The Virgin Red guide to Manchester

Manchester Cityscape at sunset. Entire city shown with Beetham Tower or the Hilton Hotel in the centre. Aerial view of Manchester city centre. Beautiful city skyline photograph at sunset.
Image of Katie Fiddaman
by Katie Fiddaman
26 September 2023

Why visit Manchester? With an endless supply of restaurants, bars, shows and events, the city was voted the second friendliest in the world in 2022 and is a great spot to visit any time of year.  

Whether you’re headed to see the latest show in the AO Arena’s Red Room or stopping by the Theatre of Dreams, there’s much to do and many points to earn as a member of Virgin Red in the city. Get the ball rolling before you arrive by earning three points per £1 or make savings by using Virgin Points when you book your travel with Virgin Trains Ticketing.

Here are some of the best favourite things to do in Manchester. Sound.

Catch a show at the AO Arena

Since Virgin Red has its very own Virgin Red Room at the AO Arena, buying tickets to upcoming events and concerts using your Virgin Points will give you exclusive access to the space where you’ll be treated like an A-lister – upcoming events include 5 Seconds of Summer, The Best of Elvis in Concert, and 50 Cent. And you can check out some places nearby to book with SquareMeal and earn points with every chew.

From comedy and chart-toppers to reunion tours, you can experience the extraordinary at the Virgin Red Room. The private space seats 16 guests and with the mega view, you’ll feel close to the action and be able to dance like nobody’s watching.

And that’s not all! Here’s what your two tickets to the AO Arena Manchester will get you: 

  • The Virgin Red Room - The suite seats up to 16 lucky people

  • Extraordinary view - Uninterrupted stage view with seats facing the stage straight-on

  • VIP Access - Fast-tracked entry via the exclusive entrance

  • Personal service - Private pay bar, waiter service, cloakroom and en-suite bathroom

  • Complimentary parking - A parking space reserved just for you next to the Arena.

Eat to your heart’s content with SquareMeal

Greater Manchester can lay claim to some truly lip-smacking regional treats, and as the UK’s leading independent restaurant guide for more than 30 years, SquareMeal is the go-to destination for those looking for somewhere to eat, meet or celebrate. SquareMeal has over 300 restaurants in Manchester, with everything from great steaks to banging cocktails and epic desserts.

And if you book in for a meal and leave a review on SquareMeal, you could bag yourself some tasty Virgin Points.

You’ll get:

  • 100 points for making a reservation and dining at your chosen restaurant.

  • 100 - 3000+ points each time you spend £20 or more in one of SquareMeal’s participating restaurants with your linked payment card.

  • 25 points for your opinion by leaving a review of your experience.

Take to the skies with a helicopter ride

If you want to see Manchester in a new way, take to the skies with a helicopter ride. Enjoy a smooth 12 mile ride as you’re propelled upwards and climb over 1,000ft as you accelerate to speeds of over 120mph. Communicate with the pilot and listen to the air traffic radio via your headset as you take in the incredible views of local monuments like Manchester Town Hall, Manchester Cathedral and Beetham Tower. Before you know it, it’ll be time to gently touchdown, but the memory of the day will last forever.

Image of the controls in a helicopter flying over the UK
Virgin Experience Days

The experience is just 9,500 Virgin Points through Virgin Red. And as it’s located in Greater Manchester, it’s the perfect experience for your stay in this awesome city. So, if you’ve never flown in a helicopter before, don’t miss your chance and use your points today. 

Take a tour of Old Trafford

You can check out the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, view the historic Stretford End, take the manager's spot in the dugout, try out your favourite player’s seat in the home changing room, and take the famous walk through the players’ tunnel to the pitch. Your guide will share their extensive knowledge and answer any questions you may have and you’ll receive a tour certificate as a memento.

Once you’ve walked in the footsteps of Manchester United’s greats,  you can browse the museum at your leisure, learn about the legends, and relive the Red Devils’ triumphs.

The statue of three people outside Old Trafford stadium in Manchester
Virgin Experience Days

What’s more, this tour for two is part of the Amber Collection voucher, available on Virgin Red for 8,750 points. 

Watch a film at Vue 

If you fancy a chilled night whilst you’re in Manchester, head down to Vue for a big screen experience and pay for your film ticket with Virgin Points. 

For just 1,350 Virgin Points, you can be the first in line to experience a premium viewing experience of the latest blockbuster releases at a Vue. 

Image of a couple at the Cinema.
Vue Cinemas

Whether you’re into adventure or animation, musicals or mystery, seeing your favourite film at Vue is exhilarating. Be drawn into the big screen and watch the story come to life as you lose yourself in the action. 

Blast your adrenaline in a supercar

Buckle up for the ultimate driving experience with this Triple Supercar Blast. You’ll have your pick from the world’s top supercars like sleek Ferraris, stunning Lamborghinis, luxurious Aston Martins, sporty Porsches, and many more. With so many incredible supercars to choose from, the hardest part of your day will be choosing which ones to drive!

Image of supercars.
Virgin Experience Days

What’s more, you’ll earn Virgin Points when you book your tour through Virgin Experience Days. Or, if a Mustang is more your cup of tea, you can purchase a Mustang Blast Experience for just 6,000 Virgin Points. And as it’s under an hour away from Manchester city centre, the racetrack is a great way to blow off some steam. Note, car availability varies by location.

Discover the art of Thai cooking with a masterclass

Create a culinary feast with the guidance of expert chefs with this Thai Cooking Masterclass with Welcome Drink for Two at Thaikhun. Bursting at the seams with authentic street food and cocktails inspired by the Southeast Asian nation, every Thaikhun takes you on a journey across the world to Khao San Road.

Kick things off with a welcome drink as you and your guest soak up the spectacular décor transported from the streets of Bangkok. Your private lesson will begin with an introduction to Thai ingredients and cooking before a demonstration from the chefs. Putting your new-found knowledge to the test, you’ll learn to cook a delicious main and starter each.

Once your finished creations are ready, you’ll sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labour. 

Image of a lady cooking with big flames in a Thai Masterclass in Manchester.
Virgin Experience Days

What’s more, you’ll earn Virgin Points when you book your tour through Virgin Experience Days