Manchester lies at the heart of Greater Manchester, in the north west of England. The city proper has a population of around half a million, while the larger conurbation, referred to as either Greater Manchester or Manchester City Region, has over 2.7 million inhabitants.
Manchester is in the northwest region of England and is characterised by its friendly, approachable inhabitants. Manchester is located about equidistant between Liverpool and Leeds, which are roughly 1 hour's travel each by road or rail from Manchester city centre. The expansion of the modern city has its roots in the 1800's when it became the world's first industrial city through the development of the cotton industry. The remnants of this development are still commonly visible through the red-brick mills of the period. The city had challenges following the decline of this industry in the twentieth century, however Investment in the city's regeneration following the 1996 IRA bomb and 2002 Commonwealth Games paid off and Manchester is well worth a visit. The city has developed dramatically in the last two decades and the city has a vibrant, cosmopolitan, exciting air. The city is being positioned as the heart of a new 'Northern Powerhouse', providing links to the surrounding cities and regions and delivering a counterweight to London in the south. Manchester is therefore well positioned to be used as a base to explore northern England and North Wales, with excellent air, rail, tram and road links.