The city of Manchester is one of the UK’s largest and most visited cities. It’s also ranked as one of the most friendly and welcoming. The city has many pulls; from football to architecture, to Roman history and artistic culture. It even houses its own China Town.
It is easy to travel to and around thanks to its excellent transport connections and tram system — make use of thefor travel within the city across four zones.
1. Manchester Cathedral
One of the oldest buildings in the city is the Cathedral. This is an excellent starting point for anyone visiting the city for the first time. This peaceful spot holds a whole lot of history with parts of the cathedral dating back 600 years.
You can admire the glowing stain glass windows, ancient angel carvings and beautiful Gothic architecture, with no entrance fee.
The invasion of the Romans, around AD 79, and construction of fort Mamucium (also known as Mancunium, which gives the city its current name) marks an important moment in Manchester’s history. The Romans abandoned the area which became known as Castle in the Field a little over 300 years later.
The fort was not well preserved in the rapid expansion of the Industrial Revolution, making way for new constructions and canals, however you can still visit a reconstructed section of the fort’s wall and various buildings such as the gatehouse in Castlefield.
In this area you can also enjoy a stroll along the canal appreciating the industrial architecture and stopping at one of the many waterside bars and restaurants. And don’t miss!
3. Museums and Art Galleries
Manchester is dotted with various museums and art galleries, so which one(s) you choose to visit will depend on your tastes and interests. For a gallery where the architecture is as fascinating as the exhibitions it holds inside, visit The Lowery at Salford Quays. The choice of museums detail different histories of Manchester, including football, religion, history, science and many more, take your pick.
4. Ordsall Hall
Even older than Manchester Cathedral, Ordsall Hall is a charming old manor house first mentioned on records back in 1177. You can take a tour through fully furnished rooms or attend various exhibitions to get a taste of what life was like in this historic house through Tudor or Victorian times.
As of 2019 there is anso you can soak up the sun and summer entertainment in elegant gardens.
5. Band On The Wall
Manchester is renowned for its musical history birthing stars such as The Smiths, Oasis and Joy Division and still cultivates a thriving music scene. While a live gig might not be for everyone, Band On The Wall is an icon. It’s an award winning music venue which gained its name from literally hosting bands on a stage positioned half way up the back wall.
It serves food and drink from 5pm (Midday on Saturdays). You can just pop in or stay later and attend an event. The venue prides itself in accessibility and canif you call ahead.
6. Victoria Baths
Designed by Manchester’s first city architect back in 1906, Victoria Bath came to be known as Manchester’s Water Palace. When this beloved building was closed to the public in 1993, outrage was sparked. However, the baths have become a popular venue for a range of events and thanks to public campaigns the baths were restored, reopening one of the pools to the public.
7. The Royal Exchange Theatre
The Royal Exchange once served as a centre for cotton trade before taking a hit during the Second World War. Reduced only in size, it was reconstructed, and trade continued until 1968. By 1976, it had reopened its doors as a theatre presenting a rather unique space for imaginative productions.
Swing by toor simply visit the Great Hall where the original trading board still hangs. You can also browse the gift shop, relax at the cafe or dine at the Rivals Bar and Restaurant.
8. The Tea Room at The Midland
Manchester has many a corner to enjoy a classic afternoon tea, however where better to head than one of the oldest spots in town, , which first opened in 1903. Since opening, it has hosted a range of prestigious characters including kings and queens. Indulge in this classic British tradition to replenish your energy from a busy day of exploring!
9. The Comedy Store
This canal side venue near Deansgate Locks has been hosting world class comedians and serving up meals and drinks alongside endless laughs since 2000. Visit any evening between Wednesday and Sunday for some seriously good fun.
10. Fletcher Moss Park & Botanical Gardens
It’s easy to get lost in Manchester’s industrial undertones, so if you fancy a short trip south of the city to Didsbury, Fletcher Moss Park & Botanical Gardens is lovely place to unwind surrounded by nature. The original house and gardens were gifted to the city of Manchester by Fletcher Moss who continued living there until his death in 1919.
The park hosts volunteering events, walks and activities, though it could be argued that the ideal location to enjoy the park is from the terrace of the darling Alpine Tea Rooms.
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