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Getting to Manchester to watch a football match.

I have the pleasure of been given a free ticket to go and watch Manchester United on Sunday 12th March with friends but sadly live in London. Having never been to Old Trafford or even Manchester for that matter, what is the best way of getting there and back. The train seems to be quite expensive and takes a long time compared to the weekdays (must be due to works etc). Any ways of getting cheap rail tickets? Flying is extremely expensive this late on. I could drive but have no idea if you can park nearby.

Any suggestions?



  • scheming_gypsy
    scheming_gypsy Posts: 18,410 Forumite
    There's an NCP car park just behind Picadilly Station, between that and the BT offices on London Road. Never seen it busy on a Saturday so it's where i always park when going to Manchester. Even though it's NCP it costs about £2.50 for 24 hour parking.

    Leave the car there and jump on the Metrolink to Old Trafford. Tram station is about a 5 - 10 minute walk from the stadium (done it very often).
    Otherwise you can come off the M60 at the Trafford Centre and head towards OT, you'll see loads of people in their yellow jackets offering car parking for a fiver, never had any problems any of them.

    Downsides of each

    1 ) tram - manic trying to get on the tram to come home. We usually end up walking back into town which takes about half an hour.

    2 ) parking - mental trying to get out and usually busy back to the motorway.
  • loobs40
    loobs40 Posts: 1,232 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Parking is OK around Old Trafford. Most schools and businesses open up their car parks and charge £5 or so. We normally park about 3/4 mile away from the ground and walk the rest of the way ( sometimes via the pub.....)

    To get there its M6, then off at Junction 19 along an A-road then onto the M56 and M60 and then its about 3 to 4 miles from the M60.

    Be warned, the traffic is a nightmare, especially after the match, so make sure you are not in a hurry and give yourself a lot of time to get there before the match. Aim to be int he car park an hour before the start of the game The M6 is notorious for delays.

    Another tip, don't buy the official match program, but the fanzines (Red News, Red Issue ect) which are on sale outside the immediate areas of Old Trafford. They are much more interesting and always raise a smile, though if you don't like bad language etc give them a miss ;)
  • scheming_gypsy
    scheming_gypsy Posts: 18,410 Forumite
    Red Issue has gone pretty poor since i first started buying it in the early 90's but definately the one to buy.
  • Lucie_2
    Lucie_2 Posts: 1,482 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    My advice would be to use the metrolink tram system, but going in the other direction. You can drive around the M60 to Sale or Altrincham, usually park for free & then get the tram into OT. After the game the whole world & his dog will be trying to get a tram back into town, but you will be going the other way with much less people. Like s_g we have walked back into town after a game at OT because it's quicker than getting the tram.
  • cozzie
    cozzie Posts: 521 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Not sure about rail etc but can tell you that if you drove up and turn up early enough then there is parking at United's ground (about £5) or there are always signs up at the carparks of hotels etc for about the same rate. Parking on the streets on a match day is a HUGE NO NO, residents have to have permits and the clampers do the rounds.

    If you do come by rail then the easiest option from there is to get the tram from Piccadilly to Old Trafford and follow the stream of people all headed in the same direction. Only one way to get off tram at Old Trafford, just keep going in that direction, can't miss it.

    HTH, enjoy your day.
    "And crawling on the planet's face,
    Some insects called the human race,
    Lost in time, and lost in space,
    And meaning"
  • Ems!
    Ems! Posts: 855 Forumite
    First Post
    I live near manchester and normally drive if I go to London to stay with a friend as it is the cheapest way I reckon,and also i think is a nice easy run. On a Sunday you should be fairly ok for traffic too(untill you get near the ground) I suppose cost depends how many of u are travelling, eg if theres 3 of you, isn't gonna cost you much more than a tenner each to drive up, but if just you, might be worth going via another means of transport.
    I don't particularly know the area around old trafford, but having been to a few matches there (supporting the away team I hasten to add!!), we have normally parked on carparks but these tend to be a bit pricey and you'll sit in the car for ages waiting to gt out of car park (same as any football ground really). For someone who doesn't know the area, if you are planning to go directly to match and back again i think i would just drive to the ground and park on a nearby carpark - there'll be loads of signs up, however if you have time on your hands I'd probably drive into central manchester, park for free on a metered space (you may need to drive round and round to find one, but you will get one, otherwise, some car parks in town have cheap sunday rates). Then, you can have a look round mcr/go to the pub then hop on the tram heading towards altrincham, and get off at old trafford. To avoid massive waits for the tram after the match its probably worth going for a drink / getting some food before you get back on the tram to manchester.
    The most enjoyable choice imo would be the tram option but if you are pushed for time, park near the ground.

    Sorry can't offer any advice on planes/trains, i agree you will be lucky to get anything reasonable around now. of course, there is always coaches, but that will take AGES!!
  • scheming_gypsy
    scheming_gypsy Posts: 18,410 Forumite
    1 bit of advice that goes against a couple of other posters. do NOT turn up early for parking. Turn up fairly late !! The car parks cram you in as tight as they can so the earlier you get there the further into the car park you're going to get and the longer you'll have to wait to get out.
  • loobs40
    loobs40 Posts: 1,232 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Last couples of times we have been we have parked on Davyhulme Rd East (left off the A56 Chester Road) facing away from the A56. There are no parking restrictions on that road

    When we leave the ground its a 20 minute walk back to the car and then we drive towards the Trafford Centre and then onto the M60 and onto the M62 toward the M6. It has been a lot quicker than parking in the car parks and we have been on the M62 within about 10 minutes of getting back into the car.
  • trini_honey
    I do the Manchester to London route return on a regular basis. Yes trains to take longer on weekends due to a change of route because of works on the track, which is why i personally do try not to travel on the weekends, but some days I have no choice.

    The way to get more affordable train tickets is to buy single(one way) for each leg of the journey, and booking in advance. The only thing with this is you must travel on the date and time reserved/booked. It is not a walk up fare. There are 14, 7 and 3 day advance, which vary in prices. See here for virgin value tickets. Another down side is these usually go quick, and you may find that they're not available for th time and date.

    Getting from Piccadilly to Old Trafford is not hard, there is the option of train, bus, taxi and tram. It will be a busy day so give yourself enough time to get there.
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