Manchester – a city which has more to it than people may first think. Perhaps the most well-known of these are its two major football teams, Manchester City and Manchester United, both of which are popular the world over. There’s so much more, though. A pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution, a very successful music scene, major scientific discoveries, its political & social influence, transport connections, its burgeoning media base, and more. If you’ve ever wanted to go to Manchester, then please read our guide on how to get the best-value tickets, as well as more information on the city.
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Manchester is well-connected to the rest of the country, with direct trains from destinations such as London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, York, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Southampton. There are also some perhaps slightly more unexpected routes, such as Norwich, Llandudno, Carmarthen, and Milford Haven. It’s also worth mentioning Manchester Airport, which is also well-connected to the rest of the UK, and could be useful if you’re planning on visiting from abroad. Even if you’re intending to travel elsewhere in the UK, we’d encourage you to visit Manchester by rail on your travels to see what the city has to offer.
There are many options for getting around Manchester, and for further details, please read below.
Manchester city centre is relatively compact and easy to get around on foot. If you’re on a budget or want to get a bit of exercise, then walking is definitely worth considering. Cycling’s also a worthwhile option, with a bicycle hire scheme being available. For further information on walking and cycling in Greater Manchester, please visit HERE.
First opened in 1992, Manchester’s Metrolink tram network connects the city to many of the surrounding areas, with connections to Manchester Airport and the Trafford Centre also being available. If you’re travelling longer-distance on the Metrolink network, then it’s worth noting that many journeys on the system can only require one change. Buying Metrolink tickets is simple – there are ticket machines at each station. You can also tap in and out using a contactless card or mobile device in much the same way as you would in London, which can save the queues at ticket machines, plus it can also help the environment by avoiding the need for printed tickets. For further information on Metrolink, please visit the website HERE.
Manchester’s bus network is extensive, with many routes across the city and into the suburbs. The city’s buses are changing, with the creation of the Bee Network in 2023 making the city’s bus network work on a similar basis to how London’s buses run. For further information on Manchester’s bus network, please click HERE. There are two free bus routes which go around the city centre, with both of them serving Manchester Piccadilly station – for further information on these routes, click HERE.
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Manchester’s rail network is extensive, with most trains serving one of either Manchester Piccadilly or Manchester Victoria. Most services are operated by Northern, with others run by TransPennine Express, East Midlands Railway, and Transport for Wales. Longer-distance services to the city are operated by Avanti West Coast and CrossCountry. There are frequent services to Manchester Airport operated by Northern and TransPennine Express, with Transport for Wales also operating some services. For more information on Manchester’s rail network, please visit the website HERE.
As with any major city, there are taxis available for use to get around. These can be particularly useful for those who have restricted mobility or find them to be a more convenient way of travelling from place to place, but the cost can add up.
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The Trainsplit app makes it easy to find cheaper alternative journeys through split ticketing.
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If you don’t have a Railcard, then it can be worth looking in to getting one. There are many different types, and most will offer about a third off the price of most fares. If you’re planning on making a lot of journeys, or are travelling a long way, then it’s worth investigating – it may not take much effort for the Railcard to pay for itself through making your tickets even cheaper. You can buy a railcard here.
It may seem somewhat obvious, but booking in advance can really help you save money over the standard fare. For example, a direct train from London to Manchester booked on the day can cost £184.70, which is the most expensive standard-class single fare from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly we can find. This can be cut to £37 if booking eight weeks in advance. Splitting tickets can reduce this even further – an example on our website took the price down to £27.30.
Travelling in the busiest times, such as during rush hours, can inflate prices. As an example, if we have a journey from London to Manchester booked eight weeks in advance during the evening peak, this can cost £40. If booked on the day of travel with no split tickets, this can go up to £184.70. The most expensive off-peak/super off-peak single fare we can find is £96.40, and this can be reduced even further. It pays to travel off-peak where possible.
If you have any other questions, then our FAQ section can be a good place to start. If your question doesn’t appear there, then feel free to get in touch with our customer service team.
So just what is there to do in Manchester? As mentioned earlier on, there’s quite a lot in the city itself, and options for scenic days out just a short train ride away.
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Perhaps Manchester’s most famous sport is football, with two highly-popular Premier League teams – Manchester United and Manchester City. Since the Premier League was first formed in 1992, the title has gone to either United or City on 20 occasions – more than the other winning clubs put together. The rivalry between them is one of the most hotly contested in English football, and indeed in the world. Whether you want to tour either of the two stadia, attend a match, or just visit the club’s stores, access to either ground is relatively straightforward.
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For Old Trafford, the closest Metrolink stops are Old Trafford and Wharfside, with Media City being a short walk away. For the Etihad Stadium, the closest Metrolink stop is Etihad Campus. Further information on stadium tours of Old Trafford can be found HERE, and the same for the Etihad Stadium can be found HERE.
