Manchester likes to refer to itself as the United Kingdom’s second city, though Birmingham occasionally tends to dispute this. During the Industrial Revolution, massive advances were made in the textile industry and Manchester capitalized on this to become the first industrialized city in the world.
Manchester airport lies just twenty minutes from the city center and in addition to flights connecting with the North of England and Wales, it also provides flights to many international destinations. Being such a busy hub, it is quite possible that you will find yourself doing a Manchester Airport layover.
Although any layover normally causes us to sigh and shake our heads despairingly, a Manchester layover actually offers plenty of opportunities to explore, especially if you’re prepared well in advance. One thing that you will need to do is to leave your baggage at a reliable Manchester bag storage service so that you can explore without having to drag heavy suitcases.
6 hour Manchester layover
There are smooth-running public transport connections to downtown Manchester using both rail and bus services. Access to the station via moving walkways is simple from all of the terminals, and if you prefer to use the bus, they all stop at this railway station. Journey time to town takes around twenty minutes.
Despite the fact that access to the city is so straightforward, by the time you have cleared customs and stored your bags in a locker service, you are going to be pressed for time. A common temptation is to try and see as much of the city as possible, but realistically this is not an option.
A more practical solution is to pick one area and enjoy yourself at a more relaxed pace while you’re there. Spinningfields is a great place to unwind in a short space of time. You might like to grab yourself a full English breakfast, and Manchurians pride themselves on serving some of the best fry-ups in the country. If you prefer something a little lighter than that, there are plenty of possibilities to enjoy the famous full English tea. After that, you might like to walk around and explore some of the shops and bookstores while soaking up a little of the local atmosphere.
- On a short stopover, don’t try to do too much.
- Allow yourself time to clear airport security in a relaxed manner.
8 hour Manchester layover
With a few extra hours on your hands, you now have the opportunity to visit Chethams Library. Irrespective of whether you are a book fan or not, you will not be disappointed by a visit to the oldest English language library in the world. Housed in a sandstone building dating back to 1421, visiting Chetham is a little like stepping into a Harry Potter film. Hundreds of century-old books line the dark wooden shelving in a building that is simply breathtaking. It’s a great quick visit to liven up your Manchester stopover.
- Visit Chetham’s Library to get some peace and quiet on your Manchester trip.
- See the oldest English language library in the world and admire its impressive collection.
10 hour Manchester layover
Manchester is a city obsessed with football and home to Manchester United, arguably one of the most famous football teams in the world. In addition, Manchester also houses the Manchester Football Museum whose mission is to spread the story of the game to a wider audience. There's enough here to keep the whole family happily occupied, and you'll also be able to grab some memorabilia at the shop before thinking about your return journey.
- Even on a ten-hour layover, don’t try to do more than two or three visits.
- There are plenty of great restaurants in the city so between visits you will have no problem finding something to suit your palate.
12 hour Manchester layover
On a longer layover, you might want to think about visits to Manchester’s Chinatown which is the second largest of its kind in the United Kingdom. Situated right in the heart of the city, this area is small enough to explore easily on foot. In addition to the many shops selling Chinese wares and products, you will have the choice of dozens of restaurants where you can sample the exotic culinary delights.
The Manchester Natural History Museum will be a source of wonder to both families with children and those adults with an interest in the natural world. With exhibits as wide-ranging as the Anthropocene age, space, and British wildlife, there is enough to keep you intrigued for hours. Note that large bags are not permitted inside, so make sure to leave yours at a Manchester luggage storage before visiting.
After a period cooped in an airplane, you may relish the opportunity to spend a little time outdoors and, in this regard, Manchester offers dozens of options. There are parks and gardens all over the city, but one that you might want to consider, especially if you're a keen gardener, would be the Hume Community Garden. Here the focus is on expanding the understanding of gardening and horticulture among the general population.
- Consider the weather before committing to an outdoor activity.
- You will be spoiled for choice as regards restaurants, but don’t forget Chinatown.
24 hour layover in Manchester
This northern city has a vibrant nightlife scene buoyed by a large student population and the general Manchunian conviviality. Here you will not have to go far to discover nightclubs, jazz bars and comedy venues.
For something slightly different, stroll along Oxford Road where you will often find pop-up shops, craft beer manufacturers, and great street food. It is almost inevitable that these will be accompanied by street performances of one kind or another.
If you fancy something a little more formal in the way of night-time dining, then there are several options that you might like to consider, but one serious contender should be one of the many gastro pubs that the city now plays host to. No visit to the UK would be complete without paying homage to one of their fabulous pubs. On an overnight layover, you will easily be able to do this, but in gastro pubs, you are now able to enjoy top-end dining combined with that classic pub atmosphere.
- On a Manchester airport layover, be sure to choose a hotel that allows you easy access to both the attractions you wish to see in the airport itself.
- If your flight is early, make sure to book an alarm call so you don’t oversleep and miss your connection.