Manchester Travel Guide – About this page
Manchester travel guide suggests things to do in Manchester, Various attractions and sightseeing, budget tips to safely stay, travel, and plan your Manchester trip.
Manchester Travel Guide – About Manchester
Manchester, England is full of interesting history. The city flourished in the 19th century when it became the first industrialized city, but then faced a sharp decline when manufacturing left England. Today, Manchester is revitalizing. Visiting here allows you to see many historic streets, eat at some of the trendiest restaurants outside of London, and enjoy a thriving business district. The city is famous for its soccer (soccer) teams. There are two teams, Manchester United and Man City, and there is great rivalry between the two sides.
Manchester travel guide – Top 5 places to see and do in Manchester
1. Visit the Manchester Art Gallery
This gallery has a decent-sized collection of works from the 17th and 18th centuries, including many pieces of crafts and design. There is an extensive collection of costumes from 1600 to the present day, with many of Manchester’s local artisans. Admission is free.
2. See the Godlee Observatory
Built-in 1902, this observatory is one of Manchester’s most interesting attractions. The telescope housed here is original and is still fully operational. Private tours of the roof are possible with incredible panoramic views of Manchester.
3. Hang out at Albert Square
Albert Square is one of the best places to people-watch in Manchester. During the summer the square is home to many of the great festivals and events and in winter you will find the Manchester Christmas Market here. There are also often food stalls here.
4. See Manchester Cathedral
There has been a church in the same location since 700 AD, although the Cathedral was largely renovated in the 19th century and therefore appears relatively modern. However, pay attention to the interior of the carpentry, because there are many hidden symbols and icons depicting medieval tales and legends.
5. Become a football fan
With two of the best teams in the English Premier League (Manchester United and Man City), you can’t come to Manchester and not watch a football match. Buy your tickets early as they often sell out. Just make sure you don’t go to a Man U pub with a Man City shirt!
Manchester travel guide – Many other places to see and do in Manchester
1. Explore the University of Manchester
More than just a beautiful campus to walk through, the university is also the place where the first computer was built and where radio astronomy (the study of space using radio waves) was created. Visit the Manchester Museum which is located on campus (free entry) and includes exhibitions covering the span of history. The permanent collection of over four million objects features dinosaur skeletons, mummies from Ancient Egypt, and scientific equipment from Charles Darwin to Alan Turning. The museum also hosts regular events and special exhibitions (just check the website for details).
2. Walk along Curry Mile
Take a stroll down the Curry Mile in South Manchester. The Wilmslow Road stretch is packed with restaurants, sari shops, and jewelry stores. Manchester has many immigrants from South Asia, and here you will find great food and curries from India and Pakistan (hence the name). One of the most popular restaurants along the Curry Mile is Mughal.
3. Stroll down Market Street
At the northwest corner of Piccadilly Gardens, Market Street is a short stretch of bustling day and night. Between the gardens and the nightlife-filled Deansgate, you’ll find plenty of retail stores, cheap restaurants, and street performers. It is popular with Manchester’s younger population.
4. Visit Castlefield
This site of an original Roman settlement is a good place for history lovers. The Castlefield area is at the center of Manchester’s canal network and was once a transportation link for the city, but is now a favorite hangout for the alternative Manchester scene. The famous Haçienda department store nightclub was located along the Rochdale Canal when it opened in the 1980s and 1990s. Its former location is part of the current Lesbian & Gay Heritage Trail trail, but visit the area today for a glimpse take a look at Manchester’s current alternative music scene in the many pubs or the great Rebellion music venue.
5. Tour Manchester City Hall
This beautiful neo-Gothic masterpiece is a symbol of Manchester’s wealth and power during the Industrial Revolution. Free tours can be arranged and the cabins are open to visitors when not in use. This place was built during the height of Manchester’s industrial influence. The main entrance features a Roman sculpture to mark the city’s historical past as a Roman colony.
6. Learn about the gay and lesbian heritage trail
The gay scene in Manchester is considered one of the best in England. At the tourist office, you can get the Gay and Lesbian Village Guide, which lists tons of bars, galleries, clubs, and groups serving the community. The trail itself is a 90-minute walking tour of the city’s pink links. Look out for rainbow tiles laid on the sidewalk in front of LGBTQ historical sites throughout Manchester. For the city’s gay nightlife, visit Canal Street, which is a pedestrian area full of LGBTQ bars, clubs, restaurants, and cafes every day and every night. You can expect to find drag queens every night promoting their shows at various locations along Canal Street.
