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Getting to Manchester

Arriving by plane

Manchester Airport

Manchester is one of the UK's major destinations and has excellent travel connections. When making plans to get to Manchester you should consider how long it will take and how much it will cost, but do try to pick a convenient option. Travelling through London may seem cheaper initially but it can be very difficult with lots of heavy luggage.

You are advised to plan your journey by air directly to Manchester Airport. The airport is a major international airport to which many airlines have direct flights, including:

  • British Airways
  • KLM
  • American Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Malaysian Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines

There are frequent air-shuttle services to Manchester from London Heathrow and Gatwick airports. In addition, there are many inexpensive connecting flights from other major European cities and it is likely to be cheaper and more convenient for you to plan your journey to Manchester via Europe rather than via London.

Please note that if you travel via London, it is possible that your luggage may be delayed in its transfer to Manchester.

After your plane has landed, and you are in the airport terminal, follow the signs to immigration. At immigration control, you will have to join a queue (for non-EU nationals or EU nationals, depending on your nationality) and wait for your passport to be checked by an immigration officer. 

Once you are through immigration control, continue to the baggage hall where you will be able to pick up your luggage from a baggage carousel.

You will then have to proceed through customs. At customs, go through:

  • GREEN channel if you began your journey outside the European Union and have nothing to declare (are not bringing anything that is not allowed into the UK);
  • BLUE channel if you began your journey within the European Union and have nothing to declare (are not bringing anything that is not allowed into the UK);
  • RED channel if you have goods to declare or are unsure about anything in your luggage.

Once you have proceeded through customs you will be in the Arrivals Hall from where you can continue your journey. it is easiest to take a taxi from the airport to your accommodation. The fare should cost no more than £20.

There is also a rail link direct from the airport to Manchester Piccadilly railway station in Manchester city centre. A free shuttle bus service is available to take you from Terminals 1 and 2 to the airport railway and bus station. 

You can also take the number 43 public bus directly from the airport bus station to the University and city centre although bear in mind that you will have to carry all of your luggage and belongings on and off the bus. This bus travels along Wilmslow and Oxford Road through Didsbury, Withington, Fallowfield and Rusholme areas of Manchester close to many of the major accommodation sites.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport

There is a bus (Airlink 700) that runs hourly from Liverpool airport to Manchester Piccadilly train station from 5.30am - 00.30am. The journey takes 1 hour 15 minutes.

London Airports

If you arrive in London by air and then proceed to Manchester by coach or train, in most cases you will have to travel by underground train to the centre of London, to Euston railway station or to Victoria coach station (carrying all the luggage that you have brought with you).

Information on transport in the London area is available at:

You may wish to break your journey and stay overnight or for a few days in London. Please note that accommodation in London can be very expensive and that you should book your accommodation before you leave home.

There are official London Tourist Board or British Tourist Authority Centres at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports and at most of the main railway stations in London (Victoria, St Pancras International Terminal, Euston) which will book a hotel room for you for a small charge.

The British Tourist Authority also lists places to stay in London and Manchester:


Travelling to central Manchester by train or coach

Manchester has three train stations: Piccadilly, Victoria and Oxford Road. You can find information on train times from:

  • National Rail
  • Tel: +44 (0)8457 48 49 50 for 24-hour Passenger Rail Information Service.

You can book tickets online at:

Manchester has one major bus/coach station:Manchester Central (formerly known as Chorlton Street bus station). For longer journeys, coach travel can be cheaper and more convenient but it is not as fast as the train.

The following companies offer coach travel in the UK:

Once you have arrived at the train or coach station you are advised to take a taxi to your final destination in Manchester. The cost should be less than £12, but do check with the driver before starting your journey as there may be an additional cost depending on the time of day or if you have lots of luggage.