8 things to do in and around Manchester (which don’t involve clubbing)

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Featured image and gallery: Joseph Hylton

There’s a common misconception that all students are into clubbing. Our city may have a brilliant, unrivalled nightlife scene, but there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in Manchester.

We round up some of the best alternatives.

1. Chill Factore

Situated opposite the Trafford Centre, Chill Factore is home to a Snow Park and the UK’s longest indoor snow slope. This place has something for everyone, with ski and snowboarding lessons available for beginners, and hourly passes for those confident taking to the slopes independently. Beyond winter sports activities, the family-friendly Snow Park has a range of ice slides and slopes to zip down.


Photography: Joseph Hylton

HOME is Manchester’s creative hub for contemporary arts, cinema and theatre. Showing unique indie films as well as hosting exhibitions, theatre and comedy, it’s described as ‘the perfect place to discover new art, new experiences and new stories’. Current highlights include Brigitte Jurack’s Fieldnotes exhibition on the natural world, environmental sustainability, craft and labour, and the 22/23 Theatre Season programme of dance, drama, music, comedy, cabaret and puppetry.

3. Trafford Centre

The iconic Trafford Centre is a huge part of Manchester’s shopping scene, offering a wide variety of shops and experiences including ice-skating, bowling and arcades. No matter the weather, this is a great way to escape the damp city centre streets for a relaxing shop. It features an iconic food court made up of food stalls and chain restaurants including Wagamama, Nando’s, Zizzi and Five Guys.

4. Junkyard Golf

Photography: Joseph Hylton

Mini golf is a fun (and cheap) activity for you and all your friends. The beauty is it can be as relaxed or competitive as you like. Junkyard golf is a great adventure course to test your mini golfing skills. Compete with your friends while testing out a fantastic assortment of cocktails, (discounted Sunday to Thursday) and enjoying their rustic fast food options. Student discounted tickets are available online.

5. Palace Theatre Manchester

Photography: Joseph Hylton

Located on Oxford Road, the Palace Theatre Manchester is a fantastic way to experience some of the exquisite theatre shows Manchester has to offer. From ‘Nerubashenko Ballet presents Swan Lake’ to ‘Home Alone in Concert’ and Disney’s ‘The Lion King’, the shows are as iconic as the venue itself, meaning there is always something for everyone to enjoy.

6.  Chinatown

Photography: Joseph Hylton

Chinatown is such an interesting part of the city. It is a great way to experience some Chinese cuisine from small local businesses, offering a plethora of restaurants, supermarkets, and bakeries to experience. Even Liam Gallagher loves it so much he even wrote a song inspired by it.

7. Dunham Massey

Dunham Massey is a National Trust park in the borough of Trafford, Greater Manchester. The walks around the grounds and gardens are to die for. The grounds are spotted with wildlife you would never see elsewhere in Manchester, including deer who freely roam the grounds. This nature park is a half an hour drive from Manchester city centre, but it is definitely worth a visit. Take a relaxing walk to destress or even have a change of scenery for your morning run.

8. Active Campus

Play sport for fun and enjoy free sports and activities on campus every week with Manchester Met’s Active Campus timetable. They offer free sport sessions to students who are wanting to try or play a new sport – for fun! They also have a campus league which allows teams to compete. for a session, if sessions are at capacity, we may need to turn you away. Book onto a session to avoid disappointment.

About the author / 

Megan O'Sullivan

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