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A Two-Day Itinerary for Exploring Manchester

A Two-Day Itinerary for Exploring Manchester

A well-loved city in the south of the north of England, Manchester has many stories to tell, given its rich history and culture. It’s no wonder why many tourists find themselves gravitating towards this place.

So, if you still haven’t been to Manchester, you may be wondering: is it truly worth visiting? Well, to quote Ian Brown, “Manchester’s got everything except a beach.”

Manchester is always worth the trip since it remains to be one of the best places in the UK with diverse attractions. 

Whether it’s natural landmarks, historical architecture, breathtaking museums and galleries (art gallery manchester), grand stadiums, or delicious food stops – there is something for all kinds of visitors in Manchester.

Have you ever wondered how long it would take you to make the most out of your stay in Manchester? Read on to find out!

Interactive map of how your two-day Manchester
Click here to view an interactive map of how your two-day Manchester trip will look like.

The Perfect Itinerary for Spending Two Days in Manchester

It takes two days for casual tourists to experience key attractions in Manchester’s city centre, such as museums, restaurants, and shopping centres (shopping mall manchester).

Those who want to explore other areas in the city, like Salford, Trafford, and Altrincham, would benefit in extending their stay to several more days. 

But Manchester is an ever-changing city. One can spend a lifetime here and still discover things to rave about, so it’s always worth coming back to!

For you to experience the best of Manchester in such a short time, you’ll need a plan. So, to help you plan a two-day trip in Manchester, we’ve compiled the best places that you should not miss! 

Explore Manchester in 2 Days
Day 1Day 2
Manchester Cathedral
People’s History Museum
People’s History Museum
The Tea Room
National Football Museum
Arndale Center
Hawksmoor Palace Theatre
Royal Exchange Theatre
Manchester Museum of Science and Industry
Spice of India
• Manchester United Football Club Stadium Tour
Mr Thomas’ Chop House

Day One: Get to Know Manchester

On the first day of the visit, it is best to explore museums that will introduce the history of Manchester and celebrate its people. On top of that, there are also local food establishments and shopping centres to try. 

Manchester Cathedral

Manchester Cathedral's Homepage
Photo by Margo Go
AddressVictoria St, Manchester M3 1SX, United Kingdom
Operating HoursSunday to Saturday: 9:30 AM–4:00 PM
Insider TipCheckout the stained glass windows and the impressive wood carvings in the choir area.

Despite the many renovations of the Manchester Cathedral, it still holds its beautiful gothic architecture that’s definitely worth visiting if you are in Manchester. 

Whether you are a religious tourist, a history enthusiast, or simply enjoy beautiful craftsmanship — there is no doubt that this place will hit the mark.

Additionally, there are also guided tours available for those who want to appreciate the cathedral more. Just booked in advance and their team will find someone who can assist.

People’s History Museum

People's History Museum's Homepage
Photo by Maris Laudaks
AddressLeft Bank, Manchester M3 3ER, United Kingdom
Operating HoursWednesday to Monday: 10:00 AM–5:00 PM
Travel Time From the Last Stop25 minutes
Ticket CostsFree, but there is a suggested donation of £5.
Insider TipThere are also a variety of events that are being held here. It is best to check their website for any special programs on the day of your visit so that you can plan ahead. 

Visiting the People’s History Museum is like a crash course on the event history of Manchester and its people. The museum contains endless memorabilia from the different eras of the city.

This is a popular destination for tourists who are interested in politics. The museum features the “Protest! Power to the People” exhibit, a one-of-a-kind collection that highlights protests and activism in the country.

The Tea Room

The Tea Room's Homepage
AddressThe Midland Hotel, Peter St, Manchester M60 2DS, United Kingdom
Operating HoursSunday to Saturday: 12:00 PM–4:30 PM
Travel Time From the Last Stop7 to 10 minutes
Insider TipTheir scones and cakes are baked fresh daily and are definitely worth the try!

The Tea Room is a visit-worthy cafe (cafe manchester) at the centre of Manchester’s heart. It is most loved for its classic British menu that is served within its cosy atmosphere.

This is a great place to rest, after taking a stroll around cathedrals and museums. They have a wide selection of dishes that range from sandwiches to full meals. 

Along with that they also have a delicious drinks menu that features speciality teas, coffees, and other comfort beverages.

