Visit Manchester Town Hall in the city centre and you’ll spot bees picked out in the mosaics across the lobby floor – once seen, you’ll notice them everywhere. The bee is used as a symbol of Manchester’s industriousness and teamwork, and it appears on benches, council flower pots and even bins across the city. The Town Hall itself was designed by Alfred Waterhouse (also behind the Natural History Museum in London) and is often used in place of the Houses of Parliament when filming. The city centre is, then, a district filled with many incredible buildings, from The Royal Exchange, a former trading hall and once the largest single room in the world, to The Bridgewater Hall, built in 1996 for £46m so that, incredibly, all 22,000 tons of it float on nearly three hundred earthquake bearings, or giant springs.
The city centre is perhaps Manchester’s most diverse area culturally, taking in Chinatown, the Gay Village (area of political importance for the LGBT community; its bars and clubs are legendary) and behemoths of the arts such as The Portico Library and Manchester Art Gallery, whilst not turning up its nose to the high street attractions of Market Street and the Arndale Centre.King Street is dotted with designer stores, but also has a foodie draw, including El Gato Negro’s superb tapas. St Ann’s Square is a quiet little enclave of shops, with Barton’s Arcade set back from it on one side, and St Ann’s Church, which dates back to 1712 and has a 54 stop organ. Albert Square is in front of the Town Hall, a cobbled space that plays host to the Manchester Christmas Markets and festival of premieres Manchester International Festival.
A top tip – don’t miss Manchester’s talking statues; Prunella Scales is Queen Victoria in Piccadilly Gardens, Russel Tovey is Alan Turing in Sackville Gardens, and Tom Conti plays the President in Lincoln Square.
From a brilliant range of symphonies, concertos, vocal works, operas and more, we select our five top picks from the Hallé’s 2019-20 season.
Opening the BBC Philharmonic’s 2019-20 season, conductor John Wilson pairs light with darkness, sugar with spice, in an eclectic and thrilling programme.
A firm favourite in Manchester’s cultural calendar, the Manchester Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary weekend is not to be missed. Tickets are free for Creative Tourist readers.
Head to the Science and Industry Museum this summer for daily family shows, fun activities and events, whatever the weather.
Join acclaimed multi-award winning Chef Patron of El Gato Negro, Simon Shaw, at Manchester Art Gallery for a one-off, immersive dining experience.
Join Grace Surman and Gary Winters alongside their two young children Hope and Merrick at Central Library as they explore the themes of their newly commissioned films based at Dunham Massey and Quarry Bank.
The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is back for its 12th edition, featuring a handpicked selection of over 160 designer-makers from across the UK.
Powerful and fast-paced and heart-breaking, we’re thrilled to hear that West Side Story will return to the Royal Exchange next spring.
Featuring Kalevi Aho’s hair-raising Theremin Concerto, the BBC Philharmonic presents a delightfully off-kilter programme at The Bridgewater Hall.
From Bruckner at his most grandiose to Wagner at his most delicate, this BBC Philharmonic programme promises to delight at The Bridgewater Hall.