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.
‘SUBI 수비’ at Castlefield Gallery explores the long process of cultural and generational exchange that underpins the art of pottery and ceramics – one of the world’s oldest crafts – as an integral part of the way that humans create and communicate the world in which we live.
For anyone with even a passing interest in the beauty of the handmade or artful design, the annual award-winning Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair (GNCCF) in Manchester is the place to head this October.
Light up your Saturday with incredible music, dance and a showstopping finale of sound and light in this spectacular free celebration of the Hindu festivals of Dashehra and Diwali.
Winner of The Stage Edinburgh Award, this one-woman show starring Julie Hesmondhalgh returns to Manchester’s Royal Exchange following its sold-out run last season.
‘The Glagolitic Mass’ by Leoš Janáček is one of the twentieth century’s finest choral works. Conducted by Edward Gardner and played alongside ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ by Richard Strauss’, this will be a wonderful concert.
We look forward to a truly exciting season of concerts from the Hallé, whose 2018-19 is filled with music that pinpoints vital moments in our cultural history, from Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ to Janáček’s ‘The Glagolitic Mass’.
Manchester Literature Festival presents inspiring live literature and spoken word from international writers and home-grown talent. MLF18 runs from 6 to 21 October at venues around the city, presenting 80-odd events including brand-new special commissions.
Millions of listeners enjoy BBC Philharmonic concerts on Radio 3, recorded or broadcast live from the outstanding acoustic of The Bridgewater Hall, making this orchestra one of the most widely heard in the country.
The first major retrospective of work by the radical Manchester artist and feminist campaigner, Annie Swynnerton, opens in nearly 100 years at Manchester Art Gallery.
Manchester’s newest concert hall continues to push boundaries with its upcoming Autumn/Winter season – from a brand new audiovisual work to celebrate 100 years of votes for women to a one-off staging of a dark adaptation of A Christmas Carol, via a visit by the world-renowned Gould Trio and a year-long series celebrating outstanding pianists who studied at Chetham’s.