Manchester is known for experiencing all four seasons. However, the weather is never extreme. Depending on what brings you into this iconic city, the best time to travel to Manchester could be anytime you please! Manchester sits in the North West of England, but has temperatures that average a few degrees cooler. You could even see elements from all four seasons in one day, but rainfall is quite common throughout the year. Manchester hits its peak in the summer, but it is also the season that brings along an abundance of outdoor activities, events, and festivals, for example, the Manchester Jazz Festival in July. Also, Manchester Pride, which is held every August, brings a massive crowd to the area.
If you are visiting in the summer, you must book your tickets to Manchester early before prices increase due to the demand. From September to December, you will see a drop in the average temperature. However, with that cooler climate comes the football season. Also, autumn and winter brings in the Manchester Food and Drink Festival (September), the Literary Festival and Comedy Festival (October), and Christmas Markets (running from mid-November into the end of December).
Direct flights to Manchester are available from cities like London, Glasgow, Belfast, Castletown, Edinburg, Exeter, Newquay, Aberdeen, Inverness, Jersey, Norwich, and Southampton. From other locations in England, you may experience one-stop flights. Connecting Manchester to the rest of the United Kingdom are British Airways and Flybe. Flybe also connects to smaller airports, like Exeter and Bristol, while EasyJet takes passengers from Belfast International into Manchester. Other domestic flights include Aer Lingus, SAS, Air France, and KLM. Depending on when you book your Manchester flights, domestic flights may average a price of £123 GBP. While there are cheap flights to Manchester, some of these flights do not include baggage or food. Therefore, do make sure that you read the fine print before taking advantage of a heavily discounted ticket.
From Manchester Airport, you can expect a 30-minute drive into the heart of the city.
Manchester Airport offers The Station, which is the airport rail service. Trains run every 10 – 12 minutes between the airport and the downtown area. They also connect to other stations like the Manchester Piccadilly. Travel time is approximately 20 minutes and a one-way trip may cost between £4 – £5 GBP.
Manchester Airport also has trams that run from the airport to Cornbook. Cornbook is located just outside the city centre. Trams operate every 12 minutes and run from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. In the evening, trams are available every 15 minutes. To ride the tram, purchase your tickets on the platform at the airport. A ticket is required to board.
Buses and coaches are also available from private services like Megabus, Go Euro, and National Express. They run through the Station and take passengers from the airport to city centre.
At the airport terminal, you may find a black cab taxi. The average fare for taxis to the city centre is £34 GBP, and the taxi accepts up to 6 passengers per ride. No prior booking is required.
At Manchester Airport, you can also rent a vehicle from one of the car rental desks, but a prior reservation is often best to ensure that you get a vehicle when you need it. If you book early, you may find the best deals for car rentals with momondo.
Manchester is a great walking city. You will notice that most attractions are within walking distance from your hotel. For those areas that require more than a good pair of walking shoes, Manchester’s transportation options are abundant.
Metrolink trams are available throughout Manchester. There are six lines that cover a total of 76 stops and all are within walking distance to major attractions. A single-use ticket offers 90 minutes of travel time. With a Day Travel Card, you can use Metrolink unlimited for £5 – £7 GBP depending on what time of the day your card is valid for. All weekend day travel cards are £5.80 GBP for adults.
Metroshuttle buses run through the city centre during limited hours of 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. They run every 6 to 10 minutes Monday to Friday, but have reduced hours on the weekend. Nightbus offers various routes throughout the city from midnight until 3:30 am – catering to the nightlife crowd in the city. Nightbus runs every 30 minutes and a one-way ride costs £3 GBP.
City Council-regulated taxis are an option as well, but they are the more expensive option for travelling around downtown.
Private coach services help you go outside of Manchester to explore, and each coach operates on its own network. FirstGroup, for example, has unlimited day passes at £4.2 GBP, while Stagecoach has a one-week pass for £13.50 GBP.
Manchester is rich in cultural activities, sights, and art galleries. While visiting, there are several notable attractions to put on your top must-see list, including:
Manchester Museum of Science and Industry
See multiple floors of exhibitions and displays, including mammals from around the world, birds, and collections from South America. Fossils and different minerals are also on display, and it is a child-friendly attraction.
Manchester Art Gallery
If you have an eye and passion for the arts, the Manchester Art Gallery is the perfect site to stop and visit. Located on Mosley Street in the city centre, you see a collection of fine and decorative art with a free admission ticket.
Also located in the city centre, Urbis hosts exhibitions that include everything from art, fashion, urban lifestyle, and live talks. Also, Urbis is the home of the National Football Museum.
Museum of Science and Industry
Located on the site of the world’s first passenger railway, here you learn about the industry and science behind Manchester with exhibits teaching you about technology, communications, and transportation.
Other Notable Attractions Include:
Hail Black Cabs
Private taxis are uninsured if they pick up a passenger that has not booked in advance. Fares for the Manchester Licensed Area are shown on the meter inside the cab, while destinations outside the licensed area will incur fees decided by the driver.
Watch Football without the High Prices
Watching football at Old Trafford is expensive. Look for charity, friendly, and open training session matches instead to save on ticket prices.
Tipping in Manchester
To tip a waiter or waitress, you should generally offer to leave 10 to 15 percent of the bill total. When using a credit card to pay, make sure the staff receives the gratuity and not the restaurant.
Parking in the City
Parking for paid parking spaces is expensive, but after 6:00 pm and on Sundays, parking is free.
26 and Under Discounts
To see a show at the theatre, you may qualify for the “A Night Less Ordinary Initiative” discount that gives you free tickets if you are under 26.