Student accommodation in Manchester

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Welcome to Manchester

The capital of Northern England, full of culture, entertainment and excellent food and drink. In this city, you’re never far away from something to do, things to see, memories that will last forever - it really is a city that offers something for everyone. No matter what it is that you’re looking for, we have no doubt that Manchester will be able to offer you a place that you’ll love to call “home”.

If you’re a student or prospective student, you’re probably already very familiar with the city’s major educational presence - there are three major universities in the Manchester region, each of which offers students a different twist on their journey towards their degree. The three universities that Manchester is home to are; the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford - these universities offer students a wide range of different courses to study and a fantastic place to make new friends for life too, which is one of the reasons that make the city so popular for students from all areas of the country, and even international students! In fact, there are over 100,000 students in the city studying at the trio of universities, making Manchester one of the biggest student hubs in the UK outside of London.

For students looking to make the move to Manchester to further their education at one of the fantastic universities in the city, it’s vital that you find the right accommodation to make your stay as comfortable and homely as possible. Here at Housemates, we’re looking to create a fresh, more enjoyable way to find the right student accommodation in Manchester, so be sure to check out our latest room listings to snap up the hottest properties in Manchester first! Alternatively, you can get in touch with a member of our team if you’d like to discuss our properties in more detail, or if you have any other queries regarding our booking system.

Let's start exploring

There are so many things to discover when you move to Manchester and it’s impossible to see everything; whilst the city may only be relatively small when it comes to physical size, it’s one of the most densely packed cities in the world when it comes to sights to see, activities to do, and culture to immerse yourself in. In Manchester, every corner has got a story to tell, which is sure to keep you intrigued and excited for the entire time that you’re based in the UK's friendliest city.

To help get you started on your adventure around the city of Manchester, we’ve put together some of our tops tips about the most popular areas of the city, serving as something of a guide to Manchester for new visitors and returning students alike, helping you to get to grips with everything that this fantastic city has to offer. Below, you’ll find our guide to everything you could possibly need when moving to Manchester, from restaurants and bars all the way through to cultural landmarks such as the beautiful libraries and museums that can be found on the cobbled streets of this historic place.

Of course, this guide won’t be able to detail every single place that you might visit whilst in Manchester - there’s simply too much to pack into one guide! This means that you may even stumble across a few gems that even we haven’t heard of; Manchester is one of the most varied and welcoming places in the UK, so don’t be surprised to find a whole host of new places to eat, drink, and watch entertainment outside of this guide.

City Centre

Manchester City Centre is, for obvious reasons, the heart and soul of the area. It’s busy, it’s buzzing, and it’s a hub of arts, creativity, sport, culture, and so much more. If you find yourself in the city centre, you’ll never be more than a stone’s throw away from some truly spectacular places, nor will you ever have any difficulty finding something to do, somewhere to grab a bite to eat or a nice little place to quench your thirst. Manchester city centre is one of our favourite places to be and it’s a real student hotspot too, so it’s easy to find like-minded people of similar ages to hang out with, which is a great addition to the university experience. If you’re from a smaller town or village, the move to Manchester could seem a little daunting at first. Going from a small place where everyone is known to everyone to then find yourself in a booming city environment that’s fast, loud and energetic can be a culture shock at first, but it’s experiences like this that’ll help you to come out of your shell and discover new things about yourself.

The city centre is one of Manchester biggest attractions, which naturally makes it the area with the highest footfall each year. Hundreds of thousands of visitors can be found making their way through the area each year, with everyone from football fans and music lovers to theatre buffs and foodies travelling from far and wide to experience everything that Manchester has to offer.

Throughout the year there are different events that you’ll be able to take part in, such as Manchester Pride and the world-famous Christmas Markets, so there’s plenty of festivities to keep you entertained and intrigued all year round.

Northern Quarter

Vintage shops, independent restaurants, quirky bars, and gig venues galore - the Northern Quarter really does epitomise everything great about Manchester. Whilst NQ can feel a million miles away from the skyscrapers and tower blocks of the city centre, it’s actually just a few short minutes away from all of the hustle and bustle of the shopping centres and high street stores, a fantastic juxtaposition between the old and new. When you’re casually strolling around the Northern Quarter, it almost feels as though you’re taking a walk through New York City’s famous streets - this isn’t just a coincidence either, with Manchester’s Northern Quarter being used to shoot many New York-based movies and TV shows over the years! Of course, Manchester is a little less hectic than the big apple, which is a welcome fact for students who are looking to be able to get their heads down and study for their degree whilst located in the city.

With the Northern Quarter’s charm there does tend to be a price tag that comes along with it - on some occasions, this can mean that it isn’t the most affordable of place to eat and drink if you’re working on a student budget, but a few trips to some fancier restaurants is allowed every now and then, right!

For those students who love to follow the party, Stevenson Square is the place to be; the recently pedestrianised square is home to some fantastic bars and restaurants, which have been arranged in a collective communal open space across the street. This makes for a fantastic pub crawl that requires minimum movement - the perfect balance!

Oxford Road

Oxford Road is the student hub of the city, so if you’re coming to Manchester to study at any of the universities that can be found in the area, you can expect to be spending a great deal of time in this part of town. Oxford Road is one of Manchester’s main routes and forms what is essentially a straight line that starts down at The Curry Mile and stretches right up to the city centre - this might sound like quite the hike, but as with anywhere in Manchester you’ll probably be able to walk it within half an hour. If you’re studying at UoM or Manchester Met, you’ll find your campus directly on Oxford Road, with many accommodation options in the area too. This makes it easier than ever to get to university lectures on time, something that many students often find great difficulty in.

