Summary
This article lists ten of the most popular and acclaimed bands from Manchester, a city with a long and proud reputation for music, featuring bands of the punk era to the cutting edge of today's post-punk revival, and beyond.  
Music is integral to Manchester. Some of the most famous and acclaimed bands the UK has ever produced came from the northwest, and many people visit the city for this reason. If you decide to go on a musical pilgrimage to Britain's unofficial second city, there are some great accommodation options handily located to the city's musical landmarks like Luther King House (www.lutherkinghouse.co.uk).
Here are ten of the greatest bands to come out of Manchester:
Buzzcocks
Buzzcocks are an essential part of the city's musical history – they invited the Sex Pistols to play at the legendary Free Trade Hall gig, where Mark E Smith, Morrissey, Tony Wilson and others were in attendance. But more importantly, their classic song “Ever Fallen In Love” remains a local anthem.

The Fall
They may have 29 albums under their belt, but The Fall have never been a mainstream Manchester band, always operating slightly under the radar. Yet their influence is always there: John Peel named them his favourite band, and their chameleonic styles remain a firm favourite to many.

The Smiths
Perhaps the most important band from Manchester's thriving 80s music scene, The Smiths remain as important to the city as ever. Murmurs of a reunion continue to rumble, but unless Morrissey and Johnny Marr patch up their differences, it seems we'll have to settle for their incredible back catalogue.

Joy Division
The mystique of Ian Curtis and Joy Division endures thirty years on – not least because of the continued legacy set by New Order, the band that was born out of it. The few songs that exist hold a bittersweet edge in the light of Curtis' sudden suicide, aged just 23.
The Stone Roses
The insane reaction seen at The Stone Roses' reunion gig in Manchester's Heaton Park this year is testament to how highly these Madchester heroes are still regarded. Some called it closer to a “religious experience” than a gig – you don't hear many bands talked about like that.

Badly Drawn Boy
Always seen in an unruly mess of hair and beard, and always clad in his trademark grubby-looking beanie, the man known to his mum as Darren Gough first emerged in the late 90s. His likeable, quirky brand of folk has won him plaudits, and sound tracking duties on two films.

Lamb
Existing outside of the guitar-band tradition, Lamb always seemed closer aligned to the Bristol sound of trip-hop and electronica. Nonetheless, they're an important milestone in Manchester's musical history; a recent reunion emphasised some deep affection for the band.

Oasis
Oasis are easily the biggest band ever to come out of Manchester, and one of the biggest ever to come out of the UK. A very long-running feud between the Gallagher brothers ensured that we might not see them on a stage ever again, but the memory of that hot Britpop summer of 1995 still lingers.
Elbow
Perhaps the biggest Manc band around at the present, Elbow's friendly, heart-warming style has won them fans the world over. This was firmly cemented when they wrote the official Olympics song at London 2012 and performed at the Closing Ceremony.

Egyptian Hip Hop
Egyptian Hip Hop is not a localised genre but actually an English rock band who have been making huge waves in the current Manchester music scene. 

Manchester really is the city of music. The three-day festival In the City recognised this in 2010 by gathering the music industry in Manchester and providing a forum to showcase new talent as well as holding workshops, debates and conferences in Manchester wide. It is a city well worth visiting for its music scene – you can visit musical landmarks as well as discover the wealth of new talent that is still emerging from Manchester today.
Resource Box
Manchester voted as having the UK's best live music scene
The NME reports on a live music survey.

Manchester's music scene now has Everything Everything
The Guardian examines the city's current music scene.

Popular music of Manchester
A Wikipedia article on the city's musical history.
 
New Forest, Hampshire, England

One of Britain’s largest national parks is situated in the South of England. Walk around the cute villages of Christchurch and Brockenhurst and try not to buy some antiques or handmade curiosities in the artisan shops.  The new forest is very big and famous for its great cycle and walking paths. Enjoy the fresh air, the animals that are running wild and beautiful scenery for the day until you find that perfect spot to sit down and enjoy your home made picnic. Don’t feed the ponies though; they will never leave you alone.


Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh houses the world’s biggest collection of plants that are native as well as non-native to the UK. It is a great place for a day out especially during spring when the trees start to blossom and the flowers come out. You can easily walk around for an entire day in between the multitude of flora that the gardens have to offer. Take a look at the website for special events and festivals that are organised during the spring and summer months to make your visit even more special.

Fermanagh Lakelands, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland

Fermanagh Lakelands are part of the beautiful countryside of Northern Ireland. They are situated in the West of the country and only 2 hours away from Belfast. Within the parameters of this countryside jewel you will find a treasure of outdoor activities. You can do anything from caving to hiking and from cycling to paintballing. We suggest a nice horseback ride through the countryside of Irvinestown with a picnic at Enniskillen Castle.

Llangennith, Swansea, Wales

This beautiful stretch of sandy beach on the coast of West Wales is great for an outdoor picnic. The beach itself is gorgeous and deserted during low-season. However there are always some great surfers battling the crashing waves who are certainly of entertainment value. If the weather really heats up, you can also sign yourself up for some surf lessons in one of the many surf schools around the area.

