Attractions in Manchester

Creative Tourist

Looking for Manchester attractions? The city is studded with gems, from the sprawling museums and galleries to world-class concert halls, intimate stages and family friendly fare.

  • 1. Imperial War Museum North (IWM North)

    Imperial War Museum North (IWM North)
    Image courtesy of Visit Britain

    Imperial War Museum North (IWM North), Imperial War Museum North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M17 1TZ - Visit now

    IWM North was designed by Daniel Libeskind, whose beautiful waterfront building was based on a globe shattered by war and houses a permanent collection, special exhibitions and events that consider the many ways conflict shapes society.

  • 2. The Whitworth

    The Whitworth, Photo: Alan Williams

    The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6ER - Visit now

    The Whitworth underwent a £15m redevelopment in 2015, which saw it double in size; the gallery now juts out into Whitworth park, seamlessly transitioning from old to new. It’s been met with national and international acclaim – for its new architecture and for its brilliant exhibitions programme.

  • 3. The John Rylands Library

    The historic Reading Room in John Rylands Library
    Image courtesy of John Rylands Library.

    The John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3EH - Visit now

    John Rylands Library houses a collection of rare books that spans five millennia – including an original Gutenberg Bible – in a neo-Gothic building that took nine years to build.

  • 4. Science and Industry Museum

    Jonty Wilde

    Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4FP - Visit now

    The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) is housed in the buildings of the world’s first inter-city passenger railway; this sprawling, interactive land of scientific exploration includes a working steam train.

  • 5. Manchester Art Gallery

    Image courtesy of Visit Britain

    Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 3JL - Visit now

    Manchester Art Gallery houses 25,000 artefacts across six centuries and contemporary exhibitions by world-leading artists in a beautifully-restored neo-Classic gallery, slap band in the city centre. The architect also designed Highclere Castle (or Downton Abbey).

  • 6. HOME Manchester

    Paul Karalius

    HOME Manchester, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4FN - Visit now

    Manchester’s new, £25m arts complex boasts 500 square metres of gallery space and five cinema screens as well as its 500 seat theatre; host to UK premieres, visiting companies and internationally focused work, the offering at HOME is as ambitious as it gets.

  • 7. People’s History Museum

    People's History Museum Manchester
    Image courtesy of the People's History Museum.

    People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER - Visit now

    The national museum of democracy, couldn’t have a better home than Manchester, the birthplace of the British Labour Party and universal suffrage.

  • 8. Manchester Museum

    Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9PL - Visit now

    Manchester Museum boasts six million pieces in its archive, an impressive Egyptology collection and new discovery space The Study all in one gothic, Grade II*-listed building.

  • 9. Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

    Image courtesy of Marketing Manchester / © Joel-Chester-Fildess

    Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9LW - Visit now

    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.

  • 10. Royal Exchange Theatre

    Photo of the interior of the Royal Exchange
    Photo: Joel Fildes.

    Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 7DH - Visit now

    This former trading hall underwent a £32m redevelopment after being severely damaged by the 1996 IRA bomb in Manchester’s city centre – and has been delivering stellar productions from its unusual seven-sided glass and steel theatre-in-the-round (the biggest in the UK), and smaller (but still excellent) studio, ever since. Productions here are renowned – both Vanessa Redgrave and Helen Mirren have graced the Royal Exchange’s stage.

Visitor guides

Photo of the interior of the Royal Exchange

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things to do with toddlers in Manchester

Things to do with toddlers in Manchester

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Manchester Central Library

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Culture Guides

Tours and Activities

We round of this month’s best Tours and Experiences in Manchester and the North. From behind scenes tours of galleries and theatres, to walking tours of the cities we love to getting getting hands on creative and sampling food and drink.

William Kentridge: Thick Time at the Whitworth

Exhibitions

What connects fairies, legacies of rebellion, ceramics, and theories of time and space? This month’s Exhibitions Guide, naturally.

Theatre

Theatre

Performance can happen anywhere. This month’s guide is packed with site-specific stuff – theatre in a cathedral, a museum, a coffee shop and even on a Lancashire cliff-top. Don’t believe us? Read our guide.

Cinema

This month we’ve got overlooked Indian cinema, French feminist masterpieces and some spooky goings on…

Liverpool's Dream Giant Spectacular courtesy Culture Liverpool

Families

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Liz Berry

Literature

All our favourite regular nights are back after their summer hols, there are launches and one-offs a-go-go, and tickets are selling like hot cakes for October’s Manchester Literature Festival and the Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival.

Music

This month’s music guide showcases the best northern gigs in the best northern venues, from the grandeur of RNCM’s concert hall to the sweat-on-the-ceiling basement of Partisan.

Things to do right now

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