From art galleries and museums to football stadiums and the vibrant Northern Quarter, Manchester has it all. Here, Musement reveals 10 things to see and do in Manchester.
Only two hours by train from London and well worthy of a visit, Manchester is a lively and metropolitan city, famed for its beautiful architecture, musical exports, gastronomy and sports clubs. Considered the world’s first industrial city, Manchester is rich in culture and history. Whether you’re a local looking to re-discover your city or are a first-time visitor, here are 10 things to see and do in Manchester:
1. Manchester Art Gallery
Established in 1823, Manchester Art Gallery is a publicly owned art museum located in the heart of the city. Showcasing a collection of over 25,000 objects, both of local and international significance, the museum houses six centuries of fine art, ceramics, glass, furniture and costume. Besides the permanent collection, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and special events. Free to enter and open seven days a week, there really is no excuse not to visit this wonderful museum during a trip to Manchester.
2. Football Stadium Tours
For football fans, a visit to Old Trafford or Etihad Stadium is a must. Old Trafford, also known as the Theatre of Dreams, has been the home to Manchester United Football Club since 1910. Visitors can enjoy a behind the scenes tour, which includes the players tunnel, the world-famous pitch, the dugouts and a trip to the Ability Platform. Etihad Stadium, built to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games, has been the home of Manchester City Football Club since 2003. Go on a tour and see the press room, the trophies, the players tunnel and more.
3. National Football Museum
England’s national museum of football is based in the Urbis building in Manchester city centre. Football fans can delve into the history of the UK’s favourite sport through various memorabilia from football’s greatest moments. Visitors can even put their skills to the test at one of the several different interactive exhibits and displays, including a Penalty Shootout room.
4. Manchester Cathedral
With a history dating back to 1421, Manchester Cathedral is a stunning example of Gothic architecture. The Grade I listed building has undergone various renovations and adaptions throughout its history. Some of the most impressive features of the cathedral include the stained-glass windows, stone carvings and the nave roof supported by angels. Don’t miss the Hanging Ditch Bridge in the Visitor Centre, which dates back to 1421 and remained hidden for many years.
5. People’s History Museum
The national museum of democracy, the People’s History Museum celebrates the history of working people in the UK. The museum delves into the past, present and future of Great Britain through people’s lives, work and leisure over the last 200 years. The collections cover labour issues, politics, trade unionism, democracy, welfare and recreational activities. The museum is located in a Grade II listed, former hydraulic pumping station.
6. Northern Quarter
One of the most creative and bohemian areas in the city, Manchester’s Northern Quarter is a must-visit. Home to countless independent shops, hipster bars and restaurants, you can easily spend all day exploring the district. Head over to Stevenson Square to see the colourful street art filled with ever changing graffiti. Music fans should head to Picadilly Records located on Oldham Street, an institution which displays a large range of records from both local and international artists.
7. Victoria Baths
The Victoria Baths, located in the Chorlton-on-Medlock area of Manchester, were built in 1903-1906. The baths provided swimming pools and Turkish baths to local residents until they were finally closed in 1993. The Grade II listed building is now a heritage visitor attraction. The ornate Edwardian tiles and the retro changing rooms provide the perfect aesthetic for your Instagram feed. The baths are open for guided tours, open days and other public events.
8. Trafford Centre
No visit to Manchester is complete without visiting the famous Trafford shopping centre. Opened in 1988, it is the third largest shopping centre in the UK and is also home to Europe’s largest food court. The perfect place for a day of shopping, the centre has a multitude of lifestyle, fashion and homeware high street brand names. Its magnificent Great Hall is a focal point and features a sweeping staircase and a grand chandelier. The centre’s facilities also include a cinema, laser quest, mini golf, and much more.
9. Science and Industry Museum
Located inside the world’s oldest railway station, the Science and Industry Museum showcases the effects of the Industrial Revolution on the Manchester region. The collection includes displays on the theme of transport, power, textiles, communication and computing. A great place to learn about the history and heritage of the city, the museum showcases the innovations that changed the future of the city.
10. Platt Fields Park
Opened in 1910, Platt Fields Park is a large public park in the Fallowfield area of Manchester. If you’re lucky with the weather, then take a picnic and enjoy the beautiful green space. The main attraction is a large central lake which is used for boating and fishing. Other facilities include tennis courts, a BMX track, basketball courts, a skateboarding park, bowling greens and children’s play areas.