When comparing London vs Manchester which do you choose?
England is a perfect spot for visiting like a tourist or living like a local.
It can be considered quite similar to other English-speaking countries (most likely because their roots span back to the English homeland).
So for a lot of English speakers, England seems like the perfect spot with heritage and culture.
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London vs Manchester
The big question though, that most English people will bring up, is the invisible north/south divide.
Culturally and socio-politically, the north tends to be pushed to the fringes by the south.
Because of this, many travelers just visit London and don’t pay any mind to other English spots.
We’re going to compare London to Manchester to set the record straight.
The Big Smoke! It isn’t a Dickensian cobbled street with some Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Thames mist and some ‘guvnors’ drinking pints. No!
It’s a cultural and economic hub that attracts millions of visitors every year. Some would say that it’s the only place in England worth visiting.
Well, we’re here to either prove or disprove that statement.
Why visit London?
London is not only known as a smart city, it is also one of the most amazing cities in the world and has something for pretty much everyone.
Yes, there is a huge attraction for those into history and architecture, but not everyone that visitors will be looking at buildings.
There’s the West End theatres, Kew Gardens, shopping centers, Michelin-starred restaurants, and world-renowned nightclubs.
What about a bed at Vintry & Mercer for the ultimate overnight stay?
There are Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park for pleasurable strolls and sightseeing. London’s cosmopolitanism really comes out in the cuisine.
Most English high streets offer a varied selection of world food, but London is cultured enough to have any national cuisine you can think of.
If you like sport, either as a competitor or a spectator, London has a lot of choices.
For a price, you can watch some of the world’s best footballers at any number of London-based football clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, etc.
For free you can watch the boat race or the London marathon, or just sit on the edge of a village green and watch a game of cricket.
As a city center to live in, London isn’t exactly what you would call affordable. Far from it! As a city in Europe, it’s up there as being one of the most expensive cities.
For a family of four looking to live in the city, the estimated monthly costs are 2,993.07£ without rent.
That would mean that before even looking at the rent, you would need £36,000 per year just to cover the costs of utilities, etc. For a single person, estimated monthly costs are on average £845.13 without rent.
This is why many people who live in London go for a specific flatshare system or student-style living.
North London for example is archetypally expensive. The type of spot where Madonna, Jamie Oliver, Terry Gilliam, and the late George Michael lived on the same street.
Best time to visit London
The best time to travel to London on a budget is during the mild weather of spring (March through to April) and Autumn (Mid-September through to November).
During this time, it’s easier to get a luxury hotel (for cheaper) and theatre reservations, and even airfares might be lower, as well.
Though there will be plenty of tourists still, the city tends not to be quite as crammed full of tourists as in the summer.
Summer, however, is your best bet for a chance to see all things royal in London, as many residences only open to the public while the occupants are away on holiday.
This is why, for many, London is an evergreen city that can be enjoyed at all times of the year. If you’re planning a visit soon, why not consider a trip to Kew Gardens which is London’s largest World Heritage Site?
The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are available to tour in late July through to September.
Kew Palace is closed during the winter months, and Clarence House (home to the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall) only opens to the public in August — the sole month of the year in which all sites are doable.
Is London Safe?
Just like New York, the central areas of London are gentrified and are thus the safest for travel.
If you find yourself in places such as Marylebone, Fitzrovia, Seven Dials, Westminster, or Hyde Park; expect some of the most beautiful architecture and safe spots for getting something to eat or chilling out.
Some of the more ‘unsafe’ spots can be found in south and east London.
However, London as a whole is becoming safer by the month as the police crackdown on knife crime between young gang members and illegal activity. See this guide on safety in London for more tips.
London has its fair share of petty crime, as do all major cities, but you can count on London being safer than other European cities.
The north of England is undeniably one of the most underrated tourist spots in the UK.
Aside from all the free things to do in Manchester you’ll find it’s an area that’s extremely easy to move around in. Not counting the fact that it’s easily the most universally known city for not being a city at all.
It has all things for all people and shows the true meaning of what it is to be English. Forget your Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, the north of England is the real deal. Manchester is the cultural hub of the north!
Is Manchester worth visiting?
The arguable powerhouse of the north, it’s often pictured alongside midlands city Birmingham as the heir to London’s capital throne.
Thousands of people champion Manchester as their home, so what makes it different or interesting?
There are a lot of things that make Manchester unique, including its proud LGBT and women’s rights culture and heritage. The leader of the Suffragette movement Emmeline Pankhurst was from Manchester.
It’s also famous for being the music hub of the country, with acts, labels, and stars coming from this humble Victorian city with cobbled streets.
The city-zens are proud to be from Manchester, and it’s infectious when you walk the streets and talk to the locals.
First-class museums and galleries, award-winning gastronomy, world-famous football clubs, top nightlife and the best shopping opportunities around. Manchester is a city and Manchester is united!
As one of the most influential cities to visit in northern England you will not be left disappointed after a visit or an extended stay.
Cost of living in Manchester?
The cost of living in London is 45% more expensive than in Manchester, making the city a lot more affordable than its southern counterpart.
For a family of four, estimated monthly costs are on average £2,325.28 without rent.
Rent in Manchester is, on average, 54.26% lower than in London. This means that Manchester is the best out of the two for living expenses in general.
Living in Manchester is slightly cheaper, but the tram system has given many the opportunity to live in the suburbs of the city without sacrificing time to commuting. This makes a lot of Manchester and Salford quite cheap.
Best time to visit Manchester
The busiest month for tourism in Manchester, the United Kingdom is July, followed by October and December.
Prices for hotels in Manchester and flights will be most expensive during these months, though you can save if you purchase well in advance.
Tourists are unlikely to visit Manchester in March and those willing to visit at these times will likely find it the least expensive month.
If dry weather is what you’re after, the months with the lowest chance of significant precipitation in Manchester are June, April, and then September. The climate is a temperate maritime one and it neither gets too cold or too warm.
It hardly snows in winter, thus December also has the perfect weather.
Before deciding on your visit, make sure you check the crowds, prices, activities, and festivals occurring during that time.
Christmas in Manchester is really beautiful but there is a large rush of tourists as well as peak prices for the sake of a couple of weeks.
From June to August, there are a lot of outdoor activities that take place.
How far is Manchester from London?
London is around 200 miles south of Manchester, with most car journeys reaching times of about 4 to 5 hours.
For a bus or coach service, the journey will take probably 6 to 7 hours depending on traffic conditions. Avanti West Coast operates a train from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly hourly.
Tickets cost £65 – £240 and the journey takes 2h 7m. Alternatively, FlixBus operates a bus from London, London Victoria Coach Station to Manchester, Manchester Shudehill Interchange 4 times a day.
While in Manchester be sure to do the City Bus Tour to be able to take in the sights as you explore the city center and Salford Quays.
London vs Manchester
Even with the knowledge that the north tends to be blindsided by London and the south, this comparison still shows the superiority of London in all facets.
For us, we love the north, but London is the hub of the country in almost everything. Read more on the cost of living in London here on this blog.
In a comparison between London and the whole of the north, the north could win. But with Manchester, there’s no contest.