Gay Manchester • Essential Guide

First time in Manchester? Then our essential guide for gay travellers is for you.



Manchester is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city in the north west of England with a population of more than 2 million people.

The city is renowned for its industrial, musical and sporting heritage. Manchester was site of the world’s first railway station.  Scientists first split the Atom in Manchester and the city renowned for its world class football teams.

Manchester is also home to the largest gay scene outside of London, attracting up to 20,000 people every weekend to its huge number of bars and clubs.


Gay Scene

Manchester’s gay village is focused around Canal Street in the city centre. It is one of the oldest and most-established gay communities in Europe.

A huge number of gay bars, clubs, restaurants can be found in the gay village, many as popular with straight people as they are with the gay crowd.

At night Canal Street is usually filled with locals and visitors, including a huge number gay and lesbian tourists from all over the world.

Every year, Manchester hosts one of the UK’s biggest and best Pride festivals. Many of the roads in the city centre are closed off to traffic to enable everyone to join in the fun.


Getting to Manchester

By Train 

Trains run very frequently from London, Liverpool, Birmingham and many other UK destinations. The main railway station, Manchester Piccadilly is close to gay scene and most of our hotel recommendations.

By Air

Manchester International Airport is the busiest UK airport outside of London. There are scheduled services to and from most UK and European cities as well many non-European destinations including the USA. There are frequent rail and bus connections between the airport and the city center.


Getting around Manchester

Getting around Manchester is affordable and convenient – thanks to a fantastic tram system, Metrolink, and its extensive network around the city.  There’s also a good network of buses and plenty of taxi.


Where to Stay

There is a wide range of accommodation near the city centre.  Our Gay Manchester Hotels page highlights some of the best-rated and most popular hotels near the gay village.


Things to See & Do

For an excellent guide to some of Manchester’s best restaurants, cafes, museums, shops and more  we recommend Travels of Adam Hipsters Guide to Manchester. This informative guide is written by Adam Groffman, one of the internet’s leading gay traveller bloggers.

There is a myriad of museums, abundance of art, profusion of popular culture and lots of nightlife in and around Canal Street.

Manchester has firm roots in music, with pioneering bands like Oasis, The Stones Roses and The Smiths coming from the city.  You’ll discover gigs, from local bands playing in a pub to major stadium events all year around.

Manchester Arena – one of the world’s busiest indoor arenas and among the largest in Europe with a capacity of 23,000, hosting music and sporting events.

The Arndale – Europe’s largest shopping mall with more than 240 stores surrounded by many funky boutique shops, independent stores and little back street shops.

Manchester Museum – well-maintained museum featuring a range of treasures and collections.

Royal Exchange Theatre – award-winning theatre in the centre of Manchester playing classics including Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward.

Museum of Science & Industry – contains permanent galleries with a wide range of collections spread across five historic buildings.

The Lowry – a stunning, award-winning building with two vibrant theatres, a studio space, art galleries, cafés, bars, a restaurant and souvenir shop, located on the waterside at the heart of The Quays.

Manchester Cathedral – charming place of worship which is a part of Manchester’s city centre.

Chinatown – one of the largest outside of China and home to many shops and restaurants.

Old Trafford – the second largest football stadium in the UK and home to Manchester United.


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