Tips For Exploring Manchester on a Budget!

Manchester is a city known for its rich heritage, iconic going-out scene and diverse culture with something to suit everyone. Contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to visit Manchester on a budget.  As much as there is an element of expense to expect, similarly to visiting London, you can still experience the best of what Manchester has to offer, whilst keeping a tight limit on your spending.

In this blog post, we will share the most cost-effective way to explore the city, including some insider spots that are unmissable and not known to many. Take a look at the following suggestions:

1. Accommodation

First things first, you are likely hitting a brick wall finding cheap accommodation to host you and your travel buddies. There are some wallet-friendly places to stay in Manchester, you just need to know how to find them. Manchester has great transport links, meaning staying slightly outside of the city centre is not only cheaper but also convenient for making your way in and around the city. Areas such as Ancoats, Fallowfield and Salford have many serviced accommodation apartments for groups of people to stay in, working out much cheaper. Also keep in mind that if a luxury accommodation looks cheap, then it is likely too good to be true. Some AirBnB scams, unfortunately, take place in Manchester, so be sure to book with a legitimate hotel and host with great reviews!

2. Free and Affordable Attractions

Manchester has free attractions, as well as seasonal ones that come and go during different times of the year. Manchester Museum which has recently completed a complete upgrade is a free attraction that is open to visit throughout most days of the year. Be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Additionally, Manchester hosts some of the most impressive Christmas markets in the UK throughout November and December, making it a popular time of the year to visit. The markets may be expensive, but you get to walk around and get into the festive spirit, and perhaps spend a few pounds on Bailey’s hot chocolate, delicious!

Manchester also has an impressive selection of parks, such as Heaton Park, which is just a short tram journey away from the city centre. If you are hiring a car, you may also consider driving to the peak district that sits right next to Manchester, with some of the most scenic rural landscapes in the North West. One of the great things about walking is that it’s free! You can finish your peak district walk-off with a delicious cheap pub lunch.

3. Explore the Northern Quarter

The northern quarter is a hub for music, creativity, and great experiences. Just a short walk from the centre of Manchester, you can experience the best of vintage markets, independent shops, and weird and wonderful bars that most of the city flocks to. There are tons of delicious cafes and bars to visit, some more expensive than others. Keep in mind that bars in Manchester are subjected to price increases once it gets dark and people get rowdy, so take advantage of happy hour deals that many of the pubs offer whilst the sun is still up, which it rarely is in rainy Manchester!

4. Walking Tours

It can be daunting trying to navigate the many streets of Manchester if you are new to the city. There are many walking tours available for tourists and history lovers looking for an insight into the city’s fruitful past. Some are free, and others require a small fee, however, they are 100% the best way to get to know the city. If you are looking for a more thrilling way to explore the city, consider renting one of the e-bikes and big wheeled scooters readily available in and around the city.

5. Affordable Transportation

Manchester has a newly updated transport system that spans the city using light electric rail, buses and as mentioned electric bikes and scooters to enjoy. Buses and trams can take you to various parts of the city at reasonable prices, not to mention the new Bee Network system allows you to buy a pass that lets you use all Bee Network transportation modes. Consider purchasing a day pass for unlimited travel, allowing you to hop on and off as you explore different areas of Manchester.


Manchester has an unbeatable culture and vibrant atmosphere that brings millions of new faces to the city each year. Whilst it can come out as an expensive trip without sufficient levels of planning, it can also be cost-effective enough to help you spread the cost. Use a public transport route for cheaper commuting, make the most of seasonal events at the time of your visit, and book accommodation just outside of the city to enjoy the same Manchester quality, for less! Unforgettable memories are guaranteed when visiting Manchester, even when on a budget.