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Moving to Manchester

Manchester is a city of contrasts. Situated in the northwest of England and in the centre of a beautiful green belt region, the city itself is a thriving urban centre of industry and innovation. Offering a brilliant quality of life to expats, the city is a hive of activity and opportunity for those looking for a new start in a big city. 

Living in Manchester as an expat

Home to world-renowned educational institutions and multinational businesses, Manchester offers a wealth of opportunities to expats from far and wide. Expats often land jobs in the city's dominant industries, including financial services, creative and digital industries, and legal and business services, among others. 

Much of the city’s charisma is based around its rich musical and sporting history. Expats will soon learn that locals are passionate about sports and music, with the city hosting festivals and sporting events throughout the year. Add to this the city's vibrant culinary scene and its pulsing nightlife, and it becomes clear why the Manchester lifestyle is a major drawcard.

From a housing perspective, the range of available properties will meet most expat requirements, and while some parts of Manchester should be avoided, most of the city is welcoming and safe. Expats generally choose to live in the city centre or in the popular suburbs of South Manchester, each of which has a distinct character. 

Expats, even those without their own vehicle, will have easy access to the city centre and surrounds no matter where they live, as the city's excellent public transport system offers commuters plenty of options for getting around. Manchester residents are also covered under the UK’s respected NHS healthcare system, and a number of reputable hospitals are located in the city.  

Cost of living in Manchester

While Manchester cannot be called 'cheap' on a global scale, it is far less expensive than London and several other large UK cities. Property is considerably cheaper in Manchester than in London, as is public transport. That said, an expats cost of living is largely dependent on their lifestyle. Eating out and entertainment can be costly, but Manchester does offer many fun attractions to its residents for free. 

Expat families and children

There are also plenty of good local schools for parents to choose from, depending on their children's ages and whether they want them to receive a private or public education. While there aren't any schools teaching a foreign curriculum in Manchester, there are a few schools that offer the globally respected International Baccalaureate.

Expat families in Manchester report a good quality of life, and those with wanderlust are sure to enjoy the city's close proximity to Europe, just a short hop away by flight. Still, even those who rarely leave Manchester will never run out of family-friendly things to do in this exciting city, from exploring its many cultural and historical attractions to attending the city's ever-changing mix of entertainment and sporting events.

Climate in Manchester

Manchester has a temperate maritime climate. Summers are warm and winters are cool, with temperatures hovering around 42ºF (6ºC) in the colder months and 68ºF (20ºC) in the warmer summer months. Rain is common throughout the year in Manchester, while snowfall is likely on the hills surrounding the city. 

With many job opportunities, good healthcare, public transport and schooling options, Manchester has many drawcards for expats. The lifestyle on offer in the city is versatile and every type of expat will find entertainment options to suit their interests. It is Manchester's high quality of life that entices expats and keeps them in the city far longer than initially intended.

Pros and Cons of Moving to Manchester

While Manchester may not be the first place that comes to mind when considering a move to the UK, this fast-developing city is becoming an increasingly popular destination among both Brits and expats looking to start a new chapter.

As is the case with any city in the world, there are both pros and cons to living in the city. Below are some of the main advantages and disadvantages worth bearing in mind before making the decision to relocate to Manchester.


Accommodation in Manchester

+ PRO: A range of accommodation options available

Whether expats prefer modern city living or a comfy family home in the suburbs, they’ll find a range of accommodation options available in Manchester. To house the city’s growing population, Manchester has seen a rise in new property developments in recent years so there is no doubt new arrivals will find a suitable home.


Working in Manchester

+ PRO: A variety of job opportunities

Manchester is a dynamic metropolitan area and those with expertise in a range of industries such as finance, law, biotechnology and digital media will find great opportunities if they plan on working in the city. Another plus is that the job market in Manchester is slightly less competitive than in London, so this is the perfect place for those starting out.

- CON: Lower salaries

While there are plenty of job opportunities in Manchester, salaries are noticeably lower than those in London and other major European cities.


Cost of living in Manchester

+ PRO: Rent prices are relatively low

Compared to other major British cities, rent prices in Manchester are low. Apartments in the Northern Quarter tend to be the most expensive because of their sought-after location. Those willing to live further afield and make use of the city’s excellent public transport networks will certainly save on rent and will have more left in the budget to spend on entertainment or other costs.


