LET'S TALK...

Let's Travel...to Manchester, England

Let’s Talk (LT):
Ok, let’s start with the basics. In a 100 words or less, tell me about Manchester, England.

Manchester (M):
Well, its just two hours north of London, and is one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the UK, yet it retains its own unique character. It has an energetic yet cool vibe and its vitality is expressed through its fascinating architecture, magnificent buildings and most of all, the spirit of its people. And, there is much more to Manchester than meets the eye, it’s a city that is waiting to be discovered. As the ‘original, modern city’, Manchester has earned a reputation as being revolutionary, innovative and entrepreneurial. Another interesting fact is that Manchester was the birthplace for the industrial revolution, leading the development of the modern world.


LT:
Well, maybe a little more than 100 words but interesting to know. Now that we know something about the city, tell us about the people of Manchester.

M:
You can expect a warm welcome when you arrive. This is a city that embraces all its visitors. As an international destination, Manchester loves to celebrate its cultural diversity, a variety of festivals and events such as Manchester Pride, Food and Drink Festival and Manchester International Festival to name a few, are testimony to this.


LT:
What’s it like for a tourist in Manchester?

M:
Manchester is set in a region that offers great value for the money. It is the perfect walking city, stroll along the streets, explore the mixture of old and new architecture set side by side. Soak up the urban vibe, speak to the people of the city – there’s nothing like being amidst this hive of activity.

There’s an array of things to do in Manchester, you can choose from over 90 museums and galleries, most of which are free to enter, in and around the city. Visit The Lowry, Imperial War Museum North, Urbis, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester United Museum and Stadium Tour and many more...

For those that love shopping, Manchester is the perfect destination, regardless of taste and budget. Whether its designer labels or vintage clothing, the city has it all. And for those looking for nightlife, you can be sure of a great night out in Manchester. The city is renowned for its exuberant nightlife and entertainment, be it the theater, music, film, bars or nightclubs. With thirteen theatres throughout Greater Manchester, your choice is endless - choose from smash-hit musicals, ballet, opera, comedy and drama.


LT:
And for gay and lesbian vacationers who choose to visit Manchester? Tell us about the gay culture in Manchester.

M:
Manchester has a gay village located just south of the City’s historic Chinatown, along the Canal Street area. It is both party central for the city’s thriving ‘out and proud’ gay and lesbian community and a living, breathing piece of social history – proof of Manchester’s key role as one of the world’s leading gay-friendly cities.

Manchester is one of the only urban areas in the world where gay culture has flourished into its own village community. Its combination of bars, clubs, gallery spaces, businesses and green space, marks it as an utterly unique blending of the modern city’s needs with its industrial heritage. But what really sets the gay village apart is a unique sense of culture and history that has always demanded equal rights in the face of all adversity - a very Mancunian trait!


LT:
Mancunian? Would you mind translating that?

M:
Mancunian means someone from Manchester. I think it comes from the word Mamucium, which gave its name to Manchester. It was called this in Roman times and some people referred to it as Mancunium. There is an area of Manchester called Castlefield, which is a short form of “Castle in the field”. This designation was used after the Romans abandoned the fort around 410 and the castle was literally left decaying in the fields. Castlefield is the UK’s first Urban Heritage Park, as remains of the old Roman fort can be seen there.


LT:
“Mancunian”. Who knew? See how much you can learn when you travel? OK, moving on, what about special draws for vacationers to Manchester.

M:
No visit to Manchester is complete without joining in on one of the monthly ‘Out in the Past’ Heritage Trails. These are historic walks highlighting the city’s secret and better known gay and lesbian ‘historic haunts’ and events. First introduced to the city as part of the annual Manchester Pride, the heritage trail has become a roaring success over the past four years taking a bold but humorous stance stepping back in time to an illicit gay culture of private bars and secret meetings on towpaths.

Be sure to check out other Manchester gay and lesbian events taking place throughout the year, which of course can be found on your gay and lesbian travel website in the News & Events section. These include Manchester Pride held every August, Queerupnorth, the annual queer arts and entertainment festival held in May, Great British Bear Bash, hosting events for friendly, furry guys every May and finally Sparkle, the national transgendered celebration held every June.


LT:
Thanks for the website plug, the Calendar of Events on our site is something that can be very handy to vacationers. But enough about us, let’s talk more about you...As a gay vacationer in Manchester, where would you suggest we go to experience the local gay scene more specifically?

M:
Manto Bar is the grand daddy of Canal Street, the bar that single-handedly brought café culture not only to the village but to the city itself. Essential is one of the village’s greatest achievements – a gay superclub that attracts men from all over the country to party into the night. Watch out for the club’s fabulous fashion-leading door divas whose job it is too make sure the venue remains forever gay-friendly! Essential’s own bar, the defiantly named Queer, located in the heart of the village is also a must visit spot of any tour of the village as is Cruz 101, the non-stop gay club that helped play its part kick starting modern gay nightlife.

Essential’s spiritual little sister is without a doubt the wonderful Vanilla, the city’s leading lesbian bar. Vanilla makes sure that the girls get good representation in the hustle and bustle of the city with a selection of fun bar nights and one off bank holiday events.

One of the most warmly regarded bars in the whole of the gay village is Taurus Bar. Seen by many as the real community heart of Canal Street, Taurus is an oasis of calm in amongst all the music and lights. What sets it apart from almost anywhere else in the city is its informal drinking and dining atmosphere coupled with its appreciation of the arts. A visit to Taurus might mean you get to see a new play, the work of a young gay artist or even hear an exclusive book reading.


LT:
And for a change from the hot and heavy Manchester gay scene?

M:
More traditional visitors might want to experience the village’s many pubs. The Rembrandt and Churchills hold many secrets in their walls of life before the burgeoning gay scene of today. Speaking to the older locals in these fine establishments can be like having your own personal history lesson making the younger generation of gay and lesbian party-goers appreciate that bit more of what previous generations had to go through to reach the level of acceptance existing today.


LT:
Well thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Manchester and why it is such a great vacation destination for our gay and lesbian vacationers. Any closing thoughts for our readers?

M:
Well thank you for giving me the opportunity to share more about this wonderful city. Manchester is truly a surprising vacation destination for everyone. We look forward to welcoming your vacationers to Manchester. And since you now know why you should visit, it’s important that you know how easy it is to get to Manchester. With non-stop flights from across the US, Manchester is also perfectly positioned to discover all of England’s North Country, including The Lake District, Chester, York and Liverpool and all of it can be booked right here on your site.


LT:
We hope you enjoyed getting to know the great gay-friendly destination of Manchester a little better.  Of course for even more information about what the “Mancunians” enjoy everyday visit: www.visitgaymanchester.com. Until we “Talk” again...Get OUT and Travel!

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