National Football Museum

National Football Museum's Homepage
Photo by Sami Shorhi

AddressUrbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG, United Kingdom
Operating HoursSunday to Saturday: 10:00 AM–5:00 PM
Travel Time From the Last Stop15 to 20 minutes
Ticket CostsFree for Manchester ResidentsStarts at £6 for childrenStart at £11 for adults
Insider TipThe museum has a gift shop filled with memorabilia that would be a great hit for avid fans of the football fans. 

A sports enthusiast’s visit to Manchester will not be completed without visiting the National Football Museum. This showcases the history, culture, and impact of football (soccer, for some of you) in the UK and around the world.

There is a wide range of immersive displays and interactive exhibits where tourists can learn about various football teams and the notable players from each one.

The most popular exhibit here is known as the “Skills Zone”. Here, guests can test their football abilities and see how they compare to professional football players.

Arndale Center

Arndale Center's Homepage
AddressThe Arndale Centre, Market St, Manchester M4 3AQ, UK
Operating HoursSunday: 11:30 AM–5:30 PMMonday to Saturday: 9:00 AM–8:00 PM
Travel Time From the Last Stop10 to 15 minutes
Insider TipCheck their website for promotions and sales in their stores. 

The Arndale Centre is one of the biggest shopping malls in the UK. Since it features over 200 stores, tourists will have seemingly endless options if they choose to shop for souvenirs here.

There are also many food establishments within the mall that serve both quick bites for full meals. This makes it a great stopover before continuing with the itinerary for the rest of the day.

The mall is also accessible through public transportation, which makes it, even more, tourist-friendly. As for those who rented a car during their visit, there are also ample parking slots available here.


Hawksmoor's Homepage
Address184, 186 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3WB, United Kingdom
Operating HoursSunday: 12:00 PM–9:00 PM

Monday to Thursday:
12:00 PM–3:00 PM
5:00 PM–9:30 PM

12:00 PM–3:00 PM
4:00 PM–10:00 PM

Saturday: 12:00 PM–10:00 PM
Travel Time From the Last Stop5 to 15 minutes
Insider TipThe staff members take dietary restrictions seriously here. This is an ideal place for vegans and vegetarians. They are also friendly to those who have food allergies and are pursuing a gluten-free diet.

For your last meal on your first day in Manchester, nothing beats enjoying high-quality steaks (steak manchester) at Hawksmoor. They are known for their high-quality ingredients and world-class preparation of dishes.

They have an extensive menu that consists of juicy cuts of meats, classic sides, and handpicked wine list. All of these are served by their attentive and polite staff members as diners bask in the restaurant’s cosy atmosphere.

Overall this is a great place for a quiet and peaceful dinner before proceeding to the final stop of the day.

Palace Theatre

Palace Theatre's Homepage
Address97 Oxford St, Manchester M1 6FT, United Kingdom
Travel Time From the Last Stop5  to 15 minutes
Insider TipIt is best to book your tickets in advance as some performances can quickly sell out. 

The best way to end your first day in the city is to see a show at Palace Theatre. This is a historic venue that has held many entertainment shows for over a century.

Until today, it serves as the venue for a wide range of musicals, concerts, comedic performances, and many others. It has state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, along with spacious seating and accommodating staff members.

With all of these combined, a night in this theatre will surely be an unforgettable experience.

Day Two: The Manchester Adventure Continues

Just like your first day in Manchester, there are many interesting establishments and fun activities to uncover. Here is a quick guide of places to visit during your second and final 24 hours in the city.

Royal Exchange Theatre

Royal Exchange Theatre's Homepage
AddressSt Ann’s Square, Manchester M2 7DH, United Kingdom
Insider TipCheck their website for pre and post show accommodations and activities. 

Kick-start the second leg of your trip with another performance by artists from Manchester. The Royal Exchange Theatre serves as a popular venue for various entertainment acts — some of which are performed during the morning.

If you are not in the mood to watch, the establishment is still worth the visit because of its historical architecture. It is a beautiful masterpiece from the 19th century with intricate details on every corner.

Furthermore, the space is also used to hold galleries and exhibits from time to time.  It would be best to check their website in advance to know what to expect during your visit.

Manchester Museum of Science and Industry

Manchester Museum of Science and Industry's Homepage
Photo by Sweta Sahoo
AddressLiverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4FP, United Kingdom
Travel Time From the Last Stop20 to 30 minutes
Ticket CostsFree, but there is a suggested donation of £5.
Insider TipThere are many exciting things to see in the museum from carefully curated galleries to interactive exhibits. Allot about two hours if you want to fully explore the establishment.

