If you’re a student at the University of Manchester, you can travel for free on the Magic Bus 147, which links Manchester Piccadilly rail station to the various university campuses.
Manchester has a great network of trams and trains. The line between Manchester and Liverpool was the world’s first fully-timetabled steam-powered railway. You can find out about its history at the Science and Industry Museum.
Millions of pounds are being invested to improve Manchester’s cycle lanes and there are already several traffic-free routes in Chorlton. You can hire a bike for £3.80 a day through Bike & Go.
Manchester is a great place for eating out on a budget, especially midweek.
Every Monday, there’s 50% off food at New York style diner Black Dog NQ and at trendy eatery The Pen and Pencil, when you book in advance. Tuesdays mean £1 tacos from 4pm till late at El Capo. On Wednesdays, there’s a 2 for 1 deal on all main meals at The Deaf Institute, a basement bar packed with live music gigs that also serves vegan food. Or for those who love burgers, head to Manchester Smokehouse & Cellar for 50% off burgers every Thursday.
Over the weekend, you may find discounts for new restaurants doing a soft launch or a preview, which you can track using the Confidentials app. Or Tuesday to Sunday, there’s always Altrincham Market, packed with stalls selling everything from ham and black pudding pies to sourdough pizzas.
“Go to This’n’That for lunch rather than a ’high end’ northern quarter eatery,” says Tim Dobson, Manchester-based blogger and web developer. This’n’That is the king of cheap eats, a family-run curry house that opened in the 80s. It’s tucked away on Soap Street - if you can’t find it, ask a local.
There are always plenty of drinks deals and happy hours in Manchester. At Mason’s you can get two cocktails for just £9 Tuesday to Thursday, 5pm-7pm. Terrace NQ is a hidden suntrap where you can grab a pint of traditional cask ale and listen to Rhythm & Blues.
Visitors on a budget might want to try Hatters Hostels. Their Newton Street branch used to be a Victorian hat factory and now operates as a vibrant hostel with walking tours and pub crawls. Selina NQ1 is equally bohemian, also in the Northern Quarter.
Before booking a hostel, it’s worth checking available guesthouses and hotels as you could end up getting a private room for the same price or cheaper. At Motel One Manchester-Piccadilly, prices start at £69 a night for a central, simple room that has walk-in showers, television, tea and coffee. Don’t miss their Britpop themed bar where friendly staff serve Manc-Hattan cocktails. Cheers to that.