7. Experience the nightlife
The Manchester club scene is one of the largest in England. Many big names, like Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk, started playing at places like Sankey’s and FAC 251. Visit Deansgate Locks to see a rowdy row of swanky clubs and sports bars located within railroad arches. Nearby, Oxford Road is home to several nightlife venues, including the Gorilla Club, which regularly offers live music. Visit Gay Village, mainly along Canal Street, where you will find all the gay and lesbian clubs like GAY (ideal for a cheap night out) or the lively gay pub The Thompson’s Arms. For more alternative and avant-garde bars and clubs, head to the bohemian Northern Quarter. The old industrial area has been transformed into a cultural center with bars, clandestine clubs, and secret parties.
8. Visit the Sackville Gardens
Bordered on one side by Canal Street from Gay Village, Sackville Gardens is a small park with some important historical monuments. It is also the meeting point for Free Manchester Walking Tours. However, if you visit on your own, don’t miss the important Alan Turing memorial. Turing, known as the “father of modern computing” and a gay icon, lived and worked in Manchester and played an instrumental role in cracking the famous Enigma code. Also in the garden, there is a Transgender Memorial to honor transgender victims of violence. A third LGBTQ monument, the Beacon of Home, is the UK’s only permanent monument for people living with HIV or AIDS and lives lost.
9. Explore the Museum of Popular History
Housed in a former Edwardian pumping station, the Museum of People’s History depicts Britain’s battle for democracy for two centuries through historical displays of working-class life. This includes a fascinating interactive display that follows five generations of the same family as each generation is affected by these events. The rotating exhibits present socially relevant topics such as climate protests, immigration, and workers’ rights. Admission is free.
10. Take a free walking tour
The free Manchester walking tours start in the historic gardens of Sackville and offer an excellent overview of the city’s past and present. You’ll cover all the main neighborhoods on one tour and discover some hidden gems along the way. The tours also highlight some of Manchester’s iconic graffiti and street art in the Northern Quarter. Be sure to tip your guide.
Manchester travel guide – Manchester travel expenses
During the high season, you can find dorms with 10 or more beds for around £ 15 ($ 18 USD) per night, no matter where you are in the city. Rooms with 4-8 beds cost around £ 30 ($ 36 USD) per night. Out of season, prices tend to be around £ 14 ($ 18 USD) per night for larger bedrooms and around £ 21 ($ 27 USD) per night for dorms with 4-8 beds. A private double room with a shared bathroom for two people costs around £ 45 ($ 55 USD) per night in high season. In the low season, prices are almost the same. Camps abound outside of town, although you may need a vehicle to get to them. If you have a tent, it will cost between £ 10-20 ($ 12-24 USD) per night.
Rates per night for a budget two-star hotel room with a private bathroom start at around £ 40 ($ 50 USD) in high season. In the low season, economy rooms start from about £ 34 ($ 42 USD). There are many Airbnb options in Manchester. A shared room (such as a bed in a bedroom) averages £ 16 ($ 20 USD) per night, while a private room costs around £ 25 ($ 30 USD) per night. An entire apartment averages around £ 50 ($ 61 USD) per night.
To eat as cheaply as possible, stick around in cafes and pubs where you can have lunch for £ 8 ($ 10 USD), including classic fish and chips. Fast food (think McDonald’s) will cost you around £ 5 ($ 6 USD) for a meal. There are many food stalls in and around Piccadilly Circus, and if you walk north through the Northern Quarter, you will find many different cheap restaurants.
Try Northern Soul Grilled Cheese for artisan grilled cheese sandwiches for around £ 5 ($ 6 USD). Chinatown is another great place to find good food deals. Wong Wong Bakery sells scones, pastries, and Chinese pastries in a very casual setting and is a local favorite. If you want to splurge and get a decent meal at a restaurant, expect to pay from £ 22 ($ 27 USD) for the main course like seafood or pasta, including a drink. A sirloin steak will cost around £ 30 ($ 37 USD). A glass of wine is £ 6 ($ 7 USD).
Manchester is full of markets that sell fresh local meats, cheeses, wines, fruits, and vegetables. If you choose to cook and take advantage of these markets, groceries will cost you £ 30-50 ($ 37-61 USD) per week.
Manchester – Manchester Backpacker Suggested Budgets
If you are backpacking to Manchester, expect to spend around £ 45 ($ 60 USD) per day. This budget will cover a hostel dorm, public transportation, street food, and cooking your own meals, and mostly free attractions.
If you travel during the shoulder season, you can cut this budget by a few dollars each day for accommodation. This is a suggested budget, assuming you stay in a hostel, eat a little, cook most of your meals, and use local transportation.
