The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Manchester’s hidden gems

Greater Manchester is a unique mix of great neighbourhoods to explore. James Johnson discusses why you should consider taking your next trip outside of the city centre.

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Arriving at university and discovering all of the many delights Manchester has to offer excites new and returning students each and every year. Whether you’ve arrived from the sleepy suburbs, a quiet country village, or another major city, sometimes the traffic along the Oxford Road corridor and the fight for the busy pavements can prove to be a little overwhelming.

Adjusting to the continuous hustle and bustle of Manchester’s unique network of social and cultural hotspots ensures you’re never too far from a new experience. We often venture into the heart of the city centre when we’re looking for the best place to get some productive study hours logged or to enjoy a new dining or caffeine-filled afternoon. But, Manchester has some great alternative options to wine, dine, study or relax the hours away, that can be found outside the hustle and bustle. Sometimes heading out of town can serve to refresh you of the city rush and might just be your new favourite place to take the magic bus (or the tram) to. Find some suggestions below and plan your next trip outwards.

Withington

Withington is that special place where the magic bus becomes a little quieter, where you’ll unlikely be finding yourself searching for an available seat. A little further south than Fallowfield, Withington is awash with local eateries, banks, coffee shops, and places you can get a little work done (try the Withington library, open 7 days a week) outside of the library.

Didsbury Village

The jewel in South Manchester’s crown, Didsbury Village is a popular spot for shopping and dining. The abundance of popular stores and coffee shops will be a welcome return to small town suburbia for many. Its relaxed vibe is a great contrast to the rush of Piccadilly Gardens. You can also hop right onto the local tram stop, taking you to the heart of Manchester in under thirty minutes.

Trafford

If you’re a keen shopper, or perhaps just a great Carrie Bradshaw impersonator, you might consider heading west to the famous Trafford Centre, where no shopper can go unsatisfied. Your feet will ache before you’ve reached all of the stores available here and there’s always a plethora of great food to be eaten. Hop onto the 250 from Brook Street West, or onto the X50 from Piccadilly Gardens, and you’ll be there in no time at all.

Media City

Manchester’s innovative and incredibly efficient network of trams is here for you to explore all of Manchester’s outlying suburbs, towns and attractions. Just a short ride away from Piccadilly is Media City UK – the home of the ITV and BBC studios. Travel along Manchester’s infamous shipping canal to a place where any recreational needs are met. The Imperial War Museum is a must-see attraction for historians and visitors alike. Tours of the TV studios are also a highlight, or if this all sounds like too much, maybe just catch a film and hit the shops at the Lowry Centre instead.

Wherever you find yourself venturing to during your time at Manchester, you’ll always be spoiled for choice. Consider heading further afield next time to find your favourite new hangout or take a breather in one of Greater Manchester’s inspired out of town districts.