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23 Aug 2020 - 4 minutes

Good times and tram-lines. How to make the most of Manchester’s transport network

Manchester transport blog header

A big part of going on holiday is the transport. It's the feeling you have in the car to the airport. The taste of the first early morning pint before your flight. The adrenaline as the plane leaves the runway. And then, seeing your destination. Very often, a city’s transport network is an attraction in its own right.

From the London Underground and gondolas of Venice to the tuk-tuks of Thailand, every city has its own unique way of getting around it and Manchester is no different. It’s time to talk trams!


Manchester Metro tram stop on Deansgate with AXIS in the background

Image: @mangal

The Manchester Metrolink, a tram and light rail system, has 99 stops and counting along 65 miles of track. That makes it the most extensive light rail system in the United Kingdom. In 2018/19, a whopping 43.7 million passenger journeys were made on the network.

The network is made up of eight lines, radiating out from the city centre and terminating at Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bury, East Didsbury, Eccles, Manchester Airport, Rochdale and Trafford Centre.

Just like the London Underground, the Metrolink is split into different zones, four in total. Ticket prices vary depending on how many zones you want to travel within. At the time of writing, a standard adult single ticket in any one zone is £1.40. A single ticket covering all four zones would set you back £4.60. Check here to plan a journey and learn more about ticket prices.

If you’re feeling adventurous, we’ve highlighted some of the best things you can do along the stops of Manchester’s tram network.


People browse a stall at Altrincham indoor market

Image: @altymarket

This is a great day out for foodies and anyone who loves to buy local. Altrincham boasts one of the UK’s best markets, winning the Observer Food Monthly Awards ‘Best Market’ in 2015 and coming runner-up in 2016. It is also home to some great restaurants such as Sugo Pasta Kitchen, Porta and Bistrot Pierre.


Steam train on the East Lancashire Railway

Image: @loladennisphotography

Another town famous for its market, Bury is also well known for its black pudding. If you’re looking for a different day out, why not consider a ride on the East Lancashire Heritage Railway, which is based at Bury Bolton Street station and runs to Heywood, Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall.

If trains aren’t your thing, you can always visit Bury Art Museum or Bury Castle.

Heaton Park

Heaton Hall in Heaton Park, Manchester

Image: @lukesan_

Perfect for when the weather is hot like it has been these past few weeks, Heaton Park is Manchester’s largest outdoor open-space with over 600 acres to explore and encompasses a boating lake, farm centre, apiary, woodlands and vintage trams.


Salford Quays and Media City Manchester at sunset

Image: @carlosbrolan

Stopping off at MediaCityUK for the first time is an experience in itself. You are surrounded by the glass and steel of the BBC’s hub in the north, as well as the Lowry theatre and art centre, Imperial War Museum North and the futuristic-looking, golden-panelled Alchemist.

For more day-out ideas along the Metrolink, check out this article from Manchester Evening News, though please bear in mind that this was written before Covid-19 and some restrictions may still apply to certain places.


Interior of Manchester airport with hexagonal light fixtures

Image: @manairportuk

One of the Metrolink lines terminates at Manchester Airport. In 2016, the airport was the third-biggest in the UK in terms of passenger numbers and the busiest of those not serving London. While travelling abroad might not be the best idea at the moment, some of the most popular long-haul destinations from the airport include Orlando, New York, Dubai, Las Vegas and Hong Kong.

In recent years, Manchester Airport has added numerous long-haul routes to its network that in the UK, can only be found here or in London. These include Beijing, San Fransisco, Boston, and Houston. It is for this reason that the airport draws in so many passengers from a vast area.


Interior of Manchester Piccadilly train station

Image: @art_camera_obscura

We’ve already touched upon the trams and light rail network that connects our great city. Manchester also has two main stations that serve the national network: Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly.

Manchester Victoria, situated to the north of the city centre on Hunts Bank close to Manchester cathedral, hosts services to destinations in Northern England such as Blackburn, Rochdale, Bradford, Leeds and Halifax.

Manchester Piccadilly is the principal station in Manchester and is located to the south-east of the city centre. It hosts long distance intercity and cross-country services to national destinations including London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Southampton and Bournemouth. Like Manchester Victoria, it also hosts regional services to Northern England including Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle. It is the fourth busiest station outside of London and has 14 platforms, 12 terminal and two through platforms.

No matter how you travel to and around Manchester, whether it be by car, bus, plane or tram, make sure you travel across to see us at either AXIS or Manhattan to take a look at one of our stunning 2-bed apartments. Visit our website to ‘plan your journey.’ Next stop: Manchester!

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