From acclaimed museums to hip neighborhoods and historic pubs, Manchester is one of England’s most dynamic cities. It’s home to world-famous football (soccer) teams, renowned art galleries and a music scene that brought Oasis to center stage.
Despite its industrial heritage, this city is full of energy and vibrancy. Its former industrial buildings have been transformed into cultural hotspots.
1. Manchester Cathedral
Manchester Cathedral is a historical church that is a must see for anyone visiting the city. It is the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Manchester and was founded in 1421.
Featuring late medieval wooden furnishings, the interior of this church is beautiful and full of history. It also houses the 'Angel Stone', a carving of an angel dating from 700 CE.
2. Manchester Central Library
A major refurbishment has reborn Manchester Central Library on a grand scale. Inspired by Rome’s Pantheon, the neoclassical structure has a round glass domed great hall and Corinthian columns.
The ground floor is a public lending library, with touch screens, open spaces and seating. Also here is the media lounge, the BFI Mediatheque and an extensive music library.
3. St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Located next to the historic Market Hall, St. Mary’s Catholic Church is often referred to as “The Secret Gem.”
The interior features many fine Victorian carvings. It also features a marble high altar and statues of saints.
The church’s mission is to be a spiritual oasis in Manchester. Every day it offers Mass and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It’s also a popular place for people to go for prayer, Rosary and confessions.
4. The Imperial War Museum North
One of five branches of the Imperial War Museum, North explores how war has affected people and the world around us. Housed in an unconventional building designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, this award-winning museum in Salford Quays is a must-see.
This complex building was conceived to resemble a globe that’s been shattered into three interlocking ‘shards’ of war – air, land and water.
5. The People’s History Museum
The People’s History Museum is an inspiring place to learn about democracy and get involved in ideas worth fighting for. Its aim is to tell the story of democracy and to promote equality, social justice, co-operation and a fair world for everyone.
The museum has its roots in the collection of labour movement material drawn together by activists in the 1960s. Today it has one of the largest collections of political paraphernalia in Britain.
6. The Albert Dock
The Albert Dock is one of the most visited and iconic multi-use tourist attractions in the UK. It was once the hub of Liverpool’s cotton trading heritage and remains today a vibrant cultural and entertainment centre.
The refurbished warehouses and buildings are now home to restaurants, bars, shops, and museums. Its history is still very much on display as it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
7. The Northern Quarter
The Northern Quarter is Manchester’s alternative and Bohemian heartland, home to street art murals, vintage clothing shops and independent music venues. The area also has a vibrant food and drink scene.
Explore the historic buildings, grab a coffee and enjoy the laid-back vibe of this trendy neighbourhood. If you’re into music, check out the renowned jazz club Matt & Phreds. Or, sample the craft beers at local breweries.
8. The Manchester Museum
The Manchester Museum is a fantastic place to visit for history enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in natural history. It has a great collection of fossils and a variety of mummies.
The museum also has some really interesting exhibitions that can be very thought provoking and educational, especially for younger visitors. It is free to visit, although donations are welcomed.
9. The Manchester Art Gallery
Located on Mosley Street, the Manchester Art Gallery is one of the city’s most popular cultural attractions. It’s home to paintings and sculptures by famous British artists.
The art museum is housed in two Grade I and II listed buildings, designed by Sir Charles Barry. It was substantially expanded in 2002.
10. The Lowry
Located in Manchester’s buzzing Salford Quays, The Lowry is an arts and entertainment complex that houses three theatres, several art galleries and an award-winning restaurant.
- The gallery is home to the world’s largest public collection of LS Lowry paintings, and is a great place to discover the work of this famous artist.
- There are free 20-minute guided tours of the exhibition every day at noon and 2pm, which cover the background to his art. You can also follow the free Art Detectives Trail to help you find all of Lowry’s hidden corners!