The most cosmopolitan city after London, Manchester is also one of Britain’s most modern cities, with a youthful and infectious vibe and cultural activities that are a class apart. If you’re looking for a true slice of Britain then look no further than Manchester, often described as England’s second city.
Known the world over for its famous football teams and for being the first industrialised city in the world, today Manchester is a hub of all things cool. Its modern city centre boasts some pretty cutting edge architecture, a cultural scene that is right up there with London and, of course, a nightlife that is renowned as one of the best in the world.
Feburary's Queer Contact season is a highlight of Manchester's theatrical calendar. Choose from performance artist David Hoyle's tall tales, operatic drag by Le Gateau Chocolate, a Prince tribute and much more. The lively bar is ideal for meeting the locals over a craft beer or two. (10-18 Feb, Contact Theatre, Oxford Road, http://contactmcr.com/projects/festivals/queer-contact-festival-2017/)
The Whitworth's Andy Warhol retrospective explores the artistic reverberations of an assassination attempt in 1968. Works on display include electric chair prints and self portraits wearing a noose. Subject matter aside, the results are strangely life affirming. The cafe, nestled among the trees, is one of Manchester's finest. Until 16 April, http://www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/currentexhibitions/
The beating heart of Manchester's Northern Quarter is Oldham Street. The city's cultural playground takes in shops and bars including Affleck's Palace of alternative goods, Piccadilly Records and Night and Day bar, where bands like Elbow and Everything Everything cut their teeth. Take a stroll through Mancunian history, and pop into lifestyle cafe bar Fig and Sparrow or Magma magazine and book shop on your way.
Only 50 minutes from Manchester, the Peak District village of Edale is perfect for walks from the train station. Outings include the peaks of Mam Tor and Kinder Scout around the start of the Pennine Way. Pick up a map from the visitor centre and tuck in at the National Trust's Penny Pot cafe. http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/visiting/visitor-centres/edale
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