If you love city life, then you’ll find Manchester’s mix of bars, restaurants, culture and sport the perfect place to call ‘home’.

Part of the so-called Northern Powerhouse, Manchester is one of the UK's major cities. If you love history and culture, sport, shopping, nightlife, music and good travel connections, then it will fit the bill.

But it's also a good springboard for exploring the great outdoors, with the Peak District National Park nearby.

Living in Manchester: what to expect

Manchester is the home of Manchester United and Manchester City football teams, but you don't have to love the sport to enjoy the city.

You can spot glimpses of Manchester's industrial past throughout the city - many of its old mills have been turned into museums or renovated to make eclectic apartments.

In recent years the regeneration in Salford to the west of the city centre has given the area a new lease of life, with huge companies including the BBC and ITV setting up camp in MediaCityUK.

Once you've explored the city's galleries, sporting stadiums and museums, you can indulge in Manchester's spirited nightlife. Try unusual cocktails served at bars that specialise in mixology, or relax in one of the bars or pubs in the creative Northern Quarter.

But living in Manchester doesn't mean that you're cut off from the great outdoors. In addition to the city's gardens and parks, you can also get a direct train to the Peak District or the Lake District for some outdoor activity.

At £164,668, house prices in Manchester are also well below the UK average, according to Zoopla data.

Castlefield conservation area in Manchester at night

Where to start your property search

City centre: Modestly priced one- and two-bedroom apartments and studio flats can be found in areas such as Castlefield, while larger and more luxurious flats feature in Spinningfields Square. Spinningfields was heavily developed in the 2000s and hosts a Makers Market from spring to autumn.

For flats in a period conversion, look to the Piccadilly sector. It has renovated apartments in grand buildings that also boast central locations.

Alternatively, to enjoy a more bohemian lifestyle, search out a flat in the Northern Quarter. This area of the city is known for its quirky shops and nightlife.

The new estates of New Islington and Ancoats are within walking distance of the city centre. They feature contemporary architecture alongside renovated apartments in old cotton mills. Both areas benefit from nearby bus routes as well as Metrolink tram stops. They're also close to Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria train stations.

Suburbs: To the south west of the city centre is Chorlton. This suburb is popular with young professionals and is host to independent shops and cafes across Chorlton Cross and Beech Road. On its borders is a new housing development of modern flats.

With its tree-lined streets, restaurants and bars, Didsbury is an attractive option. It's a pricey area that's home to some of the city's largest Victorian and 20th century houses and flats. However, more modest flats can still be found on Wilmslow Road, while Princess Parkway boasts two- to five-bedroom terraced houses. Barlow Moor Road is the place to look for comfortable family properties, including substantial Edwardian residences.

Eccles and Prestwich appeal to Mancunians. Eccles is home to the Eccles Cake and has convenient tram and road links. Eccles Rail Station, which is located in the centre of the town, also provides easy access to Greater Manchester.

Manchester city centre at dusk

Getting around Manchester

Train: Manchester has three train stations: Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford and Manchester Victoria. Three trains per hour run to London from all three stations, with journey times of two to two and a half hours. Direct rail services also operate to the Peak District and the Lake District.

Tram: A Metrolink service operates throughout the city and its nearby suburbs. Trams run every few minutes, so there is no need for a timetable.

Car: The M60, which orbits the city, provides easy access from any direction. The M6 travels past the city from Birmingham all the way up to Carlisle and the M65 runs from Lancashire to Colne. Once inside the city, there is a lot of parking.

Air: Manchester Airport is served by more than 100 airlines, with flights to over 190 domestic and international destinations.

Panoramic picture of Salford Quays

Things to do in Manchester

You can't be a true Mancunian until you have taken a tour of Old Trafford and Etihad Stadiums. Brush up on your football knowledge and visit the National Football Museum, which has the football from the 1966 World Cup Final among its exhibits.

The National Cycling Centre is another place of sporting interest. A tour around the centre may even coincide with the training sessions of Olympic and World Champions. Alternatively, pay to have a go on the track yourself.

Cultural sights include the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell's house. The restored building was home to the author of North and South in 1850-65, which is when she wrote most of her books.

Get a sense of Manchester's industrial past with a trip to the Ellenroad Cotton Mill. Built in 1892 it is home to the largest surviving spinning mill steam engine. You can see the engine in action on the first Sunday of every month.

For some retail therapy, dive into Manchester's Arndale. It's one of the largest shopping centres in the UK and has more than 200 retailers.

Queen's Park in Heywood is a fun space for families, complete with an adventure playground. If the weather is bad, take a stroll around Wythenshawe Park's indoor gardens.

You can also take refuge in one of Manchester's watering holes. If you like unusual drinks, The Alchemist will concoct something for you, such as a Beyond the Kale cocktail. Or head to the Malt Dog in Eccles for a more traditional craft beer.

For something more glamorous, take a ride up to Cloud 23 at The Hilton. It's situated on the 23rd floor of the Beetham Tower and offers views of the city through its floor-to-ceiling windows.Canal in the heart of Manchester

Manchester has the third largest Chinatown in Europe, so it's an ideal location for food. Try Happy Seasons' dumplings or authentic cuisine served in Yang Sing on Princess Street. For fine dining and Mancunian-influenced food, dine at Manchester House.

The city is also known for its music venues. Band on the Wall was refurbished exclusively for live bands and hosts experimental and jazz musicians. Larger venues include Bridgewater Hall, Albert Hall, O2 Apollo and Manchester Arena.

Hidden Manchester

The small park of St John's Gardens is a hidden gem in the city. If you're near Quay Street or the Museum of Science, take some time to look around the orchard and flowerbeds of this urban garden.

4 reasons to live in Manchester

  • Excellent transport connections

  • Vibrant city living

  • Home to two of the nation's best-known football clubs

  • Property cheaper than the UK average 

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