Ever known the feeling of sitting there watching the clock tick-tick-tick away, counting down the seconds ‘til you’re out of the door and walking running your way towards freedom? And then, suddenly the days off that you’ve been so desperately craving arrive, and you end up just sitting in your fluffy PJs all day not quite knowing what to do with yourself?
Here are ten things to do in Manchester on your day off that don’t really involve wearing your PJs all day. Let’s go!
Visit a museum
We know you’re probably thinking, “Hell no! I’m not spending my day off traipsing around a *insert loaded adjective* museum!” but just give us a chance to explain.
Manchester is actually home to a whole load of super interesting and interactive museums, that will definitely make your day off worthwhile - if you just give them a chance.
The Museum of Science & Industry
A wonderful wonderland of a museum, devoted to inspiring all that walk through its doors with some of the best ideas that changed the history of our world.
It’s based on the site of the oldest surviving passenger railway station, and their characteristic 1830 Warehouse epitomises Manchester’s 19th-century reputation as the "warehouse of the western world". Bringing together the historic appeal of their site with science programmes, the museum makes the connections between the past and the present super, super informative and engaging.
Where: Liverpool Road, Manchester, M3 4FP
Times: 10am - 5pm daily
This museum is part of the University of Manchester, and first things first, visiting it you’ll get to see the stunning, iconic main building of the university, on Oxford Road.
Secondly, there is always at least one absolutely fascinating exhibition on, covering science, culture, natural history, technology, the environment and more. You’ll be sure to learn something new when spending a few hours here, and if you’re new to Manchester this is a great place to start in getting to know the city!
Where: Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, M13 9PL
Times: 10am - 5pm daily including Sundays and bank holidays!
Check out the Northern Quarter
Now here’s one place that you go just to soak up those artsy, alternative, feel-good vibes!
Manchester’s creative heart, the Northern Quarter, is home to many independent fashion stores, quirky cafés, art stores, bars and restaurants, and of course, the record stores on Oldham street for your fix of rare vinyls and independent music. Visiting the Northern Quarter makes for a great, artsy day out on your day off.
Where: Various locations in Manchester City Centre, M4 1HQ
Go for a run in Chorlton Water Park
Photo: Vincent Cole, Manchester Evening News
If running is your thing, or even if it’s not, Chorlton Water Park is definitely somewhere you should check out - mainly because it’s just SO BEAUTIFUL.
The park is a local nature reserve comprising a lake surrounded by grassland and woodlands, and in the spring/summer particularly, it is honestly really breathtaking. There’s also a small playground, carpark, picnic benches and a network of accessible paths perfect for walking, running or cycling.
Where: off Maitland Avenue, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 7WH
Times: dawn to dusk, everyday
Get cultured at an art gallery
Art galleries in Manchester are as varied, exciting and unique as the art you’ll find within them, and we think taking some time to visit them, will leave you better for it.
Some we recommend include:
Nestled snugly in the park it calls home, The Whitworth underwent a £15 million development in 2015, doubling it in size and transforming it completely. It carries a superb, ethereal atmosphere all throughout its spaces and features very varied and inclusive art, helping you to open your mind and broaden your horizons. Its extensive and eclectic collection of art and design is of international significance and will truly blow you away.
Where: Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6ER
Times: Monday to Wednesday 10am-5pm. Thursday 10am-9pm. Friday to Sunday 10am-5pm.
This is the newest venue in town, merging two of Manchester’s former cultural institutions, Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company, under one multi-million pound roof which we all get to call ‘home’.
As well as its large and flexible gallery space hosting amazing, mainly contemporary artists from across the UK, HOME houses two theatres, five cinemas, and places to eat, drink, shop and chill, too. The gallery regularly holds live talks from the artists themselves as well as innovative and creative workshops.
Where: 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, M15 4FN
Times: Varies per exhibition
Take a trip to the Trafford Centre
If shopping ‘til you drop is your idea of the perfect day off, then the Trafford Centre is your best bet. As the third largest shopping centre in the UK, you’ll find everything you need to shop, eat and play under one very large, blue-domed roof, including an IMAX cinema, a bowling alley and an arcade.
Where: intu Trafford Centre, Manchester, M17 8AA
Times: Mon - Fri 10am-10pm. Sat 10am-9pm. Sun 12pm-6pm
Do the Coronation Street tour
If you’re a Corrie fan, then you have to take this tour at some point in your life!
It takes place on the actual sets where Coronation Street is filmed, allowing you to walk your way across the famous cobbled streets in the footsteps of your favourite soap stars. Lasting around 80 minutes, visitors will listen to stories of their beloved characters and hear filming secrets, as well as visit the brand new Victoria Street - an entirely new location that previously only existed in the viewers’ imaginations!
Where: The Studios from Dock 10, MediaCityUK, Trafford, M50 2EQ
Times: Varied - limited availability, must be booked in advance
Cost: From £35
Indulge in afternoon tea at Menagerie
Complete with neon lights, a mini-ferris cake-wheel type-thing, and even a giant bathtub so you can Instagram to your heart’s content, this restaurant and its afternoon tea is traditional yet playful and fun at the same time. What a wonderful way to make memories on a well-deserved day off!
Where: One New Bailey, New Bailey St, Salford M3 5JL
Cost: From £23 per person
Reconnect with nature in Heaton Park
Sometimes city life can get to be a bit too much, and sometimes all that is needed is a walk alone in nature. Well, if you’re feeling such a way and want to leave the stresses of everyday life behind for a short while but can’t really head out to the countryside, then we really recommend heading to Heaton Park in Manchester, and making the most of all 600+ acres of it!
The parks outdoor gems include a lake, petting zoo and Grade I listed building, Heaton House, but what is most spectacular for us about this giant park are the incredible views you can get across the city, when you make your way up to the Temple - one of the highest natural points in Greater Manchester.
Where: Heaton Park, Middleton Road, Higher Blackley, Manchester M25 2SW
Times: 8am - dusk everyday
Take in the panoramic views at Cloud 23
If it’s a special occasion (and we believe everyday is a special occasion!😉) then head on up to Cloud 23; Manchester’s favourite sky bar, ranking among the most exciting bars in the world.
23 stories high, here you can enjoy astounding ever-changing views across Manchester while enjoying high-class, culinary delights and cocktails. It’s also another popular spot for afternoon tea, so there’s that too!
Where: Hilton Manchester Deansgate, 303 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4LQ
Times: Mon-Wed, 12pm-12am. Thurs-Fri, 11am-2am. Sat, 10am-2am. Sun 10am-12am.
Be amazed at MediaCityUK
MediaCityUK is where it’s at now, for all those with an interest in TV, media and technology. For everyone else, it actually makes a pretty fascinating day out.
Make your way to Salford Quays - home to the likes of BBC, ITV and Kelloggs amongst others - and walk by the river, check out the amazing modern architecture with all its stunning lighting, and visit The Lowry (for art!), and the Lowry Outlet Mall (for shopping, food and all that good stuff!). The vibes here are electric and there are so many amazing photo opportunities. Whether you go with friends or go alone, you’re sure to have a wonderful day out and a great day off from work!
Where: 101-110 Broadway, Salford, M50 2EQ
And there you have it!
Let us know what your favourite things to do in Manchester are in the comments below, and please let us know if there’s anything that you think we’ve missed out. Now go ahead and enjoy your day off - you deserve it! 😊