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The National Football Museum can be found in the city centre by Exchange Square Metrolink stop, and further information about the museum can be found HERE. One of Manchester’s other well-known sports is cricket, with Old Trafford Cricket Ground having been the home of Lancashire County Cricket Club since 1865. The ground has played hosts to international Test matches since 1884, including some of the most well-known Ashes tests between England and Australia. It’s conveniently located right by the Old Trafford Metrolink stop. If you’d like to book a tour of the stadium, then please visit their website HERE. Other sports with a presence in the city include athletics, rugby league, cycling, and many more.
Are you a Sports Fan? Trainsplit has partnered with Pledgeball, a grassroots charity that rallies fellow fans to take action to protect where we play, making changes that improve our air and our green spaces. It can be as simple as swapping to reusable water bottles or taking the train to a match instead of driving. Fans, players, clubs, grassroots teams – the impact we can have together is game-changing.
Manchester has had a thriving music scene for many years. Its exports include big names such as Oasis, the Bee Gees, Joy Division, New Order, the Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays, and many more. There are numerous venues across the city, with two of the most famous being Manchester Arena (located above Manchester Victoria station, and it also hosts a plethora of other events) and Manchester Academy (located on the University of Manchester’s main campus). Currently under construction is the Co-op Live Arena, located near the Etihad Stadium, which is set to become the UK’s biggest indoor arena once completed. With plenty of rail travel options to get to Manchester, why not extend your stay in Manchester for a music event into a mini-break?
There’s a lot of history to Manchester and the surrounding area, including its history of social justice. The Co-operative Group was founded in Manchester in 1863, and its roots can be traced to nearby Rochdale in 1844. The city has history dating back to Roman times, and grew massively during the Industrial Revolution thanks to textile manufacturing. Manchester Museum recently reopened after a major refurbishment. Located on Oxford Road and owned by the University of Manchester, it’s home to about 4.5 million objects across many collections, including archaeology, botany, zoology, and more.
There’s also a history with transport – Manchester is host to the terminus of the world’s first inter-city passenger railway that ran to Liverpool, which was appropriately named Liverpool Road. The station itself closed to passengers in 1844, and the site is now used by the Science & Industry Museum (part of the Science Museum Group). The Science & Industry Museum has exhibits on transport, power, Manchester’s industrial past, and scientific discoveries from Manchester & the rest of the UK. Perhaps one of the most important scientific discoveries to have happened in Manchester was back in 1917 when Ernest Rutherford managed to split the atom.
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If you fancy a more scenic day out, then Manchester’s a decent location to base yourself. The Peak District is to the east of the city, and is within easy reach by train. As one example, Buxton is a delightful town just over an hour from Manchester Piccadilly known for its spring water, Pavilion Gardens, and large number of historic buildings. Another option is the city of Chester, with its well-preserved city walls and large number & variety of listed buildings. It takes roughly 90 minutes to get to Chester directly from Manchester.
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The Trainsplit app is more than just a way to save money on train travel. It's a great way to explore new places and meet new people.
You don’t need to look too far to see that Manchester has a huge variety of food options to suit all sorts of cuisines and budgets. Here, we have a selection of options to demonstrate just a small slice of what the city has to offer.
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Address: 44 Tib Street,
Located on Tib Street just a short distance from Market Street Metrolink stop, Northern Soul is known – perhaps as its name suggests – for its grilled cheese sandwiches. These range from ‘The Soul’ with a three-cheese blend on sourdough bread to ‘The Classic’ with caramelised onion chutney, the ‘Hawaii 5.0’ (roast ham, spicy pineapple pico de gallo salsa, finished with kogi BBQ sauce), the ‘New Yorker’ (stacked beef pastrami, rocket, smokey mustard, pickle), and more. Other available options include chicken wings, mac & cheese, and loaded fries. If you want a taste of American diner food, then look no further.
Address: 44 Blossom Street,
Found a short walk away from Piccadilly Gardens Metrolink stop on Blossom Street, The Hip Hop Chip Shop has many of the classic items you’d find in any chip shop. These include fish & chips, pie & chips, sausage & chips, and more. There are also vegetarian and vegan alternatives if you don’t eat meat/fish or are looking to try something different for a change, such as halloumi, banana blossom, and red pepper & chickpea vegan sausage. There’s even a hybrid of fish & chips and Indian cuisine if that takes your fancy.
Address: 29-31 Sackville Street,
If you want something perhaps a bit different, then why not try the Ethiopian cuisine at Habesha? Located on Sackville Street, and a stone’s throw from Manchester Piccadilly, the menu at Habesha is small, but don’t let that fool you. For example, why not try the ‘Lega Tibs’ (cubed lamb cooked with onion, tomato, green pepper)? Alternatively, there’s the ‘Doro Wot’ (tender chicken leg or thigh slow cooked with onion, ginger, garlic, hot pepper (berbere) and herbal butter, also served with hard-boiled egg). There are also vegetarian options available should you wish to consider these.
