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.
Whether you’re a cycling fanatic with rock-hard quadriceps, or don’t even own a bike (let alone dare mount a Mobike), Rapha Rides Manchester will have something for you.
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.
International artist Hetain Patel explores issues of identity, gender, race and class with one big Spidey leap.
Castlefield Gallery’s new group show invites us to take a minty-fresh look at the world around us.
Daniel Kitson returns to the Royal Exchange with more sublime thoughts and silly stories.
Meet five-time Olympic cycling champion Sir Bradley Wiggins and join him and his family for a 50km morning cycle out of the city.
Throughout Rapha Rides Manchester, the beautiful gallery space and café at the Rapha Clubhouse will host a variety of special events, displays and activities, with plenty to get involved in.
Rapha has teamed up with the iconic camera brand, Leica, to offer a free workshop in how to make the most of that legendary ‘Golden Hour’.
An invitation to discover the city anew, from the seat of a Brompton (or your) bike.
Catch an exclusive film screening about the Manchester’s special connection with cycling, starring three local legends.