Image courtesy of Marketing Manchester

Castlefield, Manchester

Creative Tourist

The Roman General Julius Agricola founded ‘Mamucium’ in 79AD; the name means ‘breast shaped hill’, as this was what Agricola discovered in Castlefield, where the original settlement was based. Now, the fort that was built here – protected by the Rivers Irwell and Medlock – only survives in ruins, and the amphitheatre is a modern one, built to host occasional outdoor gigs. Canals are a key feature in the area; Castlefield was the terminus of the Bridgewater Canal, the world’s first industrial canal, the success of which inspired ‘canal mania’ in Britain. The real draw in the area, however, is ambitious cultural complex HOME (with its innovative cross-arts programming), the Museum of Science and Industry (housed in the magnificent buildings of the world’s first passenger railway), the small but influential Castlefield Gallery and the restaurants and bars that face out onto the canals.

Once a hub of industrial activity, Castlefield is now one of the city’s most tranquil spots. That’s thanks, in part, to its designation in 1982 as the UK’s first Urban Heritage Park, which safeguarded canals and cobbles and created a largely traffic-free haven. Its moored-up, flower-decked canal boats are evidence of the slower pace of life here.

Discover our top picks

  • 1. Castlefield Gallery

    Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
    Castlefield Gallery

    Castlefield Gallery, 2 Hewitt Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4GB - Visit now

    Castlefield Gallery may be small but it is influential, presenting thought-provoking contemporary art and supporting emerging artists. Its alumni include Turner Prize winners.

  • 2. Science and Industry Museum

    Jonty Wilde

    Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4FP - Visit now

    The Science & Industry Museum is housed in the buildings of the world’s first inter-city passenger railway; this sprawling, interactive land of scientific exploration includes a working steam train.

  • 3. Cask

    Ben Williams

    Cask, 29 Liverpool Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4NQ

    Cask is a well-loved pub on Liverpool Road in Manchester. It has an excellent selection of continental beers and a cosy beer garden.

  • 4. Duke’s 92

    Duke’s 92, 18 Castle Street
    Castlefield, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4LZ - Visit now

    Drink in the city’s built heritage along with a pint at Manchester’s Duke’s 92 – the place where both the original city and its urban revival began.

  • 5. Cibo

    Photos by Lennox Paul David

    Cibo, 3-11 Liverpool Road, Manchester, M3 4NW - Visit now

    Cibo is one of the newer Italian restaurant to open in Manchester. Modern Italian food in snazzy city centre surroundings.

Manchester's Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair
Exhibitions 10–13 October 2019, from £5.50

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2019 at Upper Campfield Market

For anyone with even a passing interest in the beauty of the handmade or artful design, the annual award-winning Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair (GNCCF) in Manchester is the place to head this October.

UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester – Creative Tourist
Exhibitions 22 March–26 May 2019, FREE

UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery

UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery explores our often conflicted relationship between past and present in architecture.

Makefest at the Science and Industry Museum
Families 25–26 May 2019, FREE

MakeFest 2019 at the Science and Industry Museum

MakeFest is back for 2019, taking over the museum for a weekend of coding, crafting and creating.

Families 25 May–2 June 2019, FREE

Tinkertastic at the Science and Industry Museum

Tinkertastic is your chance to get hands-on, make, try, experiment and maybe even discover a secret talent.

MIF19: Tree at Upper Campfield Market Hall
Music 29 June–10 July 2019, from £30

MIF19: Tree at Upper Campfield Market Hall

Created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, Tree will take its audience on a wondrous journey in search of the soul and spirit of present-day South Africa.

MIF19 Atmospheric Memory at Science and Industry Museum Manchester International Festival 2019
Exhibitions 6–21 July 2019, from £1

MIF19: Atmospheric Memory at Science and Industry Museum

Could the air that surrounds us be used to access the voices of the past? For MIF 2019, Mexican-Canadian electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer sets out to investigate a captivating theory posited by the great 19th century English polymath Charles Babbage.

Manchester District Guides

Medieval Quarter, Manchester

The Medieval Quarter, or Cathedral Quarter as it is sometimes known, is one of the oldest parts of Manchester and home to some historic gems and cultural must-sees.  

Photo of a handwritten label in a cafe that says "Ring for service with a smile"

Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester

Burton Road is the heart of West Didsbury, a beautifully maintained leafy hubbub of shops,…

Beech Road Chorlton, Manchester

A laid-back mix of gift shops, independent outfitters, restaurants, pubs and parks, on a sunny weekend afternoon it’s heaving.

The front of Didsbury restaurant Volta.

Didsbury, Manchester

Follow Oxford Road South through the Curry Mile, along Wilmslow Road, past Platt Fields Park…

Chorlton, Manchester

Chorlton is a left-leaning suburb a few miles south of Manchester’s city centre (and only…

Cheetham Hill, Manchester

As an area, Cheetham Hill gets a pretty bad rep. The foreboding architecture of Strangeways…

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
HOME
Festivals 1 January–31 December 2019,

HOME 2019 Season

Music 11 October 2018–22 May 2019,

The Hallé 2018-19 Season

Contact in the City Part Three
Theatre 1 February–13 June 2019,

Contact In The City Part Three

Music 30 January–5 July 2019, from £3

The Stoller Hall Spring Season

Music 30 January–31 December 2019, from £19.62

Striking Gold Piano Series at The Stoller Hall

bbc philharmonic 2018 2019 season at the bridgewater hall manchester
Music 29 September 2018–15 June 2019,

BBC Philharmonic 2018/19 Concert Season

Activity 20 October 2018–31 December 2019, FREE

Documentary Challenge at IWM North

Cinema 1 January–31 December 2019, from £5.50

Celebrating Women in Global Cinema at HOME

Cinema 9–23 May 2019, from £5.50

Amazing Grace at HOME

Cinema 22 October 2003–20 September 2019, from £5.50

MIF19: Mon Oncle at HOME