The Manchester Museum of Science and Industry is filled with a collection of galleries and exhibits that explore the rich history of Manchester. One of the main attractions here is the Power Hall exhibit that showcases the city’s role and impact during the Industrial Revolution.

Along with that, it also features the achievements of Manchester in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. There is the Air and Space Hall that contains a compilation of flight and space exploration.

Another good thing about the museum is that it has food establishments within the area where you can get a quick bite in the middle of your tour.

Spice of India

Spice of India's Homepage
Address95 Higher Rd, Urmston, Manchester M41 9AP, United Kingdom
Travel Time From the Last Stop12 minutes
Insider TipTry their traditional Indian dishes such as the biryani and tandoori chicken.  

After having lots of fun strolling through a theatre and a museum, it would be nice to go back to your accommodation to enjoy a delicious lunch.

The Spice Of India is a reliable food establishment that offers quick delivery services. They accept orders via phone call, but they also have a website, which makes it convenient for their customers.

Along with this, they are celebrated for providing authentic Indian dishes at a reasonable price. Their menu consists of biryani, tandoori, curry, and desserts like mango lassi, so get ready to feast!

Manchester United Football Club Stadium Tour

Manchester United Football Club Stadium Tour's Homepage
Photo by Nicolo Tagliani
AddressSir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 0RA, United Kingdom
Travel Time From the Last Stop28 minutes
Ticket Cost£5 for education groups£18 for junior or concession£5 for education groups 
Insider TipThis is one of the most popular activities in Manchester, which is why it would be best to book your tickets in advance, especially during weekends and holidays. 

After you have eaten and rested, it is time to experience one of the most popular tours in the city, which is the Manchester United Football Club Stadium Tour.

This will give sports fans access to compilation memorabilia and behind-the-scenes of some of the world’s most popular football clubs. This includes sought-after trophies, uniforms, gear, and other items used by players and coaches.

There is also access to the players’ dressing room and tunnel that leads to the playing area. This tour has a lot to offer and would take several hours to complete, which makes the £25 ticket totally worth it.

Mr Thomas’ Chop House

Mr Thomas' Chop House's Homepage
Address52 Cross St, Manchester M2 7AR, United Kingdom
Travel Time From the Last Stop10 to 15 minutes
Insider TipBook your reservations in advance, especially if you want to dine during the weekends.

After exploring Manchester, it is now time to settle down and relax as you enjoy comfort food from the famous Mr Thomas’s Chop House. They have been a part of the city’s history as they have been operational since 1867.

This is a great way to end your stay in Manchester because they are a classic English restaurant that serves authentic meals. Here, they serve a wide selection of delicious dishes and drinks, paired with their welcoming atmosphere and approachable staff members.

It is best to try their traditional English pies that include Yorkshire pudding, shepherd’s pie, and roast beef. 

Day 3: Extend Your Stay in Manchester

If, within the past two days, you fell in love with Manchester and want to extend your trip for another day, here are some places that you should definitely consider exploring!

Salford Quays

Salford Quays' Homepage
Photo by Matt W
AddressQuayside, Manchester M50 3UB, United Kingdom
Insider TipBring a mat if you want to have a picnic.

Begin your extended stay with a stroll alongside the waterside area at Salford Quays. Aside from the beautiful view of the Manchester cityscape, there are also many tourist destinations here such as local stores and restaurants.

Trafford Centre

Trafford Centre's Homepage
Photo by Visit Manchester
AddressThe Trafford Centre, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 8AA, United Kingdom
Travel Time From the Last Stop15 to 30 minutes
Insider TipTake advantage of the free WiFi that is available within the shopping centre.

After taking a stroll in the beautiful outdoors of Manchester, it is now time to head to one of the biggest shopping and entertainment centres in the city: Trafford Centre.

Here you will have access to over 200 shops, where you can shop for yourself or your loved ones. On top of this, there are also entertainment options such as cinemas, mini golf courses, and indoor roller coasters.

Altrincham Market

Altrincham Market's Homepage
Photo by Juan Velasquez
AddressGreenwood St, Altrincham WA14 1SA, United Kingdom
Travel Time From the Last Stop20 to 30 minutes
Insider TipThere are many local products to enjoy in this market. If you want to support the residents of the city, be sure to look for a “made in Manchester” label on the products that you will buy.

Altrincham Market is a historical landmark with a rich history that dates back to the 1290s when Mancunians used it as one of the earliest trading destinations.

The place has already undergone many renovations but its beauty remains unfading.

Here you will find handmade crafts and unique gifts from local artisans that can serve as perfect souvenirs to remember your trip.

