The second-biggest city in the United Kingdom after London, and known as the nation's 'Second City', Manchester has an international reputation as a hub for tourism, industry, commerce, and transport. Its rich industrial history saw it become the first industrialized city in the world, and it now plays home to world-class sports clubs, a vibrant music scene, and notable architecture. Even the city's robust rail infrastructure is steeped in history, and it provides several important train links to London, the northwest, Wales, Scotland, the West Country and most major locations in the UK thanks to its three main train stations.
The busiest Manchester train station is Manchester Piccadilly, which serves as the arrival station from many of the UK's major city destinations and regions. It's just east of Chinatown, meaning it's also perfect for those wishing to stay in a central hotel. Manchester Victoria is another major station which serves mostly the north and northeast of the country and is located just above the city's Northern Quarter. Manchester Oxford Road offers east- and west-bound direct services as well as indirect links to London.
Manchester Victoria is served by companies such as Northern Rail and First Transpennine Express, as is Manchester Oxford Road. You can expect these train companies to arrive at Manchester Piccadilly, too, along with Virgin Trains, East Midlands Trains, Cross Country Rail, and Arriva Trains Wales.
Traveling to Manchester by train is both a fast and eco-friendly option. Taking the train from London to Manchester will take around two hours, and the direct train connections from exciting destinations like harbor-town Liverpool, Sheffield, and Leeds are all under one hour. The history of the Manchester train infrastructure and surrounding network will also be fascinating to those wanting to learn more about the region's past – the Liverpool and Manchester Railway offered the first inter-city passenger rail service in the world.
Manchester is the third-most most-visited city in the UK owing to its famous rivaling football clubs, cultural scene, nightlife, and museums. The city also has plenty of hidden gems to discover; if travelers are able to find the entrance to the RedbankCo cafe, bar and photography studio, hidden in an old railway arch in the Green Quarter, they'll discover a cozy drinking den with a fine whiskey lounge, delicious cocktails, and beer that's brewed just a few miles away.