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Review: the new luxury 1903 Lounge in Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2 extension

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This is our review of the new 1903 Lounge in the newly opened Terminal 2 extension at Manchester Airport.

Yesterday we reviewed the new Escape Lounge in Manchester Terminal 2. Last week I wrote a broader review of the new Manchester Terminal 2 building itself.

When fully operational there will be three new open-access lounges in the Terminal 2 extension: the Escape Lounge, 1903 Lounge and an Aspire lounge. Virgin Atlantic is also opening a Clubhouse for the exclusive use of its passengers.

Manchester Airport T2 lounges

Both the Escape and 1903 lounges are operated by the airport itself. You will also find these brands at the other terminals as well as at Stansted Airport and East Midlands Airport, which are also owned by Manchester Airports Group.

1903 is the premium brand and features self-pour alcohol as well as an improved range of freshly made food.

The lounge is currently closed except for specific Virgin Atlantic flights, but is due to open more widely in September. It is also the lounge that Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Etihad business class passengers will have access to.

Entry to the 1903 Lounge is via the same shared entrance as the Escape Lounge, located on the mezzanine floor of the terminal and pictured above. The 1903 Lounge is straight ahead:

Manchester Terminal 2 1903 lounge entrance

Since the lounge is not fully open yet it was empty when we visited, although it is pretty much ready to go:

Manchester Terminal 2 1903 lounge

There are two bar islands, where you can pour your own alcoholic drinks:

Manchester Terminal 2 1903 lounge alcohol island

A range of spirits, wines and beers are available. I saw about 5-6 different types of red and white wine each. Tanquearay is the big gin brand but you also get several different craft gins and varieties:

Manchester Terminal 2 1903 lounge gins

You have a choice of prosecco, rose prosecco and champagne:

Manchester Terminal 2 1903 lounge champagne

You get the same fantastic view as in the Escape Lounge, albeit the 1903 Lounge has far more windows and therefore a lot more seating with a view:

Manchester Terminal 2 1903 lounge view

There is a mixture of seating, although it is predominantly armchairs:

Manchester Terminal 2 1903 lounge seating

Whilst the lounge wasn’t fully operational they did rustle up some of the things they’ll be serving when it is open, including stir fries, curries and gyoza:

Manchester Terminal 2 1903 lounge gyoza curry stirfry

Plus a range of salads:

Manchester Terminal 2 1903 lounge caeser salad

The lounge also has a small theatre kitchen, with the idea being that you can request a tuna steak or chicken breast cooked freshly to top your salad:

Manchester Terminal 2 1903 lounge demonstration kitchen


Manchester Terminal 2 1903 lounge salad tuna

Whilst these are the main dishes they will be accompanied by a much larger range of bits and bobs, including freshly baked scones.

As mentioned in our Escape Lounge review, both lounges have an interconnecting overflow space that can respond to whichever lounge is experiencing higher demand:

Manchester Airport T2 EScape lounge flexible space

How to access the 1903 Lounge at Manchester Terminal 2

At Terminal 2, the 1903 Lounge will be the home of a number of airlines including Qatar Airways, Etihad, and Singapore Airlines. It is also the lounge Virgin Atlantic is using until it opens up its own Clubhouse.

The lounge is not accessible via any lounge schemes such as Priority Pass or DragonPass. The only other way to get access is to book directly via the airport website from £36 per person.

Note that the 1903 Lounge is ‘adults only’. If you are travelling with children you can use the Escape Lounge.


Just like the Escape Lounge next door I am impressed with what the 1903 Lounge has on offer. Large windows mean it has plenty of natural light and fantastic views of the tarmac. I can see why Rob was so impressed when he reviewed the 1903 Lounge in Terminal 1 back in 2017.

The food and drink offering is also genuinely good, with items that are freshly made on site in the adjacent kitchen. At £36 it would be hard to go wrong here as long as you have enough time to make the most of it.

The 1903 Lounge website is here if you want to learn more or book.

1903, by the way, references the year that the Wright brothers made their first flight.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points which is a special offer running to 2nd November 2021.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and a special 30,000 points sign-up bonus until 9th November 2021.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (18)

  • Lady London says:

    Very nice review Rhys this looks really OK. TBH even before Covid I thought Plaza Premium at LHR T5 was resting on its laurels a bit. Apart from the absence of showers, this looks a better experience than the T5 Plaza Premium.

    However based on all the feedback on here, is it worth suffering awful Manchester security experience for this?

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