Planning a trip to the United Kingdom and flying to Manchester Airport and wondering if you can buy a prepaid sim card for the UK on arrival at Manchester Airport? This is a complete guide for buying a sim card at Manchester Airport.

In this guide you can find everything about where to buy a sim card, up to date prices as per January 2024, my recommendation, the best e-sim cards for the UK, information about international sim cards and more.

If I don't have an e-sim card yet, buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival in a new country is the first thing I do. Staying connected makes traveling much easier and of course much more fun.

As I am also trying to visit every country in the world I constantly get to new places and therefore on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world: USA, Asia, EuropeNew York, Miami, JamaicaDubai, Saudi Arabia, Kigali, Nairobi, Pakistan, ShanghaiTel Aviv, Colombia, Turkey, South Africa and many more.

Traveltomtom also wrote specific guides for the best prepaid sim card for tourists in the UK in 2024 and a comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to the UK in 2024.

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your next holiday destination. Bookmark me!

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends buying a Vodafone sim card at Manchester Airport. For £25 GBP ($32 USD) you get 20 GB data for the UK. However, Vodafone UK does NOT support free EU roaming anymore after Brexit, so be careful in case you are traveling onwards to other countries in Europe.

Of course at Traveltomtom we also highly recommend e-sim cards for the UK if your phone is e-sim compatible. There are already UK e-sim cards with 20 GB data for $21 USD and you order them directly on the internet.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for the UK via Nomad, Airalo or SimOptions.

For more detailed info check out Traveltomtom's guide about the best e-sim cards for traveling to the UK in 2024, including a comparison of the best e-sim cards and an answer on all FAQ's about using e-sims.

A great alternative is a travel sim card with data and global coverage. Arrived prepared to Manchester and order your prepaid sim card online before your trip. Check out my comparison of the best international sim cards for travelers in 2024 and pick the one that suits your trip the most.

Best e-sim cards for the UK

An e-sim card is the most convenient and easiest way to get connected when traveling to Manchester in 2024. No need to visit a sim card store anymore, no need to swap physical sim cards. You arrange everything online in a couple clicks.

Unfortunately all the UK mobile internet providers do not sell e-sim cards for tourists, only physical prepaid sim cards are available. But don't worry, you can easily order an e-sim card on the internet through one of the trusted e-sim providers.

You order an e-sim card for the UK on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a UK e-sim card installed on your phone.

Upon arrival in Manchester it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.

Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for the United Kingdom.

For all FAQ's about using e-sim cards when traveling to the United Kingdom click on the link to read my detailed guide.

Airalo

airalo esim cards for united kingdom

Airalo offers multiple data-only e-sim cards for traveling in the UK and Traveltomtom has used Airalo lots of times without any problem Check out the Airalo e-sim card deals for the UK in 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $7.5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $15 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $22.5 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $36 USD

Click here for more info or to directly order an e-sim card for the UK via Airalo.

The above Airalo e-sim cards for the UK are from Uki Mobile and are data-only. Calling and texting is NOT supported. The data allowance is only valid in the UK, there is no free EU roaming with these e-Sim cards. They operate on the 4G/LTE networks of O2 and Three.

SimOptions

simoptions international esim cards for uk 2024

SimOptions offers different e-sim cards, so called international e-sim cards for traveling. These e-sim cards are valid in up to 39 countries and include EU data-roaming and as well as calling and texting.

Check out the SimOptions international e-sim card plans for 2024:

  • 15 GB data + unlimited calls for 15 days = $21.90 USD
  • 10 GB data (5G ready) + $2 calling credit for 30 days = $24.90 USD 
  • 12 GB data + 30 minutes international + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $29.90 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $34.90 USD (data-only, no EU roaming)
  • 30 GB data + unlimited calls for 30 days = $44.90 USD
  • 30 GB data + 120 minutes international + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $49.90 USD
  • 50 GB data (5G ready) + unlimited calls/text for 28 days = $59.90 USD

Click here to order an international e-sim card for the UK via SimOptions or find more offers and info in the link.

Nomad

nomad esim card plans for uk 2024

A third trusted and reviewed e-sim provider is Nomad. Traveltomtom has used Nomad in more than 10 countries around the world.

Here are the regular Nomad e-sim card plans for the UK in 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $7 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $8 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $15 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $21 USD

Click here to order an e-sim card for the UK from Nomad.

Before buying an e-sim card for the UK make sure your phone is e-sim card compatible and unlocked. Want to know more about using e-sim cards when traveling to the UK then check out my complete guide in the link.

