The Greater Manchester tram network has made travelling across the sprawl of the city easier than ever.
With stops close to all of the key destinations across the city, and the ability to get out beyond the city centre made far more convenient (and much cheaper!), the trams are the perfect way for students to get around! Here are some of my top picks for the best places to visit along Manchester’s tram network:
For those students based on the University of Salford’s campus there, MediaCityUK is familiar territory. For those who haven’t ventured out that far, however, the tram is a super convenient way to get out there! MediaCityUK has its own stop on the Orange line, which stops right across from the BBC and ITV buildings, and delivers you straight on to the edge of the beautiful docklands. Only a stone’s throw away is the Lowry Theatre and the Lowry Outlet, which hosts a range of shops, a food court, and a Vue cinema, where students can see films for only a fiver!
Manchester is a city known the world over for its football. Boarding a tram on the Orange or Blue lines out towards Ashton-under-Lyne takes you directly to the Etihad Campus, home of Manchester City Football Club. Whether you’re taking a tour of the stadium, heading out on match day, or just going for a browse of the City Store, the Etihad is a true marker of the huge investment going into Manchester’s infrastructure. And with a new event space, meant to rival Manchester Arena, having recently been proposed, even the non-football fans will one day have a reason to hop off at this stop!
Looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city centre? Why not head out to Burton Road in Didsbury, along the Grey line terminating in East Didsbury? The leafy streets are packed with independent cafes and restaurants, making it the perfect place to sit and work, or hang out with friends. Pop in for a hot chocolate at Folk cafe, or head for a glass of something stronger at The Epicurean– the choice is yours!
The search for green space continues out along the Yellow and Green lines, both of which stop off at Heaton Park. The perfect place to unwind, take an autumnal walk, or bask in the heat of the summer sun (fingers crossed!). And, of course, Parklife Festival famously takes place there every year, featuring acts such as Liam Gallagher, George Ezra, and Disclosure. This year’s festival dates are the 13th and 14th of June 2020, so mark your calendars!
Flip Out Manchester
For those feeling full of beans, Flip Out trampoline park is the perfect place to burn off some excess energy! A 5-minute walk from the Velopark stop on the Orange and Light Blue lines, you can get a two hour session for the price of one with a valid Metrolink ticket – double bonus!
Calling all musos! The Met is just a short walk from Bury tram stop at the end of the Yellow and Green lines, and hosts a huge variety of theatre and musical performances. From unsigned local alt-rock heroes like The Luka State, to tribute nights to some of rock’s biggest names, including Blondie and Queen, if you’re searching for something outside the central hub of music venues in Manchester, heading out into Zone 4 to The Met is well worth the trip!
Art With a Heart
Speaking of spreading your wings out to the furthest reaches of the tram network, heading out to Altrincham at the end of the Green and Purple lines not only provides the gateway to Cheshire and beyond, but also unearths some hidden gems such as cultural heritage museum Art With a Heart. Celebrating the art and culture of the Altrincham area, it’s a very refined afternoon visit. Alternatively, Planet Ice across the road from the station is the perfect place to show off your Torvill and Dean aspirations! For less than £10 per person, you can have free reign of the ice for up to four hours during the public skating times, to either prove yourself a prodigy-on-ice, or just make a fool of yourself by clinging to your mates for dear life!
The intu Trafford Centre
Always striving for bigger and better, construction has just finished on a new extension of the tram network, connecting the main routes to the intu Trafford Centre, Manchester’s biggest indoor shopping facility. Packed with a huge range of shops, from high-end to budget friendly, as well as a cruise-ship inspired food court, a multiplex cinema and crazy golf course, there is endless amounts of fun to be had here – so keep an eye out for the opening of the new line, expected for early next year!
Top Tip: like all rivers leading to the sea, every tram on Manchester’s network stops at Cornbrook! So no matter which line you’re on, you can change at Cornbrook to get across the whole tram network.