It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that Manchester saw the explosive growth and rapid urbanization that would transform it into arguably the world’s first modern, industrialized city and one of the largest urban centers in the United Kingdom. Throughout the 1800s it was a center of textile manufacturing, particularly cotton processing, as well as other industry. It helped incubate the competing theories of laissez-faire capitalism and Marxism. Karl Marx spent time in the city as he developed his economic theories, and the city was the subject of Friedrich Engels’ influential The Condition of the Working Class in England, which argued that industrialization and capitalism had actually worsened the plight of England’s workers. During the 1800s the city was distinctive for a skyline dominated by smokestacks.
After World War II the city declined; it wasn’t until a 1996 IRA bomb, the largest ever detonated on British soil, wrecked a large part of the city center that Manchester began serious revitalization. The investment spurred by the rebuilding efforts helped transform Manchester into one of the most attractive cities in the UK, with entertainment, cultural and shopping destinations like The Printworks drawing visitors from around the region. The city also hosts two English Premier League teams, Manchester City and the internationally popular Manchester United. It’s known for being a very cosmopolitan, tolerant city, with a varied, active nightlife–the perfect spot for a quick getaway by private jet.
Must see: For insight into the history and culture of the working class in Britain, as well as the foundations of the region’s politics, museum visits are a must. The Portland Basin museum displays old shops, homes, and various local industries that helped define Manchester, including hat making, coal mining, canals, and railways.
Lodging: The Lowry Hotel–Just a few minutes’ walk from the city center, this strikingly contemporary hotel provides outstanding luxury and comfort, including a restaurant, bar and spa.
Cuisine: Damson, in Heaton Moor, is a top-rated restaurant that focuses on skillful, modern preparations and high-quality ingredients.
Ground Transportation: Taxis and private hire cars are abundant and can be easily obtained after you land in your private jet. While you can flag the black Hackney carriages, you should book other taxis in advance, especially in the city center on Friday and Saturday nights around the time of pub closings.
Packing Tips: Manchester’s temperate maritime climate keeps the city from uncomfortable temperature extremes. As with many UK cities, it’s best to be prepared for rain, however.
Recommended Books: Hard Times by Charles Dickens is a novel set in the city that highlights the social and economic pressures of the 19th century.
Currency: The British pound is the local currency.
Calling Code England: 44
Best Travel Dates: Spring and summer offer a lot of opportunity for al fresco dining and drinking in this culturally vibrant city, known for its varied nightlife, pubs, and outdoor entertainment.