Social life

Your priority will be finding the best supervisor for your area of research, but once you’re here the city of Manchester is a great place to live.

Pubs and bars

Manchester prides itself on the range and quality of its drinking establishments, from bars where the emphasis is on dressing up, to more traditional pubs where you can marvel at the weird and wonderful names of the local and regional bitters on draught. You may even be tempted to sample a few - be warned, though, their bite can be much worse than their bark.

You’ll also find a growing number of cafes, delis and bistros where you can watch the world go by.


For a city once termed ‘Madchester’ (courtesy of local lads, Happy Mondays) it will come as no surprise that Manchester takes its music very seriously. From the explosion of punk in the mid-70s with The Buzzcocks, there has been a procession of local bands that have had a huge impact on the UK and world popular music. Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, Happy Mondays, the Stone Roses and The Charlatans are just a few that have made their mark, whilst the acid house years of the late 80s and 90s marked Manchester out as a place to head to for a good time, with the iconic Factory club the number one destination.

Not surprisingly, there are plenty of places to enjoy live music, from unsigned bands taking their first steps at venues such as the Academy, The Deaf Institute, and the Night and Day café, to those who have already conquered the world, with the MEN Arena and the City of Manchester stadium playing host to local heroes Doves and Elbow. There are club nights for every taste, every day of the week. Boogie on down at nights such as Love Train at the Ritz, or be a little more adventurous and venture slightly off the beaten musical track by heading to one of the city’s many specialist music nights.

For the more traditional, the Hallé orchestra plays regularly at the Bridgewater Hall, alongside more surprising acts like Morrissey, and the Manchester Opera House sees classic productions such as Rigoletto and Madame Butterfly feature alongside Jerry Springer - The Opera and The Rocky Horror Show. Various festivals, from jazz to dance to world music, are also scheduled through the year.

Dedicated clubbers will not be disappointed, with a quality line-up for every night of the week - if there’s a name for it, there’s a club-night that plays it. Sankeys is the number one destination for visiting superstar djs, whilst venues such as South, Matt & Phred’s, Music Box, and Mojo maintain the city’s eclectic reputation.


Whether you like sweet popcorn with Hollywood blockbusters or prefer salted popcorn with something a little more challenging on the art house circuit, you won’t be disappointed. Several large multiplexes dot the city, whilst the Cornerhouse is an excellent independent cinema, with regular seminars, quiz nights and guest appearances, and the added attractions of a bar and art gallery.


Manchester has a long history in the dramatic arts, and that’s set to continue with venues such as The Royal Exchange, the Lowry, Manchester Opera House, The Palace and The Green Room staging a range of plays and shows which reflect the huge range of cultural tastes and appetites of the region’s largest city.


Comedy has moved on a lot since the heyday of the old stand-ups of the 1970s, and Manchester boasts a thriving and sophisticated comedy scene which tickles the most demanding funny bones. From the bigger gigs at the Lowry to more intimate (and cheaper) venues such as XS Malarkey at Remedy in the student stronghold of Castlefield, there’s always someone who will try their best to make you forget about that impending viva. The really brave can even have a go themselves on open mic nights, and risk their reputation at the hands of a merciless local crowd.