From urban fabric to attitude, Manchester is defined by industry. The architecture of its massive 18th- and 19th-century expansion dominates to this day, with imposing municipal buildings and an atmospheric web of canals, bridges and railway arches to explore. Also enduring into the 21st century is a productive can-do ethos, with the city now rightly regarded as the capital of northern England. It isn’t all elbow grease, of course. As befits a destination with international relevance, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to creature comforts – whether that’s in the form of high-end shopping, refined hotels or an exciting, ever-improving dining scene. And if you visit when the Rainy City is living up to its nickname, you may well be glad of these opportunities for self-indulgence. But don’t forget that Manchester is, at heart, a working-class place where the down-to-earth is cherished – the city adores its traditional pubs, curry cafes (the most cherished is This & That at 3 Soap Street), and popular culture from music to football. Make the effort to sample both sides of the city – the glitz and the grit – and you’ll be assured of an authentic Mancunian experience.