I shouldn't knock Manchester — I'm sure it's a great place. Being from the London area though, I've always had to find reasons to consider visiting Manchester. Now that I'm living in Australia, finding reasons to go is even harder.
Manchester's stock has risen recently, joining the ranks of Reading, Birmingham and Hatfield to host a SQLBits conference. Definitely a trip worth making if you're in the UK. It's on the last Saturday of March.
Registrations are now open, so get along to the site and plan to be at this event. One day I'll end up being in the country on the right day and make it to one of these events.
The guys behind this event are all good guys, and the content will be very high quality again (and even more sessions – the number of sessions has increased by about 50%). The last event had nearly three hundred people attend, and this one event has over three hundred registered so far.