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Separated by just over 30 miles of the East Lancs’ Road, Liverpool and Manchester are cities that have plenty in common, yet share a somewhat turbulent relationship. Whether it’s football, music or the more historic rivalry rooted in the building of the Manchester Ship Canal in the 19th century, these two cities love to get one up on the other!

As an organisation with a foot (or a hostel..) in both camps, we at YHA feel pretty well placed to give our opinion as to which is top dog in the North West! Here’s what we think:

Both cities are fiercely proud of their musical heritage, and both Liverpool and Manchester stake a claim towards being the home of popular music in Britain. With bands such as Oasis, The Smiths and The Stone Roses hailing from within its boundaries, and even a whole sound of its own being spawned during the ‘Madchester’ era, Manchester is fiercely proud of its music scene. Liverpool, meanwhile, has claims of its own which generally focus around one band in particular. Whilst it has produced The La’s, Echo and the Bunnymen and Elvis Costello, it is of course the Beatles which set the city apart. As the band known as the greatest ever and a major influence on bands for generations to follow, we reckon this gives Liverpool the musical edge.

Verdict: Liverpool 1-0 Manchester

From soaps to sporting shows, great presenters to world-famous actors, these two cities have had plenty of presence on our screens over the years. If you’re a fan of a soap, then it’s likely you’ll have watched plenty of both Brookside and Coronation Street, the latter still going after more than 50 years of drama. Favourites like the Royle Family, Bread, Life on Mars and Cold Feet were also set and shot in the North West, but with the BBC’s recent move to Media City in Salford and the enduring popularity of ‘Corrie’, we’re giving this one to Manchester.

Verdict: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester

It’s fair to say that between them, Liverpool and Manchester form something of a powerhouse in football. With 4 of the most successful Premier League clubs, in Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, the two cities have won 51 (soon to be 52) league titles and countless other trophies between them. Whilst Liverpool’s 5 European Cup triumphs trumps that of Manchester’s two clubs, the current balance of power lies in Manchester, and makes it virtually impossible to choose between the two. We’re going to sit on the fence on this one!

Verdict: Score remains – Liverpool 1-1 Manchester

With sport and music tending to dominate cultural perceptions of Manchester and Liverpool, often overlooked is the amazing array of art, history and opportunities for learning available in these two cities. From the Lowry Centre, IWM North and the John Rylands Library, to Tate Liverpool, The Walker Art Gallery and the International Slavery Museum, both Liverpool and Manchester have a vibrant arts and culture scene to interest and be appreciated by all tastes. However, with more museums and galleries than any English city outside of London, and a year as Europe’s Capital of Culture under its belt, we’re giving this one to Liverpool.

Verdict: Liverpool 2-1 Manchester

These two cities pride themselves on being centres for scientific breakthroughs and technological developments in engineering. The first School for the Blind, Mechanics’ Institute, council house and railway tunnels were all founded in Liverpool. Meanwhile down the road in Manchester, they’ve really been busy. From Ernest Rutherford splitting the atom, to Alan Turing inventing the world’s first computer, and more recently the development of graphene, discoveries and inventions made in Manchester have helped to shape the world as we know it. As the saying goes, “What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow”.

Verdict: Liverpool 2-2 Manchester

Final Score: Liverpool 2-2 Manchester

There you have it – an honourable draw between these two bastions of the North West!

We just can’t split the two cities but perhaps you can for yourself. Both Liverpool and Manchester provide the perfect destinations for a UK city break, and YHA hostels located in the centres of both cities offer you great value accommodation close to all of the very best action. Book your stay in Liverpool or Manchester now!

Not convinced? Decide which city your prefer with our super-quick quiz!

Preferred event venue?
Albert Hall
Cavern Club



Best Building?
Beetham Tower
Liverpool Anglican Cathedral



Preferred Footballer
Paul Scholes
Steven Gerrard



Preferred Band?
The Beatles



Preferred accent?



Share the quiz to show your results !

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Manchester or Liverpool

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Written by Ruby Higton

Here is Ruby and she is a digital marketer at YHA. She looks after all things social media, as well as content writing for and SEO. Her favourite YHA is YHA Perranporth.

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