Address: 14-18 Wilmslow Road,
If you’re in Manchester and want Asian cuisine, then there’s one place worth visiting – the Curry Mile. This is part of Wilmslow Road in the Rusholme area of south Manchester, in close proximity to multiple university campuses, and not too far from Manchester Royal Infirmary. One of the many options is MyLahore, which fuses British and Asian cuisine together to create some delightful dishes. For your starters, these include seekh kebabs, samosas, chaat, and pakoras. A wide variety of mains follow, including flaming mutton chops, a grilled fish burger, and a number of different curries to suit any taste. Desserts include chocolate fudge cake, a variety of sundaes, old-school classics such as jam roly poly with custard, and the Asian desert ‘falooda’ (fresh noodles, rose syrup, milk, basil seeds, kulfi ice-cream).
Address: 34 St Ann Street,
Sited a short walk from St Peter’s Square Metrolink stop on St Ann Street, Vincenzo Trattoria is a lovely little restaurant for fans of Italian cuisine. Its city-centre location is great for theatre trips, meals around shopping trips, and dinner with friends. The restaurant was opened in 2019, and prides itself on its ingredients being sourced locally, which is great for those who wish to cut down on their food miles. The menu includes classic Italian starters such as insalata caprese, bruschetta al pomodoro, and minestrone. Mains are covered with the margherita pizza, penne all’arrabbiata, and the pollo Milanese.
Address: 58-60 George Street,
If you like Japanese food with a sense of theatre, then teppanyaki is often a good bet. Teppanyaki Chinatown, on George St and a couple of minutes’ walk from St Peter’s Square Metrolink stop, is one of the best examples of this in the city, ensuring to use the freshest ingredients possible. There are a number of set menus available to suit a range of budgets. If you prefer to buy items à la carte, then don’t worry – you’re covered here. There are plenty of sushi options, with nigiri, maki rolls, and sashimi all covered. For hot appetisers, the choices include miso soup, yakitori chicken skewers, vegetable gyozas, and tempura. Teppanyaki mains can include a variety of meat, fish, and seafood options, with special options and vegetarian & vegan alternatives available should suit anyone.
Address: 184-186 Deansgate,
Steak is often considered to be a special meal, and arguably one of the best restaurants for this is Hawksmoor – their Manchester branch is found on Deansgate, and a short walk from both Deansgate-Castlefield and St Peter’s Square Metrolink stops. The starters are plentiful, including oysters, potted beef & bacon with Yorkshire puddings and onion gravy, and kohlrabi salad with celery hearts and Spenwood. Mains of course include a variety of different cuts of steak, including sirloin, fillet, and Porterhouse. If you want something a bit different, then why not try the whole roasted sea bream baked in paper with chilli, onion, and garlic? Hawksmoor is also known for its side dishes, and these include macaroni cheese, Tunworth mash, and creamed spinach. If you want dessert, then you’re covered here, with sticky toffee pudding, pear & honey cheesecake, and passion fruit pavlova among the options. Hawksmoor’s drinks list is huge, with a wide range of cocktails to suit all tastes, and the chain is also well-known for its extensive wine list.
Address: 16 Peter Street,
For those who enjoy fine dining, or want somewhere for a special occasion, ‘Adam Reid at The French’ – located in the Midland Hotel, and not too far from St Peter’s Square Metrolink stop – is well worth considering, and is also recommended in the Michelin Guide. Chef-Patron Adam Reid himself has won four AA Rosettes over the years, and won the dessert course of the BBC’s ‘Great British Menu’ in 2016. The menu is designed as a homage to Adam’s Northern roots. The menu can change, but it can include delights such as ‘A warm Northern welcome’ (bread, butter, and broth), ‘Today’s tea’ (inclusive of the following: scallops from Scotland with turnips from Cheshire; warm cheese on celery root, giblet gravy, and English mushroom; Cornish catch of the day with curry squash sauce & mussels), and desserts including baked apple with meadowsweet custard. There is of course a wine pairing option for those who wish to heighten their dining experience.
Address: Free Trade Hall,
Japanese and Mexican cuisines aren’t usually two you may see on the same menu, but Peter Street Kitchen – a short walk from St Peter’s Square Metrolink stop – does both of these. If you enjoy seafood, then the seafood platter is a good option, which includes tuna sashimi with tosazu and Cornish crab dressed with chili and lemon. Other options on the Japanese side include crispy filo king prawns with wasabi mayonnaise and a few dishes with highly-regarded Japanese Wagyu beef (one highlight is the grilled ribeye with chili truffle teriyaki). If you prefer Mexican food, then why not try the crispy Baja fish tacos (served with cabbage slaw and habanero mayonnaise), smoked paprika ribs with mezcal glaze, or fine cuts of skewered beef tenderloin (served on a hot lava stone with lime, habanero, and jalapeño salt)? For those of you who have a sweet tooth, you’re covered with delights such as a chocolate bento box with genmaicha ice cream, white chocolate cheesecake with mango sorbet, and assorted mochi (coconut, honey roasted pistachio, passion fruit, and mango).
Tips for saving on rail tickets:
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