The Ideal Weekend In Manchester For United Fans (When It’s Not Match Day)



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We begin by stating the obvious somewhat; Manchester is not just a city. For Manchester United fans, it’s a shrine to footballing excellence and a treasure trove of Red Devil history. If you’re planning a weekend in Manchester when the team isn’t playing, there’s still a wealth of football-related experiences waiting for you. Here’s how to immerse yourself in the culture of one of the world’s most famous football clubs; Manchester United.


Friday Evening: Settling Into The Red Heart Of Manchester

Begin your weekend by checking into one of the city’s best (and surely most immersively United) hotels; Hotel Football. Owned by the Class of ’92 – a group of legendary players including Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs – and with views overlooking Old Trafford, it’s the perfect base for your Red Devils retreat.

In the evening, head to the Bishop Blaize, a ‘Spoons known for its pre-match atmosphere. It’s a place where chants have echoed for years, and the walls are lined with United history.


Saturday Morning: The Hallowed Turf Of Old Trafford

Start your day with a pilgrimage to the United stadium. On match days, you can enjoy a family day out at Old Trafford with Ticket-Compare, sure, but on down-days, you can still get involved in the action with a museum and stadium tour, which allows fans to walk down the tunnel to the famous pitch and take a seat in the home dugouts. Prices for the Old Trafford tour start at £28 for adults and £15 for children.

Saturday Afternoon: In the Footsteps Of Legends

After soaking in the grandeur of Old Trafford, take a walk to Stretford End, the stand famous for housing the most vocal of United’s supporters. Nearby, find the United Trinity statue, honouring George Best, Denis Law, and Sir Bobby Charlton. Pay your respects at the Munich Memorial Clock, which stands outside the stadium, a poignant reminder of the club’s resilience.

For lunch, head to Red Café at Old Trafford, open on non-match days between 9am and 4pm. Here, you can dine amidst the glory of United, with a menu inspired by the sport. 

Next, venture to the lesser-known Clayton Blackmore Bridge or the Bridge of Sighs, named after the former United player. It’s a symbolic crossing point for fans on match days and a quiet place to reflect on the club’s connection to its community.

If you’ve got time, consider a visit to the Trafford Training Centre in Carrington (open from 9am to 5:30pm), where you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the youth teams in training. It’s a chance to see the future stars of United and the club’s investment in nurturing talent, though do be aware that access can be restricted.

Photo by Surya Prasad on Unsplash

Saturday Evening: Dining With United Flair

For dinner, it’s got to be Cafe Football, a football-themed restaurant owned by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs that’s just a two minute walk from Old Trafford. Get stuck into some Rashford’s Rolls (spring rolls) or a Scholesy (a steak suet pudding, for some reason). 

Later, enjoy a drink at The Trafford, a pub frequented by fans for generations, where the spirit of United is as strong as the ale.

Read: Where to eat near Old Trafford


Sunday Morning: City Centre Sports Discovery

Begin your Sunday with a visit to the National Football Museum on Todd Street, an essential destination for any football enthusiast. This modern cathedral to the beautiful game offers an unrivalled collection of football memorabilia and interactive exhibits that delve into the sport’s vibrant history, not just in Manchester, but across the entire world.

Hungry for lunch and with the kids? Head to the Hard Rock Cafe just a two minute walk from the National Football Museum. Kids can eat from the Messi Menu and fantasise about a time when he might have wanted to play for the club.

Or, if you’re looking for somewhere fancier, head to one of the city’s excellent restaurants, because sometimes food is better without tenuous connections to the footy.

Sunday Afternoon: The Fabric Of United

In the afternoon, explore the Manchester United Foundation’s community projects. You might have the opportunity to volunteer or visit places transformed by the foundation’s work, such as local schools and community centres, showcasing the club’s commitment to its roots.

Sunday Evening: A Toast To United’s Triumphs

Conclude your weekend with a quiet evening at the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, where you can book a private dining experience overlooking the pitch. It’s a serene and luxurious way to reflect on the history and success of Manchester United.

Lastly, stop by the Stretford Enders Bar, where the walls are a gallery of United’s finest moments, and the conversation is always about the beautiful game.

The Bottom Line

Your weekend in Manchester may not coincide with the roar of a match day crowd, but the echoes of past glories and the whispers of future triumphs are always in the air. For a United fan, Manchester is more than a city; it’s a living museum dedicated to the red half of a footballing dynasty. 

Whether you’re tracing the steps of United legends or making new memories in fan-favourite haunts, Manchester offers a unique and intimate experience for those who chant “Glory, glory Man United.” Or, even for those who chant ‘’the referee’s a wanker”, quite honestly…

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