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Trains to Manchester

From its industrial past to a present driven by music, media and sport, Manchester has always been independent and forward-thinking. Today it buzzes with a huge student population, two top-class football teams and a superbly regenerated inner city packed with great shopping, cool microbreweries and buzzing bars. With the arrival of Michelin-starred chefs Simon Rogan and Jason Atherton, its restaurant scene is hitting the next level too. Is there anything this city can't do?

Popular train routes to Manchester

London to Manchester
Birmingham to Manchester
Liverpool to Manchester
Sheffield to Manchester
Leeds to Manchester

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Visiting Manchester

Head to the Northern Quarter – just 10 minutes’ walk from Manchester Piccadilly – for a taste of what makes Manchester so special. Visit the Night & Day café-bar, a hub for local music and arts for decades, and discover a thriving food and craft beer scene.

If you’re coming to Manchester to shop, you’re in good company. Few places do city-centre shopping better, and eager browsers travel here from across the region. You’ll find major high-street brands in the Arndale Centre, and designer stores from Armani to Burberry clustered around King Street, St Anne’s Square and Spinningfields. Looking for something more offbeat? Visit the legendary Affleck’s Palace, a former department store now filled with vintage stalls and independent boutiques.

Just off the bustling Deansgate, take a trip into Manchester’s past at The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), a smart, hands-on museum in an early 19th-century railway station. It’s packed with interactive exhibits, from working cotton machinery to a walk-through Victorian sewer. 

And what would a visit to Manchester be without football? Whether you’re a United fan, a City fan or a neutral, you can tour Old Trafford and Etihad Stadium and check out a treasure-trove of facts and memorabilia at the National Football Museum.

How to find the cheapest train tickets to Manchester

To get the cheapest train tickets to Manchester, you’ll need to be super-savvy when searching for tickets. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you with our top tips for saving money on rail travel. Before you know it, you’ll have a few extra quid to spend when out and about in the city, instead of just using it to get there!

First up, you’ll want to think about using a National Railcard. If you don’t quite make enough journeys to warrant buying a Season Ticket, but you’re still going to travel by train more than a few times a year, then a Railcard is well-worth your time. Their big selling point is that they can allow you to save up to 1/3 off the price of your train tickets*. Railcards cater to different age ranges and circumstances so, from the Senior Railcard, to the Disabled Persons Railcard and the newly-introduced 26-30 Railcard (Millennial Railcard), you'll be sure to find your match. Check out our Railcards page if you’d like to purchase one online or see the various eligibility requirements for each type.

Next up on our Mancunian money-saving checklist, make sure to buy your train tickets in advance. In some cases, the price of a train ticket can rise as the date of departure edges nearer. So, by purchasing an Advance ticket as far ahead as possible, you’ll be giving yourself a better chance of securing cheap train tickets to Manchester. These tickets typically go on sale 12 weeks in advance, but you can sign up for our handy Ticket Alerts and let us do the work for you. As soon as tickets go on sale for your route, we’ll email you. Remember to combine your Railcard with your Advance ticket for a killer money-saving combo!

Want to learn more? Visit our Advance train tickets page for a complete guide.

When purchasing your Advance ticket, try to book an Off-Peak time. Make sure to check all the tickets in the drop down menu when using our Journey Planner, as we’ll highlight the cheapest Off-Peak tickets available. Once again, add your Railcard discount if applicable, and you’ll be laughing!

For more info, head over to our Off-Peak train tickets page.

Before you buy your ticket, make sure to check that the price of your Return ticket is, in fact, lower than that of two single train tickets. Sometimes, one method may be cheaper than the other. The same goes for selecting your arrival station. Try checking the differences in price when selecting ‘’Manchester, Any’’ versus a specific station.

Are you travelling to Manchester in a group of three to nine people? Then you may also be able to get a discount of 34% on Off-Peak services thanks to GroupSave. This is a useful discount that doesn’t require you to purchase a physical Railcard (but which does appear in the Railcard dropdown when making a booking). Please bear in mind that GroupSave is not applicable for all journeys by the different train companies and will automatically be applied if valid for your journey and selected in the Railcard drop down. All tickets must be purchased in a single booking, and all passengers must travel together on the day of departure.

If you need a few more hints on getting the cheapest train tickets to Manchester, check out our cheap train tickets page.

*Conditions and peak travel time exclusions may apply on some Railcard types.

Useful links when visiting Manchester by train