Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester in the north west of England is a county with a strong industrial heritage. Landmarks, visitor attractions, shopping, sports and nightlife mix with a vibrant music, theatre and arts scene.

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Greater Manchester Overview

Welcome to Greater Manchester

The landlocked county of Greater Manchester is in the north west of England, bordered by Merseyside, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Cheshire.

Greater Manchester has a population of around 2,800,000 people. The cities of Manchester, Salford and the towns of Bolton, Bury, Oldham and Rochdale are home to the larger populations in the county.

The landscape of Greater Manchester is mainly urban mixed with some outlying more rural areas home to heather clad moorland, the county flower – cotton grass, the Pennines and Peak District.


The county has a strong industrial heritage – particularly the manufacturing of textiles and cottons in the mills – the world’s first cotton mill being built near Oldham at Royton.

Manchester was founded on commerce with its trade using the world’s first entirely steam railway between Manchester and Liverpool. Excessive port charges led to the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1887 containing the Barton swing aqueduct the only one in the world then and now. The port of Manchester becoming for a time the 3rd largest in the UK, the area now being re-developed as the Salford Quays. Trafford Park was established the world’s first Industrial Park and still the largest in Europe.

62 Nelson Street, Manchester was the home of Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragette movement and is now a museum
Today many of the historic mills have undergone renovation and area such as Salford Quays are home to visitor attractions, restaurants and cafes.

Places to Visit in Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester has a wide choice of great of days out to keep all the family entertained. The city is home to a collection of eight museums – the Greater Manchester Museum Group including The Lowry at Salford Quays and Gallery Oldham where you can some of Picasso’s work. The Museum of Science and Industry is a platform for the part Manchester has played in the growth of science. Other museums nod to the industrial heritage of the county, with Stockport’s Hat Museum housed in a restored mill the only UK museum dedicated to the hat industry.

The arts, film and music industry is a feature of Greater Manchester and you will find many theatres, galleries and gig venues across the region, particularly in the city of Manchester. The areas has had a vibrant youth culture for many decades following bands like The Smiths and the opening of the Hacienda Club. It is also home to Granada TV studios and Coronation Street.
The wealth from trade led to fine examples of architecture like the Corn Exchange, Cathedral, Town Hall, John Rylands Library. For a step further back visit the original Chethams School of Music or The Shambles are worth exploring.

Greater Manchester has a number of important houses, stately homes and glorious gardens open to the public. Dunham Massey Hall is an 18th century house where you can tour rooms, relax in the historic features of the gardens and visit the 400 year old working sawmill. Lyme Park at Stockport is a magnificent setting featuring an outstanding house, a 17 acre high garden and nearly 1400 acres of moorland, woodland and parkland. The house has featured in Pride & Prejudice – the lake was where Mr Darcy emerged to encounter Elizabeth Bennett. Other properties include Bramall Hall near Stockport, Ordsall Hall in Salford, Smithills Hall near Bolton, and the Worsley Packet House on the banks of the Bridgewater canal.

The county its part in the world’s great footballing rivalries – the city is divided between the Red Devils of Old Trafford’s Manchester United and the blue “noisy neighbours” Manchester City of the Etihad Stadium, whilst both clubs enjoy fierce competition with Liverpool Football Club at the other of the East Lancs Road. Wigan Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, Rochdale, Stockport City, Oldham Athletic, Bury, F.C. United of Manchester and Salford City complete the line up of professional football clubs in the county. Lancashire County Cricket Club play at Old Trafford with is also an international Test match venue. Rugby League is a popular sport in the county with the likes of Salford, Wigan and Leigh amongst the teams. Other sports include basketball, speedway and indoor cycling at the Manchester Velodrome.

Looking for some retail therapy? Manchester has a great range of shops and designer brands – check out Deansgate, Affleck’s, the Manchester Arndale, the Lowry Outlet and the Old Trafford Centre.
Greater Manchester’s famous names include presenter Bill Oddie, entertainer George Formby, Olympic cyclist Jason Kenny, Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay, Manchester United legend Paul Scholes, actor John Thaw and William Web Ellis – credited with the creation of the game of rugby union having picked the ball up in a game of football.

Greater Manchester has a range of annual events including the Festwich Festival, Manchester Literature Festival, Caribbean Carnival of Manchester, Grimmfest, Manchester Food & Drink Festival and Wigan International Jazz Festival.

Greater Manchester traditional food includes Bury Black Pudding, Mushy or Parched Peas, Manchester Tart, Pasty Barm and Eccles Cakes.

Getting There

Greater Manchester is very accessible by road with the M60, M67, M602, M61 and M62 among the major roads running through the county linking to the large conurbations of Liverpool, Birmingham and beyond.

The county is well served by train with mainline links into Manchester Piccadilly on the West Coast Main Line meaning London Euston is a little over two hours away.
Visitors from further afield benefit from Manchester Airport.

Businesses in Greater Manchester

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