This year, four of the world’s biggest tourism accolades have named Manchester as a must-visit city on a global scale and for UK visitors.  

Of course, we’ve been shouting about all of the reasons you should visit Manchester for years, but being recognised by some of the biggest names in travel confirms everything we’ve been saying. 

So, if you’re planning a UK holiday next year or are looking for a city break in one of the world’s most exciting destinations, look no further than a trip to the North West. There are now even more reasons to bring your friends, family and loved ones to this great northern city, and if these reviews are anything to go by, they may not want to leave. 

Why Manchester? 

Manchester has always been a unique city, celebrated for its urban culture and prolific attitude. As the first industrial city, Manchester has always been at the forefront of the new. Home to writers, music legends, political activists, scientists, innovators and more, The Manchester way is something that has long been celebrated. 

However, 2023 is set to be an exciting year for Manchester as the city takes yet another new turn. Manchester is not a city that stands still, and recent developments show a shift in focus to culture and sustainability as it prepares to become an inclusive, net-zero city of the future.  

With a host of new attractions and openings, there’s plenty for both returning and new visitors to take in across the city. From new arts and music venues to museums and outside spaces, Manchester has a huge range of attractions that will appeal to people of all ages and interests, allowing everyone to expand their minds and see something new.  

This is something that National Geographic and Lonely Planet have both taken note of as Manchester is the only UK city to make both prestigious lists. But also, something Conde Nast Traveller and Time Out have noted in their UK roundups for the next year. 

Take a look at the recent accolades the city has won and the reasons why the city was selected 

National Geographic’s Best of The World  

Manchester Northern Quarter Flower Shop with National Geographic accolade logo

National Geographic has included Manchester in its list of the world’s best destinations to visit in 2023. Manchester is the only city in the UK to be awarded a place on the influential ‘Best of the World’ list which annually sets out 25 of the must-see places to visit around the world. 

Other global destinations to be included in the list were San Francisco, Colombia, Switzerland and Trinidad and Tobago. 

Making the Best of the World list recognises Manchester’s post-pandemic revival and comes ahead of several significant cultural attractions due to open in the city in 2023. Editors and travel experts personally nominated the city “as a mecca for soccer fans and a growing arts and culture hub”. 

Manchester was included in National Geographic’s ‘family’ category, which recognises destinations offering educational journeys for all generations. 

Reasons given for the decision to name Manchester ‘Best of the World’ include; Manchester Museum, which is due to reopen in February 2023 following a £15m transformation that will add new galleries; Factory International, opening in June 2023 with an ultra-flexible, large-scale performance space set to become home to Manchester International Festival; and the newly-opened Castlefield Viaduct, a National Trust managed former industrial railway bridge now transformed into a skyline urban park. 

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel List 

Ancoats in Manchester with Lonely Planet accolade

Global travel authority Lonely Planet has included The Renaissance City of Manchester in its list of 30 must-visit locations across the globe in its Best in Travel List. Once again, Manchester is the only UK city to feature in this prestigious list which also includes cities such as Lima in Peru, Sydney in Australia and regions including South Scotland, Zambia and Jordan. 

The city features in Lonely Planet’s ‘Learn’ category, and the accolade highlights Manchester’s dynamic arts scene. Lonely Planet describes Manchester as a place that has ‘grown in both size and renown in recent years, metamorphosing into a brilliantly creative, proudly musical, and gastronomically diverse hub. Quite simply, it’s one of the best – if not the best – cities in the UK with something for everyone.’ 

The accolade highlights the upcoming reopening of Manchester Museum, the recently expanded Manchester Jewish Museum, the incoming Factory International, and the newly-opened Castlefield Viaduct, as reasons to visit in 2023. 

An accompanying one-day itinerary also namechecks some classic must-visit spots including Manchester Art Gallery, Science and Industry Museum, Central and John Rylands Libraries, Northern Quarter street art, Manchester Craft and Design Centre, and Mackie Mayor, with nightlife suggestions ranging from cocktails at The Refuge, dinner at Three Little Words, jazz at Matt and Phreds, live music at Band on the Wall, and clubbing in The Village. 

Time Out’s Best Places to Visit in the UK 2023 

Time Out’s local experts across the UK have compiled a list of the destinations that they think are a must-visit for the next year without having to leave the UK. The Best Place to Visit in the UK list identifies places with a thriving food and drink scene, art and culture offerings as well as exciting new openings that make these places worth a visit. And so, it’s no surprise that Manchester has made the list. 

Time Out anticipates that these are the destinations everyone will be talking about over the next year and with so much going on in Manchester, we couldn’t agree more. Selected because of its sense of fun, Time Out highlights openings such as Manchester Museum, Factory International, Mayfield Park and Castlefield Viaduct, showing the city is serious about its green credentials as well as its educational and cultural offering.  

For the perfect day, the experts recommend a stroll around the Northern Quarter, shopping for unique gifts and taking in some of the UNESCO City of Literature sites before heading to HOME for a film and pizza. 

Manchester’s cultural offering and ability to add something a little different to your staycation, or conference visit, make it a must-visit. It’s a place you can keep coming back to and always find something different.  

Conde Nast Traveller’s best places to go in the UK 2023 

Manchester has made the list of 13 best places to visit in the UK next year according to editors of Conde Nast Traveller UK.

Conde Nast Traveller praises Manchester for its new green credentials. As the world’s first industrial city, Manchester has always been celebrated for urbanity and street culture. However, with new green spaces like Castlefield Viaduct, RHS Garden Bridgewater, Mayfield Park and more sustainable, low-carbon developments like Treehouse Hotel Manchester, it's clear that green is becoming a priority. Treehouse and new, state-of-the-art music venue Co-Op Live have been designed with sustainability in mind helping the city to reach net zero ambitions. 

Conde Nast Traveller also highlights the cultural offerings that celebrate the city’s diversity, heritage and vibrant future. These offerings include the revamp of Manchester Museum with dedicated galleries celebrating the city’s Asian heritage and the new Fashion Gallery at Manchester Art Gallery. Factory International and music venue, Co-Op Live, which will have the largest maximum capacity of any indoor arena in the UK are also mentioned for the revolutionary impact they will have on the city's cultural event scene. 

The accolade also nodded to some of the decadent new hotel and leisure openings coming to Manchester in the next year with Soho House, MUSU a new theatrical Japanese restaurant and Dakota Manchester, one of the city’s newest luxury hotels.  

As a must-visit city, delegates will love to visit Manchester. Alongside stand-out hotels, Greater Manchester has plenty of activities to keep you entertained during your stay From shopping to museums, outdoor spaces to gastronomic delights, world-class music venues to galleries and art offerings, there has never been a more exciting time to visit Manchester.  

To learn more about events happening across the city-region, visit our What’s On page. 

Find more ideas and inspiration for your Manchester stay by reading our blog

Explore our website to learn more about where to stay, the best places for food and drink and various attractions across the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester.