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Six things to do on a weekend in Manchester

If you fancy somewhere new to explore, pop up north for the weekend. Fly to Manchester in around an hour, directly from Cornwall.

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Swap pasties and cream teas for football and shopping as you head to the Northwest of England to explore its rich, industrial heritage. Famed for its warehouses, cotton mills and canals, Manchester is a modern, industrial city full of iconic architecture and football fanatics.

But while you leave the tranquillity of the coast and drama of the cliffs behind, how can you expect to fill your time when you jet from south to north?

Hit the shops

If there’s one thing there’s an abundance of in Manchester, it’s shops. From the Arndale Centre to the bustling high street and Afflecks emporium, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to spending your pennies. It’s not obligatory to splash the cash all at once, but with boutiques, poster shops, clothes stores and delicious eateries, it’s easy to see how you can get carried away.

Pace yourself and visit the Arndale Centre first thing. With a food court onsite, it’s the perfect location to grab a coffee and a quick breakfast to power you up for a morning’s shopping. Don’t forget to leave enough time for Afflecks though; this maze of individual boutiques requires the full dedication of a budding shopaholic.

Visit Manchester Cathedral

To pass your time in a more cultural way, a mosey around Manchester’s cathedral is a must. Under its official name, The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Mary, St Denys and St George, this well preserved iconic building dates back to 1215.

Well worth a couple of hours of your time, it’s free to wander round. Guided tours are available Monday to Saturday at 11am and 2pm.

Take a trip to the Imperial War Museum

Staying with cultural experiences, the Imperial War Museum was purpose-built to tell the powerful stories of over a century of war. Open from 9am til 5pm everyday (except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day), entry is free and there are many collections to see. We recommend you allow a couple of hours for your visit, to make sure you get time to browse all the exhibits.

Its unique location at The Quays means there’s plenty to do in the area after your visit too. Within a square mile of the museum you’ll find an abundance of cultural, historic and sporting venues making this waterfront destination the perfect spot for a day out. 

Football, football, football

Of course, you can’t visit the vibrant, metropolitan city of Manchester without paying homage to its leading life as the home of football. The base for Manchester City and Manchester United, there’s a thing or two do if you’re a footie fan.

The National Football Museum opens seven days a week and is home to a variety of football inspired collections, from art to icons, creations and illustrations it changes seasonally so there are always fresh topics to explore. 

If you’re a fan of the reds a visit to Old Trafford is a must. Wander round the award-winning museum and experience a tour of the stadium - sit in your favourite player’s seat, walk through the famous tunnel and receive a personalised certificate to commemorate your visit. 

Take in an afternoon of art 

If you favour art over sport, an afternoon in Manchester Art Gallery could be just the ticket. Housing a world-class art collection, discover over 25,000 objects of fine art, decorative art and costume, which have been developed over the last 200 years. 

From paintings and sculptures to glass, ceramics, clothing and accessories, there’s so much to explore at this renowned art establishment.

Wander around Heaton Park

If you’re lucky with the weather, a meander down to Heaton Park will give you plenty of options for the whole family. A beauty spot for walking and marvelling at the magnificent Heaton Hall, you’ll find a range of family activities including an animal centre, tram museum and café.

Keep an eye out for any events taking place, if you time your visit right you can attend outdoor concerts, dramas and plays.

Fly from Cornwall 

You can fly direct to Manchester from Cornwall Airport Newquay. Fly with Flybe up to twice daily, all year round. Book now at