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 exterior shot - host of story seekers
    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
    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. John Rylands Research Institute and Library

    Magic bowls event. Image shows The historic Reading Room in John Rylands Library
    Image courtesy of John Rylands Library.

    John Rylands Research Institute and 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

    Science and Industry Museum
    Drew Forsyth

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

    The Science and Industry Museum 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

    Manchester Art Gallery. Photo by Andrew Brooks
    Andrew Brooks

    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

    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 © 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 Tours at 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

Theatres in Manchester

If you’re looking for theatre in Manchester, these are our top places to explore.

Stately Homes in the North

The North of England is blessed with countless stunning stately homes, many dating back decades and even centuries. Here are some of the very best.

The best lectures, talks & meetups in Manchester

These are the best regular events in Manchester, from fascinating free talks and encounters with astronomy through to literature and discussions about class.

things to do with toddlers in Manchester

Things to do with toddlers in Manchester

Read our guide to navigating the city with toddlers before you set out. Manchester for toddlers: a mini guide.

Manchester Central Library

City of Literature: Manchester

Manchester is the 26th UNESCO City of Literature, joining illustrious alumni from across the globe. Here’s our guide to literary landmarks across the city.

Top places to go rural (without going too far from Manchester)

Our top places to go rural without leaving Manchester too far behind. From water parks to national trust properties with some wild swimming chucked in for good measure.

Culture Guides

Cinema

Christmas programming, Japanese classics and the latest new releases coming to a screen near you this December.

Exhibitions

With autumn in full swing, we may be missing the daylight but there are plenty of fantastic exhibitions this month to indulge your senses.

Magical Father Christmas Experience at Wythenshawe Hall

Families

Christmas is just around the corner and we can almost smell those delicious mince pies, as we round up some of the best family activities and fun days out taking place across Manchester and the North throughout the festive season. 

Writer and musician Anthony Joseph. Image: Bunny Bread/@icreatenotdestroy

Literature

There are plenty of writerly launches, open mics, literature festivals, pre-Christmas book fairs and festive readings to pop into your diary, some online, some in person – and some both.

BC Camplight

Music

Manchester’s music scene in on glorious form as we head into winter, with artists and audiences reconnecting in ecstatic style. Here are our highlights from the city’s chock-a-block gig calendar.

Bree Smith (Glinda) in The Wiz at Hope Mill Theatre. Theatre in Manchester.

Theatre

All-sung comedy thrillers, joyous musicals and our pick of the pantos. Our theatre guide spans the festive season and beyond.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Embankment Kitchen

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

We’re cramming two seasons of festive cheer into one as we present our top Christmas menus and cocktail lists in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

There is plenty to make, see and do in the winter months. This month’s top picks include soul-warming folk clubs, clay workshops and jewellery making.

Things to do right now

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