In case your phone is not e-sim card compatible and you are still looking to buy a sim card online for your trip to the UK then there are also physical international prepaid sim cards. You can for example already get 10 GB data plus unlimited calls in Europe for $24.90 USD. Click here to order this international sim card for the UK directly online via SimOptions.

UK prepaid sim cards and EU roaming

Most of the prepaid sim cards you can buy at Manchester Airport support EU roaming, even after Brexit. But be careful and always ask when buying a prepaid sim card in the UK for the latest EU roaming restrictions. Brexit changed a lot!

For example Vodafone UK prepaid sim cards do NOT support free EU roaming anymore. Three and EE sim cards still allow free EU roaming, even after Brexit. For more info check out my guide for the best prepaid and e-sim cards for the UK in 2024.

If you are traveling onwards to other countries in Europe and want a hassle free sim card for ALL of Europe including the EU then order a sim card online listed in my article: best e-sim cards and prepaid sim cards for traveling in Europe in 2024.

For more info about free EU roaming and Brexit check my article about tips and tricks for buying a prepaid sim card in Europe on arrival.

Manchester Airport

There are 3 different terminals at Manchester Airport, but if you are flying in from outside Europe you will either land in Terminal 1 or 2. Terminal 3 is only used for flights within Europe. Both, Terminal 1 and 2 are easy to navigate and there are multiple options to buy a UK sim card at Manchester Airport.

Manchester Airport offers its passengers 4 hours of free wifi. Manchester Airport wifi is reliable, fast and free to access. Great service!

Where to buy a sim card at Manchester Airport

The below prices and data plans are updated as per January 2024 and £1 GBP = $1.27 USD and $1 USD = £0.78 GBP.

Arriving at Manchester Airport means you can buy a sim card for tourists in 4 different places:

  • Sim card vending machine
  • Spar Shop
  • WH Smith Shop
  • Currency Exchange

At Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 at Manchester Airport you will find all 4 above options to buy a UK prepaid sim card and they can be found very easily.

uk sim card manchester airport 7

The Spar Shops at Manchester Airport are open 24 hours.

uk sim card manchester airport 9

WH Smith Stores close at 10.00 pm every day, but is arguably the best place to buy a UK sim card at Manchester Airport in 2024.

Sim card vending machine Manchester Airport

uk sim card manchester airport 2

You will find the sim card vending machines at the luggage belts in Terminal 1 and 2 so while waiting for your luggage you can already buy a sim card at Manchester Airport. Don’t expect any service here of course, although the sim cards are already activated you just gotta put them in your phone. What you see is what you get:

uk sim card manchester airport 5

Lycamobile UK sim card

  • unlimited calls and text + 6 GB data - valid for 30 days in all of Europe = £25 GBP - $32 USD
  • unlimited calls and text + 20 GB data - valid for 30 days in the UK = £35 GBP

uk sim card manchester airport 4

EE UK sim card

  • 150 minutes + 10.5 GB data - valid for 30 days in all of Europe = £20 GBP - $25 USD
  • 250 minutes + 13 GB data - valid for 30 days in all of Europe = £25 GBP

uk sim card manchester airport 3

Three UK sim card

  • unlimited calls and text + 12 GB data - valid for 30 days in all of Europe = £30 GBP - $38 USD
  • unlimited calls and text and data - valid for 30 days in all of Europe = £45 GBP

WH Smith Manchester Airport

All the WH Smith shops in Manchester Airport sell you the same prepaid sim cards like all over the UK.

Vodafones UK sim card

uk sim card manchester airport 10

  • 250 minutes + unlimited sms + 20 GB data + £5 credit - valid for 30 days in the UK only = £25 GBP - $32 USD

EE UK sim card

uk sim card manchester airport 11

  • 150 minutes and 150 sms + 10.5 GB data - valid for 30 days in all of Europe, USA, Aus, NZ and South America = £20 GBP - $25 USD
  • 250 minutes and 500 sms + 13 GB data - valid for 30 days in all of Europe, USA, Aus, NZ and South America = £25 GBP

Lebara UK sim card

uk sim card manchester airport 12

  • 500 minutes international (41 destinations) and 500 UK minutes + 1 GB data - for 30 days = £20 GBP - $25 USD
  • 1000 minutes international (40 countries), unlimited UK minutes and 1000 UK sms + 5 GB data and £5 extra credit - for 30 days = £30 GBP

Spar Supermarket Manchester Airport

uk sim card manchester airport 6

As it suggest the supermarkets aren’t the best place for buying a sim card at Manchester Airport, but they are the only ones that are open 24 hours. So this is your last option. All UK sim cards at Spar Manchester Airport cost £2.99 GBP and there are about 10 different UK prepaid sim cards to choose from.

