Manchester is one of the largest cities in the UK and is very much a sporting city. Manchester and the Greater Manchester area is home to a number of professional sports clubs, including the world famous Manchester United and Manchester City. There are also a number of world class facilities in the area, with the city hosting the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Sport in Manchester
Football in Manchester
Manchester is home to two of the world’s most popular football clubs – Manchester United and Manchester City who contest the ‘Manchester derby’. There are also a number of clubs based in the wider Greater Manchester area. The city is also home to the National Football Museum, the world’s biggest museum dedicated to football.
Manchester United have won more trophies than any other club in English football. United have won trophies such as the Premier League (and former First Division) 20 times, the FA Cup 12 times, the UEFA Champions League (and former European Cup) 3 times and the UEFA Europa League among others. They play their matches at Old Trafford, the largest club football stadium in the United Kingdom with a capacity of just over 74,000.
Manchester City have also won numerous trophies, particularly in recent years following their takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008. They have the Premier League (and former First Divison) 6 times, becoming the first team to reach 100 points in a single season with their victory in 2018, as well as the FA Cup on six occasions. City’s home is the Etihad Stadium, a 55,000 capacity venue which was originally built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Wigan Athletic are based in Wigan, 16 miles northwest of Manchester and currently playing in EFL League One. The club played in the Premier League between 2005 and 2013, winning the FA Cup in 2013 in the same season they were relegated. The Latics have played at the DW Stadium since 1999, a 25,000 venue they share with rugby league side Wigan Warriors.
Bolton Wanderers are based in Bolton, 10 miles northwest of Manchester and currently playing in EFL League Two. They have won the FA Cup four times and spent more seasons in the top flight without winning the title than any other club, most recently playing in the Premier League between 2001 and 2012. The Trotters have played at the University of Bolton Stadium since 1997, a venue with a capacity of just under 29,000.
Oldham Athletic are based in Oldham, 7 miles northeast of Manchester and currently playing in EFL League Two. The Latics have played at the 13,000 capacity Boundary Park since 1904, with the club finishing runners-up in the First Division in 1915, reaching the League Cup final in 1990 and being one of the founder members of the Premier League in 1992 before their relegation two years later.
Rochdale A.F.C. are based in Rochdale, 10 miles northeast of Manchester and currently playing in EFL League One. The Dale have played at Spotland Stadium since 1920, with the club predominantly playing in the Third and Fourth Division of English Football throughout their history.
Salford City are based in Salford, just a couple miles west of Manchester city centre. The club were promoted to the Football League for the first time in 2019 and currently play in EFL League Two. The Ammies’ home is Moor Lane, a 5,000 capacity stadium. Since 2014, the club have been owned by the famed ‘Class of 92’ former Manchester United players Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, David Beckham and Paul Scholes.
There are also a number of clubs playing non-league football including Stockport County, Altrincham and Curzon Ashton.
Manchester City Women and Manchester United Women are both professional clubs competing in the Women’s Super League, the highest league of women’s football in England. City play at the Academy Stadium and have experienced recent success, winning the WSL and FA Women’s Cup. United who play at Leigh Sports Village were only formed in 2018, winning promotion from the Championship in their first season.
Rugby League in Manchester
Rugby League is also a popular sport in Manchester, although there is no professional club based in the city. There are however six professional clubs based in the Greater Manchester area:
- Wigan Warriors are the most successful club in British Rugby League, winning the Super League (and former Rugby Football League Championship) 21 times, the Challenge Cup 19 times and the World Club Challenge 3 times. The club play at the DW Stadium, a 25,000 venue they share with football team Wigan Athletic.
- The Salford Red Devils play in the Super League, winning six Championships and one Challenge Cup. They have played at the AJ Bell Stadium since 2012, a 12,000 venue they share with rugby union side Sale Sharks.
- Leigh Centurions were one of the founding members of the the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895 and currently play in the Super League. The club who plays their home matches at Leigh Sports Village, have won both the Rugby Football League Championship and Challenge Cup twice.
- Oldham R.L.F.C. who play at Whitebank Stadium, have won the Rugby Football League Championship four times and the Challenge Cup three times but currently compete in the Championship.