However, if you stay in more luxurious accommodations or eat out more often, expect this to be higher! A mid-range budget of around £ 100 ($ 130 USD) will cover a stay in a private Airbnb room, most meals, public transportation, and approximately one paid attraction per day. With a luxury budget of about £ 361 ($ 470 USD) or more per day, you can get a great four-star hotel, eat in good restaurants, have a few drinks, and take a few taxis. You will also enjoy a tour or some attractions.
The sky is the limit! If you come in low season, you will save around 25% in hotels. You can use the chart below to get an idea of how much you need to budget on a daily basis, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind that these are daily averages: some days you will spend more, some days you will spend less (you can spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to budget.
Manchester travel guide: Tips to save money
Manchester is a great destination for budget travelers. Free museums, many cheap restaurants, and budget accommodation make it easy to have a lot of fun on a small budget. You can fill your day with lots of activities like sightseeing and people-watching without spending a lot. Here are my main ways to save money when you visit Manchester:
Lunch and Dine: If there is a consistency in food prices in England, it is that the best deals can be found by eating pub lunches. While dinners can cost more than £ 20, you can usually find lunch in a pub for £ 6-10. Due to the large university population in Manchester, you will also find many small restaurants offering fixed lunch prices at a great price. Eat your lunches and cook your own dinners.
Public buses are free: Manchester offers free transportation around the city through its “free bus” service (formerly called the Metroshuttle) that connects to the main train stations, shopping areas, and other companies in the city center.
Couchsurf – If you want to save money and get some local insight into the city, be sure to try couch surfing. Staying with a local is the best way to get a feel for the city, and they will no doubt have some tips and tricks to make the most out of your visit.
Take a free walking tour – If you want to get a sense of the city, try a free walking tour. You’ll learn the history of Manchester while getting to explore on foot. Tours usually last a couple of hours, and they often don’t need to be booked in advance. Free Manchester Walking Tours offers a three-hour tour several times per week covering all the main sights and you don’t need to book in advance – just show up! The tour meets each morning in Sackville Gardens.
Save money on carpooling: Uber is much cheaper than taxis and is the best way to get around a city if you don’t want to wait for a bus or pay for a taxi. The Uber Pool option is where you can share a ride for even better savings (although you can also get your own car).
Where to stay in Manchester?
Hostels in Manchester
While the city can be expensive, its popularity means that there are many hostels in the city. Here are some of the favorite hostels in Manchester:
- YHA Manchester
- Hatters on Newton Street
- Selina NQ1 Manchester
- Hatters on Hilton Street
Hotels in Manchester
- Dakota Manchester
- Hotel Indigo Manchester – Victoria Station
- Hyatt Regency Manchester
- Motel One Manchester-Royal Exchange
- Holiday Inn Manchester – City Centre
- King Street Townhouse
- Motel One Manchester-Piccadilly
- Innside by Melia Manchester
- Hotel Gotham
- Abel Heywood Boutique Hotel
Manchester travel guide- How to get around Manchester?
Manchester city center is easily walkable, although there is also a ‘free bus’ (that’s the name, in lowercase) that runs through the city center. Pick up a map of the free bus routes from your hostel or hotel. Free buses run Monday through Saturday until 10 pm Request a map of bus routes from your accommodation or from one of Manchester’s Visitor Information offices. The city also has an above-ground trolley system called Metrolink that connects to outer neighborhoods.
Individual trips cost £ 1.40 ($ 1.70 USD) or a day pass costs just £ 2.70 ($ 3.30 USD). To get from the airport to the city center, the fastest and easiest way is through the National Rail train service. Trains run every 10 minutes between Manchester Piccadilly and the airport. Train prices are £ 4.20 ($ 5.10 USD) during off-peak travel times, or otherwise £ 5.60 ($ 6.80 USD).
Manchester does not currently have a public bicycle sharing program, but there are some rental shops in the city. The city is very bike-friendly and there are dedicated bike lanes and routes along most of the main city routes. Spring-free rental bikes were previously available in the city, and current government initiatives to institute a public bike-sharing program are still underway.
Taxis are readily available, or a hotel can easily call them from the counter if necessary. You can also use an application like “mytaxi” to order your trip. Given how expensive they are, I wouldn’t take one unless absolutely necessary.
Manchester travel guide – When to go to Manchester?
As a city in the north of England, Manchester has colder temperatures than London farther south, but it remains England and remains gray regularly with occasional outbreaks of sun.
