Information and Tourism
The title 'Capital of the North' should by rights rest firmly in the vast urban area known as Greater Manchester. One of the largest metropolitan areas in the UK, this county doesn't just include the cities of Manchester and Salford. Ten northern boroughs also come under its giant umbrella.
Today, the city of Manchester exudes confidence. There was a time, though, when it struggled to find an identity in the modern world. For hundreds of years, it reigned supreme as 'Cottonopolis', a center of industrial endeavour of England
, with its mills and canals. Then, with the loss of these industries came economic decline.
Manchester succeeded in rising to the top again, reinventing itself as 'Madchester' in the 1980s and 1990s, with chart-topping bands such as 'The Stone Roses' and 'Happy Mondays'. Old Trafford is the headquarters of a truly world-famous football team. The city has certainly become an exciting place. By both day and night, a trip into the city leaves you with a real buzz. Of course, a traditional character still exists, but the rows of terraced red-brick houses are joined nowadays by trendy bars and classy boutiques. There is a Gay Village too, and a radically restyled Castlefield area.
Tourism plays a huge role in the city today, much of it with a distinctly cultural bent. Manchester's cultural credentials are impressive. The city is the home of the Hallé Orchestra, the fourth-oldest orchestra in the world, as well as the Lowry Art Gallery and the Royal Exchange Theatre. There are a wealth of great museums here too, helping visitors to reflect on the city's past. The BBC has been in Manchester for years, but has now moved many of its services to a new complex at MediaCity UK in nearby Salford.
Outside of the city centre, there is another side to Greater Manchester. Beyond the urban metropolis there are lively, gritty towns with attitude, like Stockport, Bolton, Bury and Wigan, as well as mile upon mile of beautiful English countryside and peaceful waterways just waiting to be explored.
Greater Manchester Information and Fast Facts
- Country: England
- Region: North-West England
- Population: approximately 2.8 million
- County administrative town or city: Greater Manchester Combined Authority
- Language: English
- Area: 490 square miles / 1,270 square kilometres
Map of Greater Manchester