Theatre breaks in Manchester are becoming more popular with so many West End musicals currently on tour. It can be hard to decide whether Manchester or London is the right choice for your theatre break. I made a little diagram to illustrate some of the things you might want to consider.
Let’s look at the problem in more detail.
Theatre Breaks in Manchester – pros and cons
- Convenient – Manchester may be nearer for you to travel. It is also smaller and has a more compact centre. This makes it very easy to get around. The little free city centre buses are quick and frequent, if you need to travel further then the trams are idea.
- Pleasant – Manchester city centre has really improved greatly over the last decade. It is a pleasant place to walk around.
- Things to do – Manchester has great shops, galleries and museums. Not to mention fantastic night life, with wonderful clubs and bars.
- Cost – hotels and tickets may well be cheaper than the equivalent in the West End.
- Choice of show – there are good shows on in Manchester but there just isn’t the range available that the West End offers.
- Attractions – London wins here hands down. Whatever your interests London has something to offer, from established favourites like the London Eye to new attractions like The View From The Shard (I so want to do this!!) It has everything that Manchester has and then more.
- Value for money – this one might surprise you. A two day coach trip London theatre break will give you much more than just a show. It turns your break into a little mini-holiday. The price difference per person between that and a one night break in Manchester is very small. Plus it is quite hard to find actual breaks in Manchester, mostly what is on offer are one day coach excursions. These are fantastic value if you just want to see a show and you are happy to arrive home in the wee small hours, but they are not theatre breaks as such.
Which is it to be – London or Manchester?
I think for me I’d have to say that the West End is the better choice for a theatre break. However if you just want to see a show, and it happens to be on in Manchester (or one of the other regional theatres) then you won’t be disappointed. Manchester theatres are currently offering Cats, Wicked, Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, Lion King and Warhorse.
A Gap in the Market?
The trouble is that Manchester just isn’t quite set up for theatre breaks yet. The packages are hard to find and not such good value as London when you do find them. However this could change. Manchester has some fantastic theatres, great hotels and it should be a good destination for a two day city break that includes a show. There’s a gap in the market here I think and it would be interesting to see someone fill it. I should admit here that I have a soft spot for Manchester, having lived and worked there once upon a time. I’ve been very impressed with the recent renovations to the city centre and I think Manchester is keen to give London a bit of competition. A two day break in Manchester would give you a chance to see more of what the city has to offer.