Cheap Things to do in Manchester

Manchester is the crown jewel of the North. But, with everyone a bit strapped for cash, we wanted to let you in on some cheap things to do in Manchester, scroll down and check them out!

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 25th Jul 2023

Manchester is a city jam-packed with cultural undertakings and places to scran and sup a nice bevvy. But, whilst some of the best things in the city can often set you back a pretty penny and a lot of the free things to do often revolve around museums and walking around (which can be amazing, but sometimes you're after a bit more); we want to let you in on some of our favourite things to do at the lower price points. 

Maybe you're a student looking for something interesting to do with your newfound pals before a student night out this fresher's week (we also have a list of the best student bars and clubs for you to check out), or maybe you're just a local looking for a pocket-friendly days-out with the family, whatever the case, Manchester has you covered

So, whether you want to giggle the night away at some of the city's finest comedians, explore a space observatory and learn about the universe, or simply take a relaxing steam train ride through some of the picturesque outskirts of Greater Manchester. There's an array of incredible opportunities awaiting you in Cottonopilolis, so have a scroll and start planning your next trip!



Explore the history of the beautiful game at the National Football Museum 

Price: Adult £11, Child £6, Concession £9 (All online prices, will be more expensive on the door)

Where: Urbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG

We love a bit of footy in Manchester, and any fan of the old soccer ball will find themselves at home in Manchester's four floors of captivating exhibits, interactive games, collections of shirts, and a plethora of English football heritage.

Reckon you can beat their interactive keeper from 12 yards? Place your penalties between the old Wembley goalposts, and see your spot-kick analysed in terms of speed, power and precision. If you aren't handy with the ball at your feet, you can also visit the virtual gantry and try the Match of the Day Commentary challenge. If you're after a bit more history you can stroll through a massive array of exhibits that document the long history of the game, from its humble origins to the Munich air disaster, to the actual 1966 world cup ball. For footy fans, it's really one of the best cheap things to do in Manchester you can find.


Find tickets for events at the National Football Museum - here



Laugh your socks off at the Frog and Bucket

Price: Thursday Night Live tickets £15

Where: 102 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LJ

Who doesn't love a good laugh eh? Well, whilst Manchester does have its very own Comedy Store, you just can't ignore the comedic heritage of the Frog and Bucket. The night in particular we recommend is their 'Thursday Night live'. A chance to see some of the biggest and best comedians alongside some of the best up-and-coming talents on the scene, these nights see four comedians and a compare come together for a night full of laughs, and all for just £15, that's £3 an act! Acts like Jason Manford, Dan Nightingale, and Johnny Vegas have all grace the stage here over the years, so you just know your gonna get some top acts, a must-visit.


Find tickets for events at the Frog and Bucket - here



Discover the wonders of space and time at Jodrell Bank

Price: Adult £12, Child £8, Concession £10, Deals on family tickets 

Where: Bomish Ln, Macclesfield SK11 9DW

Jodrell Bank is an awe-inspiring place. The world-leading deep-space radio observatory is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an incredibly inspirational and interesting place to visit. Inside you can learn all about radio astronomy, see a traditional planetarium show, see live signals from the Lovell telescope and even listen to the sound of a black hole (pretty cool right?).

It's such a unique place to visit and worth the surprisingly cheap entry price tenfold. Plus, there are exhibitions that go into the history of the science and engineers that made the place possible, from the space race and cold war to the mind-boggling discoveries being made today. We can't forget to mention the epic Bluedot Festival that happens here every year too! An essential visit for anyone looking for something a bit different to do! 


Find tickets for events at Jodrell Bank - here



Get crazy at Junkyard Golf

Price: £8.50 a game at off-peak times, £10 a game at peak times

Where: 2 First St, Manchester M15 4RP

Who doesn't love a bit of mini-golf? But, with the oversaturation of the market in recent times, many of them feel very similar, well, that's where Junkyard Golf comes in. A neon-soaked mini golf paradise, with multiple themed holes, each as uniquely designed as the other, it's a proper good laugh to be had with anyone and everyone. Plus, there's a pretty good USP with Junkyard, you can drink to your heart's content as you go around! (now if that's not a good sell we don't know what is.)


Find tickets for events at Junkyard Golf - here



Kick back and relax at one of the many Beer Gardens and Rooftop Bars

Where: Check out our lists below for all the best in the city. 

For those of you more inclined to chill out and have a boozing session when you're visiting another city, then, when looking for cheap things to do in Manchester, then there are few better things to do than relax in one of its rooftop gardens, or beer gardens. Whether you're after stunning skyline views of the city, a quaint canal-side bevvy, or a sprawling outdoor drinking complex, Manchester has you covered. It's the perfect place to relax for an afternoon and then realise quite just how much you've had to drink when you eventually stand up and it all rushes to your head. 


Find our list of the best Rooftop Bars in Manchester - here

Find our list of the best Beer Gardens in Manchester - here



Unveil your inner mini Murray at Twenty Twenty Twos

Price: £7 for 30 min, £12 for an Hour

Where: 57 Whitworth St W, Manchester M1 5WW

Now, whoever idea it was to pair Ping Pong and booze deserves some sort of medal, and Twenty Twenty Twos also deserves one for making itself the best on the market to do so. This basement bar in the Northern Quarter is always bouncing and serving up amazing drinks alongside its array of ping-pong tables and vintage arcade games. If you fancy yourself a batting master, then just try it out after a few pints, it's harder than it looks and what unfolds will have you and your pals in stitches, so much fun and great value for the good times you'll have.


Find tickets for events at Twenty Twenty Two's - here



Explore the stunning grounds of Tatton Park

Price: From £8 to £9.50 depending on the time of year

Where: Tatton Park Tatton Park, Knutsford WA16 6SG

Anyone who's grown up in and around Manchester will have most likely been to Tatton Park at some point, whether with family or on a school trip and we're sure that every one of them will vouch for its beauty and serenity. The park has won multiple awards as the Number One National Trust garden in the country and for good reason. With its stunning estate, Japanese gardens, roaming deer herds, locally stocked tea rooms and so much more, it makes for an amazing day out with the family. You can also try and time your visit around the over 100 varied and amazing events that are held here throughout the year!


Find tickets for events at Tatton Park - here



Take a scenic break on an East Lancashire Railways steam train

Price: Adult £15.50, Child £9.50, Deals on family tickets (All online prices, it will be more expensive on the day)

Where: 23A Bolton St, Bury BL9 0EY

Finally, this one will be one for the older of you, or those Francis Bourgeois wannabes (we know you're out there.) Just a short drive outside of the city centre over to Bury, you can hop on this old steam train and ride around some of the most picturesque sights and towns around the outskirts of Greater Manchester. With the relatively cheap £15 ticket, you can hop on and off at some of the towns and explore, and then hop back on the next one and complete the loop. It's relaxing, scenic, and a really unique experience that will get you out of the hustle and bustle of the city. 


Find tickets for events at East Lancashire Railways Bury - here





To find even more events happening across Manchester in 2023, click or tap - HERE



Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.