Starting at Manchester

Want to know what you'll need, where to go and what to do when you start at Manchester? Here's our essential guide.

Are you a UK or international/EU student? Choose a button below to get the right information for you.

UK International

Getting to the University

Airport Service

We only provide a meet and greet service at the airport in September so if you arrive at any other time you will need to make your own way to your accommodation in Manchester.

This is quite easy though and your best option will probably be a taxi. Manchester Airport is located just over 14 kilometres south of the city centre and is about 20 minutes away by car. 

Manchester Airport has some useful information on transport connections.


Getting a taxi is by far the easiest way to get to your accommodation from the airport, especially if you have a lot of luggage. Your driver can take you to exactly where you need to go and you won’t have to worry about finding your way around as soon as you arrive.

It is likely to cost £25-£35 to get to University accommodation, depending on how much traffic there is and how much luggage you have.


There is a train station at Manchester Airport. It takes 5-15 minutes to walk there, depending on which terminal you arrive at:

  • Terminal 1: 5 minutes
  • Terminal 2: 10 minutes
  • Terminal 3: 7 minutes

There are trains to Manchester Piccadilly every 10 minutes and the journey takes 20 minutes.

You can also get the train to Oxford Road Station, near the main University Campus, or Mauldeth Road Station in Fallowfield  both of which are close to some University accommodation. It’s best to check which station is closest to your accommodation before you travel. These trains are less frequent, so it is advisable to check the times in advance.

Tickets cost between £3 and £5, depending on which station you’re travelling to. You can buy tickets at the station.

To reach your accommodation from the stations you can get a taxi or bus. 


There is a bus station at Manchester Airport  it’s in the same place as the train station, so follow those signs to get there. We don’t advise getting the bus if you have lots of luggage. There is limited luggage room on most buses and they can often be very busy services, making getting on and off the bus difficult. 

The number 43 bus departs from the airport bus station and stops close to many accommodation sites, including those in Fallowfield, on the main University campus and in the city centre. You can find out more on the Transport for Greater Manchester website.  


You can travel to Manchester from Manchester Airport using the Metrolink tram system. The Metrolink stop is in the train station at the airport  the tram has its own platform.

Service 6 is the line that runs from Manchester Airport to Manchester Victoria Station, stopping at several places that are near University accommodation sites. All tram services run every 12 minutes, although this is slightly different for early morning services to and from the airport. A ticket will cost £3-£5, depending on where you are travelling to, and the journey takes about an hour. Tickets are available from ticket machines on all platforms but not on-board, so make sure you purchase before you travel.

We would advise against using the tram if you are travelling with lots of luggage. There is no luggage storage facility and space is limited when the service is busy. 

Travel from airports other than Manchester

If you are flying to the UK we advise you to fly directly to Manchester. There are frequent flights to Manchester Airport from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Southend and London City Airports. You can also find cheap flights to Manchester from other major European cities. If you are flying into London and transferring to another flight, remember to allow yourself enough time to get to your connection.

Arriving at a London airport and continuing to Manchester by coach

If you arrive in London by plane and are going to Manchester by coach, in most cases you will first have to travel by underground train (tube) to Victoria coach station in the centre of London. You should be aware that most tube stations don't have lifts and some have lots of stairs. As well as this, space on trains can be limited and services are often very busy, especially in central London.

If you decide to fly into London Heathrow and travel to Manchester by coach, there are some direct services. The journey takes around six hours, but can be longer depending on traffic. The two most popular coach services in the UK are National Express and Megabus.

Manchester has two main city centre coach stations, Manchester Central on Chorlton Street and Shudehill Interchange.

If you decide to travel via London, remember to allow yourself enough time to collect your luggage, pass through immigration and travel across the city.

Information on transport in the London area can be found on the Transport for London website.

Arriving at a London airport and continuing to Manchester by train

Trains from London to Manchester leave from Euston Station in central London. The quickest way to get here from any of the London airports is to take the tube (underground train). Again, we strongly advise against travelling through London on the underground with lots of luggage because of the difficulty of navigating tube stations, which don't usually have lifts, and busy tube services with limited space.

Remember to allow yourself enough time to collect your luggage, pass through immigration and travel across London.

Information on transport in the London area can be found on the Transport for London website.

Manchester has three main train stations: Piccadilly, Victoria and Oxford Road. The train from London Euston arrives at Piccadilly and usually takes just over two hours. You can find information on train times and book train tickets on the National Rail website or on Trainline. The cost of train tickets vary from around £25 to over £90 depending on the day, how far in advance you are booking, and the time of travel.

If you have any questions, please email us or telephone +44 (0) 161 275 2074. 


