Cheap flights to Manchester are available throughout the year. International and regional flights to Manchester will arrive at Manchester Airport. The Manchester Airport Railway station connects the airport to Manchester Piccadilly Station. National Express coaches operate from the airport, transporting passengers to Manchester city centre and other destinations around the UK. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time, or from the coach desk at The Station, the airport’s transport hub. Local bus services are also available from the airport to Manchester city centre or surrounding towns. Check the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) website for bus routes and timetables.
Metroshuttle operates three routes around Manchester. The services are frequent, free to use and link the city’s major railway stations. Metrolink trams provide services to central Manchester and surrounding suburbs. Tickets can be purchased from ticket machines at tram stops, Travelshops and Paypoint outlets, or online through the TfGM website. Local buses are operated by a number of different companies – check the TfGM website for routes and timetables. Single, return and DaySaver tickets can be purchased from bus drivers and ticket machines. If buying a return ticket, make sure that the return journey is operated by the same company, as it cannot be used otherwise. The System One travelcard can be used on all public transport in Manchester – check the System One website to find out which card best suits your needs.
Dark and atmospheric, Manchester Cathedral towers over the city’s Millennium Quarter. Stop at its Visitor Centre and take in the interactive exhibition. The striking Royal Exchange has survived almost a hundred years of ups-and-downs. These days, the Neo-Classical building houses a dramatic glass-walled theatre, a shopping centre and a café within its columns. The futuristic-looking Lowry Centre in Salford contains a collection of work by that quintessentially Northern artist L.S Lowry. Home to arguably the most famous football club in the world, Old Trafford is a familiar name to fans of Manchester United. Matches and training sessions are regularly held there, and fans might just catch a glimpse of a player even during the off-season.
The massive Trafford Centre is Manchester’s shrine to consumerism. Selfridges, John Lewis and Debenhams all have sizeable presences here. Closer to the city centre, Harvey Nichols is the stomping ground for famous footballers and their WAGs (wives and girlfriends). There is an elegant restaurant on the second floor that offers light lunches and afternoon tea. The Arndale Centre has all the well-loved high street brands, including an immense Next outlet. Check out Afflecks Palace for vintage and alternative fashion, as well as tattoo parlours and piercing studios. Shop with a conscience at Oxfam Originals. The proceeds from sales of vintage clothing go towards helping Oxfam with their work. The famous Curry Mile has restaurants offering up plenty of delicious spicy dishes. This’n’That in the Northern Quarter also has plenty of inexpensive curry dishes on its menu – a meal of rice and three curries will set you back about £5. Canal Street has a large variety of bars and clubs to suit everyone. Take in a gig by the band of the moment at the Manchester Apollo, or seek out up-and-coming acts at the University of Manchester’s Student Union.