Summer is the peak tourism season, with temperatures warmer, but rarely above 70 ° F (21 ° C). The summer season is also festival season, so look out for big events taking place on particular weekends when prices might go up and hostels are full. Big festivals like Picnic in the Park, Parklife, and Manchester Pride attract the biggest crowds, so check their festival dates to make sure they don’t coincide with your travel plans (or else be expected to pay premium rates).
Spring (late March to June) and autumn (September to November) are also fantastic times to visit, as temperatures are mild, and it’s drier than other times throughout the year.
Winter (late November to February) sees temperatures just above freezing, sometimes up to 40 ° F or 50 ° F (6 ° C to 10 ° C). While the sun sets early in Manchester during this time, it’s not unbearable, and the city is still bustling with life and plenty of activities.
Manchester travel guide – How to Stay Safe in Manchester
Manchester is pretty safe and the risk of violent crime is low. Scams and pick-pocketing can occur around high traffic areas, especially in a lot of the nightlife scene, which is a big part of Manchester’s culture. Pick-pocketers tend to work in teams, so stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. The Canal Street nightlife area has seen a recent rise in petty crimes, and the dark roads and alleys in the Northern Quarter may be uncomfortable to walk alone. Stay vigilant and aware, though, and you should be fine. You can read about the 14 travel scams to avoid right here. Although there are no particularly seedy neighborhoods in Manchester, avoid wandering around late at night alone just to be extra safe. Always trust your instinct. If a taxi driver seems gloomy, stop the taxi and get out. If your hotel is seedier than you thought, go somewhere else. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and identification. As a general rule, if you don’t do something at home, don’t do it in Manchester!
The most important advice I can offer is to buy good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellation. It is comprehensive protection in case something goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it, as I have had to use it many times in the past.
Manchester travel guide: the best booking resources
These are my favorite companies to use when I travel to Manchester. They are included here because they consistently find deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and, overall, are better than their competitors. They are the ones I use the most and are always the starting points in my search for travel deals.
Momondo – This is my favorite booking site. I never book a flight without checking here first.
Skyscanner – Skyscanner is another great flight search engine that searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. While I always start with Momondo, I use this site too as a way to compare prices.
Airbnb – Airbnb is a great accommodation alternative for connecting with homeowners who rent out their homes or apartments. (If you’re new to Airbnb, get $ 35 off your first stay! )
Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there, with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
Couchsurfing – This website allows you to stay on people’s couches or spare rooms for free. It’s a great way to save money while meeting locals who can tell you the ins and outs of their city. The site also lists events you can attend to meet people (even if you’re not staying with someone).
Booking.com: The best booking site that constantly offers the cheapest and lowest rates. They have a no down payment policy, an excellent interface, and the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they have always had the cheapest rates of all bookings.
Intrepid Travel: If you want to take a group tour of England, go with Intrepid Travel. They offer good small-group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on tour with someone, go with them. And, as a reader of this site, you will get exclusive discounts by clicking on the link!
STA Travel – A good company for under-30s or students, STA Travel offers discounted airfare as well as travel passes that help you save on attractions.
The Man in Seat 61: This website is the ultimate guide to traveling by train to anywhere in the world. They have the most complete information on routes, schedules, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train ride or some epic train trip, check out this site.
Rome 2 Rio: This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B in the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or ship routes that can get you there and how much they cost.
Bla Bla Car – BlaBlaCar is a ridesharing website that allows you to share rides with tested local drivers when ordering gas. Just request a seat, they approve it and you’re done! It is a cheaper and more interesting way to travel than by bus or train!
EatWith – This website allows you to eat homemade food with the locals. Locals post listings of special dinners and lunches you can sign up for. There is a fee (each sets their own price), but this is a great way to do something different, pick a local brain, and make a new friend.
World Nomads: I buy all my World Nomads travel insurance. They have excellent customer service, competitive prices, and deep coverage. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2003. Don’t leave home without it!
Manchester Gear and Packing Guide
If you’re heading to Manchester, here are my suggestions for the best travel backpack and advice on what to pack. The best backpack for Manchester REI Flash 45 Package
What is the best backpack to travel around Manchester? I recommend the REI Flash 45 package. It is lightweight and comfortable, front-loading, and fits perfectly in the top compartment of an airplane. Size: 45-47L Straps: Thick and padded with compression technology that pulls the pack load up and in so it doesn’t feel so heavy.
Features: removable top cap, large front pocket, hydration compatible, contoured hip belt If you want something different.
What to pack for Manchester?
