The perfect combination of Manchester and London – read our top tips for a memorable family trip
London with kids is no doubt a great holiday destination, but why not pair it with the charms of Manchester? With our one-way flights, you can choose different cities as your trip’s starting and ending points. The journey between them is handy by train.
How do you make a teenager smile widely?
By revealing that the family’s next holiday will be to London. The capital of Great Britain is the dream of many children and teenagers; after all, the legendary sights and activities of the city have been discussed in English classes at school and have already been mentioned in textbooks. It’s cool to finally get to see Big Ben and the grandeur of Buckingham Palace with your own eyes.
A nice touch to a traditional London city break is to combine your trip with Manchester, a well-known football city with over half a million inhabitants.
We collected the best tips for a combination holiday in Manchester and London with teenagers.
Book flights from different cities
The most convenient way to travel between Manchester and London is by train. Buying a ticket on the Trainline website, for instance, is easy, and it pays off to purchase a family ticket well in advance because early bookers get a hefty discount on the price.
With a family ticket purchased in advance, the cost of a trip for two adults and two children under the age of 15 is just over 80 euros. If you leave the ticket purchase until the last minute, the amount can be much higher. The journey from Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station to London Euston Station takes a couple of hours.
A football fan’s dream
Manchester’s Premier League clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City attract many football fans to the city. Premier League matches are typically played from August to May.
It takes a bit of time and patience to buy tickets to a game. They often sell out quickly, and some buyers are trocars and dealers who sell tickets forward at higher prices. The safest and cheapest way to get to watch a game is to buy a ticket through your favourite team’s fan club membership.
In addition to watching the game, you should reserve time for a stadium tour. For example, Manchester United’s home stadium, Old Trafford, hosts tours lasting a few hours, during which visitors can even pop into the players’ changing rooms. The tour price is about 33 euros for adults and 18 euros for 4–15-year-olds.
If you still haven’t gotten enough of football, pay a visit to the National Football Museum in the city.
Shop and relish
But what about family members who aren't interested in football? Manchester is also much more. Towering proudly in the city centre, the medieval Manchester Cathedral is a stone church worth a visit.
It’s also easy to find Manchester’s best shopping spots: Arndale Shopping Centre, Selfridges Department Store and Market Street. If you’re starting to get a sweet tooth, pop in for a plush pancake at the Fluffy Fluffy café.
The Japanese Waku Waku 2D restaurant is also worth seeing, as its premises are designed to resemble a black and white cartoon, and almost all the outlines, including the chair frames, are drawn into view.
Manchester Art Gallery, with its changing exhibitions, is fun and free of charge. Finland’s Heureka counterpart, the Science and Industry Museum, offers exciting things to explore, such as the special exhibition Operation Ouch! Food, poo, and you, which deals with human digestion in methods that are understandable and fun for children.
Outlet bargains and heady views
Once you’ve had enough of Manchester, it’s time to move to central London, a city of 7.5 million people. You don’t have to think long about what to do with teenagers in London, because you won’t run out of ideas there.
A half-hour ride on the London Eye makes an immediate impression on young people, as the London silhouette is drawn in front from a bird’s eye view. If purchased in advance, an adult ticket costs about 38 euros; for children aged 15 and under, it costs about 34 euros.
After admiring legendary sights such as Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben, it becomes clear that teens are always interested in shopping.
In addition to traditional shopping streets such as crowded Oxford Street and Regent Street, great bargains can be found at the 02 Outlet shopping centre in Greenwich, where designer clothes are sold at hefty discounts. The tube ride from the heart of London to here takes about twenty minutes.
Be cautious in traffic
The easiest way to get around London is by tube or underground. An affordable option is to buy a plastic Oyster card the size of a credit card, where you can load as much money as you want at ATMs. You can get in and out of metro stations by flashing your card at the entrance. An Oyster card costs about eight euros—children under 11 travel by metro and bus free of charge, and older children at reduced fares.
The legendary double-decker red buses are also an excellent means of transport. It’s cheaper than black cabs to get around with the Bolt taxi app, which has overtaken Uber in popularity in Britain.
When travelling with children in London, it’s necessary to regularly remind them of left-hand traffic – even if it annoys teenagers. Moreover, it’s good to note that drivers don’t stop in front of pedestrian crossings to allow pedestrians to cross the road as easily as in Finland.
Slushies and mochis
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! When the opening lines of “Circle of Life”, sung in Zulu, begin, the skin is bound to rise to goosebumps in the audience of The Lion King musical.
The hit musical, performed at the Lyceum Theatre for 24 years, continues to draw packed audiences. Make sure to book your tickets well in advance via the official ATG website. Prices vary from the cheapest back-row tickets, costing just under 40 euros, to pricey tickets, costing a couple of hundred euros.
The performance lasts for two and a half hours, including a 15-minute intermission. This is when the queues for the toilet become long, so it’s recommended to be quick. To save time and effort, you can pre-order an intermission service such as mochi ice creams, sparkling wine and iced drinks.
However, it’s not cheap: a small bottle of prosecco costs 15 euros, an iced slushy with a plastic cup to take home costs 15 euros, a few mochis almost 9 euros and two sparkling drinks of water 7 euros.
If this seems too harsh, don’t worry – apart from alcoholic beverages, you can bring your own snacks to the theatre, as long as they are packed in plastic containers. Hot dishes are, however, prohibited.