Welcome Wednesdays at Victoria Baths

Carmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor
Grinning child on pool side
Victoria Baths

Welcome Wednesdays at Victoria Baths, Manchester Until 25 September 2024 Entrance is free — Visit now

Explore the glorious swimming, bathing and leisure facilities which were crafted over a century ago. With two swimming pools, Turkish baths and an aeratone (old-fashioned Jacuzzi), Victoria Baths were declared “a water palace of which every citizen of Manchester can be proud”. On Welcome Wednesdays, you can discover Victoria Baths at your leisure for free, or book an optional paid guided tour to really understand the history of this incredible building.

After the initial heyday of the leisure facility, the baths fell into disrepair and were closed in 1993. Thanks to a protest movement, the building was saved from demolition, and, eventually, refurbished and returned to its former glory. This work continues to this day, led by the Friends of Victoria Baths with the help of volunteers and supporters. A significant moment in the rejuvenation of the building was when it featured in the BBC’s Restoration series in 2003, which was an amazing success.

Thanks to these restoration efforts, visitors to Victoria Baths can enjoy original features from stained glass windows and terracotta tiling to the original mosaic floors from when it opened in 1906. Nowadays the people of Manchester enjoy the building as a place of significant cultural and historical interest and as a well-programmed events space that has hosted everything from beer festivals to cinema screenings via exhibitions, theatre and classical music.

On the tour you’ll be led by an experienced and knowledgeable guide, hearing the history of the building through the stories of bathers who once flocked here. There are many fascinating architectural elements to the building from the expansive design of the bathhouses to unique and seemingly small details like the carving of the stairway bannister.

Over the course of this year the baths have partnered with arts collective Pool Arts to host a series of exhibitions held in their tea and pineapple rooms. This local group of artists have been curating some brilliant work in the space, it’s well worth checking out.

Guided tours of Victoria Baths run during Welcome Wednesdays and last around 75 minutes. It’s recommended to book the tour in advance as spaces are limited. However, if you’d rather explore the building for yourself it’s open from 11am to 3pm. We recommend making a day of it and visiting the nearby Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, and, of course, the Whitworth art gallery.

Welcome Wednesdays at Victoria Baths, Manchester Until 25 September 2024 Entrance is free Visit now


  • Dementia-friendly

What's on at Victoria Baths

Where to go near Welcome Wednesdays at Victoria Baths

Chuck Gallery

Chuck Gallery is the first private art space in North West England dedicated to the promotion of contemporary African art in Manchester and beyond. Our focus is the provision of a varied collection of high quality, original and exceptional artwork

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has been lovingly restored; you can now sit at her desk, see where Charlotte Brontë hid behind the curtains, and have tea in the downstairs café. The Pankhurst Centre is also nearby.

Gaskell Society

These regular talks in both Manchester and Knutsford unpack the meaning and significance of Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing.

Music venue
O2 Apollo

Originally built as a cinema in 1938, The Apollo is a majestic, Grade II listed Art Deco-style music venue.

The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree is a cafe and community hub based in Rusholme, a short walk from the city centre.


Modern cafe and restaurant on Manchester’s Curry Mile. encouraging

Pankhurst Centre
The Pankhurst Centre

The Pankhurst Centre houses a small museum and heritage centre that remains as a legacy to the Pankhurst family and the Suffragette movement born in this city.

Shopping Centre
Longsight Market

Sick of overpriced “vintage” markets? Try Longsight’s bustling neighbourhood market which, every Tuesday, lays on a thriving flea market that’s a miniature (albeit slightly less glamorous) version of the famous Les Puces in Paris.

What's on:

life drawing
Life Drawing Manchester

Whether you have never put pencil to paper or have been honing your artistic skills for years, Bee Creative studio runs life drawing sessions for people of all abilities.

from £10
Old Dock Tours, Liverpool

The Old Dock tour is a treat for younger and older visitors alike, fans of Liverpool’s maritime past, and anybody curious about local history.

£8.50 with concessions
Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth

Enjoy fun and creative activities designed to encourage your little ones to play freely in the fresh air, while exploring nature and the outdoors with family and friends.

free entry

Culture Guides