Manchester, a city in the North West of England, is widely regarded as the business capital of the North and is the second most populous urban area in the UK after London. Manchester has long been regarded as a cultural hub, with a very active gay scene, exciting nightlife and genre defining music. This has contributed to Manchester's current status as the third most visited city and third largest economy in the UK. Manchester is an incredibly old city, with the city first being recorded in 79AD by the Roman Empire. However, the city began expanding at an astonishing rate during the 19th century, at the beginning of the industrial revolution, to such an extent that Manchester became regarded as "without challenge the first and greatest industrial city". This predominantly working class industry created a city widely associated with Marxism and left-wing politics, which can still be felt today. Following the the second world war, the industrial economy that defined Manchester began to decline, this was reinforced by the policies of Margaret thatcher in 1979 which led to the eventual dissolution of the industrial economy not only in Manchester but in the whole of the UK costing over 150,000 jobs. In 1996, Manchester was granted over £400 million which resulted in Manchester city centre undergoing extensive renovations including the construction of hugely popular complexes such as The Printworks and The Triangle. In recent years Manchester has officially gained the title of the second city of the UK, which was traditionally fought between Manchester and Birmingham. Tourist season in Manchester is between May to August. The best time to visit the city would be between May and June - The weather is traditionally hotter around May to June, and will not be as busy as children have not yet broken up for the Summer holidays. Visiting at this will also have a certain buzz as the students will have just finished their exams meaning the there will be an abundance of events organised.
Manchester Airport is the 3rd busiest in the UK, traditionally serving much of the north of England as well as parts of Wales. The airport handles over 20 million passengers annually, although it has the capacity to serve 50 million. Opened in 1938, with 3 terminals, from Manchester Airport you can fly to around 225 destinations both nationally and internationally.
Getting from Manchester Airport to the City Centre
Manchester Airport is well served by the various modes of transport that run daily from the city centre. These include train services running to and from the airport to Manchester Piccadilly every 10 minutes, which take around 20 minutes. There are also 9 bus services running to and from the city centre to the airport which operate 24 hours a day. There are two different types of taxis available in Manchester. A pre-booked taxi where a price can be agreed upon prior to the taxi journey and prices do not vary in accordance with the time of year or day. From the city centre, numbers to the taxi firms can be accessed at information centres and at train stations and will cost on average between £20 - £30. From the airport, pre-booked taxi numbers are available at desks located at the arrivals area of the terminals. Alternatively, there are Black Cabs, which are available at taxi ranks at the airport main train stations and taxi ranks littered throughout the city centre. These taxis run on a meter basis; starting at £2.30, and will rise by 20p every 174 metres. Manchester Airport is Located 15km south of the city centre and will take just under 20 minutes by car, providing there is no traffic. The easiest way to get there is to head towards the A5103 towards Great Bridgewater and Portland Street. The airport should be clearly signed posted, just ensure you know which terminal your flight is from.
Opened in 1842, under a different name, Manchester Piccadilly is the busiest and biggest train station out of the 4 stations in the city and is the fourth busiest station in the UK, the others being in London. It serves mainly intercity routes to London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool. The station has 14 platforms serving over 24 millions passengers in 2014.
Getting from Manchester Piccadilly to the City Centre
Manchester Piccadilly is located very centrally in Manchester, it is therefore within walking distance of the city's central shopping district. Simply walk down Piccadilly road until you reach the shops. However, if you wish to use public transport, there are Metro Shuttles and trams that leave the station every 7 minutes that will take you directly there.
Manchester Piccadilly also has a taxi rank directly outside the main entrance where you can catch a black cab. Additionally you can order pre-ordered taxis from a desk in the station. To drive, it is only 1.5 km to the centre and will take 5 minutes to drive there without traffic, following the B6469 and Sackville to Charlotte street.
Also known as Manchester Central Coach Station, it was first opened in 1950 with three platforms. It now consists of 8 platforms following major renovations in 2002. Major operators such National Express and Megabus run services from the Coach Station as well as numerous regional services.
Getting from Manchester Chorlton Street Coach Station to the City Centre
From the city centre there is a metroshuttle that leaves the bus station every 7 minutes and will take around 8 minutes to arrive at the city centre. Driving to the coach station will take a total of 5 minutes and the best way is to go via New York Street. The main bus service providers operating from the station include National Express and First Greater Manchester who provide both intercity and regional travel.
