The busiest UK airport outside London, the gateway to the capital of the Northern Powerhouse and home to a huge range of European and international flights, it's safe to say that most Brits will pass through Manchester Airport at least once. Make the most of your time in transit with these top tips.
Whether you have a few hours or a whole evening to spend at Manchester Airport, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself. Don't even contemplate sleeping on an airport bench after wolfing down fast food: upgrade your experience with these considerably more tempting options.
For short layovers
If you have up to three hours of downtime in the airport, you should definitely book into the Escape Lounge. Here you'll find comfortable seats, free Wi-Fi and a full range of complimentary snacks and drinks. There's a lounge in each terminal, and prices start at £19.99 per person. These lounges are very popular, so it's best to book as far in advance as possible.
For early morning flights
Our Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester Airport is perfect if you're travelling on business. As the only hotel physically connected to the airport building it really takes the edge off the early morning red-eye. You can enjoy a full sit-down meal at the Collage restaurant, or relax with a pizza in the Little M bar. Work out at the Pace Health Club, or treat yourself to a spa session at the Beauty Lounge. If you're in a hurry to catch your early morning flight, you can take advantage of the Grab & Run takeaway breakfast: a hot drink, fresh fruit and a cereal bar.
For longer layovers
If you have an overnight layover, seize the opportunity to get out and about. Once you've checked into the airport hotel, spend a few hours discovering what Manchester has to offer. It only takes 20 minutes to reach Manchester Piccadilly in the city centre, travelling direct from the airport's own train station. If you book in advance, you could save up to 43% on the ticket price. The 105 local bus also runs between the airport and the city centre, although the journey time is longer due to traffic. Alternatively, there is a taxi rank outside the terminal. You should expect to pay around £20 for a journey into the centre.
Things to do nearby
The Runway Visitor Park is located right beside Manchester Airport. As well as tours of Concorde and Nimrod Planes, the park also has a conference centre large enough to hold 750 seated guests. There are also two smaller rooms, perfect for meetings with around 40-50 delegates.
It's also possible to take the Metrolink tram direct to the Old Trafford Stadium. The journey takes around 40 minutes, but football fans shouldn't pass up the chance to explore 130 years of Manchester United history. Bus number 18 is a better choice for shopaholics, as this goes all the way to the sprawlingTrafford Centre shopping mall. After half an hour, you'll find yourself in the centre of a retail paradise – just make sure all your purchases will still fit inside a suitcase.