Colourful Manchester 1
Manchester is one hella eclectic city – Left: Northern Quarter, Right top: Salford by night, Right bottom: The Lowry. (Photo Credit: Noemi Nagy)


Why not? If you’re a bit of an anglophile but not made of money, Manchester is a much cheaper and cooler alternative to London, Oxford and other popular cities. It feels a bit rough around the edges, so if you’re expecting quaint little tearooms, posh accents all around and breathtaking emerald green scenery at your hotel doorstep, you might be disappointed… but then you can’t (and shouldn’t) please everyone, right? It’s a great city with artsy neighbourhoods where you can get lost amongst the graffiti and record stores (such as Piccadilly or Vinyl Exchange in the Northern quarter). It’s the birthplace of great British bands from all genres such as Elbow, Joy Division, New Order and The Chemical Brothers. It will spoil you with great South Asian food (Curry Mile) and there are also plenty of museums for art lovers (The Lowry, Whitworth Art Gallery etc) and sports buffs (Old Trafford, Manchester City Stadium). There are also amazing festivals held in Manchester throughout the year such as the Manchester International Festival (June-July, every two years, the next is in 2017), the Manchester Jazz Festival (held each July), the Manchester Literature Festival (7th -23rd Oct), and the Manchester Food and Drink Festival (29th  Sept – 10th Oct) to name just a few.


Just like in the rest of England the weather is quite unpredictable in Manchester so make sure to bring an umbrella and warm clothes whenever you decide to visit. Nevertheless, it tends to be coldest in January and warmest in July although the summer doesn’t get very hot nor the winter very cold (however it DID snow in January this year!).  With all this in mind the best time to visit is between July and early October.


There are plenty of flights coming in and out of Manchester via Manchester Airport (Manchester M90 1QX, United Kingdom) to many major European cities such as Dublin, Paris, and Amsterdam, and also New York, Beijing, Hong Kong and popular holiday destination such as Lanzarote, Dubai, Barbados etc. It’s also possible to reach the city with the National Express bus service, where a ride between London and Manchester will set you back by 20 GBP and will take between five and six hours. Otherwise hop on the train that takes approximately two hours from London to Manchester and will also cost approximately 20 GBP if you book well in advance.


Since it’s not easy to pick what to see or do in Manchester, let me help you with my top five suggestions.

[callout] The art lovers will surely appreciate the many museums and galleries of the city but my two favoruites are the Whitworth Art Gallery (Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6ER, United Kingdom) which is perfect if you’re into  experimental or modern or traditional arts and The Lowry (Pier 8, The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ, United Kingdom) which is an art gallery, theatre, entertainment center and so on all-in-one. The latter was named after L.S. Lowry, a Mancunian painter who was famous for painting life in the industrial districts of North-West England in the mid-20th century. [/callout]

[callout]The Northern Quarter is a great place if you want to browse for records and CDs amongst the many record shops, buy vintage clothes in the thrift stores or want to sip on a organic, fat-free, soy-milk latte in one of the many cafes in the neighbourhood. It’s a hip place without taking itself too seriously.[/callout]

[callout]The Manchester Ship Canal is a 58 km-long inland waterway in the North West of England linking Manchester to the Irish Sea and if the weather permits, make sure to take a cruise on it.[/callout]

[callout]Let’s admit the obvious – it’s unlikely that you’ll be visiting Manchester and your male travel companion wouldn’t want to swing by Old Trafford (Sir Matt Busby Way, Manchester M16 0RA, United Kingdom), the museum and visitor center for one of the most well-known football teams in the world, Manchester United.[/callout]

[callout]And when all the arts, sports and history drained your energy why not unwind by catching a fun show at the Opera House (3 Quay St, Manchester M3 3HP, United Kingdom). This lil birdie watched ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and absolutely loved it.[/callout]

Colourful Manchester 2
Music forms a huge part of the present and past of the city – Left top: Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Opera House, Left bottom: remembering ‘Hacienda’, Right: Dress code for RHPC). (Photo Credit: Noemi Nagy)

Eat and Drink

A hearty curry, a freshly caught fish with chips and mushy peas, and afternoon tea? Manchester has it all!

[callout]If you’re yearning for some spicy food, don’t miss out on ‘Curry Mile‘. It refers to a part of the Wilmslow Road in South Manchester with plenty of take-aways, restaurants, and kebab shops specialised in the cuisine of the Middle East and South Asia. In case you’re having a hard time deciding where to spend your hard-earned money on the mile check out this page for some handy tips.[/callout]

[callout]Not on the ‘Curry Mile’ but still serving a mean curry is the Bollywood Masala (15 Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4NW, United Kingdom) restaurant.[/callout]

[callout]If you fancy a plate of good, ol’ fish ‘n chips and a pint of ale, head to the Marble Arch (73 Rochdale Rd, Manchester M4 4HY, United Kingdom) where besides the great pub food you get locally brewed beer. Try the ‘Chocolate Marble’ – good stuff![/callout]

[callout]If you can’t get through the day without a great cup of coffee (and monster sized cakes), check out the Teacup Kitchen (53-55 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA, United Kingdom).[/callout]


Although there are a couple of Airbnbs present in Manchester, they are considerably more pricey than in more popular travel destinations. Therefore you might want to check out some of the alternatives below.

[callout]For a cheap and cheerful stay book your room/bed at Hatters (15 Hilton St, Manchester M1 1JJ, United Kingdom). Their prices are as low as 50 GBP/night however you’re likely be sharing a room with other travellers.[/callout]

[callout]For hotel rooms and/or services apartments smack in the middle of the city center book your stay with Roomzzz (36 Princess St, Manchester M1 4JY, United Kingdom). Their offers are around 120 GBP/night.[/callout]

[callout]For a 5-star experience check out Hotel Gotham (100 King St, Manchester M2, United Kingdom) that offers room from 140 GBP and upwards.[/callout]

[callout]Here are additional options for where to stay in Manchester.[/callout]

Travel Tips and Local Blogs

I hope I managed to tickle your fancy but if you need more convincing make sure to visit the below pages for further information on Manchester.

[callout]Our friends at TimeOut have further suggestions on things to do and see while in Manchester[/callout]

[callout]Read about expat life in Manchester through the eyes of a Latvian gal[/callout]

[callout]You can’t organise your trip without visiting the Manchester Tourism site[/callout]

Last Updated On: August 22nd 2016

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About Noémi Nagy

Noémi is a thirty-something Hungarian who moved to the Netherlands many moons ago but is still trying to get her head around the clogs, bikes and 'harings' . She considers herself adventurous when it comes to food and travel…although those who have seen her struggle with a haring/ stroopwafel/ stamppot might disagree. She loves trying out new restaurants and dishes and luckily the Hague has been a perfect playground for that.


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