If a recent survey is to be believed, 41% of Britons will be enjoying a staycation as their main holiday during 2012. This is the highest level since the recession first took hold in 2008. Obviously the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee make an important impact, but for many the choice of home or away simply comes down to cash flow.

The UK is back in recession, the future looks murky and inflation remains high, so the average family can’t afford to spend £1000+ on a holiday abroad. The average week’s holiday in the UK costs less than £450. Holiday costs can be reduced further by escaping the costly confines of London and the South East and heading north to the great cities of Manchester, Liverpool and York and the surrounding landscapes of the Yorkshire Moors and Dales and the Peak District.

Manchester makes a great base for exploring the region and landscape. It is a thriving city that has fought back from decline to become the UK’s second city – along with Birmingham – after London. It is an attractive city with a mixture of old and new; shopping is second only to London and despite glitzy redevelopments, financial booms and its elevated status, Manchester remains true to itself, its background, history and local residents. It is a friendly, welcoming city where life moves a little slower than London and is all the better for it.

There are a number of hotels in Manchester catering to a wide range of budgets. Millennium Hotels adds to the hotels in Manchester with its four-star Copthorne Hotel Manchester located on Clippers Quay overlooking the attractive waterfront. It is the perfect place to begin your exploration of this great city.

Any trip to Manchester should include some shopping. The Arndale is the biggest inner city shopping centre in the UK and is home to 240 shops. On its doorstep are Harvey Nichols and Selfridges and if vintage and independent fashions are your thing then Manchester won’t disappoint either. The Manchester Vintage Fashion Market is held on the third Saturday of every month and is popular with Kate Moss and Alexa Chung.

Courtesy of Imedagoze

Manchester is obsessed with football. With two of the best premiership teams and most iconic stadiums, it should come as no surprise that this summer Manchester is being endowed with the National Football Museum complete with archives, artefacts and interactive games.

Manchester’s food, drink and music scene is unsurpassable right now. This city has been churning out pop, rock and indie stars for decades and continues to do so. It has dozens of music venues such as Night and Day Cafe and Band on the Wall to satiate a musical appetite and restaurants such as the Grill on the Alley and the Northern Quarter Restaurant should more than meet your culinary requirements.

Find out more about Manchester and its neighbours on Visit Manchester.