The Greater Manchester conurbation incorporates the towns of Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport and Wigan, and has the vibrant city of Manchester as its administrative headquarters.
Manchester was founded in Roman times, and developed during the 17th century as a textile town, becoming the centre of the English cotton industry. Its magnificent Victorian Gothic public buildings are reminders of Manchester’s prosperous heyday. The Manchester Ship Canal was completed in 1894, linking the Mersey with the sea and bringing ocean-going vessels into Manchester, enabling the city to compete with its rival, Liverpool.
The city of Manchester today is alive with a vibrant youth culture (it has England’s largest student population), a flourishing club scene, and a whole range of multi-cultural festivals and events. To take in the atmosphere, take a stroll around one of Britain’s largest Chinatowns, or wander down to Rusholme to take in the tempting aromas of curry houses and browse among the sari shops, Asian grocers and Indian sweet shops. The city is also home to the world’s longest-running soap opera – Coronation Street.