Day Trip to Manchester: Tips for the Perfect Visit
Here’s all you need to know for the perfect day trip to Manchester!
If I’d told you I’ve been to the UK, eight times I’d really be lying. Not technically of course (I’d never lie to you!), but of those eight times I’ve been to London seven times (before moving here, mind you).
When I was able to call London home, I decided I needed to see more of the country! My first day trip from London took me to Manchester, a surprisingly small city known for it’s fun pubs and friendly atmosphere. At only a 2-hr train ride, it was the perfect spot to explore in a day!
For More UK Inspiration
How to Do a Day Trip to Manchester
Tours in Manchester
If you’d prefer to have a more guided experience, here are some tours you can do in Manchester when you get there!
Private Tour with a Local
Ship Canal Cruise
For sixty minutes, you can cruise along River Irwell to see all the major sights from the water. Check here for rates & availability
Food Tour with a Local
Get to know Manchester through food! There are 8 tastings on this tour and you’ll get a whole food history of the city from a local. Check here for rates & availability
What to See in Manchester
John Rylands Library
Now, let me start off by saying: I’m a proper book nerd. I can’t remember the last time I bought clothes, but I buy books on a weekly basis. So when I was recommended to go to the library, it was one of my first stops of the day.
It’s free, and it’s grand hall reminded me so much of visiting Trinity Library in Dublin. So if you love being in grand libraries surrounded by old binded books: this is your go to, girl. (Also: I went mad buying goodies in the library shop, it’s amazing!)
Even if you can’t visit much in the Manchester Town Hall, it’s still fun to sneak in and get a feel for the great neogothic architecture. I love a great Victorian building and in the UK you’re really spoiled for choice!
It’s always nice to take a little stroll trough a city’s centre, isn’t it? Like I said above Manchester has a lot of Victorian building I enjoyed seeing, even if it isn’t the prettiest of cities. It’s also super tiny, you’re never really more than 30 minutes walk away from anything.
Did you know Manchester has the second largest Chinese community in the UK? Yep, right after London. Don’t forget to miss the great gate that marks the centre of Chinatown, and have some lunch at one of the many Chinese restaurants!
Like I said I’m not the biggest shopping animal in the world, but every now and then a girl goes wild, am I right? Arndale shopping mall is where to go to find all your favourite brands.
The Shoreditch of Manchester, the hipster area, the liveliest place of the city. This is where all the coolest bars and restaurants are located, and where you’ll find the in crowd of Manchester on the weekends. My recommendations are below!
I didn’t personally have time to visit a museum, but there’s a few that sound like they’d be worth the visit such as the Police Museum, IWM North, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Museum and People’s History Museum Manchester.
Where to Eat in Manchester
For some lovely Malaysian food I’d recommend Ning, a classy restaurant just on Oldham Street. I had a lovely Pad Thai (not very Malaysian, I know, but hey…. sometimes you have your cravings!) which was also quite affordable.
Home Sweet Home
This place in the Northern Quarter was my absolute favourite. Not only are their hot chocolates deadly for your diet (those are the best kind), they also serve amazing food. It’s definitely naughty, but sometimes you have to treat yourself, right :)?
Where to Stay in Manchester
While you can go back and forth to London in a day, I do think staying over would be a nicer pace. If you do, this is where I recommend staying.
Without a doubt one of the classiest hotels I’ve ever stayed at, super close to the train station as well. Imagine rooms with Chester chairs, and beds so soft you’ll have a hard time getting up in the morning. I honestly could’ve lived there! Check recent prices here
What are your best tips for a day trip to Manchester?
General Travel Tips
- For accommodation, I always check Airbnb or Booking.com for the best prices.
- If your insurance at home doesn’t cover travel, you may want to look into SafetyWing for an affordable option.
- I always recommend checking Get Your Guide for the best tours in Europe and Tiqets for specific attraction deals.