There are 3 major motorways around the peripheries of the city; the M60, M602 and M62. There are also major roads like the A57 which get you closer to the city centre. Driving directly to the city centre is not really possible as much of it pedestrianised, but there are many parking spaces to be taken advantage of, as well as park and ride schemes.
In Greater Manchester there are over 600 bus lines, 7 tram lines and 16 rail lines. The public transport system is extremely expansive and covers the entirety of Greater Manchester which has a population of more than 2.5 million. The system encompasses tram, trains and buses and tickets are usually purchased immediately prior to travel. On buses you buy the ticket from the driver upon entering the bus; tram tickets can be purchased via self service ticket machines on the platform and train tickets from self service ticket machines or at a kiosk at the station.
There is no municipal bike rental service in Manchster, however there are numerous bike rental shops littered around the city. One of the cheapest way of renting a bike in Manchester is Spinlister which is a bike sharing app that allows cyclists to post their bikes online and hire them out for an hour, a day or more. Additionally, it lets cyclists rent bikes from other riders. This service can be as little as £5 for a day. Due to the rainy weather that is all too common the UK and particularly Manchester, cycling is not that commonplace apart from in the summer months. However, there are fairly extensive cycle paths in Manchester, however they can often be slightly unreliable, e.g cutting off at random points.
Travelling by taxi is most certainly not the most common mode of transportation in Manchester but taxis are used, especially late at night and from train and bus stations. Despite this, they are very readily accessible and can transport you to whenever you wish to travel to in the city and the Greater Manchester areas. Taxi Apps such as Uber make travelling by taxi easier still.
The National Speed Limit in the UK is 96 km/h on a single carriageway, 112 km/h on a dual carriageway and on the motorway. You will also be expected to drive on the left hand side of the road and driving in the city centre is usually limited to buses and taxis. There is a comprehensive one way system currently in place in the city centre, therefore if you are unfamiliar with the city it is recommended you use a satnav.
There are rush hour periods in Manchester where driving will be extremely busy. These are usually the times when people will be commuting to and from work; from 7.00 am - 9.30 am and 4.00 pm - 6.30 pm on weekday. Traffic tends to lessen at lunch time, at around 12.00 pm - 2.20 pm.
The central shopping districts in Manchester are predominantly pedestrianised and pavements can be found almost everywhere. Walking around the city centre is possible on foot, but further afield it gets slightly more difficult, because of both frequency of pavements and distance you would be expected to walk. However, given the city's excellent transport links this should not be problem.
The Czech capital's fairy-tale atmosphere is perfectly complemented by the city's cobblestone streets, ancient squares and medieval churches. Prague, which has been perfectly preserved from the middle ages, is one of Europe's most walkable cities and features a medieval castle dating from the 9th-century. History is always palpable in Prague, with an Old City that has remained unchanged for over a millennium.
Standing tall above the city is Prague Castle which was built in the 9th century and is the largest ancient castle in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records. The castle has been home to Holy Roman emperors, Kings of Bohemia, currently it is now the residence of the President of the Czech Republic.
Possibly one of the most beautiful bridges in the world, the Charles Bridge amazes both locals and visitors since its completion in 1342. Connecting the Castle district with the Old Town, it’s the impressive decoration of 30 statues and statuaries, their baroque style complementing the bridge’s dramatic Gothic architecture which is considered a high point for most visitors.
A highlight for many visitors, Prague’s Old Town Square has a bustling atmosphere between performing street artists, traditional markets and statues, steeped in history. These features would mean little without the surroundings of magnificent Gothic architecture, including the Church of Mother of God before Týn.
Prague has an excellent public transport system consisting of the tram, metro, bus, and train services. There are 17 carriers with about 2,000 specialized vehicles that offer interconnected services through the city and its suburbs. The leading operator comprises of 150 bus lines, 30 tram lines, and three metro lines. Operating both an underground and subway, the Metro is the fastest means of transport in Prague, as it's not prone to traffic and weather interruptions - making it a crucial part of the public transport system in the city. Buses are the most flexible means of transport in Prague, since they are not reliant on tracks. For those commuting between the capital and the neighboring small towns and villages, Prague Buses are the most efficient means of transport. The Prague Public Transit Co. Inc. has around 95 miles of tram lines with double tracks and about 1000 trams. Such an extensive network makes it an integral part of Prague's public transport system. The railway system in Prague is crucial as well, as it links the capital to the surrounding towns and the rest of the continent. The main train station in Prague is the Praha hlavní nádraí.