Getting around in Manchester

+ PRO: Excellent public transport networks

Manchester is home to a bus route that is thought to be the busiest in all of Europe. New arrivals will find getting around the city is rather easy thanks to excellent bus and tram networks. Plus, bus fares remain competitive owing to the fact that there are a number of different service providers operating on similar routes.

+ PRO: Increased investment into cycling infrastructure

In the past, Manchester was known for being notoriously inhospitable for cyclists. Roadworks, traffic and lack of cycle lanes were just some of the issues that made getting around difficult for cyclists in the city. In recent years, however, the city has invested considerable time and money into improving infrastructure to enable commuters to cycle safely.


Lifestyle in Manchester

+ PRO: Fantastic nightlife and music scene

Manchester is famed for its rich musical history and has been dubbed the UK’s music capital. Whether it's live jazz, classical, indie or electronic music they fancy, those living in Manchester will be spoilt for choice.

+ PRO: Friendly locals

Most visitors to the UK tend to visit London first and often comment about the unfriendliness of the capital’s population. That won’t be the case in Manchester. Here, expats are likely to find the locals are friendly, curious and often eager to engage in conversation.

+ PRO: Culturally diverse and progressive

Manchester is a culturally diverse city thanks to a history of immigration. From China Town to the Curry Mile, new arrivals will be exposed to a range of different cultural offerings in the city.

- CON: Lots of students

With four universities within close proximity of one another, Manchester is home to a massive student population. Being constantly surrounded by large groups of carefree young people may not be everyone’s cup of tea. That said, living further afield in more affluent areas means that one can largely avoid the student crowd.


Weather in Manchester

- CON: The rain

Mention Manchester to a Brit and rain is probably the first thing that'll come to mind. This is no exaggeration – the rain and associated grey skies are a constant presence in Manchester. Mancunians don’t allow the weather to get in the way of having fun, however, so do as the locals do and invest in a good umbrella.

+ PRO: The city comes to life on rare sunny days

Sunny days are few and far between in Manchester but locals certainly make the most of it. Expect to see beer gardens full of students and parks full of families the moment the sun makes an appearance.


Education and schools in Manchester

+ Pro : Free government-funded schooling

As is the case throughout the UK, British citizens and foreign nationals legally living in the UK are entitled to send their children to a government-funded school at little to no cost. That said, new arrivals are advised to do some serious research into their chosen school as standards do vary quite dramatically in Manchester. The better performing schools tend to be oversubscribed and priority goes to students in the local catchment area.

- CONS: No international schools in Manchester

Expats who wish to have their child continue studying their home curriculum will have a hard time in Manchester as there are no schools in the city offering the curriculum of a foreign country. That said, there are a number of good private schools that teach the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum which is standardised worldwide.


Healthcare in Manchester

+ PRO: Access to the NHS

Expats living in Manchester will have access to good healthcare in the form of the NHS (National Health Service) at little to no cost. There are some excellent public hospitals in the city where the standard of care is world class. While patients are required to pay for certain medications, the cost of these is often subsidised and therefore works out considerably cheaper.

- CON: Long NHS waiting lists and expensive private healthcare options

Waiting lists for certain treatments in the UK are long. It's possible to bypass these by exploring options in the private sector. Private healthcare in the UK is expensive though, and those with any ongoing health issues or chronic illnesses planning on using private health services should invest in a comprehensive insurance policy.

Working in Manchester

Manchester is home to one of the UK’s largest economies and has a range of strong industries, making it a worthy option for career-oriented expats to consider. 

Manchester is a key location for many foreign-owned companies that often bring in expats from all over the world. The dominant industries in Manchester include financial services, creative and digital industries, legal and business services, manufacturing, media, biotechnology and education.


Job market in Manchester

The banking industry in Manchester is one of its largest employers, while the city also has a strong knowledge-based economy clustered around the University of Manchester. And as a result of its innovative spirit, the city has seen the development of a number of high-value niches including biotechnology, software development, ICT, electronics, environmental technologies, chemicals and textiles. Many expats come to Manchester to study or take up research positions at one of its academic institutions, and education plays a prominent role in the local economy.

