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.

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.

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.

Fanspeak exhibition, curated by Shy Bairns. Presented at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Exhibitions 2–24 November 2019, FREE

Fanspeak at Castlefield Gallery

Presented at Castlefield Gallery and curated by Shy Bairns, Fanspeak features artists whose work appropriates fan-like production.

Hannah Fry presented this year's Ri Christmas lectures
Families 17 December 2019, 5:30 pm–8:30 pm, from £3.00

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures – Live Screening at the Science and Industry Museum

Surely nothing says Christmas like a maths lecture? Dr Hannah Fry is here to prove just that! Started by Michael Faraday in 1825, The Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures are always entertaining for the whole family.

40 Years | 40 Projects: the work of stephenson STUDIO at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Exhibitions 6–22 December 2019, FREE

40 Years | 40 Projects: the work of stephenson STUDIO at Castlefield Gallery

40 Years | 40 Projects: the work of stephenson STUDIO at Castlefield Gallery marks 40 years of the stephenson STUDIO.

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Things to do right now

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The Shadow at HOME
Dance 22–23 November 2019, from £12.00

The Shadow at HOME

lived-in rooms
Exhibitions 22 November–1 December 2019, FREE

Lived-In Rooms at Tenancy house

Eat The City - Scranchester Tours
Food and Drink 27 October 2019–19 November 2022, from £50

Eat The City – Scranchester Tours

Family things to do. An art installation at Lightopia.
Families 21 November–31 December 2019, from £11

Lightopia at Heaton Park

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

The Sun at the Science and Industry Museum

HOME
Festivals 1 January–31 December 2019,

HOME 2019 Season

Hallé
Classical Music 19 September 2019–30 May 2020,

The Hallé 2019-20 Season

Manchester Christmas Markets 2020
Families 8 November–21 December 2019, FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets

Cinema 22–28 November 2019, from £7.50

Marriage Story at HOME

Music 30 January–31 December 2019, from £19.62

Striking Gold Piano Series at The Stoller Hall

Music 15 October–12 December 2019, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season