Here’s why this trendy city needs to be on ev­ery cul­ture vul­ture’s must-visit list says Ri­aan Ja­cob Ge­orge

Business Traveller (India) - - FIND YOUR GREAT BRITAIN -

As my train pulls into Manch­ester Pic­cadilly sta­tion, fol­low­ing a quick two-hour hop from Lon­don, I find my­self im­me­di­ately trans­ported into another world. Ev­ery­thing looks so dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent. For starters, I no­tice just how ur­banised down­town Manch­ester is. Age-old her­itage build­ings and ware­house-style struc­tures co­ex­ist peace­fully next to gleam­ing glass sky­scrapers.The city cen­tre of Manch­ester wears a vis­i­bly gen­tri­fied look and ex­udes a charm­ing, artsy vibe. A case in point is the boho-chic North­ern Quar­ter. Walk down Old­ham Street and you will see a string of trendy bars, up­scale restau­rants and lo­cal neigh­bour­hood tav­erns, brim­ming with hip­sters and tourists.

Or per­haps the buzzing Ex­change Square, where lo­cals sit at side­walk cafes and pubs, in the shadow of her­itage build­ings, and stare at the ul­tra-mod­ern Arn­dale Shop­ping Cen­tre.

Vis­i­tors to Manch­ester can and must spend time dis­cov­er­ing the jewels of the city — step into the gothic por­tals of the Manch­ester Cathe­dral or John Ry­lands Li­brary. Al­ter­na­tively, to truly put your fin­ger on the pulse of the city, take a leisurely stroll down Port­land Street, all the way up to Pic­cadilly Gar­dens, one of the city’s main pub­lic squares, lined with lead­ing in­ter­na­tional fash­ion stores. It is here that you will re­alise just how di­verse and in­ter­na­tional the city of Manch­ester is. While it does re­tain its iden­tity as an old in­dus­trial town, it is now in­hab­ited by peo­ple from around the world. And this ex­plains its amaz­ing food scene, with some of the best eth­nic cuisines in the UK. At ev­ery cor­ner, you will see eater­ies ad­ver­tis­ing ev­ery­thing un­der the sun from dim sum and phos, to curry and sashimi.

The city cen­tre of Manch­ester is best en­joyed on foot, where you can am­ble through the many neigh­bour­hoods, go pub hop­ping, shop for trin­kets, walk along the river or just sit lazily at a park.

ClOCK­WISE FROMLEFT: Ex­te­rior view of Manch­ester Town Hall, com­pleted in 1877 and dom­i­nated by the clock tower; graf­fiti art­work in the North­ern Quar­ter in Manch­ester; and The Old Welling­ton Inn and Sin­clairs Oys­ter Bar

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