The Best Time to Visit Manchester, England

Manchester, U.K.

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Manchester, England boasts a mild climate, with moderate temperatures for most of the year. Travelers should consider school holidays, winter rain, and potential crowds when planning a trip, but it's a less crowded city than London or Edinburgh and can make for a great experience in any season. That said, the best times to visit Manchester are April through June when the weather is good, and September and October for fewer crowds.

The Weather in Manchester

Many travelers assume England will be rainy all the time, but that's not completely accurate. Like the rest of the country, Manchester has plenty of dry, sunny days every year, with June through September being the warmest months. Because the climate in Manchester is mild, it doesn't get extremely hot or extremely cold (although there are rare exceptions). The average annual temperature is around 50 degrees F.

The winter hits around 40 degrees F, with January as the coldest month, and the summer averages 65 degrees F, although it occasionally gets much hotter. Rain and thunderstorms can be anticipated all year, but there is rarely snow in Manchester. It's typically cooler than London since the city is further north, so bring layers when packing for your trip.

Peak Season in Manchester

Like the rest of England, Manchester is less busy during the colder months, especially from January through March. The city becomes lively in the spring and summer, and many travelers opt to experience the area when there's nice weather since Manchester is so close to outdoor destinations like the Peak District.

British school holidays can mean some crowds in Manchester, although many local tourists may opt to visit London or a seaside locale instead. School holidays occur during summer, from July through September, and again at half-term, which takes place at the end of October and in mid-February. Note that schools are off around the Christmas and Easter holidays as well, the former being a particularly bustling time in British cities. Consider scheduling your trip when kids are in school if crowds are a concern.

January

Pack a jacket and head to Manchester in January. It can be chilly and rainy, but it's worth it to visit less packed museums, experience shorter lines, and score better restaurant reservations.

Events to check out:

  • Push Festival, held at the HOME Manchester arts venue, celebrates the artistic talents of the North West each year in January.
  • Taste test a range of brews and ciders at the annual Manchester Beer and Cider Festival, a three-day event that hosts 15,000 people with beer showcases, food, and performances.

February

February has a similar vibe to January, with chilly, wet weather and smaller crowds (although keep in mind that the British school's half-term takes place mid-month, so the city could see extra travelers). It's a good month to hunker down in the city's many museums, most of which are free for visitors.

Events to check out:

  • Book a cool restaurant or theatre event for Valentine's Day, which is enthusiastically celebrated across the U.K.

March

Spring is on the horizon in March, a month that varies drastically in its temperature and rain. Cross your fingers for sun on St. Patrick's Day, when everyone comes out for the annual parade and drinks in pubs all over the city.

Events to check out:

April

The flowers are blooming and the sun is (hopefully) out in April. This is a great time to plan a visit to Manchester, especially if you hope to take advantage of nearby hikes and walking trails. To avoid crowds, plan around the Easter school holiday, which takes up a long weekend in the spring.

Events to check out:

  • Manchester hosts the U.K.'s second biggest marathon, the Greater Manchester Marathon, every April. Pre-register for the race well in advance if you plan to test your endurance.

May

May is an ideal time to travel to Manchester. The weather is getting warmer and sunnier, and because students are still in school, there are fewer crowds around town.

Events to check out:

  • Manchester Jazz Festival, the city's longest running music festival, kicks off each May for four days of live performances and events.
  • Those who enjoy a good stroll should attend the Greater Manchester Walking Festival, a month-long event that encourages residents and visitors to seek out new walking routes around the area.

June

International tourists start heading to England during June, when the weather is nice and there are lots of opportunities to get outside. This is one of the best times to visit if you're planning on a day trip to the nearby Peak or Lake Districts.

Events to check out:

July

School is out and tourists are filling the cities around England in July, so avoid big attractions in the city center if you want to stay away from crowds. Still, the weather should be sunny and warm, and there are lots of great festivals happening around town.

Events to check out:

  • Sounds of the City Festival, a series of headlined music concerts, fills up Castlefield Bowl each summer. Look for internationally-renowned acts and book tickets early.
  • Manchester International Festival is a biennial international arts festival with exhibitions, events, and performances across venues big and small.

August

Manchester Pride takes place in August, adding to the busyness of the height of summer. The last Monday of the month is an annual bank holiday.

Events to check out:

  • Let your rainbow flag fly at Manchester Pride, a vibrant celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community that includes a parade, a festival, and a candlelight vigil.

September

This is an ideal time to visit Manchester, as the crowds are beginning to ease and the weather typically stays warm.

Events to check out:

  • Established in 1998, the Manchester Food & Drink Festival showcases the best of Manchester's culinary offerings, often featuring appearances from celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey.

October

The weather may be getting cooler and you can expect some rain, but October is also a good time to be in the city thanks to its many events.

Events to check out:

November

Brave the chill in November to take advantage of a packed social calendar. Note that England doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, so you needn't worry about museums or other attractions closing down when planning your trip.

Events to check out:

  • Doki Doki Manchester Japanese Festival celebrates traditional and modern Japanese culture over two days in November each year.
  • Bonfire Night, a.k.a. Guy Fawkes Day, is celebrated on November 5 throughout the U.K. with fireworks and bonfires.
  • See the best in animation at the Manchester Animation Festival, the biggest in the U.K.
  • Get in the festive mood at the annual Manchester Christmas Lights Switch-on, which takes place mid-November. The exact date and specific details change from year to year, so check online in advance.

December

The English love the holiday season and Manchester is no exception. The city is filled with Christmas lights and bustling stores, and it's a great time to visit to experience the holiday spirit. There are usually special events and theatre performances, including "A Christmas Carol." Pack a good coat and an umbrella, but don't let the wintry weather deter you.

Events to check out:

  • Venture outside Manchester to the Bolton Winter Festival, a family-friendly event celebrating all things snow and winter.
  • Boxing Day, which takes place December 26, is an annual holiday in the U.K., and is known for its big sales. Expect lots of deals on shopping around town (although not everything will be open).
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