What to bring

There are a few important details and documents you’ll need to bring with you when you first come to study at Manchester, especially if you’re coming from abroad.

If you’re new to Manchester, you’ll also want to make sure you have some practical items and home comforts with you. Check out Malaika's blog for tips on what to pack if you're an international student.

Setting up your IT account

Be sure to check your email account carefully the weeks following confirmation of your place, as you will receive important information via email about setting up your IT account, confirming your attendance and registering as a student.

International students will also need to complete international check-in and may need to register with the police.

Collect your student card

Once you've arrived on campus and completed all steps of registration you can collect your student card.

If you are an exchange student arriving in January then you will receive an appointment to collect your card during the welcome talks.

All other students arriving at any other time of year can collect student cards from the Student Services Centre (building 57, campus map).

You can purchase a Totum card (previously known as an NUS card) from the Students’ Union (building 68, campus map) once you’re here.

The city

Things to do

Often referred to as the ‘Capital of the north’, there’s no doubt Manchester is an exciting city to be a student, and it’s easy to see why it was voted the top UK city to live in for 2018 (The Economist's Global Liveability Index).

With an ever-expanding cultural offering, an intense passion for sport, and a world-renowned music scene, as well as festivals and events reflecting its vibrant multiculturalism, there’s always something to keep you entertained in Manchester.

Discover what Manchester has to offer.

Getting around

A large, modern city, Manchester has a robust infrastructure and public transport system to match, as well as a rapidly growing network of cycle routes across the city and on campus.

With three major railway stations in the city centre, buses every few minutes and a tram network spanning Greater Manchester, you’ll have no problem getting around.

Plan your journey on the Transport for Greater Manchester website.

Don't forget as well that Citymapper is also a great tool to use when planning any journey. Just enter your point of departure and your destination and it will tell you the quickest way to complete your journey. We recommend that you download the app or use the online service, not just for your journey to Manchester, but for getting around the city.


Wherever you’re from, you’ll find a taste of home in Manchester.

Manchester’s cosmopolitan population means there are restaurants, cafes and shops offering food from China to Ethiopia, to the USA and Sri Lanka.

Modern and traditional British cuisine is well represented in the city, but you’re just as likely to find Indian Thali or Korean Barbeque as you are fish and chips or a Sunday roast.

Explore the flavours of Manchester.

Settling in


In September and January we offer a comprehensive programme of orientation events to help international students settle in following their arrival in Manchester.

Our orientation programme offers you the chance to ask questions , get practical advice about starting your studies at the University and to find out more about the city of Manchester. The social events offer fun and informal opportunities to meet other students.

Student ambassadors are available to support you and answer any questions you may have.

Download the January 2020 orientation timetable (PDF 394KB) to plan your first week at Manchester.

If you have any queries or concerns about your arrival, please email us or ask any questions on our FacebookTwitter or Weibo pages.

Getting help

In January we will be running drop-in sessions for new students at the Students' Union (building 68, campus map). Come along to ask any questions you may have, find out information about our social events and pick up tickets for these activities. We will also have tea and biscuits available.

Sessions will take place between 2pm and 3pm on the following dates:

  • Monday, 20 January
  • Tuesday, 21 January
  • Friday, 24 January

General Orientation and Welcome events

Our week of orientation events are designed to welcome exchange students arriving in January 2020, but other new students are more than welcome to join too.

Use the campus map (PDF 7.1MB) to find where events are taking place.

Sunday, 19 January

Welcome Session
5pm–7pm, Students’ Union (location 68, campus map)

Come and join us at the International Society to play games, enjoy craft activities and meet other new students.

Monday, 20 January

Mandatory Sessions for ERASMUS, Exchange and Study Abroad programmes
Varying times between 9am–1pm, Kilburn Building (location 39, campus map)

Make sure you attend one of these morning sessions to collect your induction packs, learn about visas and other essentials for new starters.

Guided Campus Tours
10.30am and 1.30pm, Kilburn Building (location 39, campus map)

These 45-minute tours are led by a student guide and leave from the front of the Kilburn Building twice during the day.

Tuesday, 21 January

A very British welcome
11am–12pm, Kilburn Building (location 39, campus map)

Meet fellow new students, find out more about living in the UK and get tips for making the most of Manchester.

Campus Treasure Hunt
1pm–2pm, Kilburn Building (location 39, campus map)

Join us for a fun way to find out more about the history of the campus and work in teams to solve clues and win prizes.

Wednesday, 22 January

An introduction to the Library and the Learning Commons
12pm–1pm, Zochonis Building (location 60, campus map)

Find out more about the library and learning facilities on campus that you can use to support your studies.