You will need to top up yourself as the sim cards do mostly not come with credit, but 3 GB data costs about £10 GBP. These sim cards are activated, but you will have to top up online, not convenient!

Currency Exchange Manchester Airport

uk sim card manchester airport 8

Also at the Currency Exchange boots they sell UK prepaid sim cards for tourists at Manchester Airport. They one have a Lebara UK sim card on offer:

  • Unlimited UK minutes and 1000 sms + 100 international minutes to 40 countries + 6 GB data (UK only) - for 30 days = £25 GBP - $32 USD.

Best sim card Manchester Airport in 2024

For the best service you want to buy a sim card at Manchester Airport at one of the WH Smith shops. The staff is able to help you out a little and there is much more service compared to the other places that sell prepaid sim cards for tourists at Manchester Airport.

The best UK sim card at Manchester Airport is a Vodafone sim card as for £25 GBP that gives you 20 GB data valid all across Europe as well as in Switzerland, Norway and Turkey + 4 hours calling time for 30 days. Great pay-as-you-go deal!

Unfortunately you can still not get an e-sim card at Manchester Airport, they only sell physical prepaid sim cards for tourists. Traveltomtom definitely recommends e-sim cards for traveling to Manchester.

Check out my complete guide about buying an e-sim card for the UK in 2024.

This e-sim card guide will answer your questions about the best e-sim cards for the UK, up to date prices, where to order and all other FAQ's about using e-sim cards when traveling to the UK.

If you don't want to buy a prepaid sim card at Manchester Airport but rather get one in the city center, because it is much cheaper then go check out my guide about buying a prepaid tourist sim card in the United Kingdom.

Buying a prepaid sim card for the UK online

international prepaid sim cards for traveling to uk 2024

The WH Smith shops are unfortunately only open until 10pm and it can be really busy, so to avoid all that hassle you can order your sim card for the UK and even all of Europe online. If your phone is not e-sim compatible, but you still would like to order a sim card for the UK on the internet then look into the following international prepaid sim cards.

Arrive prepared in Manchester with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in Manchester, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.

SimOptions is the only sim card provider that sells physical prepaid sim cards for the UK:

1. O2 Go Card - $24.90

  • 10 GB data
  • $2 calling credit (no top-up)
  • valid for 30 days
  • valid in 34 countries
  • 4G/LTE

2. Three Data Pack - $24.90

  • 10 GB data
  • Unlimited calls/sms
  • Valid 30 days
  • Valid in 56 countries
  • 4G/LTE

3. Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90

  • 12 GB data
  • Unlimited calls/sms in Europe
  • 30 minutes worldwide
  • 200 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days
  • Valid in 34 countries
  • 4G/LTE

4. Bouygues Telecom - $44.90

  • 30 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • Valid 30 days
  • Valid in 39 countries
  • 4G/LTE

5. Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90

  • 30 GB data
  • Unlimited calls/sms in Europe
  • 120 minutes worldwide
  • 1,000 sms worldwide
  • Valid 30 days
  • Valid in 39 countries
  • 4G/LTE

Click here to order an international sim card for traveling to the UK via SimOptions.

Also a last reminder that if your phone is e-sim compatible you can get connected in just a couple clicks. There are data-only e-sim cards for the UK, but also e-sim cards including calls and text valid in all of Europe. You can order your e-sim card for the UK directly online through either SimOptions, Airalo or Nomad

Or check out my complete guide with a comparison of the best e-sim cards for the United Kingdom in 2024.

How to get from Manchester Airport to the city

There is a Metrolink service that connects the Airport with the Cornbrook Station in South Manchester. The journey takes a little over 30 minutes and goes almost every 10 minutes. Cornbrook station is not Manchester City Center, but it’s walkable distance or you could even take another short 4 minutes tram.

There is also a train station between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. There is a walking bridge in and between the terminals and the train station. There are trains running to Piccadilly Station from Manchester Airport every 10 minutes and the journey only takes you about 20 minutes.

The train is my preferred way to get from Manchester Airport to Manchester city center.

I hope this article about buying a UK sim card at Manchester Airport was helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions, I am happy to help you out. Please leave me a comment below.

For a complete guide about the best UK prepaid and e-sim cards for tourists in 2024 or the best European (e)-sim cards for travelers in 2024 have a look at my articles in the links.

Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.

Enjoy your trip to Manchester!

Some links in this article about buying a sim card for traveling to Manchester are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you.