Besides the academic side of things down on Oxford Road, there’s plenty of entertainment too - some of Manchester’s best gig venues such as the Manchester Academy, O2 Ritz, Bread Shed, YES, and Gorilla can all be found just a short walk from Oxford Road. The area is also home to a train station, Oxford Road Station, that connects you to areas across the country, which is ideal for when you’re travelling back home or looking to get away for a few days! In addition to all of this, most of Manchester’s student bars can be found tucked down Oxford Road’s many side streets, with student-favourites such as The Font and Courtyard all easily accessible from Manchester’s main student street. If you’re after cheap drinks and a good atmosphere, you simply have to check these bars out!

Salford

In Salford, you’ll find a very different vibe to that of the city centre and main student areas - whilst the city is very busy, bright, and bouncing, students who choose to live in Salford often get to experience a more relaxed and chilled-out lifestyle. Of course, this is great for those students who’d prefer time to themselves over parties every night; it’s all a personal preference and living in Salford is likely to give you the best possible balance between the different student lifestyles.

Salford is an area of Greater Manchester that’s ideally situated just outside of the city centre - it’s just a short tram ride into the main city zones and will likely take just 15 minutes to go from the quieter suburbs into the bustling city streets. With that said, you may find that everything you need is found right in the heart of Salford, which has undergone something of a revamp in recent years due to the influx of visitors to the area. This has been caused by a variety of factors, namely the fantastic university that specialises in Nursing and Broadcasting courses, and the number of major businesses and media outlets that are now based in the wonderful Salford Quays and Media City areas, such as ITV, BBC, and Kellogg’s!

When walking around Media City and The Quays, you’ll be able to take a look at the redeveloped waters and canal routes, check out the Imperial War Museum, view some of the TV studios that are home to some of the UK’s favourite shows, or even grab a bite to eat at some of the luxury restaurants in the area!

A lot of students now call this area their home as this is where the University of Salford is located - luckily, this means that there are lots of places offering discounted student offers to take advantage of if you’re willing to take a look around. If you ever feel like you need a change of scenery, it’s less than a 30-minute bus ride into the centre of Manchester and even quicker by tram, so you’ll be able to get closer to the action in no time at all.

Fallowfield and Surrounding areas

Much like Oxford Road, Fallowfield and the surrounding areas are known predominantly for their student presence. Most students who come to Manchester for university will likely find themselves living in this area, as it is the location with the highest density of student housing and accommodation for first, second, and third-year students. Fallowfield finds itself in the ideal position for students to commute to and from when studying - ample bus services are running in each direction until the early hours of the morning and there are bus stops a-plenty. No matter where you’re living in Fallowfield, it’s easy to get from A to B.

With such a large student population in the Fallowfield area, it’s no surprise to see that there have been many student-focused establishments brought into the area, such as a converted bar found within an old church, many budget supermarkets, and lots of student nights where you can find affordable food, cheap drinks, and a great atmosphere. Fallowfield is an area that feels alive 24/7, with something happening on every corner that you turn down, so you’re sure to be kept entertained and social during your time in Manchester if you choose Fallowfield as your home.

Unfortunately due to the number of students in the area, we do see crime and theft rates sit at quite a high level in Fallowfield - as with most popular student locations in major cities, these areas are targeted by criminals looking to take advantage of vulnerable students and their lifestyles. Here at Housemates, we’re always looking to ensure that our tenants and their belongings are kept safe and sound whilst studying at university. That’s why we offer students secure accommodation with multi-step safety features - check out our room listings to find the security features that are implemented at each of the different buildings we operate around the city.

Getting about…

Now that you know where you’ll be going during your time in Manchester, it’s time to take a look at how you’ll be getting there! Manchester is a city that’s blessed with fantastic transport routes both internally and externally, helping you to get to Manchester and get around the city’s various areas with ease. From buses and trams to taxis and cycle lanes, Manchester has got transport routes to suit every person who comes to the city. Below, we’re going to take a look at some of the top transportation methods in the city to help you gain a better understanding of how you’ll be able to get to and from your favourite places on a daily basis. Trust us, you’re going to need an encyclopedic knowledge of transport if you’re going to be battling again Manchester’s rainy climate week in, week out!

As Manchester locals ourselves, we’re huge advocates of getting around on foot - whilst Manchester is a big, busy city, it’s actually not too difficult to walk from point to point, with a grid layout used for many of the streets. Before you run to the tram or bus, be sure to have a quick look on your maps app to see how long it’ll take you to walk to your destination, as you might just be pleasantly surprised with the answer! By avoiding driving, getting the bus, or jumping on the tram, you’ll be helping to protect the environment whilst also saving some pennies in your wallet, which is never something to turn your nose up at as a student.

Buses

Manchester is blessed with several different bus operators who provide fast, reliable service across the city region and beyond, with single services taking passengers from the heart of the city out to places as far as Rochdale and Bolton on either side of the city centre. It’s rare to see a bus service that’s capable of offering such a varied set of routes, but with Manchester City Council’s huge push to provide more reliable service to the people in the district, we have seen major improvements across the board, with continued growth planned for the coming years.

