You can drive from London to Manchester in about 3-4 hours. The city also has its own international airport with daily flights from London on British Airways and bmi. Manchester has three railway stations and there are good train connections with London. There are numerous direct trains per day with a journey time of just over two hours. You can also get from London to Manchester by bus, with many coaches each day and a journey time of about five hours, give or take thirty minutes depending on the exact route. The coach is obviously much longer but is also a lot cheaper, if you’re on a budget.
Manchester Town Hall, Photo (c) Donna Dailey
Manchester was the key city at the heart of the Industrial revolution so it has a lot of history behind it - but you might also say it has a lot of history in front of it too. It was never a place to rest on its laurels. In comparatively recent times it has seen the opening of the unmissable Imperial War Museum North and the equally impressive Lowry arts centre. In 2012 the National Football Museum Manchester will be opening, and at the same time it has been livened up by the arrival of several departments of the BBC, which have moved out from London to Manchester.
The city is also on the edge of some of the most beautiful countryside in England, with the Peak District National Park just to the south of the city, and the often overlooked beauty of parts of Lancashire such as the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland to the north.
Manchester and Birmingham are rivals for the claim to be England’s second city after London, and Manchester has so many attractions that you can easily spend several days here if you have the time. It has several major art galleries and museums, some superb architecture such as its fine Town Hall and Cathedral, a thriving music scene, an equally lively gay scene, good restaurants and pubs, friendly people, and of course lots for sports fans, especially soccer.
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