Manchester Life

13 Things To Do In Manchester In 24 Hours

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This post will be sharing thirteen things to do in Manchester in one day.

Did you know that during the British Industrial Revolution, Manchester was the home of textile manufacturing? Yep! Most of the cotton spinning took place in Manchester which later became the world’s largest marketplace for cotton goods. You know how we all go to China for everything manufacturing, Manchester was the go-to city for cotton clothes.

These days, Manchester is known for its education, sports and culture. Over the years, Manchester has taken its spot as the third-largest city in England after London and Birmingham. So, yeah it is definitely a worthy city to visit.

In a pre-COVID world, I had planned to spend my Summer on Blackpool Beach. But unfortunately, we have all found ourselves in a post-COVID world which means more staycations and fewer vacations. This is why I have taken it upon myself to be your official Manchester Tour Guide. Even if you’re gonna be here for just one day on a day trip or for the weekend on a city break or even an entire week, there will always be things for you do in Manchester. But today, I’m going to be sharing all the things you can squeeze into 24 hours in Manchester.

When I go on day trips to Birmingham, Leeds or Liverpool, I mostly do walking tours around the city centre. This is because I’m usually constraint for time which means that I don’t have the time to explore the entire city. For this post, I’m going to be using the same city centre itinerary for Manchester.

Here are all the things to do in Manchester in One Day.

Use this map to find the directions to all the locations mentioned in this post.

Getting to Manchester

Depending on how you arrive in the city, you can either come through the Manchester Coach Station, either of the four Rail stations or by the M60 motorway. However, you decide to arrive in Manchester is completely your choice. Now, if you have a car, this itinerary may not exactly be useful for you because you could easily drive around the entire city in 24 hours. Hence this itinerary is for anyone coming through the coach or rail station. If you live in nearby cities like Leeds, Liverpool, Blackpool and even Birmingham, you can arrive by Coach. The National Express coaches are available from these locations. But if you’re coming from farther away, a train is your fastest option.

Whichever way you come in, the first thing you need to do to start your day is to find your way to Piccadilly Gardens. From the Manchester Coach Station, it’s about a five minute walk. From the Manchester Piccadilly Station, it is about a 10 – 15 minutes walk depending on how far you are. From the Manchester Victoria station, it is also 10- 15 minutes. From Deansgate and Oxford Road, you’re gonna have to take a bus to the ‘town’.

Your One Day Manchester Itinerary.

Stop 1: Manchester Piccadilly Gardens

Piccadilly Gardens is easily the most popular public park in Manchester. This is because it is more or less located at the centre of the city. This makes it quite busy as well. It’s a great spot to start your itinerary around Manchester. While there is really not much to see at Piccadilly Gardens asides the fountain and a few statues. It is a great place to feel the pulse of the city.

Stop 2: Manchester Chinatown

Just a stone throw from the Piccadilly Gardens is the Manchester Chinatown. It is the second largest in the U.K. and third largest in Europe. Just like any one Chinatown, it is made up of various Asian restaurants, supermarkets and bakeries. If you fancy some Asian goodies, you can stop by and grab a few. Otherwise, take a nice picture by the Paifang or archway and keep it moving.

Stop 3: Market Street

Take a walk from Chinatown back to Piccadilly Gardens and walk towards Market Street. Market Street is one of the major retail streets in Manchester. You have about 19 retail stores on that street alone. From the massive Primark to Debenhams, H&M, Sports Direct, Mango, TK Maxx and Boots. It is absolutely a shopper’s haven. You can imagine how busy it would be on a Friday evening. If you have a budget for shopping, you can grab a few things. Otherwise, look around and then head into Manchester Arndale.

Stop 4: Manchester Arndale

One of the two ultra-modern shopping centres in Manchester is the Arndale. The other being the Intu Trafford Centre farther away. It is one of the largest shopping centres in the U.K. and the third-largest city-centre shopping mall in Europe. It is similar to the Bull Ring in Birmingham and the Merrion Centre in Leeds. It has about 210 stores and services across the board. Listen, it’s soo easy to get lost and spend an entire day at Arndale especially if you are a foodie. If you are a shopaholic, it’s even worse. So, look around and grab a bite at the food court. Once you’re done with your itinerary and you still have some time left, you can always go back to pass some time.

Stop 5: Exchange Square

From the Manchester Arndale, find your way out to the Exchange Square by the west. Or whatever exit you find, take it. By the Exchange Square, there’s is an outdoor sitting area where you can relax and have a lunch break. Before COVID, you could sit inside the food court with your meals. But all of that has changed now. As opposed to Piccadilly Gardens, Exchange Square is more private and somewhat serene. While it buzzes with people, it’s definitely not as busy. After taking a much-needed break, you can go further and explore the retail stores around, From the luxury stores at New Cathedral Street to the Selfridges department store and the Corn Exchange. If you need a drink or some traditional English food, you can stop by the Old Wellington Pub by the Shambles Square for some.

Stop 6: Cathedral Gardens

From the Exchange Square, take a five-minute walk down to the Cathedral Gardens. Here you have the National Football Museum, Chetham’s School of Music, Chetham Library and Manchester Cathedral. The Chatham Library is open from Monday to Friday and free to the public while the National Football Museum requires tickets. Whatever your interests are, either literary or sports, I’m sure you’ll enjoy spending time at these attractions.

Stop 7: Printworks

Just across the road from the National Football Museum is Printworks. While Arndale is primarily for shopping, Printworks is for entertainment. It has several eateries, bars, clubs, a gym and a cinema. If you have time, you can get a drink or some snacks. Otherwise, just look around.

When you’re done at Printworks, you can take a 10 minutes walk around Arndale through Market Street back to Piccadilly Gardens. From there, you can easily find your way back to the coach or rail station just the way you came.

I hope you have enjoyed this list of things you can do in Manchester in one day. You will notice that I didn’t include some popular attractions such as The Old Trafford stadium. This is because I want the itinerary to be as practical as possible. If you want to see most of Manchester, you’re gonna need to spend at least 3 days here. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I’ll definitely be sharing more itineraries. So, watch out for my next one.

Have you been to Manchester before? What was your favourite attraction?

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Things To Do In Manchester In 24 Hours

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Lifestyle & Travel Blogger obseesed with Korean Skincare, strength training and solo travel.

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