We’re slowly approaching the point in summer when high temperatures stop seeming exciting and start feeling exhausting.

If that’s how it is right now, things aren’t about to get better anytime soon, so why not swap the typical sweaty tropical vacation for a refreshing European city break?

I know, I know – dealing with the chaotic streets of London and Paris doesn’t seem any better, but what if I told you there’s a trendy city where you can take in all the gorgeous sights without having to deal with the scorching heat or the suffocating crowds?

Statista just released its yearly ranking of the United Kingdom’s most visited destinations, and while the list was (expectedly) topped by beloved hubs like London and Edinburgh, the third spot was nabbed by a city Americans often tend to overlook – Manchester.

Having welcomed over 1.7 million travelers in the past year alone, this UK hub promises all the culture and history of London with none of the crowds.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect European retreat this season, here are all the reasons why you should move Manchester right to the top of your bucket list:

History, Culture, and Sports: Manchester Has It All!

UK’s “Capital of the North” is nothing if not culturally immersive, and a quick sightseeing session on your first day here will make it crystal clear just how much there is to take in.

Aerial view of Manchester

There are a couple of key attractions you won’t want to miss out on, though:

  • The Manchester Cathedral
  • The Chetham’s Library (the oldest public library in the English-speaking world)
  • The Museum of Science and Industry
  • The Manchester Art Gallery
  • The Whitworth Art Gallery
  • Band on the Wall
  • Manchester Arena (if you’re lucky enough to catch a concert)
  • Hallé Orchestra
Manchester Cathedral

And for all of the sports fans out there, watching a live match at either Manchester United’s Old Trafford or Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium is a rite of passage.

London’s Cheaper, Quieter Counterpart

I’m not even attempting to knock down London here – it is and always will be one of the world’s most iconic destinations – but sometimes, the sky-high prices and insatiable tourist crowds can get a bit much.

That’s when you plan a trip to Manchester instead.

River Irwell Banks, Manchester

Prices are generally almost 20% lower here, and that applies to food, accommodation, public transport, and everything else.

Here’s how prices for the average traveler expenses compare between the two cities*:

London Manchester
Cheap meal for one $25 $19
Coffee $4.5 $2
One-way ticket (public transport) $3.5 $2.5
Pint of beer $8 $6
Night at a 3-star hotel $100 $70

*These are the average reported prices at the time of writing this article, and numbers are subject to fluctuation.

Drone view of Manchester

Not only is Manchester notably cheaper than its more famous sister, but it’s also far more quiet and accessible, too.

The city center is compact and walkable, and making those trips between the trendy Northern Quarter and the historic Castlefield feels much more enjoyable when you don’t have to bump into other peoples’ shoulders every two seconds.

Still, Manchester Is Just As Welcoming As The UK Capital

Don’t let everything I said give you the wrong impression, though. Manchester is just as welcoming as London, and that goes for all things hospitality.

Manchester City Hall in Manchester, Northern England, United Kingdom

The locals themselves are generally warmer and more down-to-earth – but that’s not all.

Accommodation options are not only abundant and good-value, but they also cater to all preferences and budgets, and the food scene is just to die for.

Between the Curry Mile, the Northern Quarter, and markets like Mackie Mayor or Altrincham, you’re guaranteed to try at least one thing you absolutely love during your Manchester trip.

It’s Shaping Up To Be A Summer To Remember

Though there’s never a bad time to visit this English hotspot, those who want to make the most out of their trip might want to move quick.

The Stephen Hawking exhibit, the Moovin Festival, Sparkle Weekend 2024, and Haigh Bubblefest are just a few of the exciting events taking place in Manchester these next couple of months, so definitely take a look at the entire calendar to see what piques your interest.

Crowd enjoying a concert

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