Flying to Europe and landing in Manchester Airport. This is your guide for buying a sim card at Manchester Airport. I checked it myself and updated this article as of January 2021. avoid high roaming costs and buy a UK sim card to stay connected. It is easy and straight forward to get a sim card at Manchester Airport regardless which terminal you arrive.

You can find many articles for buying a tourist sim card on my travel blog: sim card at London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Luton Airport, Stansted Airport and of course also a complete guide for the best UK sim card for tourists. All articles updated with prices and deals as of January 2021.

uk sim card manchester airport

UK sim cards and traveling in Europe

You are lucky when Manchester is your first stop on your Europe trip. UK sim cards are one of the best prepaid sim cards for traveling in Europe. Click on the link to read about my complete research, but basically UK sim cards come with roaming free minutes, text and data in all of Europe.

Buy a Europe sim card online

Skip the hassle and buy your sim card for Europe online. These are the best sim card deals for Europe with data and you can easily order them online.

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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!

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Where to buy a sim card at Manchester Airport

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. Due to the corona pandemic some shops may be (temporary) closed in 2021.

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The Spar Shops at Manchester Airport are open 24 hours.

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WH Smith Stores close at 10pm every evening, but is arguably the best place to buy a UK sim card at Manchester Airport in 2020.

Sim card vending machine Manchester Airport

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:

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Lyca Mobile UK sim card

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

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EE UK sim card

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

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Three UK sim card

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

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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

  • £25 = 250 minutes + unlimited sms + 20 GB data + £5 credit - valid for 30 days in all of Europe, Turkey, Norway and Switzerland included.

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EE UK sim card

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

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Lebara UK sim card

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

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Spar Supermarket Manchester Airport

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 and there are about 10 different UK prepaid sim cards to choose from.

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

Currency Exchange Manchester Airport

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:

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

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Best sim card Manchester Airport

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 at least compared to all the other selling points.

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

Buy a Europe sim card with data online

The WH Smith shops are unfortunately only open until 10pm and it can be busy, so to avoid all that hassle you can order your sim card for Europe and the UK online. Within a couple clicks you order a sim card that will be shipped to your home address. It is already activated for you and you are online as soon as you land.

The following 4 options can be ordered through the Simpotions website, specialized in sim cards for travelers. All the below prepaid sim cards for traveling in the UK can be found in the link.

1. Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90

  • 8 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • 30 minutes worldwide
  • Unlimited sms in Europe
  • 200 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days

2. Three PAYG AIO15 - $29.90

  • 10 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

3. Three PAYG AIO20 - $39.90

  • 12 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

4. Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90

  • 20 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • 120 minutes worldwide
  • Unlimited sms in Europe
  • 1,000 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days

Personally I would recommend you the last available option: Orange Holiday Europe with 20 GB data. Click here to order it directly through the Simoptions website. It will be shipped to your home address and this international travel sim card is already activated.

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Portable Wifi for the UK

When traveling to the UK and/or Europe with kids then a TEP Wireless portable Wifi is a great option to consider. This portable Wifi will let you connect up to 5 devices at the same time and all enjoy high speed internet for a couple bucks a day. Click on the banner below or the link above for more info.

portable wifi device for traveling

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 sim card for tourists or the best European sim cards for travelers have a look at my articles in the links.

Enjoy your trip to Manchester!

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