- 1 pair of jeans (heavy and don’t dry easily, but I like them; khaki pants are a good alternative)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 swimsuit
- 5 t-shirts
- 1 long-sleeved shirt
- 1 pair of flip flops
- 1 pair of slippers
- 6 pairs of socks (I always end up losing half)
- 5 pairs of underpants (I’m not a type of underpants!)
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 razor
- 1 package of dental floss
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small bottle of shower gel
- 1 towel Deodorant
Small medical kit (safety is important!)
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antibacterial cream
- Hand sanitizer (germs = sick = bad vacation)
Other medical kit (Optional)
- A combination key or lock (security first)
- Zippered bags (prevents things from dripping or exploding),
- Plastic bags (ideal for washing clothes),
- Universal charger/adapter (this applies to all),
- LifeStraw (A bottle of water with a purifier. Tap water is safe to drink here. This is only to reduce the use of plastic bottles!)
Travel List for Women
Clothes 1 swimsuit 1 pareo 1 pair of stretch jeans (easily wash and dry) 1 pair of leggings (if it’s cold, they can go under your jeans, otherwise with a dress or shirt) 2-3 long sleeve tops 2-3 t-shirts 3-4 spaghetti tops 1 light cardigan Toiletries 1 spray of dry shampoo and talcum powder (keeps hair long without grease between washes) 1 hair brush Makeup you wear Hair bands and hair clips Feminine hygiene products (you can also choose to buy there, but I prefer not to have it, and most people have their favorite products)
Manchester Travel Guide: Suggested Reading
Notes from a Little Island, by Bill Bryson It is quite impossible not to love anything that Bill Bryson writes. After spending almost 20 years living in Britain, Bryson decides to return to the United States. (To quote: “I recently read that 3.7 million Americans believed they had been kidnapped by aliens at one time or another, so it was clear that my people needed me.”) But first, he begins a tour of his adoptive country, which offers hilarious social commentary about the nation Shakespeare brought us and the zebra crossings.
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen Jane Austen’s most popular novel, is one of those classics you read and can never forget. It is famous for a reason. When Elizabeth Bennet meets an arrogant bachelor named Fitzwilliam Darcy, she immediately ignores him as being too cocky, and immediately ignores his good looks and charm. Elizabeth discovers that Darcy has become involved in the disastrous relationship of her friend Bingley and her sister Jane, further deepening her disdain. What follows is an excellent commentary on the snobbish life of England’s middle class and the dangers of judging someone at a first impression.
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë This is the only Emily Brontë novel, but its impact has stood the test of time. The story centers on Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the Yorkshire Downs who is forced to seek refuge one night in Wuthering Heights (her owner’s home). She soon discovers a love story between a gypsy orphan named Heathcliff and high-society Catherine Earnshaw. Eventually, she succumbs to social pressure and marries the well-educated Edgar Linton, and Heathcliff’s bitterness is projected onto the next generation. Somehow, the couple’s heirs must escape this painful legacy.
Sorry !: The English and Their Manners, by Henry Hitchings The British are known for their courteous demeanor and the importance of proper manners, and this Henry Hitchings book is an investigation into this phenomenon. It’s not just about keeping the doors open and keeping your elbows off the table, either – there’s a complete system for things like sexual conduct, hospitality, chivalry, online etiquette, and more. This is a fun and upbeat read about British manners and what it all says about English characters.
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens! An English reading list without Charles Dickens is not a reading list! The book is about the life course of the orphan Pip Pirrip, as he transforms from a poor boy who asks for the soup to the heir of a mysterious inheritance from an unknown person. Dickens takes us through Pirrip’s life as he abandons his apprenticeship to a blacksmith named Joe Gargery and then takes on a new station as an English knight. Dickens is a masterful storyteller.
News Manchester United
If you want to stay updated prior to planning your Manchester or already planned your trip, NewsNow.co.uk is a great resource.
NewsNow.co.uk is the UK’s first and leading independent homegrown news aggregation service. Fully automated and continuously, NewsNow shows breaking headlines that link to news websites around the world.
Its mission is to help provide people with links to the news they need to read, and editors with people who read the news they write.
Launched in 1998 with less than ten sources, NewsNow today links tens of thousands of publications, from major news brands to alternative news sources, all on one platform.
They operate thanks to their unique archiving engine, which compares breaking news articles in real-time with their thousands of carefully crafted keyword-based topic specs, delivering relevant links to users and relevant readers to publishers, in seconds.
Ranked among the top news destinations in the UK, this website is generally visited by over 11 million unique monthly visitors.