Image courtesy of Marketing Manchester

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 19 October 2017–15 April 2018, from £5

Robots at the Museum of Science and Industry

A once-in-a-lifetime look at one of the largest collections of robots together. A mind-bending, 500 year journey to being human in a robotic world.

Exhibitions 8 December 2017–4 February 2018, FREE

Making, A Life: The Peter Hodgson Retrospective at Castlefield Gallery

‘Outsider’ artist Peter Hodgson receives his first gallery retrospective with a show that speaks to a society in search of more ‘holistic’ ways of living and sustainable routes forward.

Exhibitions 9 March–29 April 2018, FREE

Ruth Barker & Hannah Leighton-Boyce at Castlefield Gallery

Drawing together the work and experiences of two exciting female artists, this two person exhibition responds to the individual, collective and historic struggles experienced by women.

Exhibitions 23 January 2018,

Robots: In Conversation at The Museum of Science and Industry

A special In Conversation event at the Museum of Science and Industry will take the robot debate one step further, discussing the rapid development of robots in recent history and whether they could one day threaten the survival of the human race.

Families 20 January 2018, FREE

Pi: Our Robot Friends at the Museum of Science and Industry

Meet some of the University of Sheffield’s friendliest robots —play with cute companion MiRo bots, learn how to do some simple coding on a Pi-Top and have a go at programming a Nao, the tiny humanoid droid that can walk, talk and dance.

Contact Young Company: She Bangs The Drums, part of Wonder Women 2018
Festivals 8–11 March 2018, from £7.00 - 13.00

Contact Young Company: She Bangs The Drums at the Museum of Science and Industry

A provocative piece of contemporary theatre which looks back at one of the key landmarks in British democracy. Directed by Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit of Sh!T Theatre.

Exhibitions 10 March 2018, from £00.00

Ruth Barker & Hannah Leighton-Boyce – Exhibition Tour & Discussion (over tea & cake) at Castlefield Gallery

Enjoy a guided tour of Ruth Barker & Hannah Leighton-Boyce’s latest exhibition at Castlefield Gallery, followed by a discussion of its themes over tea and cake.

Exhibition Preview and premiere of If this is the last thing I say ?, Ruth Barker, part of Wonder Women 2018, at Castlefield Gallery Manchester
Exhibitions 8 March 2018, FREE

Exhibition Preview and Premiere of If this is the last thing I say ? at Castlefield Gallery

A unique performance by artist Ruth Barker in response to voicelessness, traumatic childbirth, and the rapidly changing, brutal politics of the present. Coinciding with the preview of Castlefield Gallery’s latest exhibition: Head to Head.

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Things to do right now

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Exhibitions 19 October 2017–15 April 2018, from £5

Robots at the Museum of Science and Industry

Theatre 12–27 January 2018, from £3.00

PUSH Festival 2018 at HOME

Black Men Walking at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 18 January–3 February 2018, from £13.00

Black Men Walking at the Royal Exchange

Music 12 January–16 April 2018, from £6

The Stoller Hall 2018 Season

Theatre 2 December 2017–3 February 2018, from £22.00

Guys and Dolls at the Royal Exchange Theatre

Music 24 September 2017–9 June 2018,

BBC Philharmonic 2017/18 Concert Season

Music 9 September 2017–31 May 2018, from £15.00

Manchester Camerata 2017/18 Season

Exhibitions 18 November 2017–25 February 2018, FREE

humansbeingdigital at The Lowry

Exhibitions 30 September 2017–4 February 2018, FREE

Hetain Patel at Manchester Art Gallery

Festivals 22 September 2017–31 March 2018,

HOME Autumn/Winter Season