"This is Manchester, we do things differently here"
One of Europe's truly great cities, Manchester was the engine room of Britain's industrial revolution. Now, it has undergone decades of regeneration and new development, and is now a city of culture and progressiveness without forgetting its history. Whether you want to explore the fabulous canals of Deansgate and transport yourself to 1800s Britain, or eat your way though the new trendy restaurants in the Northern Quarter, Manchester has it all.
Manchester's currency is the British Pound (£). £1 = €1.19 / $1.30 (as of 2022).
Top 5 things to see
Deansgate & Castlefield Canals
Manchester's industrial heritage was built on its canals. In 1765, the Bridgewater Canal was opened at Castlefield, creating a seamless water link between coal mines at Worsley and Manchester. Many of these red-brick warehouses built along the river to work and distribute the coal are still standing, converted for modern use, as a reminder to the city's industrial powerhouse past.
Castlefield and Deansgate neighbourhoods have undergone regeneration and trendy bars with students and young residents call this their home. The canal walkways are beautiful to meander around and provide beautiful photographic opportunities. Grab a coffee for an independent cafe and explore!
Soak up the rich sports' history
Manchester is synonymous with its love of sport, particularly football (soccer). The city is blessed with two prominent football clubs that divide the city - Manchester United, and Manchester City. In Manchester, you're either a Red (United) or a Blue (City). One is to the west, the other to the east. Even if you are not a football fan, the stadiums are well worth a tour.
Manchester United's stadium, Old Trafford, is the largest club stadium in the country at 76,000 capacity; its trophy room tells tales of the Manchester's industrial past from the 1800s and their intense rivalry with nearby Liverpool.
If you're interested in a wider understanding of what football means to Britain - being its the national sport - visit the National Football Museum.
Science and Industry Museum
Manchester was once the focal point of the Industrial Revolution and the most influential city in Britain, if not Europe. Walking around the city to this day, its historical industrial influence is still prevalent. To find out more, visit the Science and Industry Museum on the enormous grounds of the former Liverpool Street Station, the oldest rail terminus in the world. It's great for kids too, with interactive activities to get them involved.
Manchester's Victorian Baths
Opened in 1906, the Victorian Baths in Manchester were designed to be the grandest in the country. With three pools and a Turkish Bath set in a lavish art nouveau building it's a fun activity for something a bit different.
Eat and drink your way through the Northern Quarter
The street's of Manchester's Northern Quarter are lined and lined and lined with bars, restaurants and pubs to help relax in the evening. Over the past decade, the culinary scene has slowly moved to Manchester to serve residents and visitors who expect good food for good prices (although its prices are slowly matching London's).
Bustling roads with bohemian bars in particular include Blossom Street, Oldham Street and Stevenson Square.
Where to eat and drink
Manchester is arguably the go-to city in the UK for new chefs and mixologists to begin their foray into the world of gastronomy. Residents, students and visitors expect good food in a range of styles - from sophisticated hotel restaurants, to dive bars serving good-quality street food late into the night, Manchester's food and drink scene is thriving after decades of neglect.
Federal Cafe is an Antipodean-style coffee bar serving the best brunches in Manchester. Federal opens at 8am, but get there early as it gets busy quickly.
19 Cafe Bar is an American-style mouth-watering pancakes in a range of eclectic styles, such as Biscoff and Kinder Bueno. Its French Toast is highly-rated too. It's pricey, but if you make it a brunch, it'll keep you going until dinner. They also cocktails too, if you want a really fun brunch...
Gooey, is for those who want a quick pick-me-up after a heavy breakfast. Greeting you into Ducie Street Warehouse, a laidback environment in a former warehouse, Gooey's cookies are excellent. The red velvet cookie is the best we've ever had.
Chapter One Books in the heart of the Northern Quarter is a relaxed cafe serving light pastries in a fun-filled interior of literature and paraphernalia.
Wolf at the Door combines bao buns and tacos into a small menu. The cocktails are good, and perfect with the buffalo chicken bao bun or pulled pork taco!
Nell's Pizza serves out brilliant pizza by the slices, with a twist on classics.
Bada Bing serves up killer New York-style Italian subs.
Cane & Grain is a New York-style burger and cocktail joint with sides to die for; the truffle poutine for only £4 will blow your mind.
Sugo Pasta Kitchen is often voted as the best Italian restaurant in Manchester. Head past all the mouth-watering restaurants on Blossom Street to the end, and tuck into fresh pasta.
This & That is what is known in Manchester as a 'Rice and Three' - a portion of rice and three curries available. There are a few in Manchester, but This & That is the best at it. Don't be alarmed by the unglamorous exterior - inside it's buzzing with locals enjoying excellent food. Cash only!
Evelyn's serves up hearty pub classics with an Asian twist in the chic-warehouse style interior; they're renowned for their vegetarian and vegan food too.
For the adults
The Washhouse is a launderette-themed speakeasy. A must-visit spot in Manchester!
The Wharf in Deansgate serves up craft beers to thirsty residents on its huge terrace by the canals. Soak up the former red-brick warehouses on a sunny day.
The Daisy, below Evelyn's, is an intimate bar mixing up elaborate cocktails in a great atmosphere. The staff are really friendly.
These are three of a plethora of places to drink in the city. You will be overwhelmed by choice, especially in the Northern Quarter; each bar has its own theme and character. Enjoy!
Tipping isn't required, but you can round up the bill if you're had particularly good service.
Manchester is a safe city, however like most cities it has its areas to keep away from at night, especially on your own, such as Piccadilly Gardens and the train stations. There is an edginess to the city that's part of its character, but can make you feel on edge.
Uber operates in the city, and the public transport system runs to all parts of Manchester.
When to Go
Low Season: November to March
The weather is cold, often wet and grey. The sun does make an appearance, but the weather is temperamental, so keep a coat with you at all times. However, it's the middle of football season, so some hotels will be busy with away supporters - if you're not interested in football, book your time around these dates for cheaper deals.
Shoulder Season: April to May, September to October
Busier with tourists compared to low season, but good deals on attractions and hotels can still be found. Football season is still underway, so remember to check the dates. Students swarm the city as the university year is either starting (September), or coming to an end (April/May).
High Season: June to August
Warm days, pubs bounce with residents enjoying the sunshine. A great atmosphere in the city - definitely the best time to visit!
How to Get There
From Manchester Airport (MAN)
South of the city, MAN is conveniently located to with east access routes to Manchester centre. However, it is notoriously busy and inefficient - so be careful.
Routes into the city centre include:
The Tram: The navy line takes you to and fro all parts of the city centre in 30 minutes. Manchester's trams are frequent, clean, easy to use, and efficient. A single journey costs just £4.60.
The Train: Frequent trains from MAN takes you into Manchester Piccadilly in just 17 minutes. A single journey costs as little as £3. A less frequent route from MAN takes you to Manchester Victoria for £3 in 30 minutes.
Travelling into Manchester by train
There are two main train stations into Manchester. Most major cities across the UK stop at Piccadilly, with some also offering services Victoria.
Travelling in the city
Manchester is very much a walkable city, but has an excellent tram system to take you to all corners, including a direct service to both sports' stadiums, and Manchester Airport. Tram tickets can be purchased at the stations - if you don't buy a ticket and get caught, you'll pay a hefty fine.
There are 4 trams zones in the city - most of the attractions are in Zone 1. So if you're staying outside of Zone 1, remember to buy a Zone 1 ticket.
Details on the tram and its stops can be found here: Manchester Tram Details.
The Citymapper App is available to help you with a seamless journey too, so I recommend it.