Museums in Manchester

Creative Tourist

We do like a good museum, from those old-fashioned slightly dusty numbers (who shall remain nameless) to the hipper variety, such as 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.

Our top picks

Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9PL - Visit now

Manchester Museum has always been a place of wonder – it’s one of those glorious Victorian-era venues with a smorgasbord of fascinating collections crammed into a building within the complex of The University of Manchester. Now, following a £15 million transformation – as part of its ‘Hello Future’ project – the Museum moves into a brand new phase in its rich history.

Manchester Museum Tours at Manchester Museum

People’s History Museum (PHM)

People’s History Museum (PHM), 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.

People's History Museum Manchester
Image © People’s History Museum

Science and Industry Museum

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.

Image courtesy of Science and Industry Museum.

National Football Museum

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.

The National Football Museum Manchester
Image courtesy of National Football Museum

Imperial War Museum North (IWM North)

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.

Imperial War Museum North exterior shot - host of story seekers
Image courtesy of Visit Britain

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

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.

Image courtesy of Marketing Manchester / © Joel-Chester-Fildess

Greater Manchester Police Museum

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.

Creative Tourist

Salford Museum and Art Gallery

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 exterior
Tom Jeffs

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre

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.

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre Copyright Geoff Wynne and licensed for reuse

Stockport Air Raid Shelters

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.

Air Raid Shelter Explorer Tour
Flecky Bennett Productions

Quarry Bank

Quarry Bank, Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4HP - Visit now

A visit to Quarry Bank in Cheshire is a must for anyone wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the North West.

Quarry Bank Mill / National Trust

Rochdale Pioneers Museum

Rochdale Pioneers Museum, 31 Toad Lane, Rochdale, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, OL12 0NU - Visit now

The Rochdale Pioneers Museum is widely considered to be the birthplace of the co-operative movement.

rochdale pioneers museum

Where to go in Manchester

The National Football Museum Manchester
Manchester
Museum
National Football Museum

The National Football Museum is now open to the public, ready to show off its impressive array of football-related exhibits and activities.

Manchester Museum Tours at Manchester Museum
Manchester
Museum
Manchester Museum

The Manchester Museum isn’t one of the UK’s leading university museums for nothing – it has six million objects in its stores, including a full size T-Rex skeleton, and that’s just for starters.

Pankhurst Centre
Manchester
Museum
The Pankhurst Centre

The Pankhurst Centre houses a small museum and heritage centre that remains as a legacy to the Pankhurst family and the Suffragette movement born in this city.

Manchester
Museum
Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre

This beautiful building holds temporary exhibitions of acclaimed international art, contemporary and historical collections, handcrafted art in the Art Shop and Tina’s tea rooms. Alongside this runs a varied events, workshop and education programme.

Salford museum and art gallery exterior
Manchester
Museum
Salford Museum and Art Gallery

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.

Gallery Oldham, in Oldham Cultural Quarter
Manchester
Museum
Gallery Oldham

Gallery Oldham provides a wide range of exhibitions and activities targeted at different audiences of all ages within Oldham and the surrounding area.

Manchester
Museum
Air Raid Shelters

Carved into the natural sandstone cliffs, the intriguing network of underground tunnels offers visitors an unparalleled insight into life in wartime Britain in the 1940’s.

Manchester
Museum
Hat Works Museum

Top hats, bowlers, trilbies …. who doesn’t love a hat? Visit the UK’s only collection devoted to hats which celebrates Stockport’s role in the hatting industry.

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UNITOM bookshop
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