-out.

Retail therapy

Check out The Trafford Centre just outside of town, with 230 stores and 47 restaurants under one roof. In the city centre, the Northern Quarter has some great shops – try Rags To Bitches boutique for vintage gear.

Museum time

Manchester Museum on Oxford Road is stocked with almost 6 million specimens and objects – its Egyptology section is particularly good. Manchester Art Gallery on Mosley Street houses 25,000 objects of fine art, decorative art and costume. Reopened in 2002 after a four-year £35 million redevelopment, you could spend a couple of hours admiring its wonders.

When to go to Manchester

Manchester’s nightlife, shops and snow dome are open all year round.

Getting there

Virgin Trains go direct from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly. The journey takes 2 hours and 5 minutes, and advance single tickets start from £8.

Getting around

The Metrolink light rail system is fast, efficient and covers the entire city. A taxi from the town centre to The Trafford Centre and Chill Factore costs about £15.

Going out

A beer is about £3.


Dorm beds in the city start from £15 and private rooms from £22.