If Manchester can be said to have a centre, it’s Albert Square and the cluster of buildings surrounding it – the Town Hall, the Central Library and the Midland Hotel, originally built in the railway age to host visitors to Britain’s greatest industrial city. South of here, the former Central Station now functions as the Manchester Central convention centre, with the Hallé Orchestra’s home, Bridgewater Hall, just opposite. Chinatown and the Gay Village are just a short walk to the east, while to the northeast, the revamped Piccadilly Gardens provides access to the funky Northern Quarter. To the southwest is the Castlefield district, site of the Museum of Science and Industry. The central spine of the city is Deansgate, which runs from Castlefield to the cathedral and, in its northern environs, displays the most dramatic core of urban regeneration in the country, centred on the unalloyed modernity of Exchange Square.

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