IntroductionManchester is a fantastic and vibrant city with an exciting, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Despite its size and reputation as the ‘capital of the North’ it still manages to retain a familiar and friendly atmosphere and is divided into lots of mini-centres which create a great sense of local community. Famous for its soccer teams and lively music scene, which has produced the likes of the Smiths and Oasis, Manchester has overcome industrial decline, bombings (in WWII and by the IRA in 1996) and is now a city full of attractions and things to do. It’s superb for shopping (thanks partly to the IRA bombings which saw the centre completely redeveloped and improved) and is a great place for fans of Victorian architecture. Manchester played a crucial role during the Industrial Revolution and the continuing period of industrialisation which went on into the twentieth century. This period is reflected in the paintings of one of the city’s most famous sons, L.S.Lowry whose depictions of Greater Manchester especially the city of Salford which neighbours Manchester are immediately recognisable and are in part available to view at the Quays in Salford.
There are a huge number of museums and galleries, music venues, theatres, which is enough to keep even the long-term or returning tourist entertained; Urbis, in the city centre, is an attraction dedicated to urban culture including exhibitions from the future of cities to the history of punk rock; the People’s History Museum, the Pankhurst Centre – in the former home of two suffragettes; the Chinese Arts Centre; and the Manchester Jewish Museum are all great example. For an overall view visitors should start off by taking an open top bus tour from St Peter’s Square.