Your Guide to Manchester

Manchester, a city in the North West of England, is widely regarded as the business capital of the North and is the second most populous urban area in the UK after London. Manchester has long been regarded as a cultural hub, with a very active gay scene, exciting nightlife and genre defining music. This has contributed to Manchester's current status as the third most visited city and third largest economy in the UK. Manchester is an incredibly old city, with the city first being recorded in 79AD by the Roman Empire. However, the city began expanding at an astonishing rate during the 19th century, at the beginning of the industrial revolution, to such an extent that Manchester became regarded as "without challenge the first and greatest industrial city". This predominantly working class industry created a city widely associated with Marxism and left-wing politics, which can still be felt today. Following the the second world war, the industrial economy that defined Manchester began to decline, this was reinforced by the policies of Margaret thatcher in 1979 which led to the eventual dissolution of the industrial economy not only in Manchester but in the whole of the UK costing over 150,000 jobs. In 1996, Manchester was granted over £400 million which resulted in Manchester city centre undergoing extensive renovations including the construction of hugely popular complexes such as The Printworks and The Triangle. In recent years Manchester has officially gained the title of the second city of the UK, which was traditionally fought between Manchester and Birmingham. Tourist season in Manchester is between May to August. The best time to visit the city would be between May and June - The weather is traditionally hotter around May to June, and will not be as busy as children have not yet broken up for the Summer holidays. Visiting at this will also have a certain buzz as the students will have just finished their exams meaning the there will be an abundance of events organised.

How to Get to Manchester

Flying into Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport is the 3rd busiest in the UK, traditionally serving much of the north of England as well as parts of Wales. The airport handles over 20 million passengers annually, although it has the capacity to serve 50 million. Opened in 1938, with 3 terminals, from Manchester Airport you can fly to around 225 destinations both nationally and internationally.

Getting from Manchester Airport to the City Centre

Manchester Airport is well served by the various modes of transport that run daily from the city centre. These include train services running to and from the airport to Manchester Piccadilly every 10 minutes, which take around 20 minutes. There are also 9 bus services running to and from the city centre to the airport which operate 24 hours a day. There are two different types of taxis available in Manchester. A pre-booked taxi where a price can be agreed upon prior to the taxi journey and prices do not vary in accordance with the time of year or day. From the city centre, numbers to the taxi firms can be accessed at information centres and at train stations and will cost on average between £20 - £30. From the airport, pre-booked taxi numbers are available at desks located at the arrivals area of the terminals. Alternatively, there are Black Cabs, which are available at taxi ranks at the airport main train stations and taxi ranks littered throughout the city centre. These taxis run on a meter basis; starting at £2.30, and will rise by 20p every 174 metres. Manchester Airport is Located 15km south of the city centre and will take just under 20 minutes by car, providing there is no traffic. The easiest way to get there is to head towards the A5103 towards Great Bridgewater and Portland Street. The airport should be clearly signed posted, just ensure you know which terminal your flight is from.

Trains to Manchester Piccadilly

Opened in 1842, under a different name, Manchester Piccadilly is the busiest and biggest train station out of the 4 stations in the city and is the fourth busiest station in the UK, the others being in London. It serves mainly intercity routes to London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool. The station has 14 platforms serving over 24 millions passengers in 2014.

Getting from Manchester Piccadilly to the City Centre

Manchester Piccadilly is located very centrally in Manchester, it is therefore within walking distance of the city's central shopping district. Simply walk down Piccadilly road until you reach the shops. However, if you wish to use public transport, there are Metro Shuttles and trams that leave the station every 7 minutes that will take you directly there.

Manchester Piccadilly also has a taxi rank directly outside the main entrance where you can catch a black cab. Additionally you can order pre-ordered taxis from a desk in the station. To drive, it is only 1.5 km to the centre and will take 5 minutes to drive there without traffic, following the B6469 and Sackville to Charlotte street.

Buses to Manchester Chorlton Street Coach Station

Also known as Manchester Central Coach Station, it was first opened in 1950 with three platforms. It now consists of 8 platforms following major renovations in 2002. Major operators such National Express and Megabus run services from the Coach Station as well as numerous regional services.

Getting from Manchester Chorlton Street Coach Station to the City Centre

From the city centre there is a metroshuttle that leaves the bus station every 7 minutes and will take around 8 minutes to arrive at the city centre. Driving to the coach station will take a total of 5 minutes and the best way is to go via New York Street. The main bus service providers operating from the station include National Express and First Greater Manchester who provide both intercity and regional travel.

