When travelling up to Manchester and trying to get out alive with your wallet intact, it is a good idea to focus on saving money from the outset.
Here are a few suggestions for affordable things to do and tactics to use to cut down on expenses during the visit.
When booking a single or multi-day stay, it pays to book ahead. Quite often it is possible to negotiate a better price or an upgraded room if you book well in advance. This is because hotels worry about their average revenue per available room and one way to manage this metric is to make sure that a percentage of their rooms are always booked even if they have to offer the rooms at a discounted price. Depending on the time of year, smart hotel management know from experience when they'll have vacant rooms, and can offer some early bird discounts to promote more sales. Alternatively you could consider airbnb.co.uk or homeaway.co.uk, they are often cheaper than hotels.
Visiting Manchester City Football Club
For any football fan, visiting Manchester comes with the opportunity to take in one of their famous football clubs. Whilst Manchester United costs a bundle to see their stadium, the Manchester City Football Club opens the doors to the Etihad Stadium for more affordable price. The 90-minute tour includes several knowledgeable football guides who give a running commentary about all things “Man City”. See the dressing room, the walk-out tunnel, the pitch, the room for the press, and the manager’s chair. Discounted Manchester City Football Club memorabilia is available for anyone who's taken the tour.
Find a Good Parking Spot
For anyone who is new to the city, just knowing where to find a good place to park is a bit of a nightmare. Thankfully there are pre-booking websites like yourparkingspace.co.uk that can help with a range of parking spaces and covered or enclosed garages all over the city. For on-street parking Appy Parking is a good solution.
Open every Saturday between March and December, the Levenshulme Market is the best open-air market in Manchester. For anyone who loves to shop but doesn't want to spend too much, there are more than 50 traders who sell plants, gifts, home-ware, vintage clothing, and excellent street food to dig into at affordable prices.
Manchester City Art Gallery
The Manchester City Art Gallery holds impressive collections of paintings by famous artists. Visiting exhibitions also helps rotate the art collections on show. The gallery is free to visit, but donations are welcome to support its operation. It also has a café which gets good food reviews. For parents with kids, there is a children's play area at the gallery too.
For anyone who has even a passing interest in media, the new home of the BBC and many other TV production companies, is an easy visit by tram from Manchester centre. Impressive architecture which benefits from attractive lighting and the Salford Quay backdrop make this an interesting place to spend a few hours. The Imperial War Museum North, Lowry Theatre and a collection of affordable restaurants and bars is found in the same area.
Manchester isn't as expensive as one would think. It just takes a bit of forward planning, a list of things that you'd like to see and do, and then you can create a plan that cuts out much of the excessive spending by pairing activities down to the essentials.
Photo by Mike Kniec via Flickr Creative Commons