Stretching all the way from the Curry Mile – with its glittering sari emporiums, Indian sweet shops and mixed reputation for actual curry – up toward the city centre, Oxford Road is not only home to two Universities, the Royal Northern College of Music, an Olympic-sized pool and a good number of the city’s best music venues, it’s also the busiest bus route in Europe. Yes, this is student land, but cultural institutions such as The Whitworth art gallery, Manchester Museum and International Anthony Burgess Centre also make the area a real draw for locals and tourists alike. There are also two parks: Whitworth Park, which dates back to 1890, and Grosvenor Square, a small patch of green that was once a church and where now, on sunny days, the locals come out to bask in bookish style.
The Oxford Road Corridor is the site of serious scientific innovation; here, you can visit the place where the atom was split, and doff your cap to the building dedicated to pioneering computer scientist and code breaker Alan Turing. Once home to philosopher Friedrich Engels and writer Elizabeth Gaskell, the area can boast its fair share of artistic prestige, too. Here, history and innovation still exist side by side.
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9LW - Visit now
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. The Pankhurst Centre is also nearby.
Contact Theatre, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6JA - Visit now
Contact has to be the go-to place for emerging theatre in the city, with commissioned work here going on to high acclaim. Set back from the road but recognizable by its H-shaped turrets. Currently closed for renovation, Contact’s In The City programme has put their rivals in the shade.
The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6ER - Visit now
It’s been a few years now since The Whitworth underwent a £15m redevelopment; it almost feels like the gallery has always jutted out into Whitworth park, seamlessly transitioning from old to new. The exhibitions here are excellent.
Big Hands, 296 Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9NS
Big Hands is the one-time haunt of legendary Manchester band Elbow; it’s shabby, loud and dark, with a jukebox and excellent roof terrace.
White Psyche at the Whitworth examines the aesthetics of white supremacy through the story of Cupid and Psyche – a classical tale of love and good looks.
This October Contact presents an all-digital version of the Black Gold Arts Festival featuring workshops, discussions, talks and performances.
HOME’s Black History Month film programme foregrounds the contribution of Black practitioners to film history with blockbusters, rare classics and brand new cinema.
Performed live by RashDash theatre company, this musical performance offers a lively reflection on the pandemic and our lived experiences of the last six months.
Henry Golding is mightily impressive in Monsoon, the new film from Lilting director Hong Khaou.
The Homemakers series of virtual theatre continues with this interactive, fantasy musical set in and around your own home.
Manchester Animation Festival moves online with an eclectic programme catering to animation professionals, enthusiasts and fans alike.
One for our next generation of digital natives: an exciting new dance commission inspired by the dance challenges on TikTok and Instagram.
Created by composer Alex Ho and theatre-maker Elayce Ismail, this stunning fusion of music, text and visuals sees a trip to the Amazon take an unexpected turn.