The one downside to Manchester’s comprehensive bus system is that there are multiple different operators, which can make it difficult to decide which is the right ticket on any given day. With some routes being Stagecoach or First Bus exclusive routes, you may find that you’re having to change providers during the day, which is not ideal if you’re looking to keep costs low with a daily saver ticket. To help out frequent travellers, there are discounted weekly and monthly tickets that can be used, so be sure to ask your local travel advice centre for more information on the availability of these before travelling.

In our experience, buses are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get around the city, with services running from the early hours of the morning to the late hours of the night each day, even over the weekend! With multiple buses operating on each route every hour, you’ll never find yourself waiting too long for the right number to come along, ensuring that you get to and from your desired destination in a prompt and timely manner.

Trains

Trains are one of the most efficient ways to get around in the UK - these carriages are fast, efficient, and can be found at discounted prices if you have the correct concessions card or if you know how to look for the best deals. In Manchester, the train is a vital mode of transport, particularly for those who are travelling in from areas that are outside of the city region, providing fast and effective transport direct into the heart of the city. Manchester is lucky to be home to 4 different train stations that serve trains headed for all different corners of the country, so no matter where you’re coming from or going to, you’ll be able to find a train into Manchester. The four stations in Manchester are:

Between the 4 stations, Manchester can operate shorter regional trips and national long-haul journeys alike, ensuring that every passenger can get where they need to go. For passengers who are looking to head towards Merseyside or other areas in the north, Victoria and Oxford Road stations are the main stations. From here, you’ll be able to catch services from a number of providers, heading to a variety of different UK destinations such as Liverpool, Newcastle, Birmingham, and Leeds.

For longer journeys, you’ll most likely be travelling out of Piccadilly station, where you’ll find services operating further afield to locations such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, or London. Piccadilly station is also a stopping point for Avanti West Coast’s super-fast services into London, which are the ideal way to make cross-country journeys in a fraction of the time.

Don’t forget if you’re aged 16-25 you can buy a railcard which gives you access to reduced fares, helping you to save money each time you ride the train!

Cycle

Manchester is the UK’s home of cycling - the city is home to our world-conquering Olympic cycling team and has undergone a major cycling revamp in the past few years to allow for more people to get on their bike when travelling to work or university. As part of many active lifestyle initiatives, cycling is one of Manchester’s most heavily encouraged forms of transport; cycling to work or a place of study is great exercise and can be a huge boost for mental health too, helping you to feel happier and more energised to tackle the day. Of course, cycling in a major city is not always the easiest of tasks - with busy roads and erratic traffic posing serious danger to cyclists who don’t have their own designated lanes. In Manchester, many roads have been fitted with a special cycle-only lane to help cyclists make their way around the city without any issues - this has led to a large uptake in cycling in the city, which is helping to reduce pollution in our city whilst encouraging people to exercise more regularly.

To add to this cycling boost, Manchester is set to trial a brand new bike hire scheme in the city centre region, with over 1500 bikes ready to be hired by the end of 2021. This scheme has been chosen for Manchester due to the large student population, a high number of visitors, and the high cycle propensity seen amongst the city’s residents.

If you’re keen to improve your cycling skills, Manchester has many venues dedicated to helping out with this, with lessons on road safety and best practices available from several vendors in the area.

Trams

Manchester’s public transport network is one of the most efficient in the UK, with a combination of buses, trains, and trams all combining to ensure that every possible route is covered in some way or another. If you’re looking to get into the city centre or make your way around it, the tram may just be the perfect way to do so. Our big, yellow trams can be spotted from a mile away and there are handy stops located at multiple locations across the city in many easy to access locations, such as Victoria Station, Exchange Square, Market Street, Piccadilly Gardens, St Peter’s Square, and Deansgate. To ride on the tram, you simply need to purchase a ticket for your desired zones, which are detailed on the maps, then hop on and find yourself a seat, or you can just tap-in and out with a contactless payment card or device! On average, the Metrolink has services stopping at each station every 6 minutes, so there’s never too much waiting and you’ll very rarely have to deal with a delayed journey to the office, to uni, or to the bars!

If the ticket machines on the platform are a little busy, don’t worry - the Get Me There app enables you to buy a ticket directly from your phone, which can be presented digitally to a ticket inspector should one be present on your carriage. Please remember that it is against the law to travel on the tram without a valid ticket and that checks are in operation on random services across the network, so it’s best to always double-check that your ticket is for the correct zones, the correct date, and the correct number of passengers before you board the train.

Airport

Manchester International Airport is located less than 10 miles away from the city centre, making arrivals easier if you’re coming from overseas and giving students and tourists quick and easy access to any location that their hearts desire. From Manchester Airport, there are very few destinations that you won’t be able to reach, with every major airline operating many different routes out of Manchester’s 3 terminals. No matter whether you’re from abroad and heading home for the holidays, looking for a budget trip to a European city or a flashy, all-inclusive trip to another continent, Manchester Airport is the place to be. To access the airport, it’s either a short trip down the motorway in a car or taxi, where there are short/long stay parking options for your car, train services directly into the airport, or tram services that take you directly to the terminal. For international students and vacationer arrivals it’s really easy to get into Manchester Airport from the city centre and surrounding areas and it’s surprisingly cheap too, eliminating some of the small, irritating costs that you’d usually have to pay when heading to the airport for a holiday. If you're travelling by tram, the first service from Deansgate station is usually around 5 a.m., with the last train arriving at around midnight.