Manchester is the second-largest centre of creative and digital industries in Europe, and has created a name for itself within the media industry. 


Finding a job in Manchester

Regardless of which industry they work in, all expats from outside the EU hoping to take up a job offer in Manchester will need to ensure they have a valid work permit.

Many expats have a firm employment offer in place before relocating to the city, but for those that don't, online job portals, networking, recruitment agencies, and the business and recruitment pages of local newspapers will be helpful in finding work.


Work culture in Manchester

Business hours are generally 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Expats should be polite and punctual, and while the dress code in creative industries tends to be more relaxed, those working in almost all other industries should dress formally and conservatively. 

While the work culture is somewhat more relaxed than in London, people in Manchester still work extremely hard. Individualism is highly valued, and expats should anticipate working among colleagues who are competitive and ambitious. Experience and performance are the foundations for advancement in the working world. 

Accommodation in Manchester

We recommend that, before beginning their search for accommodation in Manchester, expats take the time to consider their priorities, preferences, needs and budget.

Most expats moving to Manchester opt for a rental home, at least initially. Renting first is a good idea because it gives expats the freedom to experience the city before committing to a more permanent solution. 


Types of accommodation in Manchester

The types of property available in Manchester are predominantly apartments (flats) in the city centre and houses in the surrounding suburbs. Terraced housing is also popular. There has been an increase in the number of apartments available in some of the trendier suburbs of Manchester, so apartment living outside of the city is also increasingly available for those who prefer this option. 

A major factor affecting an expat's decision when choosing a place to live is the type of lifestyle they are looking for. Certain areas lend themselves well to particular lifestyle preferences. Young professionals and singles looking to be close to entertainment tend to choose property in the city centre or the bustling Northern Quarter. Expats moving to Manchester for business purposes, on the other hand, often live in Spinningfields where the headquarters of many multinational companies are based. Families are likely to gravitate towards suburban areas with good schooling options such as Didsbury.


Finding accommodation in Manchester

There are numerous ways expats can find accommodation in Manchester, but real-estate agents, relocation agencies and online property portals are by far the most effective resources.

A wide range of options is available on the internet for expats wanting to find property to rent or buy in Manchester. While expats can go directly to an estate agent's website, it is often easier to use a property portal. Most agents advertise their properties via these portals as well as on their own websites, saving people time and allowing them to compare properties offered by different real estate agents.

Hiring a real estate agent can be helpful for expats who need a little guidance, while those who need assistance in housing as well as other aspects of relocation should consider hiring a relocation agency. These companies are able to assist expats in finding properties to match their specifications and can help in all aspects of the relocation process if necessary.


Renting accommodation in Manchester

Once expats have found their ideal home, they'll need to begin the process of signing the lease and paying the deposit.

Leases and deposits

The typical lease in Manchester is six or 12 months. Short-term rentals can also be found in Manchester for those who don't want to sign onto a fixed lease. This can be extremely useful when expats first arrive and need somewhere to stay while they look for a more permanent home. 

Deposits are usually equivalent to one month’s rent. At the end of the lease period, the deposit should be returned in full, assuming that the rental home is still in good condition. 

Utilities

On top of the cost of rent, tenants will usually also be responsible for utilities such as council tax, electricity, water and gas bills. That said, expats who would prefer a home with utilities included may be able to find one. While this option may be less of a hassle each month, this will limit their rental choices and may end up being more expensive than paying for utilities themselves. Most utility bills in Manchester are sent at set times throughout the year. 

Areas and suburbs in Manchester

The best places to live in Manchester

The expat population of Manchester is still quite young and, as such, there's no specific area in which new arrivals tend to reside. That said, there are plenty of suitable neighbourhoods in Manchester and the surrounding suburbs to meet the needs of every type of expat. Thanks to Manchester's extensive public transport system, commuting into the city centre is possible from most neighbourhoods.

Here are some of the most popular neighbourhoods in Manchester.


Neighbourhoods for professional folk in Manchester

Manchester

Deansgate

Deansgate is a vibrant area in the city centre. The area is home to a large number of young professional executives who value living close to their workplace and having easy access to the Manchester’s bars, clubs and shopping facilities. Accommodation in Deansgate generally comes in the form of modern, luxury apartments. Thanks to its prime location, getting around is easy with tram, bus and rail links available.

