Ancoats, Manchester
Ben Williams

Ancoats & New Islington

Creative Tourist

Ancoats, just off the Northern Quarter in Manchester, is one of the city’s most increasingly desirable neighborhoods. We pick out our top highlights of the area.

Layer upon layer of history makes Ancoats, an Area of Conservation since 1998, really special. Once home to the textile mills that established Manchester’s reputation as ‘Cottonopolis’, the district was also a centre of manufacture for machinery, glass and newspapers, with a population of over 50,000 in the mid-1800s.

The street signs are named after the notorious street gangs, or ‘scuttlers’ who once patrolled and fought here; so Bengal Street for the Bengal Tigers, Angel Meadow for the Angels. As industry moved on, however, the area declined, leaving 80% of business space vacant in the 1990s. Now, the beautiful red-bricked factory buildings are being renovated as flats, and small, independent businesses are opening again.

Ben Williams, Creative Tourist
Ben Williams, Creative Tourist

Ancoats is undergoing a period of rapid change – it may well look very different in just a few years’ time. In the meantime, it’s a fantastic area to explore; if you know what you’re looking for. Keep an eye out for Grade-listed churches, small cafés, an independent theatre and even a TV studios. Cutting Room Square is currently Ancoats’ hub, a wide open space with public art and benches that used to be where bales of cotton were cut.

Discover our top picks

  • 1. Rudy’s Pizza

    Image of Rudy's Neapolitian Pizza, Ancoats
    Ben Williams

    Rudy’s Pizza, 9 Cotton Street, Ancoats, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 5BF - Visit now

    Rudy’s Pizza has gone from pop-up to permanent, bringing a bit of Little Italy back to Ancoats in Manchester.

  • 2. Hope Mill Theatre

    Parade ensemble

    Hope Mill Theatre, Hope Mill, 113 Pollard Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 7JA - Visit now

    Hope Mill Theatre is a risk taking independent theatre and a welcome addition to both Ancoats and Greater Manchester. We love their shows and the general feel good vibes this place gives off.

  • 3. The Hip Hop Chip Shop

    The Hip Hop Ship Shop

    The Hip Hop Chip Shop, 44 Blossom St, Manchester, M4 6BF - Visit now

    The Hip Hop Chip Shop is a hip hop-inspired, non-traditional chip shop, after moving from Spinningfields to the Northern Quarter, it now has a perminent home in Ancoats.

  • 4. Café Cotton

    Stacks of croissants

    Café Cotton, Flint Glass Wharf, 35 Radium Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 6AD - Visit now

    Famed for its lunch time deals, Café Cotton is a welcome canal-side Mecca for sandwiches, coffee and cake

  • 5. Companio Bakery

    Companio Bakery, Unit G.06 Flint Glass Wharf, 35 Radium Street, Ancoats, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 6AD - Visit now

    Started by artisan baker Russell Goodwin, Companio Bakery sells freshly-baked bread from a small unit in Manchester’s Ancoats. They are open Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9am to 3pm, and then from 4pm to 6pm at Victoria Train Station where homeward bound commuters snaffle up any remaining bread.

  • 6. Hallé St Peter’s

    Image of Halle St Peters from across Cutting Room Square in Ancoats, Manchester.
    Ben Williams

    Hallé St Peter’s, 40 Blossom Street, Ancoats, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 6BF - Visit now

    Ancoats’ most iconic building, this Grade-II listed church was recently renovated by the Halle Orchestra to be used as a venue and rehearsal space.

  • 7. St Michael’s

    Image by Chris Horkan

    St Michael’s, 36-38 George Leigh Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 5DG - Visit now

    Also under the management of the Hallé, St Michael’s was founded in 1859 and became the heart of Ancoats’ Little Italy Community. Now it plays host to some unmissable events.

  • 8. Canto

    Ian Jones

    Canto, Fairbairn Unit A, Fairbairn Building, Henry Street, Manchester, M4 5DH - Visit now

    Canto serve up modern Portugese food, brought to Ancoats for you by the team behind the mighty El Gato on King Street.

  • 9. The Horsfall

    The Horsfall, 87-91 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester, M4 5AG - Visit now

    The Horsfall is a venue and programme of activity building on the work of 42nd Street, an innovative Greater Manchester young people’s mental health charity.

  • 10. Cask Ancoats

    Cask Ancoats
    Creative Tourist

    Cask Ancoats, Cottonfield Wharf, 2 New Union St, Manchester, M4 6FQ - Visit now

    The sister venue to the original Cask on Liverpool Road is a very welcome addition to the area. Situated in one of the many, many new-builds in Ancoats and New Islington, Cask Ancoats doesn’t retain much of the original’s shabby chic, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and the beer choice is brilliant.

Bree Smith (Glinda) in The Wiz at Hope Mill Theatre. Theatre in Manchester.
Theatre Until 16 January 2022, from £25.00

The Wiz at Hope Mill Theatre

Don’t miss this joyous musical retelling of L Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz reflecting contemporary African-American culture.

Literature 15 December 2021–11 May 2022, from £100.00

Comma Press Short Story Course with Karline Smith at Hope Mill

Organised by Comma Press, one of the UK’s leading publishers of short fiction, this course of six workshops, led by Manchester author Karline Smith, will help you get a handle on short story writing.

Food and Drink Until 17 December 2021, from £55

Explore Ancoats Food & Drink Tour

Take a culinary tour of Ancoats, the world’s first industrial suburb where an award-winning chip shop (which pays homage to hip-hop) sits alongside a Michelin starred fine dining restaurant.

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Bree Smith (Glinda) in The Wiz at Hope Mill Theatre. Theatre in Manchester.
Theatre Until 16 January 2022, from £25.00

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