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.
Join PHM for a series of guided tours with their expert staff, curators and conservationists, it’s an incredibly human look at the National Museum of Democracy’s exhibitions.
In support of her forthcoming album – the follow-up to her 2019 experimental pop masterpiece PANG – Caroline Polachek plays Manchester’s Albert Hall.
Charged with emotional truthfulness, beauty, charm and embarrassing conversation, don’t miss David Eldridge’s intimate two-hander exploring love and loneliness.
Winner of the Bruntwood Prize 2019, International Award and presented as part of MIF23, Kimber Lee’s play looks to be the pièce de résistance for another brilliant season at the Royal Exchange.
Various independent publishing houses set out their stalls at the Northern Publishers’ Fair at Manchester Central Library.
There’s murder and mayhem in the library! Manchester Libraries’ monthly event Crime Central welcomes new guests every month at Central Library, hosted by Rob Parker.
Starring Jenna Coleman and Aiden Turner, this tender and funny romantic comedy heads to Manchester from the West End. Don’t miss out.
Will Young makes his return to the stage in this powerful one-man show written by Olivier Award winner Simon Stephens and Mark Eitzel.
Set in the brand new dedicated Fashion Gallery, ‘Dandy Style’ celebrates all the is most elegant, dramatic and fascinating in menswear.
Directed by Danny Boyle, Free Your Mind is a Matrix-themed large-scale performance spectacular and the first production at Manchester’s newest landmark arts venue.