Why moving to Manchester could be the best decision you ever make
The ultimate guide on moving to Manchester with "locals" interview about the best places to live in Manchester.
If you’re moving to Manchester then all of us at Explorage.com are excited for you! It’s a fantastic place to move to: it’s vibrant, diverse and multi-cultural, has superb transport links, a thriving economy and offers a vast choice of places to eat, drink and relax.
It’s truly a great place to live. But don’t just take our word for it…
Meg moved to Manchester from Leeds when she was 18 and a student in the city. After
her three-year degree course she decided to stay – and she’s still there.
Meg spent her student days close to the city centre.
“I’ve moved around,” she says. “In my uni and post-grad years I lived in the student area of Fallowfield. Then when I started work, I lived between the Northern Quarter and Ancoats back when Ancoats wasn’t as as well established as it is now. That was a lot of fun.
“I also lived just behind Deansgate. It was great being close to the city centre.”
Manchester is a great place to live when you’re a student. If you’re moving to Manchester to study then have a look at this student city guide which gives a great overview of of student life.
If you’re heading to The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University or The Royal Northern College of Music, you’ll probably want to live south of the city. Places like Fallowfield and Hulme are both popular student areas. If you’re heading to The University of Salford in Greater Manchester you may decide to live closer to the campus, on the city outskirts.
Help is at hand if you need some top tips on what to look for when you’re looking for somewhere to live.
If you’re moving to Manchester for work, then you’ll need to make choices and do a little research. You also need to decide where you want to live: the city centre or the suburbs?
As she approached her 30s, and having met her now husband, James, Meg decided to move further out.
“When we knew we wanted to live out of the city centre we looked at every suburb of Manchester and the main criteria was it had to be a commutable distance,” she says. “We always leaned more towards the south Manchester suburbs because we knew them better and had more friends there - places like Chorlton, West Didsbury, Altrincham. We wanted a bit of space and a greener area so that was appealing.”
They finally settled on Urmston.
“We looked at lots of different areas but it was actually the house that we fell in love with and that happened to be in Urmston.”
Urmston is near Trafford, Greater Manchester, a metropolitan county that boasts two towns in a list of the best places to live in the UK.
Like Meg, her husband James is also from Yorkshire but is very happy to be living in Manchester.
“There are more than 140 different languages spoken in the city and the average age of people living in and around the city is around 35 – so it is a really young, vibrant city,” he says. “It’s entrepreneurial, really multi-cultural and there’s a lot of energy around it.
Manchester is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities and remains a popular destination for visitors both from the UK and abroad. According to stats released by the Manchester Business Improvement District (BID) it is also the UK’s second largest creative, digital and tech hub, attracting big name companies such as Google and the BBC. In 2021 it was named the third best city in the world by Time Out magazine.
James works with the business community and knows a lot of people have moved to Manchester from places like London.
“They come to Manchester because there’s a lot more going on,” he says.
“There’s also no brain drain which is what you might get in cities across the north like Leeds and Newcastle,” says James. “People there want to move to Manchester too because there are bigger organisations and more options.
“You can get a lot more for your money in Manchester and the lifestyle is better,” he adds.
While the city definitely gives off a cool vibe, Manchester isn’t just for the well-heeled and wealthy. The best places to live according to the locals, are Didsbury, Chorlton, Timperley and Urmston, with Altrincham and Sale always proving a popular choice.
At the other end of the scale, Harpurhey and Collyhurst are two of the most affordable areas according to the Manchester Evening News. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much cheaper they are compared to the city favourites.
In fact, Manchester has been named one of the top 10 cheapest cities to live in in the UK which is great news as we all struggle to deal with the cost of living crisis.
If you move to Greater Manchester you get more to choose from, especially if you’re on the first rung on to the property ladder. Places like Bolton, Rochdale, Oldham and Wigan are definitely worth looking at if your budget can’t stretch to Manchester.
If your heart is set on city life, then cosmopolitan Manchester has lots of fine dining and casual places to eat. There’s a ‘Curry Mile’ in Rusholme, lined with great Indian restaurants and there are top restaurants in the city’s Chinatown, the second largest in the UK.
It’s a lifestyle that offers plenty to see and do, whatever your budget and family circumstances.
If you’re looking after your pennies (and who isn’t, these days) then there are plenty of things to do if you’re on a budget and when you throw kids into the mix, then family-friendly Manchester has a lot to offer.
And if you’re looking for culture, Manchester has it in spades. The Manchester Mega Mela celebrates south-east Asian culture while the Caribbean Carnival is two fun-filled days of soca and calypso every year. If you have Irish heritage then you’re going to love the Manchester Irish Festival and there’s a UK Jewish Film Festival, great for Greater Manchester’s Jewish community, which is the largest outside of London. MediaCityUK is close by, too.
Fancy something new? The Factory is due to open in 2023 as the venue for The Manchester International Festival, 18 days of events and performances featuring home-grown artists as well as those from across the globe.
James moved from London to Manchester, himself, and advises anyone looking to move to the city to throw themselves into city life.
“Whatever you put into the city you’ll definitely get back out two or three times more in terms of people, things to do or just experiencing what the city has to offer,” he says.
Experiences like Manchester Day and Manchester Jazz Festival, the city’s longest-running music festival and Manchester Pride which started out as a two-week city council funded celebration for the gay community in 1986 and is now part of the biggest LGBTQ+ liberation movement in the world.
“There’s so much to scratch beneath the surface of Manchester and the people are absolutely great,” adds James. “They really welcome different ideas and different ways of approaching and looking at things. You won’t get shot down for anything that’s a little bit different like you would in some other cities.”
Manchester has so much on its doorstep, too. For speedy transport links across the globe there’s Manchester Airport and if you need to, you can commute to London in a few hours by train. For the times you need to unwind there’s the Peak District, the Lake District and the nearby cities of Chester, Liverpool and Leeds to enjoy.
“For someone considering moving here I’d say just do it!” says Meg. “A lot of people that come here never leave and you won’t regret moving to Manchester. It’s a city that gets under your skin and I’m very proud to be an adopted Mancunian.”
Remember: wherever you decide to move to you may need to put some things into storage. Explorage.com is your place to find instantly what self storage is available, if it suits what you need, what price it is and make a reservation instantly. Saving you time and money! Explorage.com is here to make life easier for people.
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