Manchester’s conveniently located airport is also a huge benefit for the international students who are moving to Manchester to further their studies each year. Manchester has a huge culture of students taking their year abroad or travelling to study at the prestigious universities that the city has to offer and the airport is the ideal way to arrive in the city.

Time to Discover

Now we know where to go and how you might be able to get there, we thought it was important to give you an insight into some of Manchester’s true gems. Now, we aren’t just talking about chain restaurants, fast food, and bog-standard pubs here - you can find those anywhere. What we’re going to be looking at are those iconic places that you’ll only find right here in Manchester, as these are the establishments that make this city as special as it is. We’ll be taking a look at a few restaurants, plenty of boozers and bars, and even a few sights that you’ll be able to go and see too; by following this guide, we’re sure you’ll fall in love with Manchester just as quickly as we have.

To ensure that you’ve got the widest array of different places to try out, we’re going to give you a few different places at each different price point, from budget student night to a few more decadent options. Of course, these won’t be your average night out, but it’s so fun to indulge in a more upscale night out every once in a while, especially in a town with as many high-end options and Manchester does!

Places to eat

As a nation, we love our food here in the UK - from our hometown favourites of fish and chips to the most elegant and sophisticated dining experiences on the market, we’re a nation that’s proud of both where we are and where we’ve come from in terms of our culinary culture. Manchester’s food scene is a microcosm of this culinary culture - there’s fast food designed to top off the best nights out on the town, there are chilled out burger joints with a speakeasy vibe that are ideal for date nights, and there’s even a Michelin star in the city now too thanks to the exceptional talents of chef Simon Martin, so there really are experiences to tailor to any mood, any tastes, and any budget here in the capital of the north.

Whilst we might love some of these places and think they’re a must-visit whilst you’re studying here in Manchester, we know they won’t be to everyone’s taste, but that’s all part of the fun! If you find a hidden gem that you’d like to share with the rest of the world, just let us know on our social channels! We’d love to be able to share these top tips and student-favourites with our tenants and the students of Manchester, so don’t be afraid to reach out and let us know which bars, restaurants, and activities you love!

Hatch

Based just off Oxford Road, right underneath an underpass, is Hatch. Whilst Hatch may not seem like much at first, it is one of Manchester’s best places to sit down for a bit of food, a couple of drinks, and some top entertainment too! The open-plan setup has undergone massive developments over the past few years, transforming from a pretty dull, lifeless space to an area that’s now becoming a go-to space for wining and dining for residents, students, and tourists alike. In addition to the food and drink stalls, all of which serve exceptionally good offerings, you’ll find a few independent stores at Hatch too - this is part of the development’s initiatives to offer small businesses a sustainable place to call home. Over the years Hatch has been home to a barber, a vintage clothes store, hotdog stands and more - you never know what you’re going to get down at Hatch, but you can guarantee it’ll be worth your while.

To find Hatch, you simply need to look for the big colourful shipping containers on Oxford Road, just underneath the main underpass as you walk towards the university campuses further up the road. The closest transport to Hatch is Oxford road station which is literally straight across the street, with bus stops right outside the front door so that you can get home safely after a great night out at one of Manchester’s hottest new locations. Our top picks at Hatch are:

  • That Burger Place
  • Grandad’s Sausages
  • Gooey
  • Herbivorous 
  • The Portland Barbers
  • Hatch Tavern

The Northern Quarter

When you’re in the Northern Quarter, you’ll find yourself always looking to try something new. There’s so much variety in this little corner of the city and each restaurant has its own mind-blowing specialities and quirks that simply can’t be rivalled. What’s more is that there is a truly staggering number of cuisines on offer too, from burgers and fries to Mexican food, authentic curries, and homemade Asian dishes, there’s something to tickle your taste buds no matter what mood you’re in. The NQ is all about variety, so if you’re ever struggling to decide what you’d like to eat, we’d suggest taking a wander down the picturesque streets and let your gut, or the phenomenal aromas, guide you to your next meal. In just a short stroll, you’re sure to be able to find something that entices you but if you don’t, you can always just take another lap!

Here are a few of our favourite places to grab a bite to eat in the Northern Quarter:

There’s always a good local atmosphere and buzz around the streets in the Northern Quarter, which seems to make the food taste even better in our opinion. At night the streets come alive as underground bars open their doors and music starts pouring into the streets, which makes for a fantastic night each time you find yourself in this quirky area of town.

The Curry Mile

When we’re talking about places to eat in Manchester, we simply could not miss The Curry Mile. Perhaps Manchester’s most famous place to eat, The Curry Mille can be found in Rusholme, just outside of the city centre at the bottom of Oxford Road. The Curry Mile is an easy-going, incredibly enticing place to eat and offers a wide range of different options to diners looking to broaden their horizons and taste new flavours, spices, and dishes that they may not have encountered before. Manchester’s curry mile, whilst not actually a mile long, has gained a reputation as one of the UK’s best locations to grab an aromatic, authentic curry, with many vendors offering their own unique twist on classic dishes and house specialities alike. It’s not just curry dishes that you’ll find in Rusholme, however, with a wide array of sweets, kebabs, and other traditional foods on offer at incredibly affordable prices - it’s a great place to head to if you’re not too sure what you fancy, but are in the mood for something that’s bursting with flavour.