Afternoon Tea
3pm –5pm, Students’ Union (location 68, campus map)

Get to know fellow new students and members of the International Society over traditional English tea and cake. Pick up your ticket to this free event at one of drop-in sessions (Monday and Tuesday between 2pm and 3pm).

Thursday, 23 January

City Walking Tour
3.40pm–7pm, departure from University Place (location 37, campus map)

This walking tour of Manchester will be led by a blue badge guide who will provide lots of information on the city’s history and heritage. The tour will end at The John Rylands Library – one of the University’s cultural attractions and best things to see in Manchester.

Tickets cost £5 (includes coach travel and a drink on arrival at the library) and can be purchased at one of the drop-in sessions (Monday and Tuesday between 2pm and 3pm).

Friday, 24 January

Coffee morning at Ziferblat, Northern Quarter
10:30am–12:30pm, departure from University Place (location 37, campus map)

Manchester’s Northern Quarter is one of the city’s most popular areas, with a thriving independent restaurant and bar scene and fascinating architecture that has been used as the backdrop for many TV and film productions.

A coach will take you from the University to the Northern Quarter where you can join us for a coffee before exploring the area.

Tickets cost £5 (includes coach travel and a drink on arrival) and can be purchased at one of the drop-in sessions (Monday and Tuesday between 2pm and 3pm).

Buffet Evening
Kro Bar, Oxford Road (opposite the Students Union)

Celebrate the end of welcome week and the start of your new academic journey with good food and company.

Tickets cost £5 (includes food and drink at the venue) and can be purchased at one of the drop-in sessions (Monday, Tuesday or Friday between 2pm and 3pm).

British culture

The UK is a proud multicultural nation, where people and their culture, traditions and religions are respected and embraced.

People in the UK are generally polite, tolerant and friendly – particularly in Manchester, which was recently voted one of the ten friendliest cities in the world by Rough Guides readers.

Known for incessantly talking about weather, copious tea-drinking and love for queuing, find out what our students really think about the Brits


All major faiths are represented in Manchester, and there are many places of worship across the city, as well as places for prayer and contemplation on campus.

Our Students’ Union runs numerous religious clubs and societies, enabling you to meet like-minded individuals and become part of the University’s dynamic religious communities.

Health and well-being

Health care services

If you are going to be in Manchester for more than one semester, it's a good idea to register with a local General Practitioner (GP) when you arrive. They will usually be your first point of contact for non-emergencies.

You can find your closest GP practice using the NHS location search.



Starting a new course, moving to a new city or country, and making new friends can be stressful, on top of the academic and financial pressures that come with being a student.

At Manchester, we take well-being very seriously, and offer you the encouragement and support you need to stay happy and healthy at university.

Find out more about our six ways to well-being.


Manchester is generally safe, but as in any large city you should take precautions.

Visit our student support pages for tips for keeping safe in the city.


Tuition fees

All university students in the UK are required to pay tuition fees. Your offer letter from The University of Manchester will state how much you need to pay.

Fees are paid as part of the registration process at the beginning of the year.

Support for tuition fees

EEA and Swiss students

Most EEA and Swiss undergraduate students take out a tuition fee loan and/or maintenance loan from the government to cover some or all of the fees.

Postgraduate taught students can also get a master’s loan from the government.

Postgraduate research funding is available from various sources.

International students (non-EEA or Swiss) 

If you’re coming from outside the EEA or Switzerland, you need to make sure you have funds (or a sponsor or scholarship) to cover your tuition fees.

Setting up a bank account

UK/EU students

It’s worth setting up a student bank account – they offer a wider range of services than current accounts, so it’s important to consider your options and shop around.

A main benefit of student bank accounts is interest-free overdrafts, which can be very handy during your studies.

International students

If you want to pay your tuition fees or University accommodation fees in instalments by Direct Debit, you will need to set up a UK bank account.

It’s also more convenient to have a UK bank account, as you can avoid transactional or currency conversion charges incurred through using a foreign bank card

More information about setting up a UK bank account can be found on our finance pages.

Cost of student life

We’ve put together a handy breakdown of typical student spending in Manchester.

The amount you spend will depend largely on your lifestyle – so you’ll need to budget carefully to make sure you don’t overspend.

If you’re coming from abroad, the cost of living in the UK might be quite different from your home country. Find out more about how much things cost in the UK.


Saving money

Budgeting and managing your money while at university can be a challenge, especially if you’re away from home for the first time.

The University offers lots of advice and support to help you manage your finances.

There’s plenty you can do to keep track of what you spend and make savings through shopping around and making the most of great student offers.