Manchester has always been a hive of activity, from the roman settlers thousands of years ago, to the industrial revolution and beyond. There’s plenty to see and do when exploring the city at your own pace, whether you’ve got an hour or two before your train home or you’re looking for the best places to grab a table for one. Discover the city’s past, present and future with Manchester’s huge range of things to do, simply take some downtime to enjoy a quiet coffee or cocktail by yourself, or develop your new connections at one of the city’s many incredible places to eat.
With its never-ending events calendar, you won’t be short of things to do in Manchester. There are also a number of activities perfect for those travelling solo. The daily Discover Manchester tour is the perfect way to get affiliated with the city’s rich industrial and radical past, and to learn everything there is to know about England’s gateway to the north. Departing from Manchester Central Library at 11am each day, this 2-hour city tour is the city’s only free tour with qualified blue and green badge guides. Tips welcome.
Everyone knows the English weather can be somewhat temperamental, and if a walking tour isn’t your thing, hop on Manchester’s sightseeing bus. A quick 90-minute whistle stop tour of the city, with the opportunity to hop on and off, get your bearings of the city in the warmth and comfort of a double decker bus! Equally, Skyliner’s Street Art tour is notoriously fantastic. Explore the history and meaning behind some of Manchester’s best street art and discover another side to Manchester’s independent Northern Quarter neighbourhood.
With museums and galleries aplenty, Manchester’s cultural scene is absolutely booming, and with most of the city’s cultural attractions offering free entry, it’s the perfect place for both solo travellers and those with only an hour or two to spare.
Manchester Art Gallery, The Whitworth, and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art are just some of the galleries offering visitors a wide range of exhibitions, and all with free entry. Manchester Museum, the People’s History Museum and the John Rylands Library all offer city-centre world-class collections and exhibitions, perfect to take a wander around at your own pace. Manchester isn’t just defined by its city centre however, the wider region has so much to offer, and is definitely worth the tram, train or bus journey from the city’s central hub if you have a free morning or afternoon. Stockport Air Raid Shelters, Bolton’s Museum, aquarium and archives or Bury’s Transport Museum, are just some of the options across Greater Manchester.
Of course, Manchester is synonymous with football; it’s written into our DNA. Take some time to tour the grounds of Manchester United and Manchester City, or discover the social history of the beautiful game at the National Football Museum.
A table for one isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but Manchester offers a number of options for social dining. Bundobust is Manchester’s ‘beer and Indian’ joint, situated in Piccadilly Gardens and on Oxford Road, grab a seat at one of the shared tables, and take your pick from their extensive, affordable and incredibly tasty menu. Further down Oxford Road, you’ll find Hatch, an open, social space housing creative, independent businesses, with a number of food and drink traders that rotate frequently.
Another street food hotspot is GRUB. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at Fairfield Social Club, GRUB hosts some of the best street food in the UK, top notch local craft beer and its ever popular #plantpoweredsundays. A great place to meet people and stock up on some of the best grub in the Northwest. Summed up as `The Northern Quarter's Canteen’, the emphasis on food at The Soup Kitchen is on fresh, healthy, and affordable food served in a large `benched' space designed for the local community and our visitors. It’s also a great place to catch live music or start a night out from in Manchester’s famous Northern Quarter.
Or, take a food tour with Scranchester Tours. Fill your belly, meet new people and explore Manchester’s culinary scene all in one go. Arrive hungry, as the tour includes eight stops!
Whatever you choose to do in Manchester as a solo traveller, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. Check out visitmanchester.com for more inspiration, or get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for any help or advice!