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Living in Manchester: tips and advice

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Accommodation in Manchester

Learn more about living in Manchester

A definitive guide to find accommodation, as told by locals

Last updated: November 2019

How to rent a place in Manchester

When you’re looking at Manchester for housing, you’re in for a bit of luck! Accommodations, whether renting or purchasing, are much cheaper than it can be in the areas in the southern parts of the UK. While there are surely many ways to search for and obtain housing in Manchester, exploring online or choosing an agency to assist with your relocation are your best bets.

While accommodations in Manchester can be located at any time of the calendar year, you may find that the busiest times usually range somewhere in between the months of November and February. But when you’re relocating, it may de difficult to plan that far ahead, plus, sometimes waiting until spring or summer can help you land a better price.

The first thing you need to do is decide which priorities or amenities you want to look for when it comes to housing. Think about what’s the most important, whether it be the size, its location or the view from your bedroom window? Do you want a house, a flat or a boarding room in a private hall? I would suggest making a “wish list” of sorts, prioritizing all of the things that matter the most to you personally.

Housing Anywhere is a housing platform where people can rent out rooms to international students, which originally began with outgoing exchange students renting out their rooms when they went abroad. This provided incoming exchange students with the opportunity to rent these rooms. In the present, it's now a global platform where both the demand and supply for housing for international students can both be met.

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Hi all! My name is Lindsay, and I’m an international student of business and management. I was born in The Netherlands, moving around a lot. Plus, I have lived in exciting locales like Mumbai and Curacao, the beautiful Caribbean island.

Much like you, I am very familiar with adjusting to a new way of life in a brand new country. So, don’t worry, because I am here to help guide you through the most important things to consider during your relocation, like where to stay in Manchester, and of course, where to party like a local.

Living in Manchester and its neighbourhoods

Universities

Universities

Higher learning at its best

On the heels of Edinburgh and London, Manchester is the third highest ranked “student” city in the UK. The QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017 include three of Manchester’s universities, with the most well-known being the University of Manchester. These world-class universities attract students from all around the world, adding to the vibrant, exciting culture that is the heartbeat of Manchester.

The University of Manchester can offer international students the opportunity to actively pursue a successful life and career. The university prides itself on its research programs, which are integral for students going into educational fields.

On the other hand, the Manchester Business School is proudly second in the entirety of the UK for its research capabilities. The university offers spectacular programs for business management, covering all particular niches from healthcare to accounting to startup preparation.

The Manchester Metropolitan University has a sprawling campus, offering six different faculties with 12 research centers and a phenomenal support system in place for the students. Many students study at Manchester due to these fine examples of modern education and their additional benefits.

For those who are musically inclined, the Royal College of Music is known the world over as one of the leading conservatories. Plus, its roll call includes many international teachers, which is very welcoming for students studying abroad. They also supply many players to a number of London’s premier orchestras, which is very attractive to students hoping to fill a chair.

Transportation

Transportation

Getting around the city, on-time and on-budget

Manchester has a very compact city centre, which makes walking a popular mode of transportation. However, when you need to get around the city and its surrounding suburbs and outer lying areas, Manchester offers buses, trams and trains at reasonable prices and on a convenient timetable.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) offers a great planning tool for those wishing to utilize Manchester’s transportation system. Metroshuttle offers a “hop on and hop off’ service from Manchester’s city centre, which connects to all of the major railway lines and shopping and entertainment districts. Manchester also offers a convenient bus service to help you get where you want to go. Plus, the Metrolink provides residents and visitors alike with one of the most popular light railway systems in all of England.

If you decide to travel outside of Manchester, there are also other great options for a day trip outside of the city. The rail network sweeps passengers away to neighboring locales like Bolton, Ashton-under-Lyne, Rochdale, Oldham, Wigan and Stockport . Now, if you just can’t wait to get that bike out in Manchester, expect the luxury of dedicated cycle lanes through popular routes in the city centre, as well as some neighboring areas. The TfGM cycling website provides maps, planning tools, event listings and just about anything else you might need to know to make cycling in Manchester fun and convenient.

Manchester Water Taxis are also a fairly new transportation option. They run every day of the week, with lines between Old Trafford, Trafford Centre and the city centre.

Nightlife

Dance the night away or relax in a pub

If you’re ready to party the night away, Manchester will not disappoint. With one of the most thrilling nightlife scenes in the entire UK, there are options to suit every group. If you like the taste of champagne on a warm summer night, try all 15 variations at Epernay Manchester. For a more luxurious evening where you can really people watch, try a hotel bar like Cloud 23 in the Hilton Manchester Deansgate or Mr. Coopers House & Garden in The Midland Hotel.

If a regular pub is more your style, go for The Britons Protection, boasting a real wood-burning fireplace and a beer garden. Be sure to sample their excellent range of whiskies.

