13 Survival Tips For A Southerner Living In Manchester

It's dead good, honest.


Whilst city wonderlust draws many so-called 'yuppies' (that's young professionals, to those in-the-know) to London, an increasing number of Southerners are flocking to the Northern climates of Manchester (good on yer love). And why wouldn’t they? Cheaper rent, awesome night life and a buzzing music scene are all on offer in the Northern capital. 

But there’s a catch. Regular downpours, language barriers and an unprecedented local friendliness can leave unsuspecting Southerners feeling confused.

So, if you’re sat there wondering who this ‘our kid’ is that everyone speaks so fondly of, or why Mancunians are eating dinner at lunchtime, then listen up. 

We’ve pulled together 'A Southerners Survival Guide to Manchester', complete with everything you need to know to fit in up North.

1. Prepare for extreme weather conditions

Manchester; where umbrellas go to die and summer dreams are crushed. Many the naïve Southerner has suffered the delusion that Manchester downpours are hyped for comedic value – my dear friend, they are not. A piece of advice: expect it to be cold, very cold. And wet, very wet.

2. And by preparing for the weather, we mean don’t prepare at all

Yes, it’s chucking down a sheet of ice and what feels like glass, but should you wear a coat? Absolutely not. Mancs are a tough breed of weather-resistant folk who will don shorts in even the harshest of conditions. So, you’ll need to thicken that soft Southern skin if you want to blend in.


3. Know thy bread 

Barm, bap, cob, roll, muffin or bun – it’s a rookie mistake to assume they are all the same type of bread. This question catches out amateur Northerners in an instant, (even University academics struggled to crack the code) so do your research at a reputable institute: Greggs. 

And with one on every street corner, there’s no excuse folks.

Greggs Free

4. Talk proper Manc

It’s a dialect that leaves even the most distinguished linguist guessing, but master it you must if you want to survive up north. That velvety southern slur sticks out like a sore thumb against the rugged Manc accent, so drop some t’s and embrace some beloved Mancunian slang. Here’s a couple for you to try at home:

Mancunian: “It were dead good.”

Southern translation: “I had the most fabulous time.”

Mancunian: “owh my god that’s ‘angin.”

Southern translation: “Good heavens what is this monstrosity before me!?”

5. Discover the divine creation that is chips and gravy

Chips = good. Gravy = gooood. Put them together and it's bloody incredible.

If this doesn’t convert you into a t-dropping, barm-loving Manc, then nothing will. 

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6. Expect all your meals to be served on anything but a plate

Plates rarely make an appearance in the hipster hotspots of Manchester city centre, so brace yourself for an array of household objects masquerading as crockery. Tin trays, blocks of wood or just a sheet of paper – if it’s got a flat surface, it can present food.  

Burger Fries Wooden Board

7. Talk to strangers

I know what your Mumma said, but it’s time to talk to strangers. Because Mancunians do this weird thing where they actually acknowledge one another – I kid you not. On the metro, at the bus stop, in shops – they strike up a conversation. 

No, no, my southern companion, they are not trying to mug, convert or abuse you. They’re just friendly folk. So stop staring at the floor or reaching for your rape alarm, and smile back.

8. Speak of football with extreme caution

Man United or City? It’s the decision that rips families apart, extinguishes relationships and cause many the kerfuffle. Needless to say, Mancs are pretty passionate about their football. So, whichever side of the fence you fall on, tread with care. (And whatever you do, do not support Liverpool.)

9. Embrace your inner hipster

Grow a beard. Hang out in record shops. And drink obscure draught beer. Because Manchester is a huge hipster hotspot. So get ready to source wacky looks from Affleck’s Palace and dress in anything reminiscent of decades past. 

10. Learn the greatness of Black Dog Ballroom and pray that you are worthy

Love it or hate it, Manchester night life can’t live without it. Yes, Black Dog Ballroom is verging on dingy and sometimes has questionable clientele, but you’ll soon realise that it is the perfect way to end your night out with a bang. 

Blackdog Door

11. Expect a slower pace of transport

It may be a buzzing city, but things move a little more slowly up North, especially when it comes to transport. Say bye-bye to your 2-minute tubes, Londoners, as trams usually run every 12 minutes and buses every 5. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing; why not strike up a convo with the lovely-looking stranger near you (you should be good at talking to people by now). And whilst you can’t purchase a bus ticket with a blasé swipe of your Oyster card, there is a FREE bus route around the city centre. 

12. Appreciate that graffiti is art and not vandalism

Unlike what your local village council might have told you back home, street art is a good thing. Forget the pristine building walls you see down south, as Manchester takes an edgier approach to building presentation. From tackling social issues to showcasing local talent, Manchester’s street art scene is thriving.  

13. Live in Chorlton

Shacking up in a semi-decrepit Victorian house-share in Manchester’s up-and-coming suburb is a rite of passage for northern newbies. Only once you have enjoyed the independent bars of Beech Road, eaten the mother of all pies at Pi and sampled Unicorn supermarket’s ‘free from everything’ range can you begin to understand the lustre of life here. 

If you can follow this guide and live by everything in it, then you’ll be a Manc my son.

READ NEXT: 6 Things You Need To Know About Food In The North

Written By


Loves eating cake and baking (skilled at the former, not so great at the latter.) Discovering the vibrant city that is Manchester one burrito at a time.Email: amy@lovin.com