Driving to Manchester

There are 3 major motorways around the peripheries of the city; the M60, M602 and M62. There are also major roads like the A57 which get you closer to the city centre. Driving directly to the city centre is not really possible as much of it pedestrianised, but there are many parking spaces to be taken advantage of, as well as park and ride schemes.

How to Get Around in Manchester

Public Transport in Manchester

In Greater Manchester there are over 600 bus lines, 7 tram lines and 16 rail lines. The public transport system is extremely expansive and covers the entirety of Greater Manchester which has a population of more than 2.5 million. The system encompasses tram, trains and buses and tickets are usually purchased immediately prior to travel. On buses you buy the ticket from the driver upon entering the bus; tram tickets can be purchased via self service ticket machines on the platform and train tickets from self service ticket machines or at a kiosk at the station.

  • Public Transport Provider: Transport For Greater Manchester
  • Cost of a Ticket: Tram day ticket: £7; Bus Day ticket: £5.60 (most, but not all, Bus companies will accept this ticket); Train Rail Ranger: £5.20. Traincard week - £28.90 Traincard month - £98.40 Traincard annual - £928.60.
  • Discounted Ticket Types: Concession tickets can be purchased for those with disabilities, people under 16, students and young people between the ages 16 - 24 and those over 60.
  • Availability of Public Transport at Night: There is a night bus available that runs in Greater Manchester on Friday and Saturday nights from 3.30am. On weekdays the transport stops at around midnight.

Cycling in Manchester

There is no municipal bike rental service in Manchster, however there are numerous bike rental shops littered around the city. One of the cheapest way of renting a bike in Manchester is Spinlister which is a bike sharing app that allows cyclists to post their bikes online and hire them out for an hour, a day or more. Additionally, it lets cyclists rent bikes from other riders. This service can be as little as £5 for a day. Due to the rainy weather that is all too common the UK and particularly Manchester, cycling is not that commonplace apart from in the summer months. However, there are fairly extensive cycle paths in Manchester, however they can often be slightly unreliable, e.g cutting off at random points.

Taxis in Manchester

Travelling by taxi is most certainly not the most common mode of transportation in Manchester but taxis are used, especially late at night and from train and bus stations. Despite this, they are very readily accessible and can transport you to whenever you wish to travel to in the city and the Greater Manchester areas. Taxi Apps such as Uber make travelling by taxi easier still.

  • Base Minimum Fare: £2.30 for the first half a kilometre
  • Cost: 20p extra for each additional 170 metres

Driving in Manchester

The National Speed Limit in the UK is 96 km/h on a single carriageway, 112 km/h on a dual carriageway and on the motorway. You will also be expected to drive on the left hand side of the road and driving in the city centre is usually limited to buses and taxis. There is a comprehensive one way system currently in place in the city centre, therefore if you are unfamiliar with the city it is recommended you use a satnav.

There are rush hour periods in Manchester where driving will be extremely busy. These are usually the times when people will be commuting to and from work; from 7.00 am - 9.30 am and 4.00 pm - 6.30 pm on weekday. Traffic tends to lessen at lunch time, at around 12.00 pm - 2.20 pm.

Walking Around Manchester

The central shopping districts in Manchester are predominantly pedestrianised and pavements can be found almost everywhere. Walking around the city centre is possible on foot, but further afield it gets slightly more difficult, because of both frequency of pavements and distance you would be expected to walk. However, given the city's excellent transport links this should not be problem.

5 Day Trips from Manchester for Under £20

Manchester itself is a city worth staying in, but how can you sit still knowing that you could be in the hills or by the docks in under an hour? There are so many places to visit near Manchester that are fun, scenic, and eye-opening.

5. Hebden Bridge

Ideal for: canals, woodland explorations, and gay pride.
How do I get there from Manchester? Take a train northeast for about 30 to 45 minutes.
Average journey cost: £3.00

4. Edale

Ideal for: hikes, valleys, and open sky.
How do I get there from Manchester? Take a direct train south-east for about 35 to 45 minutes.
Average cost: £11.20

3. Buxton

Ideal for: being pampered like a Jane Austen character.
How do I get there from Manchester? Southeast from Manchester on train with one change, for about 1 hour to 1 ½ hours on the train.
Average cost: £10.10

2. Liverpool

Ideal for: world-changing history, seriously indulgent eats, and too much fun.
How do I get there from Manchester? Take a direct train or bus westwards from Manchester for about 1 hour.
Average journey cost: £3.00

1. Southport

Ideal for: beaches, historical facades, and really long piers.
How do I get there from Manchester? Take the train north-west from Manchester for about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes.
Average journey cost: £11.80

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About Manchester

Manchester, a city in the North West of England, is widely regarded as the business capital of the North and is the second most populous urban area in the UK after London. Manchester has long been regarded as a cultural hub, with an exciting nightlife and genre defining music. This has contributed to Manchester's current status as the third most visited city and third largest economy in the UK.

