Piccadilly Gardens, Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, M1 3BG
“Every time Piccadilly grows, I expand” said poet Lemn Sissay in 2009. Considering how much Piccadilly has grown and changed in recent years, Sissay must be of gargantuan proportions by now. The ever-evolving heart of Manchester is part-public transport hub (the Metrolink and the city’s buses both have central stations here) and part-public gardens: visit in the summertime and you’ll find sunbathers on the grass and kids braving its Tadao Ando-designed water feature. Although the divisive concrete barrier blocking the bus station has turned the grassed area into more of an enclave, Piccadilly Gardens is far from being an urban idyll. Think of it as your gateway to Manchester: Market Street sits to the left, the Northern Quarter is at the helm and trams are on hand to whisk you to The Quays and Heaton Park; it’s up to you what happens next.