Travel & Transport

Travel to Manchester

Manchester is a global gateway to north-west England with an airport that has one of the most comprehensive international route networks in the UK. Manchester's central location means the city is able to provide fast and efficient transport to and from all major UK cities via the extensive motorway and rail network.


Manchester Airport

With over 200 non-stop flight routes, Manchester Airport is an international destination. It offers direct flights from nearly every major European city including Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, as well as a large number of international destinations. Manchester Airport is ranked in the top 25 airports in the world and continues to expand its route network.

The airport is situated just 10 miles (16 km) from Manchester city centre and is connected by direct trains which run every 10 minutes to Piccadilly train station. 

Airport to city centre by train: 10 miles / 15 minutes / c. £3.50 ($5.35)

Airport to city centre by taxi: 10 miles / 20-25 minutes / c. £20.00 ($30.50)

More information on all direct flights to Manchester can be found here.


Manchester Piccadilly

The UK is very well connected to Europe which will be a particular benefit to delegates and exhibiting partners. The Eurostar link serves London’s St Pancras International station with trains arriving many times each day from France and Belgium, and there are excellent connections to the UK’s national rail network and to Manchester.

For those looking to travel primarily by rail, delegates from outside of the UK can benefit from the BritRail GB pass. The BritRail GB pass allows for unlimited travel on any of the UK's networks.

Manchester Piccadilly is one of three main stations in Manchester and offers direct services to other major UK cities. There are 60 direct trains a day to London (every 20 minutes), with a journey time of just over two hours.

There are direct, high-speed Virgin Trains from London to Manchester which run frequently on the West Coast line. Trains from London run every 20 minutes, six and a half days a week with an average journey time of just 2hrs 07 minutes, you'll be in Manchester city centre before you know it. 

Bookings open 12 weeks before travel with best value fares for individuals if you can book in advance and fix your date and time of travel.

Travelling with a group of 3-9? We offer discounts of 20% off Advance fares for small groups. Click here for more details.

When booking on there are no fees or charges and you can also claim Nectar points.



Travelling to Manchester by road is simple and efficient with half of Britain’s motorway network passing through the region allowing easy access from across the UK. Eurotunnel is the fastest cross-channel operator, with a crossing time of just 35 minutes from Calais to Folkestone. Crossings are frequent, with up to 4 departures an hour at peak times. There are numerous direct ferry connections from many European destinations including France, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Norway and Spain.

Visa Requirements

Visa Requirements

Delegates who wish to attend ESOF 2016 from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will need to familiarise themselves with the visa requirements for their country well in advance of the conference. You can check if you need a visa to visit the UK here.

If you require more information about the regulations concerning the length of your stay, how much money you can bring and what products you can take in and out of the country, application forms, how to apply for a visa, as well as guidance for visitors coming to the UK; the UK Border Agency has an informative website providing the necessary detailed requirements for the application process which you can access here.

Visitors to the UK must hold a valid passport before starting their journey: 

  • All visitors who wish to enter the UK must meet the requirements of the UK immigration regulations 
  • EU citizens can stay in the UK for as long as required 
  • Visitors from other European countries, outwith the EU, can stay for up to three months 
  • Visitors from the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, can stay for up to six months, providing they have a return ticket and funds to cover the trip 
  • Visitors from any other country in the world will require a visa 

Should you need a letter of invitation to obtain an Entry Visa, please contact Conference Partners at will only be issued to delegates who have registered and paid in full. Please note the British Embassy will only accept a visa letter if it states that the delegate has registered for the conference and has paid their registration fee and accommodation fees in full.

It can take up to 8 weeks to process a visa application and early application is recommended. The Conference Organising Committee, nor its agents, can accept any responsibility for visa applications. Where a delegate is unable to attend because of failure to obtain a visa on time, the normal cancellation policy for registration fee and accommodation will apply.

Please note that we cannot enter into correspondence with the UK Authorities on your behalf and any invitation letter does not imply any financial liability on our part.

Travel Around Manchester

Manchester is a compact city centre and the central location of the conference venue means hotels, shops, restaurants and bars are all in easy walking distance, making it simple for delegates to get to know the city quickly. The main attractions are situated within a 20 minute radius and the city centre also has many pedestrian-only zones, dedicated bike routes and marked cycle lanes. Manchester also has an excellent public transport network with many inexpensive and simple travel options.


Metroshuttle – the free bus network

ESOF 2016 delegates will benefit from a free city centre bus service known as Metroshuttle, which offers three circular routes covering all of the main areas of the city centre, linking all city centre railway stations, the main NCP car parks, and many bus and Metrolink tram stops. For more information click here.


Metrolink trams

Manchester has an extensive tram network with services running every few minutes and connecting all major railway stations and tourist attractions. Metrolink is the largest urban tram network in the UK and trams now run to 92 stops covering almost 90km of track. For more information visit the Metrolink website here.



Greater Manchester has an extensive bus network operated by various commercial operators. It offers high levels of connectivity and value for money for passengers with services operating well into the night to most areas within the region. For more detailed information on bus routes click here

Getting to the Venue