Updated: Monday, 20th January 2020 @ 2:08pm

Lonely Planet describe Manchester as 'truly special' while rest of UK is 'overpriced'

Lonely Planet describe Manchester as 'truly special' while rest of UK is 'overpriced'

By Barrie White

Backpackers and wandering travellers' bible Lonely Planet are describing Manchester as 'truly special' in their most recent guide to the UK, despite calling the rest of the country 'overpriced'.

It reads: “What makes this city truly special are the distractions of pure pleasure.  You can dine, drink and dance yourself into happy oblivion in the thrill of nightlife that once made this place a key stop on the global party tour."

So says Lonely Planet’s recently released and updated bi-annual guide to the UK about Manchester.

The guide caused a stir in the media this week by suggesting that Britain is not good for overseas tourists on a budget.

Coordinating author David Else – who said reviewers for the guide believe they tell it as it is – clarified what the writers meant.

He said: “Visitors to the UK who do not plan to manage their funds could find it very expensive."

While this could be said of some UK cities, he feels Manchester is a place that can give foreign visitors value for money.

“I would say that Manchester would fall into that bracket.

“Even though it’s a popular place, it’s not going to be the same as Oxford, York or Stratford-Upon-Avon as a place to visit for some tourists.

“Because of that, some tourists can find a more authentic and value for money experience.”

Else says Manchester has always rated highly in the Lonely Planet’s guide to UK cities, even going as far to declare it the capital of the North.

“In the past we’ve rated Manchester in the top five in Britain.  We have described it as Britain’s Barcelona. 

“We know that London dominates the scene but Manchester is number two. 

“In the UK we have to take notice of up-and-coming cities like Cardiff, Glasgow and Edinburgh but Manchester is right up there.”

Else’s says his own experiences of what Manchester has to offer are varied but were always good.

He said: “I’ve had some good nights out in Manchester.  I used to live in Sheffield and many times I’ve caught the very late train back from Manchester after a good night. 

“Now I can’t remember – that sounds terrible – enough to pick out individual spots because so many things have changed, but what I do remember is always having a good time. 

“Not just talking about Friday nights on the town but I’ve met friends and had good meals, etc.  I’ve also had refined but just as enjoyable experiences.”

One restaurant included in Lonely Planet’s guide to Manchester is vegetarian food place, Earth Café, on Turner Street, saying that: “Here you’ll eat well in the knowledge that you’re eating right.”

Vinod Kamble, 30, is a senior chef at the café and is delighted to be included in such a prestigious guide.

“It’s very exciting to see that in Lonely Planet.  A lot of people see it so it’s very good news.  We’re happy to serve people, whether vegan or vegetarian.

“I think Manchester is a popular city because it’s historic and it is because of the football that attracts people. 

“It has different places to have food.  People come to Manchester because it caters for everyone.

“Different community groups here help people too.”

Here is a selection of quotes from the Lonely Planet’s Great Britain travel guide, which is available for £17.99:

Ian Brown’s (former Stone Roses frontman) description of ‘Manchester has everything but a beach’, and notes that it is Manchester’s unofficial motto.  Even if it is a bit of Northern bluster from Brown, he isn’t far wrong. 

It was the World’s first modern city and the birthplace of capitalism.  It’s where the Industrial Revolution blossomed and where communism and feminism were given theoretical legs.  It was raised on lofty ambition so it stands to reason that it likes to plan on an impressive scale.

The choice of restaurants in Manchester is the best outside of London with something for every palate and every wallet.

There’s a huge range of restaurants – from the superb selection in Chinatown to the organic haven in the Northern Quarter.  If you want to dine like an in-the-know Mancunian, go out to the suburbs such as Didsbury.

RECOMMENDED: Vegetarian food place, Earth Café, on Turner Street, where Lonely Planet says you can "eat well in the knowledge you are eating right"