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.

Back to the future half term in manchester
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.

February Half Term Fun at Science and Industry Museum
Families Until 23 February 2020, FREE

February Half Term Fun at Science and Industry Museum

February Half Term Fun at Science and Industry Museum looks like another hit. Whether you travel by train, tram, bike or bus, make your way to the museum for loads of transport-themed fun.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North
Exhibitions Until 28 March 2020, FREE

Thumbs Up at Castlefield Gallery

Castlefield Gallery’s upcoming exhibition explores how the conditions of the gallery space affect our encounter with art. It certainly gets a thumbs up from us!

Use Hearing Protection: The Early Years of Factory Records at the Science and Industry Museum
Exhibitions 3 July 2020–10 January 2021, from £5

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

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 March 2020, from £6

The Sun at the Science and Industry Museum

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

Golden Age: Selected works by Christopher Cook at Saul Hay Gallery
Exhibitions Until 23 February 2020, FREE

Golden Age: Selected works by Christopher Cook at Saul Hay Gallery

Saul Hay Gallery in Manchester prepares to present an exhibition of new work by artist Christopher Cook, following his involvement in the major exhibition Making a Masterpiece at York Art Gallery.

Soft Bodies at Castlefield Gallery
Exhibitions 20 March–10 May 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.

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