Manchester Airport

Things to do in Manchester | Manchester Airport

Whether you’re flying for business or pleasure, Manchester Airport is your gateway to more than 200 locations worldwide. The third busiest airport in the UK after Heathrow and Gatwick, some 27 million passengers pass through its revolving doors, heading everywhere from Dublin to Dubai.

Manchester’s two runways provide the city with some amazing international connections, with Los Angeles, Phuket and Mauritius recently added to its roster of glamorous destinations. It’s the only city apart from London to offer direct flights to Beijing, with the first ever non-stop flight from Manchester to China taking off in June 2016.

At present there are three terminals, but plans are afoot for a new ‘Super Terminal’. Costing £1bn and set for completion in 2020, it will merge T2 with T3, adding even more shopping and dining areas. But in the meantime, what is there to see and do while you’re passing through Manchester Airport? Find out here, and remember that if you need a hotel, there’s not one but three Premier Inns near Manchester Airport.

Manchester Airport (Heald Green) hotel is just two miles south of the airport. But to get even closer, book Manchester Airport (M56/J6) Runger Lane North or Manchester Airport (M56/J6) Runger Lane South, because both are practically on its doorstep. You couldn't be closer to take off and, with comfortable beds and delicious breakfasts, you’ll get your holiday or business trip off to a flying start.

Need to stay a little closer to the city? Check out our range of hotels in Manchester to find the perfect spot for you.

Manchester Airport Terminal

Manchester Airport

Terminal guide

Manchester Airport has three terminals, with T1 being the biggest and T3 the newest. What they all have in common is that they’re stuffed full of shops, restaurants, bars and lounges so you can relax and enjoy your time at the airport.

Terminal 1 has the best of the shopping facilities with nearly 30 shops to browse in. There’s a whole alphabet of gleaming retail stores on offer, from jewellery giants Accessorize to kids’ toy shop Zoodle. Spend time (and money) while waiting for your flight at Victoria’s Secret, JD Sport or Pandora. Both T1 and T2 have a branch of Attitude (great for big brand clothing) and Temptation (for designer shades). At T3 there’s less choice with just a handful of shops but with a Boots, Dixons and a WHSmiths, you’ll still be able to stock up on travel essentials. All three terminals have a duty-free shop called Biza, full of goodies from chocolate to alcohol.

Can’t fly without your daily latte? All three terminals have Costas, with delicious paninis and pastries to go with your coffee. Full English breakfasts (and fantastic evening cocktails!) can be found at Terminal 1’s Cafe Balzar, but best for families here has to be the bright, colourful branch of Giraffe. If you’re flying from Terminal 2, head to the Cabin Bar - it’s a great place to enjoy a gin and tonic with fantastic views over the aircraft stands. At T3, Trattoria Milano is a good family-friendly bet with excellent pizza or pasta. Otherwise, there’s the Lion & Lobster - the terminal’s pub - with its modern, industrial feel and great range of pre-flight tipples.

Time to kill at the airport? Wi-Fi is free for the first hour you’re there, although you will have to pay per hour after that. When it comes to travel money, each Terminal has Travelex stores and ATMs which let you order your currency online and pick it up at the airport. If you’re travelling with little ones, the soft play area in the departures lounge in Terminal 2 should wear them out. It has a section suitable for children under three and another for kids aged three to eight. For help and advice, each terminal has its own information desk which can help with hotel reservations, minor emergencies or questions about the airport, airlines.

Start your trip in style at Manchester Airport’s Escape Lounge. There’s one in each terminal and, while it costs around £25 per person booked in advance (£30 on the day), it’s so worth it once you’re inside. Settle down and read one of the complimentary newspapers or magazines, help yourself to the buffet and enjoy a tipple - even fizz is included in the price. Children are welcome at all three Escape Lounges but, if you’re flying out of T3 and want to escape the kids, book yourself into the 1903 lounge. For over 16s only, it’s slightly more expensive at £40 per person, but it includes a premium menu and lets you skip the queues at security with a fast track pass.

Manchester Airport has collaborated with access information provider DisabledGo to ensure all its terminals are completely accessible for disabled passengers. Expect to find ramps, level access to airline desks and lifts with tactile buttons and voice synthesisers. There’s also hearing loops and wider security gates. You are able to travel through the airport with your own mobility equipment such as scooters, wheelchairs or walkers. If you’re in the airport, car parks or bus and train station and need some help, press the button on the blue assistance poles. Seats are available nearby so you can ask for assistance and then sit down while you wait.

Getting to Manchester Airport

Finding your way to and from Manchester Airport is a breeze - it’s so well-connected. The airport is about eight miles south-west of the city centre in Ringway. But is it best to drive, or stick to public transport?

By car
The airport is just off the M56 to North Wales and very close to the M60 (Manchester’s ring road). Manchester city centre is well signposted from the airport. There are plenty of parking options available once you get here.

By bus and train
The airport has a combined bus and train hub called The Station. Head here for regular trains into the city - they run every 10 minutes, cost under £5 and the journey to Manchester Piccadilly takes just 20 minutes. You can also get a train directly to places further afield, like Sheffield, York and Newcastle. Prefer the bus? Plenty of regional and local buses serve the airport and there’s also a 24-hour bus service called Skyline which runs every half an hour throughout the night to Piccadilly bus station.

By tram
You can now get a Metrolink Tram from Manchester Airport, connecting you to destinations right across the city. The stop is right inside the airport, near the train station. The tram will take you to Cornbrook, a stop just outside the centre but from here, it’s easy to catch a connecting tram into the city. Trams run every 12 to 15 minutes and take 35 minutes to get to Cornbrook (with another five to get into the city). Tickets are available on platforms (not on the trams themselves).

Looking for a hotel in Manchester?

Whether you want to stay in the heart of Manchester, or in a leafy suburb, we've lots of hotels to choose from. There are hotels next to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly. And for those sports fans, there are hotels next to Old TraffordThe Etihad Stadium and the  Manchester Apollo.