Manchester Beer and Cider Festival

Running for the fifth year, the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival will have 22 bars participating to serve more than 750 different types of beer! Not only will there be craft beers, but international cask-conditioned beers as well. The festival will be taking place from the 25th - 27th January this year at Manchester Central.

Travelling to Manchester

By Plane: Manchester Airport is the 3rd busiest in the UK, from Manchester Airport you can fly to around 225 destinations both nationally and internationally. Manchester Airport is Located 15km south of the city centre and will take just under 20 minutes by car. Alternatively, from the airport visitors can also get to the city centre by train, which run every 10 minutes. There are also 9 bus services running to and from the city centre to the airport, operating 24 hours a day.

By Train: Manchester Piccadilly is the busiest and biggest train station out of the 4 stations in the city and is the fourth busiest station in the UK. It serves mainly intercity routes to London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool. Manchester Piccadilly is located very centrally in Manchester, it is therefore within walking distance of the city. If you wish to use public transport, there are Metro Shuttles and trams that leave the station every 7 minutes.

By Bus: Buses to Manchester are frequent from most cities in the UK. The journey from London takes around 4 hours and buses arrive into the bus station near the city centre.

Travelling Around Manchester

The public transport system is extremely expansive and covers the entirety of Greater Manchester. The system encompasses tram, trains and buses and tickets are usually purchased immediately prior to travel. On buses you buy the ticket from the driver upon entering the bus; tram tickets can be purchased via self service ticket machines on the platform and train tickets from self service ticket machines or at a kiosk at the station.


Cycling is popular during the summer months in Manchester and there are numerous bike rental shops littered around the city. There are fairly extensive cycle paths in Manchester, however they can often be slightly unreliable, e.g cutting off at random points.


The central shopping districts in Manchester are predominantly pedestrianised and pavements can be found almost everywhere. It is easy to see the main sites of the city by foot.

This is what travel blogger Jack Edwards had to say about Manchester

Manchester is a city bursting at the seams with vitality and colour on every street corner. From delicious eateries and market stalls to vintage stores and high-street shops, this city has it all, and art fills the gaps (both inside and outside the many galleries!)

Even when the sun begins to fade, the city continues to pulsate with life, filling the sky with symphonies of music and the lights of clubs and bars. The atmosphere is simply electric, in a city charged by culture and history. The uncrowned capital of the North is adored by natives and visitors alike, and its hard not to inherit their admiration.

Jack is from The Jack Experience.


Stations

Important Stations and Airports for this Journey

Manchester
Manchester Oxford Road
Amenities
Manchester Victoria
Amenities
Manchester Piccadilly
Amenities
Refreshments
WC

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the train station and what is the best way to get there?
This station is within walking distance of the city centre and is connected to other parts of the city by public transport.<br>Bus lines 1, 2, 3, 147
How long does it take to get from the train station to the city centre?
This station is a 5-10 minute walk from the city centre.
Manchester (Coach Station)
Amenities
Refreshments
WC

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the train station and what is the best way to get there?
This station is within walking distance of the city centre and is connected to other parts of the city by public transport.
How long does it take to get from the train station to the city centre?
This station is a 5-10 minute walk from the city centre.
Manchester
Amenities
Refreshments

Best Time to visit Manchester

When travellers head to Manchester largely depends on what they want to see and do. For example, anyone who wants to watch Manchester City or United playin the EPL will want to book their tickets between late August and early May. May is also time for the popular Manchester Jazz Festival, while mid-July sees the Manchester International Festival dominate the city's cultural life, with global music acts and theater performances. Otherwise, summer is definitely the best time for pure sightseeing. Spring and fall tend to see plenty of rain in Greater Manchester (although attractions will be much less busy). However, between June and the end of August, the weather is usually bright, warm, and perfect for getting to know the city. This period is also the peak period for music festivals and community street events, such as June's Parklife Festival in Heaton Park or August's Manchester Pride. Winter breaks could work well too, with plenty of Christmas Markets, foodie events, and sales at malls like the Trafford Center for visitors to enjoy. Just remember to dress warm and, carry a weather-resistant jacket.