Levenshulme

Levenshulme is an up-and-coming area that lies southeast of Manchester city centre. Thanks to good rail links and access to bus services, this is an ideal area from which to commute. Stockport Road runs through the heart of Levenshulme and here one can clearly see the influence of Manchester’s Indian and Pakistani communities, with a number of shops, cafés and restaurants adding local spice to the area.

Chorlton

Those who opt to live in Chorlton will have plenty of choice when it comes to modern housing and city-style apartments. This suburb boasts its very own ‘town centre' where one can find supermarkets, a local leisure centre, a library and a park. Chorlton is becoming increasingly popular with a fashionable crowd who enjoy frequenting the area's unique bars and quirky cafés.

Salford Quays

The number of quayside developments and loft-style apartments in Manchester has grown markedly in recent years. While waterside luxury-living complexes are what attract wealthy residents to the area, those looking for a little more space will still find historic terraces in Salford Quays. The area is well served by trams and buses, and expats will find it quite straightforward to get into the city centre. Salford has a lively nightlife scene, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants in the area as well.

Castlefield

This is a relaxed area located on the basin of the Bridgewater Canal, making it the perfect spot for those keen on waterside living on the edge of the city. Expats will find a wide choice of accommodation here, including conversions, older developments and modern buildings. This part of Manchester is particularly historic and residents can still see the ruins of the Roman fort. Castlefield has its fair share of bars and restaurants, so residents won’t have to wander far for an evening out.


Family-friendly neighbourhoods in Manchester

Family-friendly neighbourhoods

Burnage

Burnage is a popular area for those looking for a family home with a reasonable commute into the city centre. Properties in the area are generally semi-detached with gardens, which is ideal for families with children. There are also several schools in the area. Burnage has its own train station and good road links, which make getting around easy.

Didsbury

Located south of the city centre, Didsbury is a trendy area popular with both younger couples and families. A variety of accommodation is available in Didsbury, from modern apartment living to large Victorian family homes. The many bars and restaurants make this is great area for those who enjoy a night on the town. At the same time, there are plenty of green spaces and Didsbury's proximity to a number of good schools makes it an option well worth considering for expat families. Didsbury is well connected by rail and bus transport, which makes getting around exceedingly easy.

Wilmslow

Wilmslow is known for its upmarket lifestyle and is home to some of Manchester’s richest residents. Properties here are large and often come with gardens, which is great for those relocating with children. Another draw for families is the many good schools in Wilmslow. The area is full of unique boutiques, cafés and restaurants. One of the major hooks of Wilmslow is that it maintains a community feel, which makes it popular with young couples and families.  

Altrincham

Another popular area with families is Altrincham, home to a number of good government schools. Properties tend to be large Victorian family homes. Residents enjoy a great sense of community in Altrincham with a number of local festivals and events taking place. The commute into town from Altrincham is fast thanks to good transport links.  

Healthcare in Manchester

Newly arrived expats in Manchester will be pleased to know that there is a comprehensive public healthcare system in the UK that offers an excellent standard of care. Those who fit the criteria of being 'ordinarily resident' in the UK – that is, living there permanently – will have access to this system, run by the NHS (National Health Service). Healthcare services are provided at little to no cost, although waiting times can be long.

After arriving in Manchester, expats should make it a priority to register with their local General Practitioner (GP). The GP is the first port of call for non-emergency healthcare, and specialist treatment generally requires a referral from a GP.

Expats who prefer to skip the queue can opt to use private hospitals. Though expensive, patients are seen to much quicker. If planning to use this option, expats should make sure they're comprehensively insured to cover the high costs.

Pharmacies, or chemists, are readily available in Manchester and can be found on major streets and in shopping malls. Big supermarkets also often have small pharmacies inside. 

In an emergency, dial 999 and an ambulance will be dispatched to your location. 

Below is a list of some of the main public and private hospitals in Manchester.


