Chinatown in Manchester is one of the largest Chinatowns in the U.K. and in Europe. Dine on authentic Chinese cuisine, browse the neighborhood’s colorful shops and be present for the lively annual Chinese New Year celebrations.
The first Chinese settlers arrived in Manchester in the early 20th century. These initial residents opened launderettes, with more settlers arriving and opening restaurants in the 1940s. The city’s Chinese quarter began to truly emerge in the 1970s. The areas around Nicholas Street, Faulkner Street and George Street have become a hub of Chinese cuisine and culture. The neighborhood now attracts many visitors. Even so, notice its air of authenticity, with people continuing to live and work in the area and few shops catering toward tourists.
Chinatown is a wonderful place for dining, with excellent Chinese restaurants as well as a variety of other Asian cuisines, from Japanese to Nepalese. Look for signposts marked in both Chinese and English. Many shops sell newspapers published in Hong Kong and China. The neighborhood is typically busiest on Sundays, when Chinese traders from across the country traditionally come to buy supplies in the local shops.
Look up to see Chinatown’s towering archway over Faulkner Street. A gift from China in 1987, the arch is touted as the first true Imperial Chinese arch erected in Europe. It was designed by artists from Peking and decorated with gold leaf, ceramics and lacquer. Notice the arch’s dragon and phoenix symbols as well as its red and gold colors, all symbolizing good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture.
One of the most exciting times of year to visit Chinatown is during February’s Chinese New Year celebrations. This festival attracts thousands of visitors and has expanded beyond Chinatown, with events taking place throughout Manchester’s city center. Watch lion and dragon dance performances, a lively parade, Chinese acrobatics and other traditional art and craft displays.
Manchester Chinatown is bordered by York Street, Portland Street, Oxford Street and Mosley Street. It’s open to the public daily. Reach the neighborhood by bus or take the train to Manchester Piccadilly station.