Trains to Manchester bring tourists to one of the country’s largest indoor shopping centre, which boasts over 200 shops, from major department stores to high-street favourites and cool boutiques. As if that wasn’t enough there’s a Harvey Nichols and Selfridges within walking distance.
If you have any more space for shopping bags and you need a pick-me-up after hitting the stores there are plenty of nearby places to eat and drink and regular local events throughout the year.
Manchester Art Gallery
One of the country's finest art collections in spectacular Victorian and contemporary surroundings. The gallery's £35 million transformation has enabled the collection to be presented to visitors in imaginative new ways.
Highlights include outstanding pre-Raphaelite paintings, craft and design and early 20th century British art. Exciting exhibitions programme, there is a wide range of events, from talks and tours to hands-on activities for both children and adults. Superb visitor facilities include two cafes, large shop and full disabled access.
For those with younger children, try one of our explorer tool belts for family groups with children aged three to six. There are plenty of tools to help you explore the gallery including binoculars, magnifying glasses, spot cards and much more.
On the top floor, you and the children can also try out the handling trail in the Gallery of Craft and Design, where you can feel ceramics, glass, metal and wood objects made especially for touching
The Whitworth reopened in February 2015 following a major £15 million redevelopment by award-winning architects MUMA. Built in 1889 as the first English art gallery in a park, the Whitworth has been transformed and extended into its parkland home and features an art garden by the award-winning garden designer Sarah Price, a landscape gallery and a beautiful linear café extending into the trees of Whitworth Park - all reflecting the building’s beautiful setting.
With doubled public space and state-of-the-art new facilities the Whitworth claimed Visit England's gold prize for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2016 and winner of the Art Fund's Museum of the Year 2015.
HOME is the new space for the company formed by the merger of Manchester’s Library Theatre Company and Cornerhouse, which opened as a new multi-art form venue in May 2015 as part of the new First Street development. HOME commissions, produces and presents an ambitious programme of provocative contemporary theatre, film, and visual art.
The £25 million development includes a 500-seat theatre and a 150-seat flexible studio space. It also has a 500m² gallery space; five cinema screens; digital production and broadcast facilities; a café bar and a wonderful restaurant on the first floor. Exactly a year since its opening and HOME had already welcomed over one million visitors through its doors – so it’s fair to say it has already become a popular attraction in the city!
John Rylands Library
For those who set eyes on The John Rylands Library for the first time, 'library' might not be the first word that comes to mind. This masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture, which took 10 years to build, looks more like a cathedral was officially opened to the public on 1 January 1900.
When John Rylands died in 1888, he was one of Manchester's most successful industrialists with a personal fortune of £2.75m. The library was commissioned in 1890 by his wife Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her late husband. This world class collection includes the oldest known piece of the New Testament, the St John Fragment. Other treasures of the vast, varied collection include magnificent illuminated medieval manuscripts and a 1476 William Caxton edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
The Manchester Museum
Ensconced in Manchester University's Neo-Gothic heart, the Manchester Museum's incredible static and changing exhibitions attract thousands of visitors every year, and its natural, archaeological and historic collections are nothing short of world-class. The Museum is also now home to The Study which will provide an innovative and high quality research and learning environment for Museum visitors, from curious teenagers to academics. The Study is the result of a major renovation of the entire third floor of Manchester Museum’s Grade II ‘1885 building’,
The Museum has its roots in the buzzing scientific climate of the late nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries, and many of the collections of Egyptian and Mediterranean archaeological findings were supplied by contemporaneous supporters of the Manchester Society of Natural History.
On any given day, there are some 4.25 million species and artefacts to see at the museum, 600,000 of which can be found in the Zoological Collection, with specimens from all aspects of the natural world (not to mention 'Stan', the museum's Tyrannosaurus rex!). The ancient world is brought to life from the Paleolithic to the seventeenth-century AD with the museum's 80,000-strong static collection of archaeological findings.
Manchester Cathedral is a Medieval church built in the eighth-century which has survived both the Manchester Blitz and the 1996 IRA bombing. It and its surrounding buildings such as Chetham's Hospital School of Music are some of the oldest buildings in Manchester (Chetham Library is said to be the oldest public library in the English speaking world). It is an area of Manchester whose heritage is literally stunning, and to this day serves as a centre for many of the spiritual community of Manchester.
The ancient architecture of the cathedral is simply incredible, despite a history of modifications and refurbishments which have given the exterior of the church a deceptively modern appearance. Its West Door and window and the ornate carving of the entrance to the Lady Chapel are staggering examples of the Gothic period. The wooden carvings of its collection of misericords (hinged seat-like panels) are considered some of the finest examples of such ornament in Europe.
Not content with relying on its splendid history the cathedral has embraced Manchester’s musical energy and is now ranked as one of the city’s best musical venues having hosted acts such as Bat for Lashes, Todd Terje and the Fun Loving Criminals.
Imperial War Museum North
One of the most celebrated museums in Britain today, designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind to represent a globe shattered by conflict, IWM North is about people and their stories; how lives have been, and still are, shaped by war and conflict. Visit the cafe, shop and viewing platform (the highest in the area) offering spectacular views over The Quays and Manchester.
IWM North uses thought-provoking and innovative display techniques such as the Big Picture, which puts you right in the centre of the experience using a dramatic display of projected images and sound. The Main Exhibition Space also houses thousands of objects from a T34 Russian tank and Harrier jump-jet to clothing, diaries and works of art, as well as a series of family interactive Action Stations.
IWM North offers a great day out for all the family all year round with free entry to the Museum, all the exhibitions and a wide variety of family friendly activities.
The Grade II listed Victoria Baths, also known as 'Manchester's Water Palace', is one of Britain's best-loved restoration projects.
Closed in 1993 after decades of public use and left to fend for itself, the distinctive brick building quickly fell into disrepair. The Victoria Baths Trust took over maintenance in 2001, and the long, painstaking process of restoring the Baths to their former glory began. Today, the restoration work continue, and the public are now able to access the building again as it plays host to concerts, tea dances, vintage markets and even weddings!
One of the top attractions in Manchester for all-round live entertainment. Trains to Manchester bring tourists from far and wide to enjoy some of the biggest names in music, including The Rolling Stones, Madonna and Beyoncé. There’s plenty of local music talent on display too - Take That and Simply Red, while comedian Peter Kay, from just up the road, once played a record-breaking residency here.Buy tickets