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Round-Up   ›   Short breaks › Travel Inspiration  ›  North West of England

Manchester: a city of sport for everyone

Whether you’re a sports fan or not, there’s no denying one thing – Manchester is an amazing city for revellers of a huge variety of sports. And I’m not just talking about Manchester United here, I’m thinking outside of the box. Think cycling, swimming and even skiing too!
Here is a list of a whole host of places in and around Manchester where you can enjoy taking part in or watching live sports, for both grown ups and kids.
There’s something for everyone here, even those of you who hate football! Manchester really is a city of sport for everyone.

February 20, 2022


Chill Factore at BEYOND

Yes, when I said skiing in Manchester I meant it! Add snowboarding, sledging and snowtubing to that list too.
The Chill Factore is the UK’s longest indoor ski slope and a very impressive feat of engineering – you may have seen its structure looming up into the sky as you go over the huge bridge by the Trafford Centre. There’s even a 60m luge in there!
Here you can sign up to ski and snowboarding lessons (children included), or for those who don’t need lessons you can just book in for a lift pass to hit the slopes with equipment included.

Chill Factore actually uses real snow, so there’s a play area where toddlers can play in the snow in Mini Moose Land too!
What’s more, the venue is home to charity DSUK (Disability Snowsport UK) and cater for people with any disability.
For those who would rather stay warm and watch, there is a restaurant onsite with views of the slope and some balconies where spectators can get a bit closer. There’s plenty going on here for everyone, just have a look around their website for some freezing fun! But be warned – it’s usually a steady -4 degrees in there, brrrrr!

Credits for below image: Overview of the main slope at Chill Factore, Trafford, England © Vwozone (CC BY-SA 3.0

The HSBC UK National Cycling Centre

This impressive velodrome was Britain’s first indoor Olympic cycling track and remains the busiest velodrome in the world! It’s also the home of Team GB’s cycling team who have won an incredible number of Olympic medals. There’s even an indoor BMX Track on-site, and the centre also runs outdoor BMX and mountain bike tracks off-site. Both novice and expert cyclists are welcome to cycle here at certain sessions, and there are even balance bike sessions for 2-5year olds on the BMX track!
Unfortunately the velodrome arena is currently closed for a huge refurbishment until August 2022, but the BMX section will remain open throughout this period.

Credits for below image: Manchester Velodrome during a men’s kiren race © Andrew Last (CC BY-2.0

Uswim Open Water Swimming at Dock 9, Salford Quays

Wild swimming might be all the rage right now, but if you prefer a less wild swim or a more organised event then you can take part in a Uswim Open Water swim at Dock 9 at Salford Quays!
If you enjoy visiting Salford Quays and Media City like me, you’ll love watching swimmers at this event or taking part yourself If you’re competent enough (the water is cold!)
It’s such a great atmosphere and looks like a great activity in summer.

Credits for below image: USwim Tents at Salford Quays © David Dixon (CC BY-SA 2.0

Old Trafford Stadium - home of Manchester United FC

Love them or hate them, MUFC are one of the most famous football teams in the world and it’s no surprise with their successful and exciting history. They are an undeniably huge part of our identity in Manchester – I’ve been to remote villages thousands of miles from here where villagers have gleefully told me they love MUFC! The stadium, nicknamed by Sir Bobby Charlton as “The Theatre of Dreams” has been in Old Trafford since the early 1900’s and can hold 74,140 seats!
Here you can enjoy being a spectator at a match, be a season ticket holder (you might need to get on the waiting list though) or enjoy a fascinating tour of the stadium and museum.

Credits for below image: Old Trafford Football Stadium © Paul (CC BY-2.0

Etihad Stadium (City of Manchester Stadium) – home of Manchester City FC

Manchester’s other great team are MCFC, the Mancunian rivals of MUFC! They’re currently leading the Premier League and UEFA Champions League group A tables as I write this, which my husband is probably not happy about me doing. Again, love them or hate them, they’re another huge part of our Mancunian history and their impressive stadium has a cool story; it was built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games before being converted to MCFC’s new home, and is part of a large collection of sporting venues in an area known as “Sport City” (which includes the HSBC National UK Cycling Centre mentioned further up.)
The stadium also offers tours as well as match day tickets. Fun fact – I used to work here for my very first job, and attended the very first summer concert they held which was the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and James Brown!

Credits for below image: Etihad Stadium during match by Philip McGlaggan

Old Trafford Cricket Ground – home of Lancashire County Cricket Club

Another incredible piece of Manchester’s sport history is Old Trafford Cricket Ground, which has been in use since 1857 and hosted the Cricket World Cup an amazing five times!
The cricket ground is another enormous venue, just a stone’s throw away from Old Trafford football stadium, and has capacity for around 22,000 spectators at test matches.
The venue also boasts an on-site Hilton Garden Inn hotel for guests to stay in, which actually has cricket pitch-facing rooms!

Credits for below image: Old Trafford Cricket Ground during match by Shamaila Khan, Girl About Lancashire

Salford Watersports Centre

Last but not least is the fabulous Watersports Centre at Salford Quays where there’s a whole load of exciting activities to get your adrenaline pumping.
There’s stand up paddleboarding, sailing and windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing, powerboating, wakeboarding and open water swimming! You can take part in these activities by booking 60min hire sessions, as a course, as a group session or even one to one tuition.
You can also hire equipment needed such as water clothing, and there are highly qualified staff to keep you safe and coach you if necessary.
The centre is in a great spot in Salford Quays with lots of room to make a splash, and for those who’d rather stay dry there’s plenty of space to observe too.

Credits for image below: Salford Quays Watersports © Clem Rutter (CC BY-SA 3.0


So there you have it, that’s seven fantastic sporting venues to give you a taste of why Manchester is a city of sport for everyone!
Whether it’s screaming your head off as you’re flying through the air wakeboarding, or sat relaxing at a football match with a beer in your hand, there’s something for you to enjoy.

Thanks for reading!

Sarah xXx

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February 20, 2022