Situated in northwest England, Manchester is a bustling city that got its start with the construction of a Roman fort in A.D. 79. At the beginning of the 19th century, the city boomed as a textile powerhouse. Today, Manchester is known for its culture, architecture, and sports clubs. Keep reading to learn more about things to do, where to stay, and how to get to Manchester so you can get the most out of your trip to this modern city.

Early Morning: Start With Breakfast

Before you can get started exploring Manchester, you need to make sure you’ve fueled up with a hearty breakfast. If you have a big appetite and love the classics, you’ll find plenty of options with a stop at Alabama’s All American Eatery. If you have a sweet tooth, consider the French toast topped with berries, chocolate and peanut butter pancakes, or bacon and maple syrup waffles. Other choices include omelets and egg muffins, as well as vegetarian and vegan alternatives.

Another great place to get a full and satisfying breakfast is Moose Coffee. On the menu you’ll find options like the Mighty Moose, which comes with homemade fried potato hash, two fried eggs, bacon, and white or granary toast. There’s also the Lone Star Moose, which is minute steak, chipolata sausages, and homemade fried potato hash topped with two fried eggs, a grilled tomato, and toast. You’ll also find an excellent selection of coffee, tea, and juice to get your day started right.

When you want to savor a classic fry-up while you’re in Manchester, you need to head to Koffee Pot. Here you can try the full English fry-up, which comes with bacon, sausage, a fried egg, beans, hash brown, and a grilled tomato. The Scottish breakfast comes with bacon, sausage, lorne sausage, haggis, Bury black pudding, a fried egg, tatty cake, hash brown, and a grilled tomato, while the Irish breakfast comes with bacon, sausage, white pudding, Bury black pudding, beans, a fried egg, tatty cake, hash brown, and a grilled tomato.

national football museum
The National Football Museum in Manchester.

Midmorning: Learn More About the Fabled Football Clubs

Although Americans call it soccer and the rest of the world calls it football, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: Manchester is a city that loves this sport. The city is home to two football clubs: Manchester United and Manchester City. Manchester United was founded in 1878, making it just slightly older than Manchester City, which was founded in 1880.

If you’d like to get a behind-the-scenes look at where the legendary Manchester United plays, you can head to Old Trafford stadium and sign up for one of the tours. You’ll get a chance to sit in the stands, head to the dressing room, and walk out the players’ tunnel.

Another great spot to check out when you want to learn more about football history is the National Football Museum. This six-level museum showcases memorabilia from some of the first official games ever played, replica trophies, designs and information about the stadiums, footage from old matches, and more. There are also interactive exhibits that explain the rules of football and give you the opportunity to explore the leagues in England, as well as a discovery zone for children under five.

Noon: Stop for Lunch

After you’ve spent the morning learning more about football in Manchester, it’s time to stop and have a bite to eat for lunch. For a casual place to eat, head to Pieminister. Classic pies here include the Chicken of Aragon, which has chicken, dry-cured bacon, and tarragon, or the Heidi, which comes with goat cheese, sweet potato, spinach, and red onion. If you’re feeling hungry, you can add one of the delicious sides, such as mashed potatoes, baked beans, or slaw.

The family-run This & That Cafe is one of the most popular Indian curry houses in the city. To put together your meal, you have combinations like rice and three vegetables; rice and three meats; rice, one meat, and two vegetables; and more. Each day features different meats and vegetables, such as chicken curry, mixed vegetables, chicken masala, lamb and potatoes, and others.

Old trafford
The Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester.

Afternoon: Get Outside and Explore

Although Manchester is a major city, it still offers plenty of green space where you can explore. The 600-acre Heaton Park is one such place. For the adults, an 18-hole golf course, ornamental gardens, observatory, and unique architectural landmarks are all within the park. For the children, a boating lake, animal farm, and playground all provide hours of fun and entertainment.

After Heaton Park, you might like a trip to the beautiful Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden. The main rock garde includes ponds, small waterfalls, and a wide range of ornamental shrubs and trees. You’ll also find an extensive network of walking paths that wind through the garden, woods, and fields. If you’re searching for even more activities, the park is also home to tennis courts and football and rugby pitches.

