Three for me.

Jonathan Schofield

To kick off our new series of recommended sights and attractions, the writer, broadcaster and historian, Jonathan Schofield (who also edits Manchester Confidential) list his top three Mancunian buildings.


Chetham’s Library: Originally priests’ quarters from 1421, Chetham’s is now a School of Music and a Library. The Library, which dates from the 1650s, is open on weekdays to the public and is the oldest free public library in the country. A remarkable survival with a remarkable collection, the place reeks of history and yet knocks you for six with charm. If you think Manchester is a Victorian or even twentieth century city, think again.

Manchester Town Hall: The classic building from that Victorian architect par excellence, Alfred Waterhouse. This neo-Gothic building, opened in 1877, sums up the pride, the dynamism and the arrogance of the Victorian era and marries architecture, sculpture and the fine arts. It reveals the ambition of Manchester to be a fully functioning city state, a latter-day Florence, a leader and a pioneer.

North City Library: By Walker Simpson architects, North City Library points the way ahead for a new kind of progressive public building with this library-meets-Sixth Form College. It could be described as modestly grand. There’s a belvedere to the city centre, generous public spaces, a vivid external wall of photovoltaic panels and a show-off pond and community garden that cluster around a 100 year-old chimney from the former baths on the site. It never feels like an overwhelming building, just a comfortably impressive one.

Image: Chetham’s Library, courtesy Darby Sawchuk

Culture Guides


Northern flicks, sci-fi masterpieces and some brand new film festivals feature in this month’s cinema preview.


Spring weather might be dragging its feet a little, but the world of exhibitions isn’t slowing down with new shows popping up everywhere to greet the new season.

The Bull and the Moon at Instituto Cervantes


With spring’s indecisive weather in mind, we’ve pulled together a whole load of fun indoor and outdoor family events and activities taking place in Manchester and the North.

Poet Helen Mort.


Spring is making an entrance in live literature land with some extra special festival events, writing walks, online launches and in real life readings from local writers as well as international talent.


From Father John Misty to The Flaming Lips, The Waeve to Big Thief, here are the gigs on our radar for early spring.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


You’ll find everything from work-in-progress scratch nights to multi-award winning musicals in this month’s theatre guide.

Classical Music

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Get ready for spring and summer with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

From indie markets to bit-sized meditation, spoon carving workshops to gallery tours, here are the headlines in the world of tours and activities.