Hospitals in Manchester

The Christie

Website: www.christie.nhs.uk
Address: Wilmslow Road, Manchester M20 4BX

Pall Mall Medical

Website: www.pallmallmedical.co.uk
Address: 61 King Street, Manchester M2 4PD

Royal Manchester Children's Hospital

Website: www.mft.nhs.uk/rmch
Address: Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9WL

Salford Royal

Website: www.northerncarealliance.nhs.uk
Address: Stott Lane, Salford M6 8HD

Spire Manchester Hospital

Website: www.spirehealthcare.com
Address: 170 Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2AF

Trafford General Hospital

Website: www.mft.nhs.uk/trafford
Address: Moorside Road, Davyhulme, Manchester M41 5SL

Education and Schools in Manchester

A priority for expats moving to Manchester with children will be finding the right school. Relocating to a new place can be unsettling for kids, and choosing a good school plays a big role in ensuring a successful transition into expat life.

Factors worth considering include the child’s English language proficiency and academic ability. It is also best to first choose a good school before deciding which neighbourhood to settle in. This is because many government-funded schools in the UK base admission on catchment areas. 


Government-funded schools in Manchester

The standard of government-funded or state schools in Manchester varies tremendously. Some schools are excellent, while others have poorer standards. The better government-funded schools tend to be close to the more affluent areas of Manchester.

Throughout the UK, state education is provided by the government at no cost to British citizens and foreigners legally residing in the country. These schools are effectively funded by taxes.

Expats should consult the school's Ofsted (Office of Standards in Education) report for information on the quality of teaching and facilities as well as the academic performance of students at a particular school.  

Admission criteria vary from school to school, and expat parents should contact schools directly to find out about the admission process.


Private schools in Manchester

There are a large number of private schools in Manchester. Fees at private schools in Manchester are high, but standards are excellent, class sizes are small and students generally perform better academically than those in government-funded schools. Parents will also need to budget for additional costs, such as extra-curricular activities, stationery, school uniforms and overseas trips.

Admission requirements for private schools vary. In some instances, students will have to attend an interview or pass an exam.


International schools in Manchester

While there are no schools teaching foreign curricula in Manchester, there are a few schools offering the International Baccalaureate (IB). The IB is often a good choice for expat families as it's well recognised by universities worldwide and is standardised throughout the schools around the world that teach it.

For expats who wish to have their children study the national curriculum of their home country, it might be worthwhile considering boarding options at international schools in London. As the capital, London is home to a diverse range of schools offering foreign curricula in the language of the school's country of origin.

Parents should note that many international schools are oversubscribed, so it's best to start the application process as early as possible in order to secure a place. In addition, international schools are typically even pricier than regular private schools, so expats should ensure they are aware of the financial commitment involved when it comes to fees and extras.


Special-needs schools in Manchester

Manchester has a policy of inclusion in place, and they are working towards making sure children with special needs are supported and have the same access to education as their peers. This policy of inclusion is attempting to keep children with different educational needs in mainstream schools, where they will be taught in mainstream classes, but provided with any additional support they require. 

Although the policy of inclusion means mainstream schools are building their staff and facilities to accommodate for children with special educational needs, it is wise for expat parents to research what their school of choice offers in this regard before applying. 

There are also specific special-needs schools in Manchester for children needing extra support that cannot be offered to them at a mainstream school.


Tutors in Manchester

Tutors can be helpful for expat families in a number of situations. Children from abroad may need a little help with catching up to the local curriculum or could benefit from extra tutoring for the English language if it isn't their mother tongue. Those parents worried about children losing their mother-tongue language skills while in Manchester should consider hiring a tutor who is a fellow native speaker and can help maintain fluency.

There's a wide variety of tutoring companies to choose from, with some of the most popular being Manchester Tutors, The Tutor Trust and Ace Learning Plus Ltd. 

Lifestyle in Manchester

New arrivals in Manchester can look forward to a diverse and varied lifestyle. There's something to suit everyone in the city – from shopaholics on the hunt for the latest must-have piece and revellers looking for a good night out, to avid foodies and sports enthusiasts. Expats moving to Manchester with children will also find there are plenty of spots for a fun day out with the little ones.   


Shopping in Manchester

Shopping in Manchester is a real treat and people from smaller neighbouring towns head to the city on weekends to take advantage of its larger variety of stores. Whether looking for a new wardrobe on a tight budget, something for a special event, or a truly unique item, Manchester shoppers won't be disappointed.

