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Manchester mania

Manchester is hip, lively and a lot different and cheaper than London.

travel Updated: Sep 23, 2010 10:25 IST

Manchester is hip, lively and a lot different and cheaper than London. An ideal destination for the business traveller, the city is also family-friendly, and houses a host of museums and galleries, as well as the famous Manchester Wheel! 

Footballer's paradise

Football in an integral part of Manchester. On the first day of my tour, I went out to Old Trafford and took the Manchester United Museum and Stadium Tour. The stadium is daunting in size and stature. The guided tour took me through all the nooks and corners of the stadium right from the north end -- working my way clockwise. It made pit stops in the VIP rooms, Press Conference room, Players Lounge, Players Dressing room, Players Tunnel and the original tunnel that was used prior to 1993. It was in the museum, where I discovered how important this great club is to England and, to world football.

Something for everyone

If you take football apart from manchester, you will witness a lively city that has beautiful places for sightseeing, good restaurants, a throbbing nightlife and popular universities. As I walked on the streets, what caught my fancy was a royal ornate green tiled picture palace, just beside the city university.

This city is also a greenbelt and a visit to any of its parks is a pleasant experience. Piccadilly gardens, with several statues around it, (it's actually just a square) is a nice place to hang around. One of the statues is of Queen Victoria, looking down at you. Salford Quay houses restaurants and cafes, which overlook the water. You can never have enough of shopping here; undoubtedly, the best place to shop is the Trafford Centre in the city centre, with 200 stores and 30 restaurants.

Diner's delight

Dining in Manchester was a delight. The city is a great place for trying out local food; the tendency not to overfill the plates was what I really liked. I went to Dukes 92 right in the heart of Castle Field, overlooking the Bridgewater canal, near Deansgate Locks. At once, I fell in love with this spacious, laidback watering hole.

However, be warned, despite its size, it can be difficult getting a table as it is very popular with locals and tourists alike. The oldest established place at Chapel Walks is a Manchester institution, called Sam's Chop House; I would highly recommend it for traditional old English food and its lively atmosphere. And of course, a holiday in England can not be complete without a pint of ale in an English pub.