To get to The Curry Mile from the city centre, you’ll need to jump on a short bus journey down Oxford Road, travelling past the university campuses until you hit the mile. It’s easy to spot - there are lots of brightly coloured restaurants with outdoor menus and rich aromas emanating out from the doors and windows, so just follow the incredible scents and you’ll be able to find your way to The Curry Mile with no problem at all.

Printworks and Corn Exchange

The Printworks and the Corn Exchange are two of the big central hubs for food, drinks, and entertainment in the city centre, located very close to the The Arndale shopping centre, Market Street, and St Annes Square, where you can find high-end designer stores selling the finest watches, clothes, and accessories that money can buy. If you’re impartial to a good shopping spree, you’ll likely become pretty familiar with these major shopping streets and the restaurants that surround them - luckily, it’s a pretty busy area and you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to grabbing some food at the end of the day. Just a short walk from St Annes Square is Miller & Carter, a fantastic steakhouse service the finest quality meats with their signature onion load side, or alternatively, there’s a range of oriental dining options inside the Corn Exchange for something a little more experimental. Of course, there are simpler options too - after all, not every day is one where you’re looking to experience new things. If you’d like to tuck into some of your favourite chain restaurants such as Nando’s, Byron, or Zizzi, there are plenty of these options to be found in the surrounding area, with plenty of tables usually available.

If you’re looking to carry on the evening’s entertainment at the Printworks, you’ll be able to try your hand at the Treetop Adventure Golf, or one of the exciting escape rooms that are on offer. Alternatively, there’s a VUE cinema showcasing all of the latest blockbuster movies too, so you’ll be able to kick back, relax, and enjoy the movie of your choice before you head home. 

Nightlife

If you’ve never been to Manchester before, get ready to be blown away by the nightlife scene that can be found here in the city. Aside from London, Manchester’s nightlife scene is in a league of its own, offering bars, pubs, clubs, and everything in between to cater to the tastes of every party-goer that walks down the cobbled streets. From quaint bars with a speakeasy vibe all the way through to booming dance clubs playing wall to wall bangers, you’re sure to find something for every night of the week in Manchester, with fantastic offers on student nights too if you know the right bars and the right nights!

A night out in Manchester can lead you down so many different avenues - it can start off as a few light drinks in a relaxed pub such as the iconic Peveril of the Peak, then end up singing your heart out to some of Manchester’s finest indie floor fillers at 42s or The Venue, or it can just as easily result in a round of showstopping cocktails at one of Spinningfield’s finest bars. Whatever it is that you’re looking to get out of a night, you can be sure that Manchester will be able to deliver.

Below, we’ve detailed our favourite places for drinks in every scenario, from casual drinks with a few mates to a full night out on the town, ensuring that you’re prepared with a couple of options for every type of night out.

Deansgate Locks

Deansgate Locks is probably the most popular choice for those who are looking for a proper night out, not just a couple of pints. Deansgate Locks has an upscale feel and has a slightly more formal dress code than many of the other areas in Manchester, so you’ll probably have to plan to go here before you head out, rather than on a whim after your favourite pub closes. At the Locks, you’ll have a couple of different bars to choose from depending on your mood, but the overriding theme is that you’ll find music that’s easy to dance to, incredibly loud, and super fun to be around. The usual genres are RnB, pop, and dance, but this can change each night as the clubs put on different themed nights to bring in new party animals. For the more money-conscious students out there, weeknights at Deansgate Locks can often be quite a cheap night, with many of the bars offering student discounts and deals to keep costs low as you party. As always, you’re best off checking whether these deals are available before you arrive, as they can often change or be removed without much warning.

The main bars that you’ll want to check out if you’re going for a night out at Deansgate Locks are:

  • Revolution
  • Popworld
  • Ark

Or if you’re looking for something a little more laid back, why not opt for a night of stand-up comedy at The Comedy Store!

Student Clubs

As a student, there’s nothing you’ll love to see more than bars that offer student discounts and student deals, as these are the places where you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic night at a fraction of the budget. As Manchester’s student scene is so large, it’s no surprise to learn that there are lots of student-specific bars that you can try out whilst your studying in the city. Depending on what you’re after, there are a couple of different places that we’d recommend trying out - by testing out a few different bars, pubs and clubs, you’ll be able to get a feel for which ones you enjoy and which ones you’d rather avoid on your next night out.

Factory 251 is a popular student bar in Manchester that offers cheap drinks and discounted entry for students, as are Joshua Brooks and Fifth - all of these do have a different vibe and a variety of different drinks, themed nights, quizzes, and more, so be sure to check out what’s on to avoid missing some of the best nights out on a budget in Manchester.

Besides these student bars, your student union is also a great place to grab a couple of cheap drinks with your classmates and roommates after a day of studying - these unions are for students only and have fantastic deals for those studying at the university, so be sure to take advantage of this when you can. Student Unions are usually great for hosting events too, so if you can get your hands on the calendar for these, you’ll be able to plan out which nights you’d like to attend and which you’d rather give a miss.