- The Swinton Lions have won the Rugby Football League Championship six times and three Challenge Cups. They play their Championship fixtures at Heywood Road in Sale.
- The Rochdale Hornets currently play in League 1 and were a founding member of the Northern Rugby Football Union. The club who has won the Challenge Cup once before, play their home fixtures at Spotland Stadium.
Cricket in Manchester
Old Trafford Cricket Ground is the second oldest test venue in England, having hosted its first test match in 1884. The ground is home to Lancashire County Cricket Club and frequently hosts international cricket.
Rugby Union in Manchester
Sale Sharks play in the Premiership Rugby competition, the top division of Rugby Union in England. The club was formed in 1861 and won the Premiership for the only time in 2006. The Sharks have played their matches at the AJ Bell Stadium since 2012.
Golf in Manchester
The Greater Manchester Open was a European Tour event that was held from 1975 to 1981 at the Wilmslow Golf Club. There are a number of golf clubs and courses located in and around the city as per below. The Junkyard Golf Club and DinoFalls Adventure Golf meanwhile are the area’s premier Crazygolf venues.
- Manchester Golf Club
- Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club
- Ringway Golf Club
- Hale Golf Club (9 hole)
- Worsley Golf Club
- Wilmslow Golf Club
- The Mere Golf Resort & Spa
- Lowes Park Golf Club (9 hole)
- Greenmount Golf Club
- Whitefield Golf Club (Par 3)
- Stand Golf Club
- Werneth Golf Club
- Dunham Forest Golf & Country Club
- Altrincham Golf Course
- Prestwich Golf Club
- Saddleworth Golf Club
- Bury Golf Club
- Shrigley Hall
Athletics in Manchester
Manchester is host to several top class running events. The Manchester Marathon (formerly known as the Greater Manchester Marathon) takes play annually in April, known as the UK’s flattest marathon course and the second most popular behind the London Marathon. The Manchester Half Marathon is held in October and follows a similar flat course to the full marathon. The Great Manchester Run is the UK’s biggest 10k and since 2017 has also incorporated a separate half marathon.
Other sports in Manchester
The Manchester Giants are a professional basketball franchise playing in the British Basketball League. They were formed in 2011 and play at the National Basketball Centre in Belle Vue.
The Manchester Storm are a professional ice hockey team founded in 2015, competing in the Elite Ice Hockey League. They play at Planet Ice Altrincham, an ice rink which also offers public skating sessions and skating lessons.
The National Speedway Stadium is a multi-purpose venue used by the Belle Vue Aces speedway team and the American football team, the Manchester Titans.
Manchester is also home to a number of world class sporting venues that were used during the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The National Cycling Centre is home to British Cycling and the highly successful Team Sky cycling team (now Ineos Grenadiers), with the velodrome hosting the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 1996, 2000 and 2008. The National Squash Centre annually hosts the British Grand Prix, a PSA World Series event. The Manchester Arena at the time of the Games was the largest arena in Europe and hosted netball and boxing, since being used for a number of sports events including annually hosting a leg of the Premier League Darts event.
Other venues in the city include the Chill Factore, featuring the UK’s longest indoor ski slope and the Manchester Aquatics Centre with two 50 metre swimming pools.
Travelling to Manchester
Airport: Manchester Airport is the third busiest in the UK and serves a number of international destinations. The airport is approximately 9 miles south of the city and has a train and tram station for ground transportation.
Thinking of flying to Manchester? Search & book your flights through Skyscanner here.
Alternatively, Megabus offers cheap travel to Manchester and offers over 10 routes from Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Inverness, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Newcastle and Sheffield. You can search and book your tickets here.
Train: Manchester Piccadilly is the main station in the city, with links to all major cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Sheffield, Southampton and York.
Thinking of catching a train to Manchester? Search and book your journey through the Trainline here.
Where to stay in Manchester
Food & Drink in Manchester
What to do in Manchester
Some of Manchester’s best attractions are its world class museums and galleries, including the Science and Indsutry Museum, People’s History Museum and the Manchester Art Gallery. The John Rylands Library is also highly recommended, offering a fines collection of rare books and manuscripts in an imposing building.