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Going local in Manchester

Manchester is a city with personality — and nowhere is that clearer than in its diverse neighbourhoods. From the thriving LGBT community in Manchester’s Gay Village to its Chinatown (which ranks as the second largest in the UK), from the trendy Northern Quarter to the beautifully revitalised Salford Quays, the best way to learn about this eclectic city is to set out on an adventure on foot.

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Canal street

Canal Street is the main artery of Manchester’s Gay Village: located just south of the city centre, it’s one of the largest and most vibrant LGBT communities in the UK. The sheer abundance of bars, clubs, and other glittering nightlife destinations has made this prime territory for after-dark revelry, but there’s also plenty to discover by day. Head to the Richmond Tea Rooms for a decadent afternoon tea, spot local landmarks like the Alan Turing statue, and linger in one of the district’s stylish hotels.

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The Northern Quarter

The Northern Quarter is one of Manchester’s most unabashedly vibrant districts, and is the place to be for sleeping, dining, imbibing, and shopping. Rise and shine in one of the neighbourhood’s stylish boutique hotels, venture to hip boutiques like Junk Shop and Oi Polloi, sit down for a meal at restaurants like Almost Famous and Home Sweet Home, and toast to the city at Common or Tariff & Dale.

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The Salford Quays

Previously, the Salford Quays weren’t a cultural or leisure destination — they were the bustling, industrial Manchester Docks. But after the docks were shuttered in 1982, the whole area was revived in what remains one of the largest and most impressive regeneration programmes in the whole of the UK. Now, locals and visitors head to this vibrant waterfront district for starchitect-designed institutions like the Imperial War Museum, budget shopping at the Lowry Outlet mall, and plenty of dining and entertainment options.


Manchester’s Chinatown has the distinction of being the second largest in the UK — and the third largest in Europe — meaning it’s the perfect place to venture for a cultural afternoon out. Food is a particular neighbourhood highlight: it’s best to arrive hungry, so you can sample everything from dim sum and Szechuan hot pot to dumplings and crispy pork belly. Time your visit for winter, and you may just be lucky enough to witness the Chinese New Year festivities, too.


The Northern Quarter is the hippest district within the Manchester city centre, but venture four miles southeast and you’ll find Chorlton: a suburban area that draws in visitors for its pretty parks, destination-worthy pubs, and trendy ambiance. Hop on a tram from the centre of town and go for a wander along Beech Road, where you’ll find a mix of gift shops, stylish outfitters, and cosy restaurants.

Image credits:

Canal street © Ruth Rosselson

All other imagery © iStock