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View over central Manchester rooftops.
View over central Manchester rooftops. Photo Julian Elliott

5 reasons a staycation in Manchester is a real hidden gem

Home » Travel » 5 reasons a staycation in Manchester is a real hidden gem

The uncertainty of international travel is making a staycation the popular choice for UK holidaymakers this summer. So, if you’re looking for a northern escape, we’ve got 5 fantastic reasons to put Manchester top of your list.

Lots to do

Whether you are looking for culture, heritage, shopping or sport, Manchester has something for everyone. To those outside the city, Manchester is often synonymous with football, so it’s no surprise the city is home to the National Football Museum.

The National Football Museum. Photo: VisitBritain/Andrew Pickett A father and son visiting the museum. Kicking a football and aiming at a goal.
The National Football Museum, Manchester. Photo: VisitBritain/Andrew Pickett


The city is also known for its revolutionary spirit and the fight for universal suffrage. Two hundred years ago a peaceful protest for the democratic right to vote ended in the violent slaughter of innocent people, now known as the Peterloo Massacre. The People’s History Museum, the national museum of democracy, is based in Manchester city centre and is home to two permanent galleries where visitors can explore some of the ground-breaking ideas that led to universal suffrage, workers’ rights, votes for women, election by ballot and equality for all regardless of gender, race, sexuality, age or disability.

People’s History Museum

The worker bee is the symbol of Manchester – it is a city that works hard and plays hard too. Its ground-breaking biennial Manchester International Festival is back again for July 2021. And organisers are confident that despite the pandemic, they will deliver 18 extraordinary days that are safe, responsible and joyous – in whatever format the festival takes.

Artists at the MIF programme launch 2019
Artists at the MIF programme launch 2019

Easy to get to
Wherever you are based in the UK, Manchester’s three main train stations – Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria – make it easy to get to, connecting its city centre to all other major cities in the UK. For those travelling by car the M60 ring road connects to motorways in all directions. There is an international airport about half-an-hour away from the central city area. And from the city centre the Metrolink tram network connects many of the surrounding districts.

Foodie heaven
Manchester is fast becoming one of the culinary hotspots of the UK. From fine dining restaurants such as The French at The Midland Hotel to limited edition burgers at Honest Burgers, and everything in between, the city has a diverse array of food options for you to try.

Scranchester Tours

The city’s world-famous Curry Mile is located just two miles south of the city centre in Rusholme. Or take a short tram ride to the trendy suburb of Chorlton, home to numerous artisan coffee shops and quirky, modern bars like Barrio offering delicious brunch options and an extensive drinks menu. And if you are still not sure what to try, why not opt for a Scranchester tour and let your guide reveal the food and drink stories of the original modern city.


The city is also growing increasingly popular for beer tourism, thanks to its world-renowned microbreweries. And this summer, Scottish craft brewers, BrewDog are opening the city’s first beer hotel, DogHouse Manchester. The boutique-style hotel has 18 rooms aimed at the craft beer lover, with shower beer fridges and in room games consoles and guitars. And, as the name suggests, dogs are welcome too.

Gothic architecture

When there is so much to do it is tempting not to stop and take in the surroundings of the city. But it is worth taking time to stand still and look up, because Manchester is home to some impressive architecture. Manchester city centre boasts both original and Victorian Gothic architecture within a short walking distance, with Cheetham’s School and Manchester Cathedral being prominent examples of the authentic medieval Gothic period; and John Ryland’s library and Manchester Town Hall from the Victorian era.

Situated in the heart of the city, facing both St Peter’s Square and Albert Square, Manchester Town Hall has been used to recreate scenes from British Parliament in such films as The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep. The Grade I listed building was designed by architect Alfred Waterhouse and its famous neo-gothic architecture can be seen in Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jnr and Victor Frankenstein starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe.


A real Hidden Gem

A little walk down from Manchester Town Hall is St Mary’s, The Hidden Gem. The church is tucked away on Mulberry Street, between Deansgate and Albert Square. The church was originally built in 1794 in an attempt to address the need of those living in poor quality housing in what was then one of the city’s most deprived and troubled areas. Today it is an oasis of calm within the bustle of city life – a real hidden gem. Inside you will find 14 Stations of the Cross painted by the late, Norman Adams in the early 1990s. Adams considered the paintings to be the greatest works of his life.

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Written by
Carmel Thomason
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Written by Carmel Thomason