Manchester Chinatown is currently the second largest Chinatown in UK and third largest in Europe. Although a relatively new Chinatown that emerged during the 1970s, Manchester Chinatown has developed very fast and has even become the main cultural hub for Chinese living in northern England. In fact, Manchester Chinatown is known as the “Chinese Village for the north of England”.
This status is further enhanced by the establishing of Chinese culture centers and the most visible icon of Manchester Chinatown – its impressive archway. This archway is located at Faulkner Street and was a gift from China. Not many Chinatowns around the world have this honour.
You can tell that this archway is important landmark when you see signposts directing visitors to the archway. This is another unique feature of Manchester Chinatown. Very impressive!
At the time of its completion in 1987, the Manchester Chinatown archway was the largest in UK until it was overtaken by Liverpool Chinatown’s archway in 2000.
Manchester Chinatown is bounded by 4 streets (York Street, Portland Street, Oxford Street and Mosley Street). Within and around this area, you can find lots of Chinese restaurants, supermarkets, shops and Chinese physicians. In some of the shops, you can even find newspapers published in Hong Kong and China specially airfreight for sale in Manchester Chinatown.
There are also restaurants for other Asian cuisines (Thai, Japanese, and Nepali) including cuisines of overseas Chinese from Singapore and Malaysia who migrated to UK. Streets leading to Chinatown have signposts to guide tourists towards this “must visit” destination.
During major Chinese festivals especially the Chinese New Year, Manchester Chinatown welcomes thousands of visitors – ethnic Chinese, locals and tourists. The car park next to the archway is often transformed into a performance area complete with a big stage.
Visitors are entertained with performances, lion dance and dragon dances. During the Chinese New Year celebrations, firecrackers add a magic touch to welcome the New Year.
Manchester Chinatown is a living Chinatown where people work and run their businesses. Although it is a major tourist attraction, there is very little souvenir shops or stalls trying to sell tourists the typical touristy t-shirts and fridge magnets.
Maybe because of this, it has an authentic feel and that attracts tourists. On any day, you can see tourists strolling in Chinatown and almost everyone stops by the archway to take a few photos.
When you visit Manchester, remember to drop by Manchester Chinatown. You get to experience Chinatown’s authenticity and Manchester’s vibrancy.