Dunham Massey Park

Dunham Massey Park's Homepage
Photo from Visit Manchester
AddressDunham Massey, Altrincham WA14 4SJ, United Kingdom
Travel Time From the Last Stop20 to 45 minutes
Ticket CostPark and Gardens
Adult – starts at £8.00
Child – starts at £4.00
Family – starts at £20.00
Family (1 adult) – £12.00

House and Servants Courtyard
Adult – starts at £6.00
Child – starts at £3.00
Family – starts at £15.00
Family (1 adult) – starts at £9.00
Insider TipThe park hosts a lot of events that feature performers and artists from Manchester and other areas. It would be best to check their calendar to get an idea as to what will happen during your visit.

The Dunham Massey Park is one of the largest parks in the city. With over 300 acres of open space that includes woodlands and gardens, it takes visitors on a beautiful nature tour.

They are most popular for being the home of beautiful deer, where you can spend time and interact with them.

It also features a historic country house called the Dunham Massey Hall.

The Botanist

The Botanist's Homepage
Address78 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2FW, United Kingdom
Travel Time From the Last Stop30 minutes to an hour
Insider TipAlthough they are known for their delicious dishes, they also have an extensive cocktail menu that is definitely worth the try.

The best way to wrap up your trip is to explore the delectable flavours of The Botanist. This is a well-loved restaurant by both locals and tourists.

True to its name, it comes with picturesque botanical-inspired decor and a relaxing atmosphere. That would truly make your final meal in Manchester memorable.

When it comes to their food, we suggest that you try their flatbreads, pasta, burgers, and of course, their signature fish and chips.

Accommodation Options in Manchester

Accommodation Options in Manchester's Homepage

With Manchester’s wide range of accommodations, there is truly something for all types of tourists. For instance, there are the usual selections of hotels, from budget-friendly to luxury options.

The Travelodge Manchester Central is a popular choice for those who want to make the most out of their money. On the other hand, The Lowry Hotel is a great option if you are looking for a posh experience.

Aside from hotels, there are also hostels, serviced apartments, and vacation rentals available throughout the city.

Travelodge Manchester Central

How to Book: manchester-central-hotel

Address: Blackfriars St, Manchester M3 5AL, United Kingdom

Contact details: 0871 984 6159

The Lowry Hotel

How to Book: Website

Address: 50 Dearmans Pl, Salford M3 5LH, United Kingdom

Contact details +44 161 827 4000

Transportation Options in Manchester

Manchester is one of the most commuter-friendly cities in the region, making it easy for both residents and tourists to reach point A to B.

The most common transportation in Manchester is taking trains and trams because of its extensive railways that cover almost all the popular destinations in the city.

On top of this, there are also interconnected bus routes that cover different suburbs.

Of course, there are also taxis and car-hailing mobile applications for those who prefer more comfortable and private travel. Additionally, there are also car rentals in the city that can accommodate you for the entire duration of your stay.

Another good thing about it is walking and bicycle friendly, these are cost-efficient and environmentally friendly ways to move around. 

Safety Tips for Exploring Manchester

Safety Tips for Exploring Manchester's Homepage

Manchester is a relatively safe city, especially when compared to nearby areas such as London. However, just like anywhere else, it is important to take caution when you are in a foreign place.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when visiting Manchester:

  • Keep your valuables secure all the time. It would be best to keep your wallet and passport inside a bag with a zipper and never let it out of your site.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. In case you feel iffy, there are many security personnel that you can approach, especially in crowded tourist destinations.
  • Trust your instincts since it is better to be safe than sorry, which is especially true if you are in an unfamiliar location. Although it is unlikely, keep in mind that if anything goes awry, you can always ask Mancunians for the nearest police station. 

The Best Time to Visit Manchester

The Best Time to Visit Manchester's Homepage

You can visit Manchester any time of the year. However, if there is a specific activity that you want to do, it helps to plan out the timing of your vacation, especially if you’re only spending two days in the city.

The best time to visit Manchester is during spring and summer, between March and August, to make the most of its many outdoor spaces and parks. However, September to November is also an ideal time for those interested in the city’s culture and festivals. 

During these later months, there is an abundance of autumn exhibitions, concerts, and other events throughout Manchester.

On the other hand, Manchester is at its busiest during this Spring and Summer, which means that it is more crowded and the rates for accommodation and tourist destinations may be more expensive.

As for those who want to see Manchester turn into a winter wonderland, it’s best to come during winter, between December to February.

FAQs about Exploring Manchester in Two Days

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