Organising a picnic in a park or a forest is a great way to celebrate a birthday. Most parks are open to the public so you can invite as many people as you like, or make it a romantic lunch for two instead.  To make the picnic extra festive bring one or two birthday present hampers which you can find online via many Great British patisseries. All you need other than that is a blanket, sunglasses and a charged i-Pod.

Enjoy the spring!

 

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Whether you are spending time with a new love you met on free dating sites or rekindling the flame with your lifelong partner, follow this quick guide to the top five romantic cities the UK has to offer.

Bath
Set in the beautiful west English county of Somerset, this quaint spa town is the top romantic city in the UK. With narrow lanes, cobbled streets and traditional charm in abundance, this small city has much to offer couples.
No trip to Bath would be complete without a visit to the famous Roman Baths. Built around natural hot springs by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago, the thermal baths are now a world heritage site. After exploring the site of the original baths, the King’s Bath and the Sacred Spring, take a dip in the UK’s only thermal spa and relax with your lover.


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London
Capital of the UK, heart of the British people, London is a busy, hectic place, but romance exudes from its nooks and crannies. Whether it’s an intimate restaurant, a picturesque walk along the Thames or a picnic in one of the city’s many parks, London is a lovers’ playground.

Hampstead Heath is one of the city’s most beautiful places and has featured in many tales of love in the past. If you’ve just met someone through dating agencies such as eHarmony UK, head to the Heath for a chilled-out first date.

Brighton
Many couples find the sea romantic, and Brighton has a long beachfront for visitors to enjoy. Take a walk down the pier and get your photo taken through an illustrated board. You can get your tarot read and look into the future or just share tasty fish and chips on the seafront.

The Laines and quirky streets of Brighton are filled with places to explore, with many cafes and bars perfect for an intimate conversation. Come summer Brighton booms, so escape the crowds by heading down to Hove and take a dip in the sea together, eat ice-cream or just laze in the sun.


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Edinburgh
This Scottish city is bursting with historical and cultural things to do, all set against the romantic setting of Edinburgh Castle. The Royal Mile is a top attraction for visitors, and with many cafes and quirky shops to duck in and out of, it’s a good way to spend an afternoon.
If you want to escape the crowds and spend some time chilling out, head out of town. You can spend time getting to know each other at Arthur’s Seat. With breathtaking views over the Salisbury Crags and a relaxed atmosphere, it is one of the most romantic spots in the city.


York
Take a boat cruise along the River Ouse through the centre of this historical city. Snuggle up, relax and enjoy the scenery, while taking in the sunset over the water – the perfect way to end a romantic day.

Resource box
BBC Weather
The BBC’s UK weather forecast

Thermae Bath Spa
The website for Britain’s only natural thermal spa

Visit Brighton
The official tourism guide to Brighton

 
English is one of the most widely-used languages in the world, but what is the lowdown on studying English in the UK, as appose to your native country? In this article we examine learning English as a second language.

The importance of English

English is arguably the most important and widely-spoken language around the world. For a start it is spoken in some of the most powerful countries, such as the US, Britain, Canada and Australia – in total 57 countries speak English as the official language. It is also the language of NATO, the European Union and the United Nations.

Although only the third most-spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, English is probably most used as a second language. It is estimated that around a third of the world speak some English.

Learning in England versus learning in your native country

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You can pretty much find English courses anywhere in the world, and for many English is taught from a young age at school. Although these classes are certainly beneficial to millions, if not billions, of people around the globe, there is nowhere better to learn English than in the country it was born.

For those who are looking to better their English for career purposes, you may be tempted to take classes in your own country. Although this is certainly cheaper and more feasible with a working lifestyle, if you do get the opportunity to take classes in an English-speaking country then you should take it. Nobody can teach the English language as well as a professionally trained English native.

By living the UK, students are surrounded by the language at all times and are practically forced into speaking English. Everywhere you turn and everything you do, including shopping, public transport and the media, you must use English. Instead of switching off until your next lesson, which can be the case when studying in your own country, your brain will be switched on to English at all times.

Schools in the UK

If you are looking for an English course UK schools often vary greatly in quality. Many schools offer cheap classes, taught by unqualified teachers. It is certainly worth doing some serious research and making sure that the place you end up studying has been accredited by the appropriate bodies.

The location can make or break your trip to the UK, so it is worth thinking about what you really want from your trip. If you are want to get down and do some serious studying for an exam or foundation programme UK schools in the countryside, where it is much more peaceful and quiet, might be more suitable. But if you want to experience the social side of living in the UK, a school in a major city, such as London or Manchester, might be more appropriate.

Links:

English Grammar Guide - A useful online guide to English grammar rules

BBC World Service - A guide to learning English from the BBC World Service

British Council Teaching English - Site featuring information for students and teachers of English as a foreign language, including videos