Free and Cheap Date Ideas to Try in Manchester

| © Mark Waugh / Alamy Stock Photo
Emma Lavelle

Maybe you’re planning the ultimate first date, or perhaps you’ve been together for years and just like to go out on a date every now and again. No matter how well you know each other, here is our guide to the ten best places for a date in and around Manchester – all of them will cost you less than £10!

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Wander around Altrincham Market

Yes, the food and drink indoors can be a little pricy but there are plenty of options on the outdoors market for grabbing an affordable snack and settling down on a bench to watch the world go by. The bustling atmosphere and interesting stalls make this a great place to wander around while getting to know each other. At weekends there are often musicians playing too. If you time your visit just before the vendors pack up for the day you might even catch some bargains!

Visit the Whitworth

Most of the exhibitions at the Whitworth Gallery are free of charge, making this award-winning art gallery a perfect choice for a cheap date. Spend a few hours wandering around the gallery, impressing your date with your knowledge of art or discussing your favourite pieces. There’s also an outdoor sculpture garden for dry days and a café that offers romantic views over the park if you fancy splashing out on a coffee.

Watch a lunchtime concert at Chetham’s

Love classic music? The students at Chetham’s School of Music often put on free lunchtime concerts while practicing their skills. Check out the school’s website for listings and make sure you book in advance so as not to miss out.

Go for a walk

The woods in Alderley Edge provide an escape into nature close to Manchester

Hop on a train for a couple of quid and you’ll find yourself out in the countryside with endless possibilities for a romantic walk with your date. Head into the Peaks if you fancy a challenging climb up a steep hill followed by a rewarding pint in a country pub at the end of the day. What better way to test your date’s stamina?

Enjoy pizza at Rudy’s

If you want to go out for a delicious dinner in a hip eatery that is bound to impress, head to Rudy’s for the best pizza in Manchester with surprisingly low prices. All of the pizzas are less than £10 and if you opt for a classic Marinara you’ll even have change for a fiver! Throw in a bottle of wine and you can enjoy a romantic date for £12.50 each!

Catch a gig

You don’t have to spend a fortune to watch a band in Manchester. Keep your eye on the listings at smaller venues, particularly in the Northern Quarter and southern suburbs like Chorlton and Withington for cheap or even occasionally free gigs. Local and touring bands alike often play gigs where entry is less than £10.

Go for coffee and cake at Ziferblat

Located in the heart of Manchester’s hip Northern Quarter, Ziferblat boasts an unusual concept: rather than paying for what you consume, you pay by the minute. There’s board games piled up on the tables, plenty of sofas for snuggling up on and a fully-stocked kitchen filled with teas, coffees and cake. The pay-for-your-time concept works particularly well if you don’t click with your date and cut it short!

Listen to jazz at Matt & Phred’s

This dark jazz bar is a local favourite haunt, thanks to its cosy ambience, delicious pizza and regular free gigs. Turn up, secure a table and order a couple of drinks while you enjoy the romantic atmosphere. After all, there’s nothing sexier than jazz.

Go for a picnic

Romantic picnic for two

If you want to go for a meal with your date but are on a tight budget, why not nip into a local delicatessen (we love Barbakan in Chorlton) and stock up on freshly baked bread, olives, cheese and snacks to take to a local park? Spread out a picnic blanket and enjoy a romantic dinner al fresco without the interruptions of waiters and fellow diners.

Play ping pong at Twenty Twenty Two

Head into the back room of Twenty Twenty Two to embrace your competitive side with a couple of rounds of ping pong. Most nights it costs £5 per half hour rental of a table, but every Monday it’s free ping pong all night long!

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