How to Spend a Weekend in Manchester

If you’re planning a weekend break in Manchester and want to explore the best this city in the north has to offer, you must create a solid itinerary. This is because Manchester has a lot going on. For instance, in spite of its rich industrial heritage, it now enjoys a vibrant art and sports culture.

Truthfully, two days won’t be enough to fully exploit the heart and soul of Manchester. However, we’ll help you make it work. So, read on to learn more about how to spend a weekend in Manchester.

Things to Consider When Planning a Weekend Escape in Manchester

Before you get to your itinerary in Manchester, you must figure out the following;

  1. How to Get to Manchester

To reach Manchester, you can fly directly to Manchester airport, ride a train, or board a bus. Flying is faster than the other two means but costs more. So, depending on your urgency and budget, you should choose appropriately.

  1. Where to Stay in Manchester

There’re many accommodation options for a weekend stay in Manchester. From hostels charging as little as £12 to luxury hotels that cost £130 a night. Not forgetting Airbnbs. Some of the factors to consider in this case are location and availability of essential features.

  1. How to Move Around in Manchester

Moving around manchester is probably the easiest factor to figure out. You can walk around the city centre, use the free hop-on, hop-off bus runs, hire a bike, board a tram or train, or rent a car and drive yourself around.

Things to Do and Places to Visit in Manchester on a Weekend

  • Visit Famous Historical Sites

Manchester is a historic city. It tells an amazing story through the many heritage structures and sites. You’ll learn a lot by visiting the iconic places that shaped England and the world. The fact that most of the buildings are still used to date is in itself an architectural marvel.

You can start with the neo-gothic-styled Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square. Unfortunately, it’s undergoing restoration presently so you won’t be able to get inside until2024. Well, if you just take a few steps nearby, you’ll find the Central Library with its roman-inspired architecture.

Next is the John Rylands Research Institute and Library which was built in memory of the late John Rylands, a reputable Manchester Industrialist. The structure is currently under the University of Manchester Library. It houses a broad collection of valuable books and maps manuscripts. Entry is free of charge.

Lastly, stop by the Manchester Cathedral and inspect a structure that’s been around since the middle ages. You won’t be charged anything to enjoy the vintage interior and medieval woodwork.

  • Go to the Museums and Art Galleries

A great part of Manchester’s history is safely tucked away in the many museums around the city. A visit to the museums would be akin to a trip down memory lane. Here are the different museums that you can visit in Manchester.

  • National Football Museum

Here you’ll learn about the history of the game in Britain through the exhibited memorabilia and other football-related art.

  • Science and Industry Museum

Contains exhibits related to Manchester’s industrial and scientific history. In fact, the museum is located where the oldest station of the world’s first inter-city railway used to be. 

  • Imperial War Museum

This museum features historic objects and multimedia displays that tell war stories of the 20th and 21st centuries and how they’ve shaped our world.

  • People’s History Museum

This museum showcases items related to the growth of Britain’s democracy and society at large.

If you’re into any form of artistic expression, you must include art galleries in your itinerary. The notable galleries to visit in Manchester include the Whitworth Art Gallery and the Manchester Art Gallery. Also, street art is largely practised on industrial architecture.

  • Explore the Northern Quarter

The northern quarter is like the heart of Manchester. It houses some of the best shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants in town. So, if you want to shop, enjoy a drink, or sample delicious local and international cuisines, go to the Northern Quarter. The place has something for everyone.

  • Tour the City

Touring the city is a good way to visit and discover more hidden gems. You can either go on walking tours or sightseeing bus tours that come complete with a tour guide. The other option is to map out your route and get going. Make sure you pass by castle field to explore the network of canals and Heaton Park for a nature walk.

  • Explore the Football Culture

The city of Manchester is synonymous with its vibrant football culture. In fact, if you mention Manchester to most people around the world, the first thing that comes to mind is either Manchester United or Manchester City. Therefore, when you visit the city over the weekend, it’s only right that you take part in a football-related activity.

First, you should go for a stadium tour of the iconic Old Trafford and Etihad Stadium. Even better if the season is on and either of the two teams has a home game during the weekend. You can pay for the game ticket and experience the atmosphere of a live game first-hand.

  • Explore the Nightlife

In the evenings, you should explore Manchester’s vibrant and eclectic nightlife. Check out the bars in the Northern Quarter and ensure you sample their best beers, wines, and cocktails. Engage the locals and make merry the Manchester way.

This is also a good opportunity to get an insight into the city’s music scene. You’ll experience the diversity, but you can easily tell the dominant genre depending on the sound that’s on high rotation. 


For a weekend in Manchester, these activities are enough to fill your itinerary. The best part is that they’re fun, educational, and fulfilling.