Indie Clubs

When you think of Manchester, you think of indie music. It’s something of a pilgrimage for fans of the genre to come to experience the musical history of the city, with so many iconic bands having hailed from these parts. Dating as far back as we can remember, Manchester has been deeply rooted in the UK music scene, from the early days of Rock and Roll, through the eras of Punk, New Wave, Garage Indie, and modern-day pop-rock. No matter what it is, Manchester seems to have been one of the focal points in every movement that’s happened in the arts. Of course, this translates through into the music that you can hear booming out of the bars and nightclubs, which still pay homage to Manchester’s greatest bands to this day. On any given night, you’ll be able to hear the iconic songs of Oasis, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Joy Division, New Order, and so many more, which is incredibly unique to this vibrant city.

When you want to hear some of these classic indie tracks, there are two places that you need to get yourself down to: The Venue and 42s. Both of these bars are fantastic indie nights service cheap drinks, great tunes, and a great chance to sing along into the early hours with no inhibitions. In addition to the music, these bars make for a great night out as they’re incredibly laid back and casual - you won’t have to get too dressed up, you won’t have to worry about your makeup, and you certainly won’t have to worry about spending too much money either! If it’s cheap booze, singalong tunes, and a casual dress code that you’re looking for, you can’t go too far wrong with one of Manchester’s indie clubs.

The Gay Village

The Village is one of Manchester’s best nights out and is a safe space for Manchester’s ever-growing LGBTQ+ community, providing enhanced security, more vigilant bouncers, and a vibe that helps to make everyone feel as comfortable and accepted as possible. The Gay Village in Manchester is one of the largest LGBTQ+ communities in the UK, with bars, pubs, clubs, and restaurants all hosting fantastic events that pay homage to Manchester’s deep connections to these cultures. From some of the most highly-rated drag acts in the business to endless streams of cheesy pop tunes and good vibes all around, The Gay Village is one of the crowning jewels of Manchester’s nightlife scene. From iconic bars such as G-A-Y to places such as Cruz101, there are bars to suit every vibe in the village, with doors open ‘til late and even a few karaoke bars thrown into the mix for the ultimate feel-good night on the town.

The Gay Village is central to most of the festivities during the Manchester Pride festival, which is a celebration of Manchester’s proud LGBTQ+ heritage that takes place each year across the city. Over the past few years, the event has attracted thousands of visitors and has become something of a landmark event in the city calendar, with a parade and performances by world-renowned artists such as Ariana Grande on display, making for a truly superb spectacle.

The event is held over the August Bank Holiday weekend and is now a ticketed event, meaning you must guarantee your entry before taking part in the festival. This is in an attempt to limit overcrowding so that each attendee can enjoy their weekend to the max.

Culture

One of the things that make most people so proud to be from Manchester is the huge cultural importance that the city holds within almost every part of modern Britain. The city is one of the most important in terms of history, development and culture, and shows no signs of stopping any time soon, with more strides being taken to make advancements in equality, science, and industry each day. Manchester was one of the major cities involved in the industrial revolution and has since been involved in a number of key moments in history, including the splitting of the atom, the first-ever computer, the movement for women’s votes, and the all-important code that won the war. It’s moments like these that have engrained figures such as Emeline Pankhurst and Alan Turing into the history of this country, giving us all role models to follow to this day.

The history behind these stories is incredibly intriguing, but equally as important, which is why there are so many opportunities to learn more about these major cultural events in and around the Manchester region. In the heart of the city, you can find an array of museums, galleries, and monuments to the culture of Manchester both today and of years gone by. If you’d like to learn more about the city that’s responsible for so many parts of modern life, here are a few things that you can check out:

Museums

Manchester is home to many significant museums at the moment, detailing accomplishments, triumphs, and defeats from a plethora of different industries and fields for all to see and learn. From science to sport, art to war, Manchester has something for everyone and will never leave you feeling bored. In Manchester, it’s not just the story, but the way that the story is told that keeps audiences captivated and eager to learn more.

Some of Manchester’s most popular museums are:

To learn more about Manchester’s history or to take part in a historical tour, you can visit one of these museums where there is a range of fun, interactive activities to take part in, allowing you to fully immerse yourself into the culture of the city.

For the best day out, we’d recommend heading to either the Science and Industry Museum or the Manchester Museum - these are two of Manchester’s biggest museums and have a wide range of things to see, do, and experience on your day out. From the workings of a steam train to the importance of the stars in the universe, there are lots to learn at Manchester’s museums, making for a fun and educational day out for any student moving to the city.

With such a wealth of resources at your front door as you study, you’ll be perfectly placed to get the most out of your studies here in Manchester - whether it’s sports studies, the sciences, or anything in-between that you’re looking to study, we’ve got places that showcase it in abundance right here in the north.

Art Galleries

There are many higher-achieving art galleries around Manchester that house some of the world’s finest art and design collections. Here are a few of the galleries that you’ll be able to visit whilst studying in Manchester:

  • Manchester Art Gallery - Standing tall in the centre of the city is Manchester Art Gallary, a gorgeous building that juxtaposes the modern architecture surrounding itself beautifully in the middle of an urban metropolis. There’s always a fantastic array of art on display at the gallery, but the exhibitions do change frequently, so get down there every few months to ensure you don’t miss anything special.

Music

Music is Manchester’s biggest export - it’s a topic that simply cannot be ignored when talking about this fantastic city, nor is it something that we’d ever want to ignore either. Very few cities have a musical heritage that rivals that of Manchester, which a host of iconic, genre-defining bands and artists coming out of the city’s many boroughs, so it’s something that we love to see celebrated in every way possible. For many, Manchester is synonymous with Britpop and indie music, with bands such as The Smiths, The Stone Roses, and Oasis all hailing from the city during that period. It’s fair to say that each of those bands left quite the mark on the music industry, leaving behind tricks and traits that we still see in the bands of today.

