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.

No Particular Place to Go? 35 Years of Sculpture at Castlefield Gallery
Exhibitions 6 September–27 October 2019, FREE

No Particular Place to Go? 35 Years of Sculpture at Castlefield Gallery

35 years and still going strong. Castlefield – Manchester’s first public contemporary visual art gallery – looks back on its history through the prism of sculpture.

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

The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is back for its 12th edition, featuring a handpicked selection of over 160 designer-makers from across the UK.

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.

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…