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Castlefield, Manchester

Creative Tourist

The Roman General Julius Agricola founded ‘Mamucium’ in 79AD; the name means ‘breast shaped hill’, as this was what Agricola discovered in Castlefield, where the original settlement was based. Now, the fort that was built here – protected by the Rivers Irwell and Medlock – only survives in ruins, and the amphitheatre is a modern one, built to host occasional outdoor gigs. Canals are a key feature in the area; Castlefield was the terminus of the Bridgewater Canal, the world’s first industrial canal, the success of which inspired ‘canal mania’ in Britain. The real draw in the area, however, is ambitious cultural complex HOME (with its innovative cross-arts programming), the Museum of Science and Industry (housed in the magnificent buildings of the world’s first passenger railway), the small but influential Castlefield Gallery and the restaurants and bars that face out onto the canals.

Once a hub of industrial activity, Castlefield is now one of the city’s most tranquil spots. That’s thanks, in part, to its designation in 1982 as the UK’s first Urban Heritage Park, which safeguarded canals and cobbles and created a largely traffic-free haven. Its moored-up, flower-decked canal boats are evidence of the slower pace of life here.

Discover our top picks

Exhibitions 24 February–15 April 2017, FREE

…in Dark Times at Castlefield Gallery

An exhibition on the thingness of things in the age of the thingless medium. Confused? Read on…

Families 11–26 February 2017, FREE

Steam, Sweat and Spinners at the Museum of Science and Industry

Make, do, sing and steam your way through February half term at this museum dedicated to ideas that have shaped our world.

Exhibitions 23 July 2016–25 June 2017, FREE

Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond

In this groundbreaking exhibition, discover the history of graphite and graphene and immerse yourself in the wonders of a two dimensional world.

Literature 11 March 2017, FREE

Legacy Russell at Castlefield Gallery

Castlefield Gallery welcomes the New York-born/London-based writer, artist and cultural producer Legacy Russell to Manchester for a talk and Q&A in the run-up to the launch later this year of her debut, Glitch Feminism.

Music 15 March 2017, FREE

Sound and Music Late

The Museum of Science and Industry’s ever-populate Lates series returns in March, with a sound…

Music 15 March 2017, FREE

Sound and Music Late: Peter Saville and Factory Records

As part of the Museum of Science and Industry’s Sound and Music Late this March,…

Music 15 March 2017, FREE

Sound and Music Late: HookedonMusic and silent disco

Two highlights from the Museum of Science and Industry’s Sound and Music Late this March…

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