The stunning Barton Arcade, dating back to 1871, is located in Manchester’s trendy Deansgate area and now houses a range of small independent boutiques and exclusive shops. This is definitely the ideal place for expats to treat themselves or to find a special gift for someone.

Expats can visit Manchester’s King Street to indulge in the latest collections from international and British designers. Manchester is also home to a number of luxury department stores, such as Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.

When the Manchester rain hits, residents head indoors to one of the city’s malls. The famous Trafford Centre is as much a theme park as it is a shopping destination, and there's plenty to keep the whole family entertained here. Afflecks in Manchester's Northern Quarter is the place for indie commerce, where shoppers will find everything from alternative clothing outlets to old-style record stores and retro gaming shops.


Nightlife in Manchester

Manchester has a bustling and eclectic nightlife scene. For those that enjoy a drink after work, there is a watering hole on every corner. Whether one prefers the historic atmosphere of a traditional English pub, or finely crafted cocktails and stunning views from a rooftop bar, the city has it all.

Expats who enjoy clubbing will be pleased to know that the party never stops in Manchester. Thanks to the city’s large student population, many clubs are open every day of the week; partygoers don’t need to wait until the weekend to have a good time. From '60s soul to acid house, disco and everything in between, Manchester’s club scene is vibrant and varied; it’s easy to understand why the city is a top UK party destination.  


Eating out in Manchester

Manchester is fast gaining a reputation for good food, and residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining. At eateries in Manchester, expats will find cuisine from a range of destinations, including Thailand, Spain, Italy, France, Mexico and more.  

Manchester is home to the largest Chinatown in the UK after London, and here diners can sample authentic Asian delicacies. The city’s Curry Mile in Rusholme is said to have the highest concentration of South Asian restaurants in the whole of the UK, including Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi eateries.  


Sports and outdoor activities in Manchester

Expats who enjoy keeping fit will find plenty of opportunities to get involved in a range of activities in Manchester. Those needing a break from the hustle and bustle of the city can discover breathtaking scenery along one of the many cycle routes or hikes.

Manchester has one of the biggest and best swimming facilities in the UK – the Manchester Aquatics Centre – where swimmers can enjoy a swimming pool that once hosted the Commonwealth Games. For a cool day out with the kids, stop in at the Chill Factore, where the UK’s longest indoor ski slope can be found.

Those who prefer to watch sport rather than taking part can catch a game at Manchester United’s Old Trafford Stadium, the second-largest stadium in the UK after Wembley Stadium. 


See and do in Manchester

Art and history lovers will quickly discover that Manchester has an abundance of cultural attractions in the city. In addition to its vibrant nightlife and endless shopping spots, there are various museums, art galleries and other unique experiences to be enjoyed.

Below is our list of some of the best things to see and do in Manchester.

Imperial War Museum North

This incredible museum explores the impact of war through insightful exhibits. A highlight is the exhibit titled 'The Big Picture Show', which makes use of digitally projected images and surround sound for an immersive experience. The museum café overlooks the Quays, and the sights of the Ship Canal can be taken in from the viewing platform.

John Rylands Library

The University of Manchester’s main library was founded by the wife of successful cotton merchant John Rylands and first opened in 1900. The imposing neo-Gothic building has elaborate vaulted ceilings and beautiful stained-glass windows. The impressive Historic Reading Room boasts an incredibly peaceful atmosphere, and is well worth a visit.

Manchester Cathedral

Situated behind one of Manchester’s busiest shopping areas, the cathedral dates back several centuries and offers a peaceful retreat from the bustle of the city centre. Stunning stained glass and intricate carvings decorate its interior.

Manchester Museum

The Manchester Museum boasts beautifully curated exhibitions that invite visitors to step back in time and learn about fascinating cultures throughout the ages and from all over the world. The museum also has child-friendly exhibitions for the little ones.

Old Trafford Museum

Attracting thousands every year, and a must for football fans, the Theatre of Dreams held its first game in 1910. Visitors can take a tour around Manchester United’s historic ground and gain exclusive access to player-only areas.


Annual events in Manchester

Manchester’s event calendar is brimming with activity. Whether expats are literary enthusiasts, sports fans or food connoisseurs, they are sure to find a number of annual festivals that suit their interests.