If you’re passing through the Northern Quarter for the night, the Wharf in Castlefield has a wonderful selection of ales. You can also stop in Walrus or the The Whisky Jar, which is set in an old textile mill.

Things to see

Getting out and about in Manchester

Nestled comfortably in northwest England, Manchester has grown from its humble beginnings as an industrial town to a real cultural spot. In Manchester, you’ll see things unique to only this area, like modern restaurants housed in old Victorian warehouses or local designers operating from a lovingly restored fish market. And if you have shopping on the brain, gorgeous Art Deco centers beckon with local wares and stunning styles. To be certain, you will never run out of culture, nightlife or delectable dining in Manchester.

If art is what you’re after, visit the Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth. For a view of mesmerizing gothic architecture, head to the John Rylands Library or the wondrous Manchester Cathedral. Manchester Museum and the Imperial War Museum North offer a peek into not only the history of Manchester, but also other significant parts of the UK.

But if you think of Manchester, one of the first things to come to mind is probably football. Take in a game or two at Manchester United and Manchester City, where tours are also offered to inquisitive fans. And if you’d like to learn more about the game itself, visit the National Football Museum.

And if you want to revel a bit in the great outdoors, a short venture outside of Manchester’s centre can take you to green spaces at Sale Water Park, Hollingworth Lake, Heaton Park and Haigh Hall.

Boasting a history chock full of musical greats, you can find live music in Manchester on a minute’s notice. If you’re thinking big, then take in your favorite artist at the Manchester Arena, where you can catch acts like The Rolling Stones or Madonna. If you love to tap your feet to a bit of jazz, then head over to Band on the Wall, which has been around since the 1930s.

If you’re a bit less pretentious and have a more eclectic musical taste, make your rounds to South. Or to see what Manchester may have been like in the 70s, be sure to experience Clint Boon’s Disco Rescue on Saturday nights. Want more? Then try the cabaret at The Birdcage.

Deansgate

Young residents with a vibrant air

Located in Manchester’s city centre, Deansgate plays favorite to young executives who like to live, work and play in the same neighborhood. However, this type of proximity comes at a price, with swanky, modern apartments in a prime location. Plus, railway, tram and bus routes are easily accessible, so this is the perfect place to really live it up in Manchester.

Fallowfield

Perfect for university students with attractions and nightlife

When you are attending Manchester University, this is the ideal place to search for accommodations. Most residents are under 20 years of age, and there are eight public halls to choose from for true budget-friendly living. With students being the primary clientele, residents can walk down the street to late-night eateries, nightclubs, pubs and plenty of local shops offering urban delights. If you plan on spending a good portion of your time mingling with new friends and experiencing all-night parties, then Fallowfield would be the perfect locale.

Oxford Road

Ground Zero for nightlife

Nightlife is at the heart of Oxford Road, and the streets are always jumping with the latest party or the newest nightclub popup. The Manchester Academy music venue is at the heart of Oxford Road, close to the LGBT scene on Canal Street. While not technically designated a true “student area” like Fallowfield, it is a bustling neighborhood with plenty of amenities, including Manchester University’s main campus. If you want to explore more, there’s even a train station for your ultimate convenience.

Castlefield

Experience waterfront tranquility

Situated right on the Bridgewater Canal’s basin, this is the ideal location for anyone who wants the ultimate blend of city life with a waterfront view. Still able to see the ruins of an old Roman fort, this area of Manchester is steeped in rich history, with cozy pubs and old-world bars. Accommodations here can range from older dwellings to modern buildings or conversions with trendy rooms. Plus, transportation is readily available for any destination that can’t be walked to along the canal.

Salford Quays

A short ride from the city with a suburban feel

Salford Quays offers a wonderful mix of housing that can fit any budget. If you are in Manchester to experience the posher side of the UK, luxury living complexes offer every imaginable amenity. And if you’re a student on a budget, The Quays boasts idyllic, smaller spaces with terraces and nice views. If you need to get around the area, there is a healthy mix of transportation readily available, including trams and buses, making it very convenient to get into the city centre in a hurry. The nightlife scene is also alive and well in Salford Quays, offering the typical Manchester dance clubs, relaxed pubs and atmospheric bars that you’ve grown to expect.

Didsbury Village

Trendy, classy and chock full of shopping

If you lean a bit toward the trendy side, then Didsbury Village might just have the right mix of class to provide your perfect housing location. At just five miles outside of Manchester’s vibrant city centre, Didsbury Village offers a wide mix of modern apartments and unique rooms in large, often Victorian, houses. Due to its pleasing array of dining options geared toward a younger crowd, the 20-something and lower group is becoming increasingly popular as residents in this exciting area of Manchester. Compared to areas like Oxford Road, it may be a bit further from the actual city centre, but its green spaces and sporting options make it well worth the added tranquility. Also expect plenty of shopping options, including high-end boutiques and independent shops. Getting around Didsbury Village is also very convenient, with railway and bus stations.