Piccadilly Gardens is another lovely green space worth exploring. This open space area in the center of Manchester has paved walkways as well as fountains that are a popular spot for children to splash around in during the summer. There are numerous statues to honor various people throughout history, and a unique mix of historical buildings and modern shops and restaurants surround the area.

art gallery
The Manchester Art Gallery in Manchester.

Late Afternoon: See the Museums

In a city as large and diverse as Manchester, you have plenty of museums to explore. If you want to learn more about natural history, anthropology, and archaeology, you can’t miss the opportunity to see the Manchester Museum. Owned by the University of Manchester, it’s the largest university museum in the United Kingdom and showcases around 4.5 million items from every continent. The anthropology collection includes weapons, carvings, and ceramics from Africa, Oceania, and Asia. The archaeology collection displays numerous mummies, and the natural history collection includes dinosaur fossils, corals, and minerals.

If you enjoy art, the Manchester Art Gallery showcases pieces that span over six centuries. These include more than 3,000 drawings and watercolors, 2,000 oil paintings, 1,000 prints, 250 sculptures, and 90 miniatures. There are also over 13,000 decorative art objects on display, including glass, ceramics, furniture, enamels, armor, and metalwork. The oldest piece displayed in the museum is an Egyptian Canopic jar from around 1100 B.C.

Manchester was built on the backs of the working people during the industrial boom. The People’s History Museum displays the history of working people not only in Manchester, but also in all of the United Kingdom. As you walk through the museum, you’ll learn about the leisure, home, and work lives of the British people over the last 200 years. You’ll see more about the women’s suffrage movement, the Peterloo Massacre, the 1945 general election, and other important events. Photographs, printed material, and physical objects all showcase how the people rested, worked, and played.

Dinnertime: Treat Yourself to a Fine Meal

When dinnertime rolls around, you’ll find plenty of spots around Manchester where you can indulge in a fine meal. Step inside the Hawksmoor Manchester with its frosted windows and paneled dining rooms, and you’ll immediately see why this upscale steakhouse is the place for a delicious dinner. Start your meal with something savory, such as the roast scallops with tarragon and garlic or the heritage beetroot salad. The cuts of steak include fillet, rib eye, sirloin, and rump. You’ll also find main dishes like chicken with garlic butter, house-cured salmon, and lobster.

Head to the Manchester House and you’ll enjoy modern British cuisine in a contemporary space. You can choose between a 10-course or 14-course tasting menu with plates that include puffed pork crackling, goat cheese and onion soup, cured red mullet, braised beef cheek, Manchester tart ice cream, and macaroons. Or you can select one of the à la carte menus and enjoy cured duck breast, braised flank of beef, and more.

Fazenda offers a stunning interior to go along with its full Brazilian rodízio experience. Start your meal by picking out some of your favorite breads, continental cheeses, fresh-cut vegetables, cured meats, and other hot dishes from the gourmet sides bar. When you’re ready for the main course, you decide when you want it by using the double-sided card at your table. When it’s time for a sizzling skewer of meat, flip the card to green and a chef will bring one out. As you’re eating, leave the card red. Then, when you’re ready for more, simply turn the card to green once more.

Late Night: Find More Fun in the City

Just because the sun has set on Manchester, that doesn’t mean your fun has to end. Instead, head down to The Quays and see what this sparkling waterfront destination has to offer. Shopping, art, history, food, entertainment, and more are all packed into an area that covers about a square mile, making it easy to walk to everything. While The Quays is exciting during the day, it’s even more spectacular at night, when the multicolor lights from the buildings bounce and reflect off the water.

Manchester is known for producing some of the best craft beers in the world. When you’re ready to sample some distinctive creations, you’ll find numerous bars ready to serve. Port Street Beer House might have the best selection in the city with 18 draft lines, 7 handpulls, and over 100 bottled beers.

The Piccadilly Tap is housed in the Gateway House and seeks to showcase beer not only from the top brewers in the United Kingdom, but from around the world as well. The bar offers seven cask beers that constantly rotate and 20 keg beers on tap that range from pale ales to craft brews.

city center
The City Center in Manchester.

Manchester Airport Guide

If you’re flying to Manchester, you’ll land at Manchester Airport. Situated just 8.6 miles southwest of the city center, Manchester Airport handled 25.6 million passengers in 2016, making it the third busiest airport in the United Kingdom. The airport has three terminals and is a hub for Flybe. It also offers service for American Airlines, Air France, British Airways, easyJet, Emirates, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, and others.