The best way to experience Prague and take in all its glory is on foot, as the city's main tourist attractions are relatively close together. These attractions are all connected by dreamy cobblestoned streets and meandering alleys. When exploring this historic city, start at the magnificent Wenceslas square located at the heart of Prague. A brief walk northwest of Wenceslas square reveals the famous Don Giovanni theatre where Mozart made his debut performance. Further in the same direction along Melantrichova Street, a winding cobblestoned path brings you to Prague's Old Town square, an architectural wonder. Stop by the café Mozart's first floor for refreshments and an opportunity to marvel at the astonishing clock tower with the dancing statues atop Our Lady of Tyn Church. Make your way to Karlova via Hosova Street for authentic souvenirs, continue along Vltava River over Charles Bridge, and be blown away by the breathtaking Prague castle that commands the skyline. The city of Prague is full of splendor and it is common to come across countless guided tour groups led by local tour guides who are passionate about the city.
Svíčková, tender beef served in a creamy vegetable sauce with a side of bread dumplings and garnished with whipped cream on a slice of lemon, is the traditional Sunday dish of Prague. Visitors are encouraged to try this delicacy, as well as many other home cooked specialties, in U Topolů, a friendly neighborhood pub in Prague-Dejvice. Other Czech food treats are beef tartare: raw, minced beef with a raw egg on top. It is typically served with a variety of condiments and spices so that you can mix it to your taste and then spread it on toasted bread, which has been flavored with garlic. The quirky Fraktal restaurant in Prague's Letná district serves this dish to perfection. If you feel like you need a snack whilst exploring Prague, try one of the many varieties of grilled sausages available from small stalls throughout the city. For something lighter, try a chlebíčky, an open sandwich that comes with toppings like cold roast beef or cheese salad. And if you have a sweet tooth, nothing beats buchty, sweet yeast dough rolls filled with plum jam and served with warm vanilla sauce - Cafe EMA at the Masaryk railway station serves excellent buchty.
Paris is a cosmopolitan city, boasting a booming economy, proud cultural heritage, and numerous sights. Something interesting is always happening in Paris, the city of lights. For the avid traveler, there are many things to see all year round, but the best time to tour Paris is from June to August. The weather is perfect for exploring the outdoors, and the different colors in the squares and gardens of Paris are breathtaking during this time. Vacationers can always relax and have fun by the River Seine. Other summer activities include outdoor concerts and festivals. Spring is also a good time to visit Paris, when tourists can enjoy the blossoming flowers in many parks around the city. Spring stretches from March to May. The offseason, which is during fall and winter, is a rather quiet time of year to visit Paris. Some travelers take advantage of these months as there are thinner crowds. Travelers have a great opportunity to stroll around the Eiffel Tower without any rush or can peacefully admire the painting of Mona Lisa without waiting in a long queue. Whatever time of year you visit the city of lights, there are highlights that you should be sure to see during your trip.
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is a gorgeous historic city that offers a lot to visitors. This city hosts beautiful cathedrals, ancient castles, and medieval bridges among other stunning architecture. You can visit Prague at any time, although some seasons are better than others. Prague experiences a continental climate that is characterized by extreme temperatures. The city has four distinct seasons, each with its pros and cons. Summers get scorching hot while winters are frigid. The best time to visit Prague is, therefore, during spring or early fall. For the most comfortable temperatures, visit Prague between March and May. March may still be chilly, but by April, the warm weather kicks in and is a delight to witness. From trees blooming, to fresh air flowing, to longer days, spring presents the perfect setting for outdoor sightseeing. Apart from the mild weather, springtime in Prague is not touristy and the fewer crowds means better and faster access to services and tourist attractions. Several festivities also occur during spring. Besides the wonderful Easter celebrations, the Khamoro festival is a must-attend event. Held in May, the Romani people will entertain you with their culture and great music.