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.

BRUTAL - an exhibition of painting and sculpture at Saul Hay Gallery
Exhibitions 7–22 November 2020, FREE

BRUTAL at Saul Hay Gallery in Manchester

BRUTAL at Saul Hay offers an important chance to step back and consider the rapidly changing fabric of our urban surroundings.

Soft Bodies at Castlefield Gallery
Exhibitions Until 1 November 2020, FREE

Soft Bodies at Castlefield Gallery

Soft Bodies at Castlefield Gallery will reference the body in relation to technology, politics, gender, race and sexuality.

Silhouette of people standing in front of an exhibit at Manchester Science Festival 2018
Activity 12–21 February 2021, Tickets TBC

Manchester Science Festival

Expect another action-packed programme of inspiring, entertaining and playful experiences for all ages as Manchester Science Festival returns.

Use Hearing Protection: The Early Years of Factory Records at the Science and Industry Museum
Exhibitions Until 10 January 2021, from £5

Use Hearing Protection: The Early Years of Factory Records at the Science and Industry Museum – Postponed

Use Hearing Protection tells the story of Factory Records’ formative years from 1978-1982, when the label made waves with its innovative work in music, technology and design.

Exhibitions Until 29 November 2020, FREE

The Sun at the Science and Industry Museum

This blockbuster exhibition was due to close at the end of March, but has been extended until 29 November as part of the Science and Industry Museum’s reopening programme.

Sh!t Actually at HOME
Theatre 12–23 December 2020, from £10.00

Sh!t Actually at HOME

Packed with sparkling live song, queer love stories and a good dose of festive politics, Sh!t Theatre are back in Manchester just in time for Christmas.

Duckie at HOME
Theatre 14–23 December 2020, from £10.00

Duckie at HOME

Sparkling and sincere, Le Gateau Chocolat brings family-friendly cabaret and a good dose of glitz in this retelling of The Ugly Duckling.

Activity Until 1 November 2020, FREE

October Half Term at the Science and Industry Museum

Join the Science and Industry Museum this October half term for a safe, scientific and inspiring day out.

Obstructions at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Exhibitions 22 November 2020–17 January 2021, FREE

Obstructions at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester

Castlefield Gallery presents ‘Obstructions’ – a rather unconventional group show about the freedoms within restriction, and rules that are sometimes there to be broken.

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…