Visiting Northern England and want to make the most of your day in Manchester?
There are so many things to do in Manchester but today I’ll tell you everything about what to do if you have one day in Manchester!
Manchester is one of the most underrated cities in Europe, and yet it has so much to offer!
It’s been my home for over 2 years. I absolutely loved this city and can not wait to share all my little secrets with you.
Firstly, let’s have a bit of an introduction. Manchester is the third biggest city in the UK. Located in the North West, it’s known for its friendly people and bad weather. But there is so much more to know about Manchester.
The city had a huge development during the industrial revolution. Little fun fact there, 80% of the world production of cotton was manufactured in Manchester.
This industrial background has left its marks all over the city. There are many old warehouses in the centre, especially in the Northern Quarter and Ancoats.
After the industrial revolution, the economy went down in North West England and clearly, these were not happy days. In the past 10 years though, after the IRA bombings that destroyed most of the city centre, everything was restructured. Manchester has been completely revitalised to become this amazing tech hub it is now.
So that’s enough for the introduction. Let’s dive into your Manchester 1-day itinerary!
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Manchester 1-day itinerary Morning: Famous landmarks
Breakfast at Moose Cafe
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they say? Well, you are just about to get an amazing one.
There are many breakfast places in Manchester but my recommendations always go to Moose Cafe.
This North American cafe serves the most amazing breakfast, brunches and pancakes you will ever get! All of that for a very affordable price.
Quantity and quality for a good price, what else can we ask for?
I know this isn’t typically British but don’t worry about that, I’ve got that in store for lunch.
Moose Cafe is quite popular (as any good place). They don’t take bookings so the best way is to go there if they have a table. If they do, they will take you in straight away. If not, they will tell you when to come back. Meanwhile, you can have a walk around Market Street and Piccadilly Gardens, the most central part of the city.
If you want to know more about Moose Cafe, here is my full review.
Once your belly is full, head towards Alan Turing Memorial for the free walking tour of Manchester.
Manchester walking tour
Wherever you go, I’d always advise you to go on a walking tour if you can. They are such good use of your time, especially when you don’t have much of it.
If you only have one day in Manchester, you need to maximise your visit as much as you can and the walking tour is the best way to do so. By going on a walking tour, you will get to visit Manchester efficiently!
There are several sorts of walking tours in Manchester. You can opt for this guided city tour. It lasts 2.5 hours and starts in front of the central library. You can check here for more information and bookings.
Alternatively, you can choose to go on a free walking tour. Although they are called free tours, please note that tips are highly recommended.
The free walking tour in Manchester runs every day at 11 am. It lasts between 3 and 3h30 and start in Sackville Park at the Alan Turing Memorial
You will get to explore the city with a local guide, completely passionate about Manchester. It will be the perfect opportunity to get to discover the city and know more about its history and culture.
On the tour, you will discover the following places and landmarks in Manchester city centre:
- Alan Turing Memorial
- Gay Village
- Vimto Monument
- Albert Square
- Manchester Town Hall
- St Peter’s Square
- Manchester Central Library
- Midland hotel
- John Rylands Library
- Royal Exchange Theatre
- Cathedral Gardens
- Manchester Cathedral
The tour should finish at about 2 pm – 2:30 pm in Cathedral Gardens.
By then you might be a bit hungry so let’s head towards a good lunch spot. As you walk towards the Northern Quarter, you will find the Printworks on the way. This is definitely somewhere you should stop!
The Printworks is an entertainment centre. You will find there many bars, restaurants and entertainment venues such as a cinema or jungle mini golf.
Of course, if you’d like to check the Hard Rock cafe, that will be there, but even if you are not into these things it’s well worth a visit.
Just walk through the Printworks and you will see what I mean.
This refurbished old warehouse is absolutely amazing! It seems like you’ve been thrown onto some sort of movie set. It has some Harry Potter vibes while looking like a New York building… it’s a very interesting and unexpected place!
If you are a football fan, please note that the football museum is located right by the Printworks so that’s something you may want to add to your list. That said though, it will take you a couple of hours so you might need to remove something else from this itinerary. But I thought I would mention it as loads of people come to Manchester for the National Football Museum or to visit one of the stadiums: Old Trafford and Etihad stadium. If you want to know more about these activities, you can check out my ultimate Manchester guide.
Anywho, let’s go back to business!
Once you had a look at the Printworks, you can head to TROF to get lunch.
Manchester 1-day itinerary Afternoon: Northern Quarter and Ancoats
Lunch at TROF Northern Quarter
TROF is a typical British pub/restaurant. They serve food all day. You will find all sorts of typical British foods such as:
- Full English breakfast
- Sunday Roast (on Sundays)
- And plenty of cakes as well!
It’s a very good address in Manchester as the food is very nice and it has this very unique charm while still being very typical.
If that’s not of your liking, I’d recommend just keep walking on Thomas Street. There are many restaurants and bars and you will definitely find something you will love there. As a matter of fact, while you are there if you want to grab Tapas, please note that Evuna is a very nice Tapas place.
Once you get your lunch, it’s time to crack on with the afternoon. Alright I know, it’s late already, but still, there are a few things to check out.
The Northern Quarter is Manchester’s trendiest district. If it used to be a a bit of a dodgy place back in the days, it’s now the best and the Mancunian’s favourite quarter.
This hipster district is perfect for street art lovers and shoppers.
As you keep going north, you will leave the Northern Quarter to start wandering in Ancoats. Ancoats used to be the warehouse district but now, most of them have been turned into flats, coworking spaces or cool bars and restaurants.
Further away from the centre’s buzz, it’s the perfect place to stroll, get to enjoy some very cute places and be in peace.
There are many hidden bars where you can grab a pint. It’s particularly nice in summer as they have a lot of outdoor spaces (which is quite rare in the centre).
It’s also a great place to see what the cotton warehouses used to look like as they are literally everywhere!
And that’s it! I hope this article will help you decide what to do in Manchester in 24 hours!
If you follow this 1-day itinerary you will get to discover most of what Manchester has to offer. It will be a bit of a full day but so much fun!
And hopefully, it will make you want to come back to discover this beautiful city for 2 days, 3 days or more!
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