This page is written by a born and bred “Mancunian” (someone who is from Manchester). Below you will discover some advice and tips about Manchester. It is intended to act as a kind of introductory guide to people think of moving here to work, study or retire.
Lets get one thing of out the way straight away. The weather in Manchester is best described as “grey”. May to September can be sunny with some days warm enough for a barbeque.
October and November become milder and are actually quite pleasant because of the autumn colours. The reds and oranges from the leaves falling off the trees can be very attractive. Plus you have the festive period to look forward to.
December is a month when the weather won’t be such a concern, as Christmas shopping and parties take over your thoughts. There is always hope of a white Christmas and we got one a few years ago. In fact it was so deep that some roads were blocked.
January and February are the really difficult months. If you can choose when you move to Mancheter, try to avoid these months. Expect grey skies every single day, lots of rain, wind and biting cold temperatures.
March and April are minor improvements, which have been a little milder in recent years. In the past March was know for being windy with plenty of blustery days. April was known for it’s rain (“April showers”). These seem less noticeable these days, perhaps because of climate change?
The image below will give you a good idea of the weather over the year. You may wonder why there is so much focus on the weather in this article? The reason is that us Mancunians always talk about it, so get used to it.
One thing Manchester has in spades is culture. Whilst you will find more variety in a larger city such as London, you will find more concentrated culture in Manchester. This leads to closer “scenes” with more of a community spirit.
Manchester is famous for two things. The Industrial Revolution and “Madchester”. The remnants of the first can be seen on the outskirts of the city centre where large warehouses line the Manchester Ship Canal. Madchester was the name given to the cities take on the rave scene in the late 80s. There are occasional reunion parties held in dark warehouses.
Art lovers should begin at the Manchester Art Gallery. This is a great introduction to local artists as well as worldwide art. Regular exhibitions are held. Click here for a beginners guide to visiting the gallery.
Students flock from all across the UK and across the world to study in Manchester. The reason is twofold; there are some wonderful institutions such as The University of Manchester (established in 1864), plus there is a vibrant student scene including great nightlife.
The University of Manchester has a whole host of degrees to choose from. It is especially respected for the quality of their research.
There is also a wide range of other learning establishments, such as the Communicate School of English, pictured showing off the Metrolink tram system and newly refurbished Central Library (a must visit for students to the city).
Update: I have just found translated versions of the Communicate School website for Italy, Spain and Poland students wanting an English school. They do IELTS preparation course (or courses) which my fiancee will need to be able to take a degree in the UK.
Spanish version: Cursos de inglés en Manchester
Italian version: Scuole di Inglese a Manchester
Polish version: Szkoła angielskiego w Manchester
Manchester is a decent place to live if your work takes you there. The Metrolink tram system (pictured above) is very useful for commuting. It takes a little strain off the rush hour traffic. The city centre can get very congested at rush hour times, but it is no worse than other cities and at least there is no congestion charge like in London.
To be quite honest Manchester isn’t the ideal place to retire. Sure there are plenty of quality care homes, but for the more active, it may be better to look elsewhere. Many people who were born and lived their life in Manchester move further north to the Lake District. Where the outdoor life and spectacular scenery awaits.
However if you are looking for a vibrant city, Manchester is just that. There are endless activities to choose from. You can join salsa classes, walking clubs, go fishing in many places and dine in a different restaurant every day if you wish.
In terms of nightlife you can choose almost any type of scene you like, only London has a greater selection of nightlife options. It is a well known fact that the atmosphere can be livelier in Manchester establishments, which is usually a good thing.
The large student population means there is a wide range of bars that serve cheap drinks and the latest cheesy tunes. There are also more discerning nightspots for those into specific musical genres.
The Bridgewater Hall and The Lowry are excellent venues for a more cultural side of nightlife. At these venues you can enjoy the ballet, plays, comedians, orchestras and various other special events.
For students I honestly cannot think of a better city than Manchester. I went to London and got lost in the size, I found the people colder and couldn’t wait to get back home.
For those whose work takes them to Manchester, you should be very happy. There is a great range of accommodation at decent prices. From city apartments to cottages in the country 12 miles from the city centre. The transport infrastructure is good, as are facilities such as shopping and sports.
For those looking for a new place to retire, I would suggest considering a more scenic place such as the Lake District or along the coast. However if you would like the hustle and bustle of a city, Manchester is ideal. You can get involved with many groups, visit a plethora of museums and enjoy day trips to the countryside, just 20 minutes drive away. OAPs get unlimited free travel on the Metrolink system which is an added bonus.