The city still comes alive whenever music is involved and currently has a thriving music scene, which just goes to show the impact that the artists of yesteryear have had on this city. If you’d like to catch an act live on stage, there are few better places to be than Manchester - there are venues of all shapes and sizes dotted around the city, from small rooms such as The Pink Room at YES, where you’ll catch the latest up and coming bands through to Castlefield Bowl, a magnificent outdoor arena that’s fit for rock royalty. At the pinnacle of Manchester’s event spaces is the AO Arena, which holds 26,000 people and is actually the largest indoor arena in Europe! It’s even bigger than London’s O2 Arena!

Football

Besides music, the thing that Manchester is most famous for is football, particularly Manchester United who are widely renowned as the world’s largest football club. Manchester United are a household name the world over and you’d be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t recognise the iconic red devil’s badge. Despite a lull when it comes to winning championships in recent years, this level of fame has not dropped and instead has continued to grow and expand.  The club is based at their monumental Old Trafford stadium, which is the largest club stadium in the UK and one of the largest in Europe - you can frequently see fans heading to the sold-out games on a matchday and the feeling in the city in the build-up to a big game is gripping. If you’re interested in taking a tour of Manchester United’s stadium and trophy room, you can book that online on the official club website - alternatively, you can head down to the stadium and check out some of the free monuments, such as the Munich Tunnel, which details the history of the Busby Babes and their tragic fate in Munich.

On the other side of the city, you have Manchester City, a once rather quiet club that has recently taken the step up to elite-level competition thanks to the financial backing of Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Following the takeover in the mid-2000s, Manchester City has skyrocketed up the football pyramid at a frightening pace and are now seen as one of the most competitive sides in Europe. With sustained backing and steady growth pretty much a guarantee, they’re looking to close the gap to their neighbours over the coming decades.

With such fierce competition in such a small city, matchday in Manchester is a real joy to behold for fans and neutrals alike!

Let’s get studying

Studying in Manchester is one of the smartest choices that anyone can make - the city is a bustling hub of innovation, creativity, and character, and is a wonderful place to learn and grow as a young adult. We’d argue that there’s nowhere quite like Manchester anywhere else in the world! When you’re looking for a place to study, there are lots of considerations that you need to take, both personally and educationally, but the overarching theme will always be to find a location that you feel comfortable growing in. When moving to Manchester, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to picking a university that meets your needs - you’ll be able to choose between UoM, Manchester Metropolitan, and Salford, giving you an incredibly varied set of courses, learning styles, and locations. With so many options available, you’re sure to be able to find something that fits you just right.

As a Manchester-based student, you’ll be joining over 100,000 other students who choose to study in the city each year - if these numbers aren’t a glowing recommendation for the quality of the schools and the benefits of the experience, we don’t know what is!

To help you decide which of Manchester’s trio of prestigious universities might be the best fit for you, we’ve given you a quick rundown of each school below, alongside information relating to each of these and all the vital links that you’ll want to check out before you make a decision. If you need any further help, you can chat with other students or the university themselves, who will be able to give you the answers to any questions that you might have regarding the course, the university, and the city.

University of Manchester

The University of Manchester is located on Oxford Road next to the Manchester Museum and is one of the central pillars of the city. Over the years, the university has claimed a number of high-ranking awards and has been commended for its work in research and innovation. To date, the university has had 25 Nobel Prize winners study at the school, which goes to show the true emphasis that’s placed on excellence at the University of Manchester. In the global QS World University Rankings 2021, the school has placed in a highly commendable 27th place, earning a spot amongst some of the most elite universities in the world. In addition to this, the school is also a member of the Russell Group, which is a network of elite research-intensive universities in the UK that strive to push boundaries to make groundbreaking discoveries.

As a student at the University of Manchester, you’ll be seen as a leader in your field - from engineering to the sciences, all the through to thought leadership and sports, UoM has a proven track record of producing students that take initiative, break the mould, and achieve at the maximum level. Tuition prices at the University of Manchester are fixed at £9250 for UK students and can rise to around £21,000 for international students. These are standard UK prices and follow the government guidelines on the matter. Competition for places at UoM is very high, with total enrollment numbers coming in at around 40,000, a staggering amount for just a single university in a metropolitan area.

The University of Manchester is located on Oxford Road and can be easily accessed on foot or by bus.

Manchester Metropolitan University

Moving slightly back towards the city centre, you will find Manchester Metropolitan University, another one of Manchester’s highly commended schools. Manchester Met is not found within the Russell Group and therefore is regarded as slightly less difficult to gain entry into. This does not in any way take away from the quality of the school, of course, with the school still managing a fantastic 66th place in the Impact Rankings 2021. At Manchester Metropolitan University, you’ll find another incredibly varied range of courses on offer, with specialised facilities for many of the specialist subjects that are taught at the school. One such specialist facility is The Manchester School of Art, which is used to host and enhance the artistic courses that are on offer at the university.

According to QS Top Universities, MMU has a high research output and is a large university, yet despite this, there is a student/faculty ratio of 15 - this means that there is a tutor or lecturer for every 15 students. Studies have shown that classes with a lower student/faculty ratio are more likely to produce higher achieving grades, with each student feeling more involved and given more attention during their studies.

