Manchester Area Guide

UK Area Guides

Manchester, Greater Manchester


Living in Manchester

Greater Manchester is Britain’s third largest metropolitan county by population, but it is often considered the UK’s second city. With a population growth that is three times the national average, the largest economy outside London, and a wealth of cultural offerings, Manchester is a true rival to the capital. 


Though Manchester is no longer the industrial centre it once was, the city’s canals and warehouses serve as reminders of its heritage, whilst new opportunities have taken their place. Numerous large companies are headquartered in Manchester, where office space and homes are more affordable than in London, and the cost of living is generally much lower. Manchester has also bounced back from its history of being destroyed by bombs in the second World War and more recently – showing community spirit and enterprise, and rebuilding. 


The significant rebuilding that has occurred here over the decades means that there are many modern homes to choose from, including canal-side luxury flats and ordinary semi-detached homes, but there is still some unique period property in the area, including trendy warehouse conversions. Green space in the city centre is limited, but increases further out – and the surrounding countryside is lovely. There are also many options for good schools, adding to the list of amenities that appeal to families. 


Manchester is well-connected to the rest of the UK by road and rail, and to the rest of the world by plane. Within Manchester, there are many public transport options, including trains, trams, and buses. 


In 2016, the Global Liveability Survey ranked Manchester as the best UK city to live in, beating out London, and placing 43rd overall in the ranking of 140 worldwide cities. 




Mancunians are proud of their city, and that famous Manc spirit is on display anytime the city is attacked in any way – physically, or verbally. Mancunians also have a well-deserved reputation as being some of the friendliest people in the UK. Manchester is also reputed as having a good, friendly community of artists and creatives. Manchester also has a very large student population.


Compared to similar areas, the crime rate in Manchester is high – Manchester’s crime rate is second only to that of the City of London, which has a small population of residents and therefore an unusually high crime rate. Manchester appears in the top ten for most crimes.


The most common crimes between April 2016 and March 2017 were anti-social behaviour, violent crime, and criminal damage and arson. Manchester appears in the top ten for most crimes.


As you’d find anywhere, the more central homes in Manchester can lack parking spaces. About 55% of Manchester residents own a car, according to the 2011 Census.


Traffic in Manchester moves slower than the UK average, and the council has responded by improving public transport options and increasing the number of available Park & Ride lots.


A congestion charge zone, similar to that of London, is under consideration as of 2017.


Manchester is known for having an abundance of pubs, restaurants, and bars, as well as clubs, music venues, and theatres. The Northern Quarter is a famed nightlife district, with a range of bars and restaurants, while Canal Street is in the Gay Village. 

Family Friendly

Manchester is a good place to look for an affordable family home. In the city centre, many of the properties are relatively new-build, but there is a good variety of property types, from new-build flats to period terraces and old and new semi-detached homes. A fairly high percentage of property available in the Manchester area has three or more bedrooms.


There is something of a lack of green and open spaces within the city centre, though there are some moderately-sized parks and recreation grounds as you move slightly further out. Though every available scrap of land in the centre has been built on, there are still pleasant canal-side walks that are tree-lined and isolated from traffic. However, the surrounding countryside is glorious – including the Peak District, the Pennine Moors, and the Cheshire countryside – and easily reached. 


There is a wide range of schools to choose from in Manchester, including nonselective state schools, grammar schools, free schools, and private schools. Many schools in Manchester perform in the top 5% nationally.

Pet Friendly

Property in Manchester varies, but includes many homes that would be suitable for pet owners. In the city centre, much of the housing consists of new-build flats – however, around Greater Manchester, there are many terraces and semis that may be more pet-friendly.


Manchester does not have a good supply of parks within the city centre – every available scrap of land has been built on. However, the canals offer tree-lined good walking routes that are isolated from traffic, and as you get further from the centre, there are numerous moderately-sized parks and fields. And the surrounding countryside is glorious – including the Peak District, the Pennine Moors, and the Cheshire countryside – and easily reached. 


Manchester is well-connected by the rest of the UK by rail. Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly are its two main rail stations, with all mainline routes from the region and the UK going through Piccadilly, and routes from neighbouring suburbs going through Victoria. Other central rail stations at Deansgate, Salford Central, and Oxford Road. Chorlton Street bus station is a main coach terminal.


The city itself is served by a Metrolink tram system, which travels through the centre and neighbouring suburbs. There are also buses around the centre, including MetroShuttle services for commuters travelling to the major business districts.


Manchester Airport is the largest regional airport in the UK, and the third busiest.