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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Manchester

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Manchester, the center of the southeast Lancashire conurbation, is the commercial and cultural capital of the northwest of England. It is noted as an arts, media, and higher education centre. With Salford and eight other municipalities, it forms the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester, in which some three million people now live.

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The enormous range of shopping facilities available in Manchester include the elegant shops of St Anne's Square, King Street and Royal Exchange, and the large covered market halls of Bolton Arcade. As an alternative, the visitor can visit the Galleries Shopping Center in the center of Wigan or the smaller shops and businesses of Altrincham.

Castlefield Urban Heritage Park

"Castlefield Urban Heritage Park", to the west of Deansgate Station, is entertaining and full of variety. A walk among the lovingly restored Victorian houses, including the various new buildings which have been harmoniously added, along the old canals or to the reconstructed Roman fort - all of these things convey in a highly impressive way the history of Manchester from the earliest times to the present day.
Address: Castlefield Centre, 101 Liverpool Road, Castlefield M3 4JN, England

Museum of Science and Industry

This industrial museum on Liverpool Road, Great Britain's "Museum of the Year" in 1990, informs the visitor about a large number of technical advances and innovations. With its 12 galleries it was erected on the site of the world's oldest railroad station. In Power Hall (on the corner of Lower Byrom Street) it is possible to admire water and steam-driven machines from the golden period of the textile industry, as well as old steam locomotives, and veteran cars which were manufactured in Manchester (including the Belsize motor car, 1912; Rolls Royce, 1904; Crossley Shelsey 15.7 hp saloon, 1929). The history of the city, from Roman times through the Industrial Revolution to the present day, is documented in the Station Building, which adjoins to the west, while in the Warehouse, a building dating from about 1830 which lies opposite, the creation and development of electricity and energy is explained. To the north of Power Hall in Lower Byrom Street Warehouse, printing and spinning machines can be seen, as well as computers from the very first models to the modern silicon chip. In the "Xperiment" on the upper floor, various models enable the visitor to learn more about the connection between light and energy in an active way.
Address: Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester M3 4FP, England

Air and Space Gallery

On the east side of Lower Byrom Street stands the Air and Space Gallery, the home of numerous aircraft which made history, including a replica of the triple-decker Triplane 1 by A. V. Roe, which in 1909 was, with its 9 hp engine, the first British plane to go up into the sky, and a De Havilland Trident 3 B jet; other attractions include the spacesuit belonging to the astronaut Thomas Stafford and a flight simulator.

Roman Fort

To the south of the Granada TV Studios, opposite the Air and Space Gallery, the visitor enters the northern gate of the ruins which have been uncovered of the Roman fort, which once existed here and which is now surrounded by lawns.


Nearby the Roman Fort is the Bridgewater Canal which was constructed in 1759-61 to transport coal from the mines at Worsley to the up-and-coming new town of Manchester. Here, as at the Rochdale Canal, which was opened in 1804, Wigan Pier and Salford Quays to the west, between the River Irwell and the Manchester Ship Canal, many of the old warehouses have been restored and turned into offices, shops, hotels and restaurants. A boat trip on one of the Bridgewater packet boats is particularly recommended.

Castlefield Art Gallery

To the east of the Air and Space Gallery, the Castlefield Art Gallery has periodic exhibitions of contemporary art.
Address: 2 Hewitt Street, Knott Mill, Manchester M15 4GB, England

Manchester Cathedral

Manchester Cathedral, on the banks of the Irwell, is in Perpendicular style and dates mostly from 1422 to 1506. It was raised to cathedral status in 1847. The chapels on both sides of the nave and choir were built between 1486 and 1508, and there were further additions and alterations in almost every subsequent century. Particularly notable are the choir-stalls, with misericords which are among the most richly decorated in the country. The side chapels in the choir have been preserved, unlike those in the nave. St John's Chapel is the chapel of the Manchester Regiment. The little Lady Chapel has a wooden screen of about 1440. The octagonal chapterhouse, built in 1465, has mural paintings by C. Weight (1962) at the entrance, including a figure of Christ in modern dress.

Chetham's Hospital and Library

Chetham's Hospital, just north of the Manchester Cathedral, dates in part from 1422-61. It was originally a residence for priests of a collegiate foundation, and is now occupied by a music school. Its library is one of the oldest public libraries in England with a stock of over 100,000 books, half of which were printed before 1850.

John Rylands University Library

The John Rylands Library is housed in a neo-Gothic building to the southwest of Chetham's Hospital in Deansgate. Founded in 1653, it has over five million books and manuscripts and is England's main repository for early printed books.

Town Hall

The pedestrianized Albert Square is graced by the imposing facade of the neo-Gothic Town Hall (1868-1877), designed by Alfred Waterhouse. From the tower there is an excellent panoramic view, while the Council Chamber and the cycle of paintings by Fort Madox Brown depicting the history of the city merit special attention.

Central Library

The Manchester Central Library next door to the Town Hall is a large rotunda by E. Vincent Harris (1934) and houses nine specialized libraries.
Address: St Peter's Square, Manchester M2 5PD, England

The Free Trade Hall

The Free Trade Hall, opened in 1951 and just a few minutes walk to the southwest of Manchester's Central Library in Peter Street, is home to the Hallé Orchestra. First-class concerts are regularly given here.

Exhibition Event Centre

The centrally situated Great Manchester Exhibition and Event Center (10,000sq.m/12,000sq.yd of exhibition area) is one of the newest such sites in England and is impressive for its size alone. It has been set up in the former buildings of the Victorian railroad station on Windmill Street and Mosley Street.

Centre for the Visual Arts (Cornhouse)

Manchester's Centre for the Visual Arts is at 70 Oxford Street. For those interested in the moving image there are film showings, video and photographic workshops, and temporary exhibitions.

