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.
One of the top 40 genre film festivals in the World, Manchester’s annual festival of horror, cult and fantastic film at Odeon Printworks returns this October.
Enter the world of Harry Potter and experience a family afternoon tea like with Roger Highfield, author of The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works followed by a screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
New fashion and film inspired by women during the First World War. Original designs from top designers including Vivienne Westwood.
Maxine Peake and Sarah Frankom continue their prolific partnership in this new adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ classic tale of Southern tension.
Direct from the National Portrait Gallery, London, Vogue 100: A Century of Style is a major exhibition celebrating 100 years of cutting-edge fashion, beauty and portrait photography by British Vogue.
IN A DREAM YOU SAW A WAY TO SURVIVE AND YOU WERE FULL OF JOY is curated by Turner Prize-winner Elizabeth Price, one of Britain’s most acclaimed artists. This highly original exhibition features the work of seventy artists.
Written in the wake of a failed affair, William Walton’s powerful First Symphony runs the emotional gamut – from heartbreak via contemplation to a profoundly optimistic ending.
Håkan Hardenberger joins John Storgårds and the orchestra to pay tribute with a performance of Max’s terrific Trumpet Concerto.
Premiered 12 months apart in Paris, this double-bill of iconic ballets surveys the revolutions that swept music a century ago.
Two distinct visions of the natural world provide the bookends for tonight’s concert: Tapiola, Sibelius’s homage to the fabled Finnish god of the forest; and Four Sea Interludes, Britten’s glorious evocation of his beloved Suffolk coastline.