Manchester v London

Manchester versus London

Written by on 20th June 2012
Category: City guides

The recent reunions of seminal indie bands Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses brought tears to the eyes of many a former ‘Madchester’ raver. But the musical revolution which took place in the city in the 1980s was not just about partying: it put Manchester on the map and shaped a modern, energetic city which is now far more than just a post-industrial city in northern England.

Today, as home to the BBC and a major business centre, Manchester is certainly the capital of the north, but could it even be better than the capital itself? Manchester has spawned great music but so has London, from the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols to the Libertines and Dizzee Rascal. And so, let’s consider some other aspects of these great cities for comparison.



The iconic London Underground transformed city transportation

As cities that both played crucial roles in the development of modern transportation, deciding whether Manchester or London offers the best transport options today is a close contest. Besides the obvious forms of transport, both cities provide a range of alternatives, with London offering rickshaws, clipper rides and many more options. Whereas London is famed for the tube and its towering red buses, Manchester is best known for its modernised tram system which is used by locals and tourists alike. Although Manchester is arguably easier to navigate, being a smaller city, London’s incredible levels of inter-connectivity is something to marvelled at, despite the delays!


Man met

Manchester Metropolitan University is another major university based within the city

Manchester is home to two of the largest universities in the UK and therefore has a large student contingency and young, energetic atmosphere. The prestigious red brick University of Manchester was attended by many famous alumni, including the novelist Martin Amis, Brian Cox and Benedict Cumberbatch. London is home to many, many Universities and colleges, with the most notable being the University College London and the Imperial College London, the latter having been attended by Brian May and H.G. Wells. The Universities in each city bring with them a diverse population and appropriately lively scenes – with Manchester offering the bohemian Northern Quarter, and London, Dalston: where only the coolest people come out to play. However, nothing can beat London’s cultural mix and the 300 languages spoken within its borders – which influence its food, music and fashion scenes.

Arts and culture

Olympic park

The Lee Valley Olympic Park is one of many positive changes made to London to accommodate the Olympic Games

Manchester is now home to a diverse arts festival (the Manchester International Festival) and the presence of the BBC in MediaCityUK should increase the city’s cultural and media output for years to come. But this summer belongs to London. From the recent Jubilee celebrations to the Olympic Games in July, the city is moving heaven and earth to ensure that this will be its greatest year yet. There is one thing that clearly sets the two cities apart: cost of living. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world and residents or visitors can expect to pay far more for accommodation, transport, food and drink than they would in Manchester.

Quality of Life

Business man Manchester versus London

The fast pace of London life splits people into those loving the city life and those preferring a peaceful alternative

Perhaps the most divisive topic on this list, quality of life really boils down to the individual. Salary generally is much higher in London, but so too, as mentioned, is the cost of living. The pay off for many comes in the London experience – a huge cosmopolitan capital with hundreds of sights and events happening literally every day. While Manchester is by no means slow paced, it is considerably smaller and was built on industry rather than economics and government – meaning it lacks the sheer range of historical buildings and locations that London is famous for. In recent years Manchester has developed considerably, with a new skyline and a booming economy – but ultimately the lifestyle you enjoy most will dictate just how much you get out of living in either city.

Both are fantastic cities to live and work in, and at SilverDoor we’re happy to advise you on where to stay and use our local knowledge to help you plan your visit. You’ll have plenty of choice, with around 8,000 London serviced apartments and nearly 900 Manchester serviced apartments.