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.

Power Up at the Science and Industry Museum
Families 20 July–1 September 2019, from £7.00

Power UP at the Science and Industry Museum

Stretch those competitive muscles and explore 40 years of video game challenges and design from Pacman to the latest in virtual reality.

Exhibitions 20 July 2019–5 January 2020, from £6

The Sun at the Science and Industry Museum

Museum of Science and Industry’s blockbuster summer exhibition, The Sun, sets out to bring us as close to the star as many of us are likely to ever come.

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.

Rocket courtesy Science Museum
Exhibitions 25 September 2018–8 September 2019, FREE

Rocket Returns to the Science and Industry Museum

Make tracks for Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum. A one-in-a-lifetime chance to see Stephenson’s Rocket return to the site of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway for the first time in over 180 years.

Power UP Late at the Science and Industry Museum
Social 24 July–21 August 2019, from £12.00

Power UP Late at the Science and Industry Museum

With hundreds of consoles and games from the past 40 years, get your game face on at one of the adult-only Power UP sessions.

Back To The Future The Musical at Manchester Opera House
Theatre 20 February–17 May 2020, from £19.95

Back To The Future The Musical at Manchester Opera House

Turn your flux capacitor on and set your destination to the Manchester Opera House in the year 2020. Your future depends on it.

Summer Season of fun at the Museum of Science and Industry
Exhibitions 20 July–1 September 2019, FREE

Summer Season of Fun at the Science and Industry Museum

Head to the Science and Industry Museum this summer for daily family shows, fun activities and events, whatever the weather.

Enjoy surprising science with our experiment packed Science Showdown and experience the sights and sounds of the Textiles Mills at a historic working machinery demonstration.

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.

Sun Playground at Science and Industry Museum, Manchester
Activity 17–18 August 2019, FREE

Sun Playground at Science and Industry Museum

For one weekend only, Science and Industry Museum’s galleries will be bursting with fun, free activities for all ages that uncover the science behind living with our star.

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