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Visit: Manchester on a Budget

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Image © Chiara Pustianaz

Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, cradle of musical history, and home to two of the world’s best football teams, Manchester is a city alive with character and diversity. Dubbed the ‘Capital of the North’, Manchester is a vast melting pot of different cultures and stories, making its arts, food, and cultural scenes as diverse and as fascinating as its own richly varied history. Here’s our guide to seeing the best of this thriving city in a day for under £20.

Here’s a list of our favourite, affordable things to do in Manchester when you’re on a budget.

Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, cradle of musical history, and home to two of the world’s best football teams, Manchester is a city alive with character and diversity. Dubbed the ‘Capital of the North’, Manchester is a vast melting pot of different cultures and stories, making its arts, food, and cultural scenes as diverse and as fascinating as its own richly varied history. You don’t always have to spend an arm and a leg when you visit somewhere, so we’ve put together a list of cheap and cheerful things to do in Manchester.  

John Rylands Library (Free)

Image © Facebook via @JohnRylandsLibrary

150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH 

Start your Manchester day out by visiting one of the city’s most beautiful buildings, the John Rylands Library. Even if your student days are done and dusted, this literary temple is still a sight to behold. Home to one of the world’s finest collections of historic books and manuscripts, this gothic Manchester University library holds over 250,000 printed volumes and well over a million archival items. For more information, click here


'Discover Manchester' Tour (Free)

Image © Facebook via @mcrguidedtours

Begins at Manchester Central Library, St. Peters Square, Manchester, M2 5PD 

Guided tours are a fantastic way to see a city, and what better way to enjoy the beautiful sights Manchester has to offer than to take a free- yes you heard us right- tour of the city? Enjoy a relaxing stroll whilst taking in all sorts of interesting sights as you’re guided around Manchester’s most notable architecture and their mesmerising interiors. See the Town Hall, Manchester Cathedral and the Royal Exchange whilst picking up some cool facts along the way. All you need to remember to bring with you is an inquisitive mind.  

The hour and a half walk around town will fly by and leave you wishing you were a Mancunian yourself. For more information click here.  


Whitworth Art Gallery (Free)

Image © Facebook via @thewhitworth

Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER  

Need to be inspired? Head over to Whitworth Art Gallery in Whitworth. Playing home to over 55,000 pieces of fine art, print and textiles that have been collected for the past 25 years. Get ready to lose yourself in this wonderful world of creativity. It’s recently gone under some refurbishment and has some instagrammable installations to offer.  

Want to find out what’s on at the moment? Click here.  


Walk around the Northern Quarter (Free)

Image © staycity.com/24-hours-in-manchesters-northern-quarter/

Manchester’s Northern Quarter pulsates with creativity and it’s in this area that you’ll find the city’s trendiest bars, hippest galleries, and funkiest shops. The jumbled network of streets, once home to busy textile warehouses, are now stuffed full of independent cafes and bohemian boutiques, and it’s very easy to lose track of time as you soak up the area’s laidback vibe. Make sure to visit Piccadilly Records, a Manchester institution, for all your vinyl needs, and Retro Rehab, one of the city’s most beloved vintage stores, for those keen to put some flare into their fashion. 


National Football Museum (Free for residents, £6 upwards for visitors)

Image © Facebook via @NationalFootballMuseum

Urbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd Street, Manchester, M4 3BG 

Whether you’re a footie fanatic or you simply want to get a sense of Manchester’s true spirit, a kick around the National Football Museum is well worth your time. Aiming to show visitors how and why football has become ‘the people’s game’, this institution explores the rich history of this popular sport, and how it has left its legacy on English heritage. With over 140,000 items on show and plenty of interactive exhibitions, you’re sure to have a ball. 

For more information and entry fees, click here


Corbieres (£3 for a pint) 

Image © designmynight.com/manchester/bars/king-street/corbieres-wine-cavern

Alliance House, 2 Half Moon Street, Manchester, M2 7PB 

Hidden on Half Moon Street in a dark corner of Manchester’s hip Northern Quarter is Corbieres, a self proclaimed Subterranean drinking den with an impressive past. Boasting former clientele including the members of Oasis and The Happy Mondays, Corbieres has been plying Manchester locals with affordable booze for over thirty years. It’s important to note that whilst a favoured drinking spot you can also grab an affordable and tasty bite should you get peckish.  

Be sure not to miss Corbieres’ famous jukebox too, but make no mistake, the pressure will be on from this crowd to pick a good tune! 


Northern Soul (From £3.95)

Image © Facebook via @northernsoulgrilledcheese

Unit G20, 21, 44 Tib Street, Manchester, M4 1LA 

Proudly billed as the UK’s first gourmet grilled cheese restaurant, Northern Soul is perfect for cheese junkies looking to get a gooey fix. Specialising in the ultimate comfort food, this Manchester institution raises the humble grilled cheese sandwich to new obscenely delicious heights. All of the grilled cheese delicacies served at Northern Soul pivot around their signature three cheese blend on sourdough bread, and additional toppings range from mac ’n’ cheese (The Mac Attack) to succulent BBQ pulled pork (Pig On The Lead). With huge Northern Soul hits playing while you gorge yourself on melted cheese, you’re guaranteed a gouda time.  

For more information, click here.  


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