Global travel authority Lonely Planet has today unveiled its top destinations to visit in 2023, with Manchester making the cut as one of 30 must-visit locations.

Manchester is the only UK city to feature in the Best in Travel 2023 list, which also includes cities as varied as Lima in Peru, Ghana’s capital Accra, and Sydney, Australia, as well as regions, states, and countries such as New Mexico, South Scotland, Zambia, and Jordan.

Ancoats Building with 'Manchester Best in Travel 2023' text overlaid.

The city features in the ‘Learn’ category, which highlights Manchester’s dynamic arts scene and describes it 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 – which Manchester also received in 2016 on the back of the reopening of the Whitworth art gallery and opening of HOME in 2015, as well as the reopening of Manchester Central Library in 2014 – 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, 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.

Each year, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023 lists start with nominations from Lonely Planet’s vast community of staff, writers, bloggers, publishing partners and more. The nominations are whittled down by its panel of travel experts to just 30 destinations. Each is chosen for its topicality, unique experiences, ‘wow’ factor and its ongoing commitment to sustainability, community, and diversity. 

Commenting on the accolade, Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester, said: Seven years on from Manchester being championed as a must-visit destination in 2016, we are delighted Lonely Planet is once again heralding the city as one of the best places to visit in 2023. 

“This accolade comes ahead of an exciting year for Greater Manchester’s visitor attractions with major world-class openings coming to the city in fantastic culture, new music venues to bring in fans, beautiful green spaces, alongside a growing global reputation for outstanding food and drink, vibrant places to stay, and unique neighbourhoods to explore. We will be making the most of Lonely Planet’s accolade to encourage international visitors to come and see Greater Manchester and find out what makes it special for themselves.

“At Marketing Manchester, we have worked hard to rebuild Greater Manchester’s post-pandemic reputation, supporting our tourism and hospitality industry to ensure we offer visitors an attractive destination to check off their bucket list. Lonely Planet’s accolade affirms Manchester’s position as a leading UK city destination and recognises all the city has to offer.”

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "It's great news for Manchester that trusted global travel experts Lonely Planet are singing the city's praises as a must-visit place in 2023. This prestigious accolade is a further demonstration that we are making our mark on the world stage.

“Tourism creates and supports jobs and other opportunities for Manchester people and is an important part of our economy. The array of attractions, many of which are free to visit, is something our residents can also enjoy.

"When Lonely Planet says there is something for everyone here, it's the result of long-term planning and partnership. We're proud to be the only UK city on this list." 

Tom Hall, Vice President at Lonely Planet, said: "Everyone at Lonely Planet is thrilled to have Manchester included in Best in Travel 2023. Manchester's urban dynamism combined with a fascinating history and cultural scene makes it an exciting pick. Next year is going to be a great one in Manchester for cultural happenings like the reopening of Manchester Museum, the launch of the new Factory International and the chance to tour Castlefield Viaduct. It's a city to experience, not just visit, so our suggested itineraries have also flagged up live music, great places to eat and drink and street art tours, and much more."

To read more about Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023 list, please click here

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