When the city of football gives way to rugby!

Pulsating all year to the beat of football clubs, Manchester is getting ready to put away its footballs to make way for rugby balls! As a host city of this year’s rugby championship, this lively city invites you to explore its fantastic architecture, pubs and legendary stadiums.

Essential Manchester

Local Heritage and Shopping

To get your trip to Manchester off to a good start during the rugby, head for the city’s nerve centre: Manchester Town Hall. This impressive Neo-Gothic building looks like a cathedral but is, in fact, the home of Manchester City Council, the seat of local government.

Just a stone’s throw away, stop in Lincoln Square at the statue of the 16th President of the United States: Abraham Lincoln. Sculpted by George Grey Barnard, this bronze sculpture was originally to have been erected in London to commemorate 100 years of peace between the United Kingdom and the USA. After a dispute it ended up in Manchester and represents the link between the president and the county of Lancashire, which supported him in his bid to abolish slavery.

Head for High Street and look around Arndale Market, a shopping centre packed with shops to suit all tastes. There you’ll find everything you need for match evenings: from shirts to scarves and all the gear any rugby fan could want.

Recharge your batteries in a restaurant or have a picnic in Piccadilly Gardens. Its green lawns will remind you of the rugby matches to come…

Manchester's Town Hall. Credit: Getty Images.
Manchester’s Town Hall. Credit: Getty Images.

Football Legends

Head north to the National Football Museum. Even if you’ve come to Manchester for the rugby, you should pay tribute to football, which is truly the local religion! Conceived by the architect Ian Simpson, this building has housed an impressive collection since 2012: the first book of the rules of the game, dating from 1863, Diego Maradona‘s shirt and even the ball from the very first football world cup!

After this football experience, visit the Northern Quarter, which is full of independent pubs. Get ready for the post-match drinks to come in the company of Mancunians: make sure to warm up, because they know how to do it!

Football! Football!

After your evening in the Northern Quarter, recharge your batteries with a reinvigorating brunch. On Whitworth Street, head for the very hip Gorilla or eat pancakes and frittatas at the Oak Street Café on the street of the same name.

Once you’re feeling refreshed, be seduced again by the charms of football. Pick a side from the two rival teams, Manchester City or Manchester United and head for Manchester City Stadium, or Old Trafford.

Visit Manchester City Stadium

At the first stadium, discover the pitch where Samir Nasri plays, along with his captain Vincent Kompany. Then choose one of the packages on offer. With the Legend Tour, take a look behind the scenes at the stadium, see the players’ dressing rooms and enjoy a tour accompanied by an iconic player.

The Friday Night Stadium Tour runs tours of the stadium every Friday evening and to savour a unique atmosphere. Finally, with the City Matchday Stadium and Club Tour see behind the scenes on match nights. Sit in the seat of coach Manuel Pellegrini, watch TV crews prepare their equipment and walk down the players’ tunnel, which leads from the dressing rooms to the pitch.

Manchester City Stadium. Photo by oldelpaso via
Manchester City Stadium. Photo by oldelpaso via CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Visit Old Trafford

If you’re more of a Manchester United supporter, head west and explore the terraces of Old Trafford. Here too a range of packages is available to thoroughly explore the stadium.

While the Stadium Tour provides a traditional tour, the Old Trafford Experience boasts the advantage of including a visit to the stadium museum and a meal in the Red Café. Like at Manchester City’s stadium, the Legend Tour lets you see the stadium accompanied by an iconic player: Norman Whiteside, Gordon Hill… A unique moment!

Don’t know how to choose between them? Then stay a few days more for a longer sport-in-Manchester experience!

Focus on the Rugby Player Albert Neilson Hornby

A rugby player who played for Manchester Football Club, Albert Neilson Hornby was the first sportsman to have captained both the national rugby and cricket teams! Born in the mid-19th century, this eminent sportsman, who was nicknamed “Monkey” and “The Boss” and who also played for a football team, remains a legendary figure of British sport.

Manchester and Rugby According to Graham Morris

In Rugby League in Manchester, the author Graham Morris recounts the long history of rugby in the city. While it’s particularly famous for its football clubs, Manchester also has a solid tradition of rugby. In fact, it is the birthplace of one of the first British clubs: Manchester Rugby Club!

Manchester in Brief

When to come:
From August to September, when the weather is good and there is more to do.

How to get here:
By plane! Take advantage of our flight offers by visiting our page on flights to Manchester.

How to get around:
Use the tram and bus network, or rent a bike!

Where to stay:
Manchester city centre is full of hotels and welcoming bed & breakfasts.

Where to eat:
Joshua Brooks: 106 Princess Street, Manchester, an ideal bar for watching a rugby match. Broad selection of beers and an atmosphere guaranteed! Drinks from €5*
Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill: The Avenue, Spinningfields, Manchester, Brazilian bar and grill. Food from €28 to 56*
Turtle Bay: 33-35 Oxford Street, Manchester, Caribbean cuisine and cocktails. Food from €5 to 17* Drinks from €5*
Black Dog Ballroom: Basement at Affleck’s Palace, Corner of Tib Street / Church Street, Manchester, bar and restaurant with a terrace. Perfect for sporting events. Food from €5 to 24*
* Prices are indicative and subject to change

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