Manchester, England
Making plans for a European city break this summer? Seeking somewhere with centuries of history and culture, fine wine and, above all, sweltering temperatures?

There’ll always be Rome, Barcelona, Athens — but chances are you haven’t considered Manchester, the northern English industrial powerhouse that inspired Karl Marx to write The Communist Manifesto and gave the world the Smiths, Joy Division and Oasis (you know, the ones who wrote “Wonderwall”).

Yet as I write from the downtown offices of the Mill, the city’s up-and-coming quality local journalism newsletter, the windows are wide open, two fans are working overtime, the desk...

Manchester, England

Making plans for a European city break this summer? Seeking somewhere with centuries of history and culture, fine wine and, above all, sweltering temperatures?

There’ll always be Rome, Barcelona, Athens — but chances are you haven’t considered Manchester, the northern English industrial powerhouse that inspired Karl Marx to write The Communist Manifesto and gave the world the Smiths, Joy Division and Oasis (you know, the ones who wrote “Wonderwall”).

Yet as I write from the downtown offices of the Mill, the city’s up-and-coming quality local journalism newsletter, the windows are wide open, two fans are working overtime, the desk plants are shuffling off the mortal coil and the thermometer reads “36 degrees Celsius” — which translates to 97 degrees Fahrenheit.

I know what you’re thinking — “97 degrees? Is that it? No wonder those lily-livered limeys wilted when faced down by Founding Fathers.” In the US, 97 degrees is code for “turn the AC up, dip in the pool and put the extremely watery light beer in the cooler.”

But Manchester was not built for this heat. Buildings here don’t come equipped with air-conditioning units — no one has ever needed them — and in the two local cafes I sampled this afternoon, the baristas were clearly rookies at making iced coffee.

Naturally Britain has been brought to its knees: schools closed early and trains are being canceled (though frankly this happens all the time anyway). The H&M on Market Street is sold out of sunglasses. If you tried to order an AC unit on Amazon Prime on Monday, it likely wouldn’t be with you until Friday. Down in Oxfordshire the Royal Air Force halted flights after the runway at their Brize Norton base “melted.” That makes this the perfect time for President Biden’s allies in Ireland to invade.

And Tuesday will be even hotter, with temperatures set to break 40 degrees Celsius — or 104 degrees Fahrenheit — for the first time on record. Respite will only arrive in the UK that evening, when cooler winds should blow in from the Atlantic. Until then, Brits are being left to make like Prince Andrew and sweat it out.