MMU is a university that’s incredibly popular for many students, with around 38,000 people coming to study at the campus each year - this is over a third of the total students studying in Manchester per annum, which shows the real power that this school has within the city and surrounding areas.

University of Salford

Just outside of the city centre, you’ll find Manchester’s third university, the University of Salford. This university has been steadily rising up through the ranks in recent years with a huge influx in course types and different areas of study becoming available to students looking to try something a little bit different. The campus is based outside of Manchester but is very well connected to the city centre, so you’ll have no trouble getting to and from your classes should you choose to live in the city when studying at Salford. The new campus is mostly based at Media City, which is a huge bonus for students who are enrolled in the university’s TV and broadcast qualifications, with high-end studios and industry-leading stations based right there on the campus. For many students, this can lead to career-building placement opportunities with huge companies such as BBC and ITV!

At the University of Salford, which is ranked at number 92 in the Complete University Guide Ranking, there’s a huge focus on the importance of expertise - for this reason, you’ll find that many of the classes and courses are actually taught by industry professionals. To complement this, Salford also emphasizes the importance of real-world experience and life skills, setting their students up for success in both their personal and professional lives.

If you’re looking for a university education that leaves you with hands-on experience, insider knowledge from your chosen industry, and top-of-the-range technology and facilities, there are few options quite like Salford.

What’s on?

Throughout the year, Manchester is the host of many different events, activities, and celebrations that everyone can take part in. As a city built on many different cultures, the people of the city love to celebrate this in any way that they can, which is why you’ll find so many different things to do and see on almost a weekly basis. From our famous Chinese New Year celebrations to Pride Festival and even Parklife, you’re sure to be kept busy and entertained all year round! If you’re looking to move to Manchester to study for the coming, you’ll want to know which events to look out for on the calendar - this way you’ll be able to keep these days free so that you can take part in the fun things that are happening around the city!

To help you with planning out your year as a student in Manchester, we’ve marked out some of the events that we think you’ll definitely want to take a look at, with information about the event, the dates, and more to help you decide whether it’s a good fit for you. From music festivals and raves to market stalls, cultural celebrations, or even football parades, there’s something for everyone to take part in here in Manchester, so be sure to prepare well in advance to avoid missing out on the fantastic events and activities that are on offer throughout the year.

Warehouse Project

From September through to New Year, Manchester becomes overrun with a love for dance music and warehouse raves, calling back to days of iconic Manchester landmarks such as the Hacienda and Mayfield Depot. Whilst clubs like the Hacienda no longer exist (it’s a block of apartments these days), the spirit lives on in the form of the Warehouse Project, which is a series of weekend events that allow lovers of music to indulge just like in years gone by. With the first events of the year usually scheduled for September, this is a great way for students to get involved with the Manchester nightlife scene once they’re settled into university.

The Warehouse Project is one of Europe’s most exclusive dance club nights and raves, with high-profile DJ’s coming to the events each year to spin tracks, share the love, and give everyone a truly memorable night. Over the years, artists such as Jamie XX, Carl Cox, Megan Thee Stallion, Nile Rodgers & Chic, and Migos have all graced the stages at Warehouse Project, which goes to show the huge pull that the event has. If you want to catch the biggest dance, urban, and house artists, there’s nowhere better than Manchester’s Warehouse Project at Mayfield Depot.

Tickets go on sale earlier in the year and are released in batches, but be warned: the hottest tickets can sell out very quickly due to the limited capacity and extremely high demand, so you’ll want to be lightning-quick when buying tickets if you want to catch your favourite artists in the coming year!

Christmas Markets

Each year, the Christmas period in Manchester is a true joy to behold for students, residents and tourists alike, with a wide variety of different festive decorations, activities, and pastimes to take part in, helping you to get in the mood for the holidays like never before. The centrepiece of the festivities is the Christmas Markets, which take over some of the most famous streets in the city and offer fantastic Christmassy food, drinks, gifts, and more that can only be found at the markets. In recent years, the Christmas Markets have been expanded and now span from Exchange Square, where you will also be able to visit Selfridges for a truly indulgent shopping experience, all the way through to the town hall, where you’ll be greeted by the giant light-up Santa and some fantastic German sausages.

The Christmas Markets in Manchester are widely regarded as some of the most breathtaking in the whole of Europe, which is high praise given the popularity of other markets on the continent such as Berlin, Edinburgh, Prague, and Budapest.

The Christmas Markets are often one of the city’s busiest times of the year, with a huge influx of people coming from far and wide to experience the magical wooden stalls, fantastic food and drink vendors, and the hand-made items that are on offer as you walk along the streets. If you’re looking for an expertly crafted gift, a fantastic festive hat or scarf, a Manchester souvenir, or just a nice hot glass of Gluhwein that’ll warm up your soul, you’re sure to find it at the Christmas markets. You can expect to find the markets opening at the start of November and closing the week before Christmas Day, so there’s plenty of time to get involved over the festive period should you wish to.

For any more information regarding student information, student accommodation in Manchester, or any of our other services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Housemates team today! Alternatively, you can keep up to date with the latest Housemates news by heading over to our social channels, where we’ll be posting regular updates and information regarding student life in Manchester and our latest Housemates business news.

For more comprehensive guides for some of our other city locations, be sure to check out our blog and location pages!

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