If you get hungry while you’re at the airport, there are numerous restaurants waiting to serve. You’ll find quick bites at popular fast food chains such as Burger King and KFC, but there are also full-service restaurants like The Grain Loft and Lion and Antelope, where you can sit down and take some time to enjoy your meal.

If you need a last-minute gift or simply want to pick up something for yourself, the airport also has plenty of shopping opportunities. When you’re looking for clothing, you’ll find stores such as Lacoste and Hugo Boss. Temptation offers sunglasses, watches, and jewelry, and Zoodle is the perfect place to pick up a new toy to keep the kids occupied during the flight.

When you’re ready to leave the airport and explore more of Manchester, you’ll find many convenient transportation options. A railway station is located between Terminals 1 and 2, which connects the airport to Piccadilly Station in the city. Trains run seven days a week, depart every 10 minutes, and take about 20 minutes to reach Manchester. There’s also a Metrolink tram system that connects the airport and city. The trams run every 12 minutes except on Sundays and public holidays, when they run every 15 minutes. The ride will take you to the Cornbrook station and lasts about 35 minutes.

Additionally, if you’d prefer to have your own transportation, Manchester Airport has a car rental village, where it houses eight car rental companies. The car rental village is on the other side of the long-term parking lot, and the airport offers a free bus that leaves the terminal every 10 minutes to take you there. Once you get your rental car, it will take you about 20 minutes to reach Manchester’s city center.

town hall
The Town Hall in Manchester.

Where to Stay in Manchester

Once you arrive in Manchester, you’ll need a place to stay so you can take your time seeing everything the city has to offer. Luckily, there are plenty of Manchester hotels that can suit your needs. Whether you’re searching for luxurious accommodations or something easy on the budget, you’ll find the perfect spot to call your home base as you head out to enjoy the city.

Luxury Hotels in Manchester

When you’re searching for a hotel that offers top-of-the-line amenities that will make your stay unforgettable, you need to stay at one of the luxury hotels in Manchester. The Lowry Hotel is located right on the banks of the River Irwell and offers all the modern conveniences you could want. When you need to unwind, set up an appointment at the QMS Skin Spa. Here you’ll find an extensive selection of beauty services and massage treatments to leave you feeling refreshed. When you get hungry, be sure to stop by the River Restaurant for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.

The Radisson Edwardian Manchester offers over 260 luxurious rooms and suites for a relaxing stay in the city. Every room comes with a smart television, bespoke furniture, original artwork, free high-speed wireless internet access, and high-quality cotton linens. Step inside the bathroom, and you’ll find a walk-in shower, freestanding wash bowl, and walk-in wardrobe. The hotel also offers a spa and two on-site restaurants.

museum of science and industry
The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

Budget-Friendly Hotels in Manchester

If you’re looking to stay in the heart of Manchester but you want to stick to your travel budget, you’ll find many affordable yet comfortable and convenient options. Holiday Inn Express Manchester Arena is in the lively Northern Quarter of the city. This modern hotel is just a 3-minute walk from the Shudehill tram stop and a few miles from popular attractions like Old Trafford stadium and Palace Theatre. The rooms come with work desks, free wireless internet access, flat-screen televisions, and tea and coffee makers. The hotel also offers an on-site restaurant, outdoor patio, and complimentary breakfast.

Premier Inn Manchester City Centre Arena Printworks is almost in the center of the city and conveniently close to Victoria train station. It’s also near restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and other top attractions in the city. The in-room amenities at this hotel include pillow-top mattresses, free wireless internet access, desks, televisions, and tea and coffee makers. Additionally, the hotel has an on-site restaurant.

Located near the River Irwell and in the heart of the city, Travelodge Manchester Central Hotel is just a 15-minute walk from the Museum of Science and Industry. This family-friendly hotel has an on-site restaurant and rooms that come with flat-screen televisions, free wireless internet access, tea and coffee makers, and desks. If you need more sleeping space, book the family room, and you’ll get additional pull-out beds.

When you’re ready to take in everything Manchester has to offer, GoDoTrip can help. Whether you’re searching for the top attractions, figuring out how to get to the city, or deciding where you would like to stay, you can find all the information you need to plan the perfect trip.