We do like a good museum, from those old-fashioned slightly dusty numbers (who shall remain nameless) to the hipper variety, such as The Manchester Museum, which of all UK museums arguably does the best job in combining a historic collection with 21st-century details. Greater Manchester is studded with gems, from the sprawling Science and Industry Museum to the small but perfectly-formed Police Museum. Read our picks of the best here.
We have updated our guide to reflect the gradual reopening of museums across Greater Manchester. Here’s what we know so far, we will update as more details emerge. We recommend checking the museum’s websites using the links below before making a special trip, many have booking systems in place and are running at slightly reduced hours. A huge congratulations and thank you to all the museum staff who have made reopening possible!
Here are our picks
Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9PL - Visit now
Manchester Museum boasts six million pieces in its archive, an impressive Egyptology collection and new discovery space The Study all in one gothic, Grade II*-listed building.
The Museum is open again now from Wednesday – Sunday, 11 am – 4.00 pm, but you will need to book a free ticket beforehand. All of their natural history galleries, including Stan the T.rex and the Vivarium are open to ticketholders. If you’re unable to get out yet, they have plenty of online entertainment and education for you to enjoy.
People’s History Museum in Manchester, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER - Visit now
The national museum of democracy couldn’t have a better home than the radical city of Manchester, birthplace of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and universal suffrage.
PHM is now open, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, they have introduced an online registration system for visitors to select a date and time to visit. This helps manage the number of visitors and supports social distancing.
Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4FP - Visit now
The Science and Industry Museum is housed in the buildings of the world’s first inter-city passenger railway; this sprawling, interactive land of scientific exploration is also undergoing a multi million pound restoration project to reveal how ideas change the world.
The Science and Industry Museum is now open and welcoming back visitors. The team have been working hard to ensure that all the appropriate measures are in place for a safe and enjoyable visit. The museum will be open from Wednesday – Sunday, using the reduced opening hours to enable enhanced cleaning regimes.
National Football Museum, Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 3BG - Visit now
The National Football Museum attracted 100,000 visitors in the first six weeks of opening. It continues to be hugely popular – expect football-related displays and exhibitions, a café and an extensive shop.
One of the first attractions in Manchester to reopen, The National Football Museum has been welcoming visitors from Thursday – Sunday since the end of July.
Imperial War Museum North (IWM North), Imperial War Museum North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M17 1TZ - Visit now
IWM North was designed by Daniel Libeskind, whose beautiful waterfront building was based on a globe shattered by war and houses a permanent collection, special exhibitions and events that consider the many ways conflict shapes society.
The museum is open again now with a number of changes in place to ensure your visit is safe and enjoyable. One key change is that they have limited the number of people that can visit, so we recommend that you pre-book a free timed ticket before you arrive.
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9LW - Visit now
In recent years Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has been lovingly restored; you can now sit at her desk, see where Charlotte Brontë hid behind the curtains, and have tea in the downstairs café.
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is open again on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 11 am – 4.30 pm. Timed entry is available to book every 15-minutes for a maximum of 5 people per time slot. Visitors are asked to wear a face mask.
Greater Manchester Police Museum, 57a Newton Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1ET - Visit now
At the Greater Manchester Police Museum you can stand in the dock, see make-shift riot weapons – such as a soap in a sock – and try the feel of a wooden pillow.
No news on the museum opening again just yet, but there’s plenty from their collection to explore online – just head over to their website.
Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Peel Park, The Crescent, Salford, Greater Manchester, M5 4WU - Visit now
Salford Museum and Art Gallery is a friendly city museum close to Peel Park with special appeal to families; the highlight is Lark Hill Place, a charming Victorian Street installation.
Salford Museum and Art Gallery began a phased reopening at the beginning of August. You can call into their shop and cafe, book a 30-minute slot to visit Lark Hill Place or book an appointment in the Local History Library. They are open Tuesday – Sunday from 11.30am – 4pm.
Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 9DL - Visit now
Recently declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre is a great day out for all the family and home to the Bluedot Festival.
The Discovery Centre is now open again and welcoming visitors, just book your spot on their website. There’s also plenty you can do with them online from home too!
Stockport Air Raid Shelters, Great Underbank, Stockport, Cheshire, SK1 1NE - Visit now
Stockport museums are beginning a phased reopening of their sites. The first to re-open were Bramall Hall and Stockport Air Raid Shelters. You must book tickets in advance to allow for managed visitor numbers.
No news on the Hat Works Museum just yet.
Quarry Bank, Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4LA - Visit now
A visit to Quarry Bank in Cheshire is a must for anyone wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the North West.
While the indoors places are still closed for now, they have re-opened the car park, gardens and woodland. You will need to book your visit in advance. You will be turned away if you arrive without a booking.
Rochdale Pioneers Museum, 31 Toad Lane, Rochdale, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, OL12 0NU - Visit now
Rochdale Pioneers is open again Wednesday – Friday with advance booking. There is a free temporary booking system with 8 tickets available per 45-minute slot which will be released two weeks in advance.