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Often recognised as a paradise for music lovers, Manchester has so much more to it . By: Avika Kashyap

It’s fair to say that Manchester is a music lover’s haven, having gifted the world the likes of the Smiths, Chemical Brothers, or the Stone Roses. Football fans will be overjoyed when visiting the hallowed grounds of Old Trafford and cheering Manchester United on as they practice. But the city is more than just music and sports. You’ll find great food joints, hipster areas and cultural events taking place all around. Manchester can be roamed by a free bus service called the Metroshuttle that loops around the city centre taking you to all the prominent areas. There’s also a tram service called the Metrolink.

Wanderer’s Heaven

For those who like to explore:

The Chetham’s Library

It is the oldest English-speaking library and is open for readers from Monday to Friday 09.00-12.30 and 13.30-16.30pm by prior appointment.

Altrincham Market

It is split into two with the food hall filled with stalls offering bacon sandwiches to steak and ale pies to afternoon tea

Manchester’s Northern Quarter

The place where region’s most talented artists, designers and makers sell their handmade work

Literary excursions

It may seem a little odd but some of the favourite places to discover in Manchester are the libraries. Take for example, Chetham’s Library – founded in 1653, it is the oldest English-speaking library in the world. Housed in a beautiful sandstone building dating from 1421, Chetham’s holds over 40 medieval manuscripts, including the 13th-century Flores Historiarum of Matthew Paris – a chronicle of world and English history; a 15th-century Aulus Gellius, bound for Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary; and an important compendium of Middle English poetry. The library’s wealth of special items and collections include illuminated manuscripts made for royalty to the minutiae of personal life – diaries, letters and account books.

There’s also the Central Library, the iconic city venue, designed by E. Vincent Harris. While it was first opened in 1934, following a refurbishment in 2010, taking four years, the Grade II listed building has been brought into the 21st century by combining historic features with cutting-edge design. Targeting young readers has been the key for the new look and feel: there’s a “gaming area” with Xboxes and Playstations, as well as a children’s library in the 20,000 sq ft of new space.

Chetham’s holds over 40 medieval manuscripts, including the 13th-century Flores Historiarum of Matthew Paris

Art aficionados

Art lovers are spoilt for choice in Manchester. Visit The Whitworth Gallery for an extensive textile collection dating back to 300AD, wallpapers made for the mass market, a unique collection of Outsider Art and international contemporary works. While many of their exhibitions are made up from works in their permanent collection, the Whitworth has nothing on permanent display.

The Lowry is a magnificent building alongside Salford Quays, where visitors will find three stunning theatres alongside galleries showcasing local, national and international renowned artists. The galleries here showcase changing exhibitions by one of Britain’s best loved artists, LS Lowry, as well as paintings, sculpture and photography from around the world. There’s always something new and refreshing to see in here. People come here for theatre, opera, musicals, dance, music, comedy and visual art. Other art galleries that one can visit are Gallery Oldham and Manchester Art Gallery.

Altrincham is one of the original market towns, dating back to 1290

For shopaholics

Manchester’s Northern Quarter is the place for shopping. The Manchester Craft and Design Centre is the place where designers sell their handmade work. Home to the studios of some of the region’s most talented artists, designers and makers, you can meet more than 30 of these people and see them at work, be inspired by its changing exhibitions and events, or learn a new skill by taking part in a workshop. You can also grab a homemade bite to eat and a brew at Oak Street Cafe – all within the beautiful surroundings of the historic Victorian fish market.

Altrincham is one of the original market towns. It’s charter dates back to 1290. The Altrincham Market is split into two with the food hall filled with stalls offering everything from bacon sandwiches to steak and ale pies to afternoon tea. The other part is a regular market place selling artwork, jewellery and vintage bric-a-brac. Every retailer and restaurateur here is local and independent, making it worth the journey. Come here during weekends to see various themed markets covering regional food producers, vintage fashion and furniture, home house & garden and contemporary craft.

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