Here is a list of the main festivals and events on Manchester’s calendar.

Chinese New Year (January/February)

Manchester is home to the third-largest Chinatown in Europe, and each year locals get together to view the colourful New Year parade and join the celebration which lasts several days. Along with the colourful Dragon Parade, attendees can also enjoy Chinese arts and crafts, various performances and of course an array of authentic Chinese cuisine.

Manchester Marathon (April)

Sporty expats looking for a challenge should secure a place in the Manchester Marathon. The UK's second-largest marathon, the event is known for its 'fast, flat and friendly' route. Those that prefer to spectate will find there are still plenty of ways to be part of the event as the city comes alive with music and entertainment on race day. 

Manchester Jazz Festival (May)

This is a fantastic summer festival where music fans can enjoy live jazz at a range of venues across the city. Many of the performances are very reasonably priced, with some being completely free.

Manchester Pride (August)

This is one of the biggest and most loved celebrations of LGBTQ+ life in Europe. Many people fly in from overseas to attend the colourful parade and the numerous afterparties that are held in the Canal Street area on the August bank holiday.

Manchester Literature Festival (October)

This was once a simple poetry festival but has now grown into one of the top literary events to be held in Manchester. Guests can attend readings, discussions and special events at various venues across the city.

Christmas Markets (November/December)

From the middle of November, Manchester’s city centre plays host to a number of Christmas markets. Expect to find old-fashioned toys, Christmas decorations, ceramics, paintings, jewellery and knitwear. A glass of mulled wine certainly helps get everyone into the festive spirit.

Getting Around in Manchester

Getting around in Manchester is easy thanks to the numerous transport options in and around the Greater Manchester area. Although the roads are excellent, it isn't necessary to own a car in Manchester. 

Active expats will be pleased to learn that cycling is becoming more popular and that city authorities have taken measures to make Manchester more bicycle-friendly.

Public transport in Manchester is coordinated by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and includes buses, trains and trams.


Public transport in Manchester

Buses 

Buses are the most widely used mode of transport in Manchester. A number of bus companies operate in the city, including Arriva, First Manchester and Stagecoach. Tickets are usually purchased directly from the driver, either in cash or via a travel smartcard. Tickets can also be bought online. Bus fares vary depending on the operator and most companies offer discounts on weekly and monthly tickets. There is also a free bus that runs in the city centre.

Buses in Manchester run late at night, but schedules vary according to the route and the company. Generally speaking, buses run every 10 to 20 minutes during the day, but certain busy routes are served every few minutes.

Trains 

While trains in Manchester don't cover the city as widely, they're generally still a faster way of getting around as they are less susceptible to rush-hour congestion. Rail services regularly run to select locations in the city and surrounding areas. Most trains pass through Manchester Piccadilly or Manchester Victoria.

Trams

Trams in Manchester are known as the Manchester Metrolink and run along eight colour-coded lines. Tram fares are higher than the equivalent bus fare, but they are generally faster and more efficient.


Taxis in Manchester

Taxis in Manchester are much cheaper than London cabs. Commuters can either flag down a black cab or book a taxi in advance online or over the phone.

Ride-hailing applications such as Uber and Lyft are also operational within Manchester. By some accounts, these are cheaper than black cabs provided one is travelling outside of peak hours.


Driving in Manchester

Most expats who move to Manchester won’t need their own car. Factors such as traffic congestion during rush hour and the lack of cheap parking in the city centre make driving a costly endeavour. Once in the city centre, expats will generally find that walking is the easiest way to get around and that most attractions in Manchester are accessible on foot. The city's major shopping streets are also pedestrianised, which can make bringing a car into town a futile exercise. 

That said, owning a vehicle does offer expats more freedom when it comes to travelling beyond the city limits. Cars are also useful for travelling to work and for those with children.

Expats in the UK can drive on their licence from their home country until it expires, as long as they're from an EEA country. Non-EEA expats will have to replace their licence from home with a UK licence after 12 months.


Cycling in Manchester

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Manchester. Cycling to and from work allows people to avoid rush hour traffic, saves money on petrol, parking and public transport fares, and, of course, is healthy too. The city has a network of cycling paths that allow residents to cycle safely without having to deal with motor vehicles.