City Art Gallery

The Manchester City Art Gallery in Mosley Street possesses one of the largest collections in Britain outside London. The gallery includes works by the pre-Raphaelites, Flemish masters of the 17th C, French impressionists (Gauguin, Manet, Monet, etc.), German artists (Max Ernst), and examples of the work of almost every English artist of any note, including Stubbs, Constable and Turner. The sculpture collection includes works by Rodin, Maillol, Jakob Epstein and Henry Moore ("Mother and Child").
Address: Mosley Street & Princess Street, Manchester M2 3JL, England


Chinatown, the colorful home of one of the largest Chinese communities in Great Britain, is only a stone's throw from the City Art Gallery. The richly decorated Chinese arched gateway which leads into this little district is especially striking. Many shops and restaurants offering a wide range of culinary delicacies (especially from Hong Kong and Peking) have become established in this quarter, while Chinese handicrafts can be found at the Chinese Arts Centre in Charlotte Street.

National Museum of Labour History (People's History Museum)

The People's History Museum or National Museum of Labor History is the national centre for the collection, conservation, interpretation and study of material relating to the history of working people in Britain. The origin of the museum is from the Trade Union, Labour and Co-operative History Society which began in 1960.
Address: 103 Princess Street, Manchester M1 6DD, England

Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum has a collection which deals with the Jewish community in Manchester.
The museum is housed in the former Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, built in 1874. The building contains noteworthy stained glass windows.
Address: 190 Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester M8 8LW, England

Manchester Museum of Transport

In the Museum of Transport (Boyle Street/Cheetham Hill) there are over 60 old buses and other vehicles belonging to the city transport services.
Address: Boyle Street, Cheetham, Manchester M8 8UW, England

Heaton Hall

Heaton Hall in Prestwich, built in 1772 in the neoclassical style by James Wyatt, is worth visiting for its applied art and elegant furniture.
Address: Mosley Street & Princess Street, Manchester M2 3JL, England

Platt Hall

Platt Hall, an elegant Georgian house (Wilmslow Road/ Rusholme) built in 1764, presents an overview of English fashion and costume from 1600 to the present day.
This is perhaps the only collection which rivals that found in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The main body of the collection was a gift from C. W. Cunnington, an early collector and writer of many books on the subject of dress history.
Strengths of the collection include excellent examples of everyday dress.

Gallery of Costume

The Gallery of Costume contains one of the largest collections of costumes and accessories in Britain.
Address: Mosley Street & Princess Street, Manchester M2 3JL, England

Wythenshawe Hall

Porcelain, silver and paintings are on display in Wythenshawe Horticultural Center, a half-timbered mansion.
Address: Mosley Street & Princess Street, Manchester M2 3JL, England

Manchester University

The University of Manchester was founded in 1851 as Owens College, with the help of a bequest of £100,000 by John Owens (1790-1846), a wealthy merchant who left the money for the establishment of a university not subject to ecclesiastical influence. The "Manchester educational precinct" is a large complex which includes a variety of institutes and halls of residence.
Manchester University can claim three Nobel prizewinners: Ernest Rutherford (1871-1939), who put forward the theory of atomic disintegration and laid the foundations of modern atomic physics with his model of the atom; the physician James Chadwick, born in Manchester in 1791, who in 1932 proved the existence of the neutron (Nobel prize 1935); Sir John Cockcroft (1897-1967), one of the leading physicists in British and Canadian atomic research, who worked for a time in Manchester (Nobel prize 1951).

Whitworth Art Gallery

The Whitworth Art Gallery, housed in the University of Manchester, is renowned for its collections of British watercolors, drawings, prints, modern art and sculpture. It also is home to the largest textile and wallpaper collections outside of London.
Address: University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6ER, England

Manchester Museum

Close by the university is the Manchester Museum with extensive scientific collections. Its Egyptian collection is of particular interest.
Exhibits also include mummies, birds, mammals, fossils, minerals, live snakes, lizards and fish.
Address: The University of Manchester, 250 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, England

Central Station

Central Station was on the line that connected Manchester to Liverpool, and once boasted 400 arrivals and departures per day. Great girders pierce the walls and permit sunlight to stream down into the interior.

Festival of Television and Arts

This annual festival runs from September to October and features both live and audiovisual events.
It also includes the Best of Edinburgh comedy and theater seasons and a number of free events, including the Castlefield Carnival.
Address: Central Library, St Peter's Square, Manchester M2 5PD, England

Portico Library and Gallery

Housed within the Portico Library is the literary collection of Dalton and Joule, the intellectual figures of Manchester who founded the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society.
Address: 57 Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3HY, England


Marton, England

Near Congleton (16mi/26km south of Manchester) lies the tiny market town of Marton with a notable half-timbered church, one of the oldest in Europe. The Church of St James and St Paul was founded in 1343 in Marton. The nave with its wall-paintings, of which just a few are still preserved, dates from this time, whereas the choir was added later, and the bell-tower in 1540. Renovation work carried out in the 19th and early 20th century removed unnecessary decorations and ensured that this rare jewel of church architecture should be preserved in all its simplicity and charm.

Bunbury - Little Moreton Hall

An excursion can be made to Little Moreton Hall (22mi/35km to the south of Manchester), one of the most impressive half-timbered mansions in England, begun around 1480 by Ralph Moreton, with the east wing being added in 1559 by a descendant, the south wing in 1563. Although almost none of the original interior fittings and furnishings have been preserved, the large multi-storyed building, with its superb half-timbered construction and pretty inner courtyard, moat and garden, offers an excellent glimpse of what rural life must have been like in 16th C Cheshire.

The Lowry, Salford, England

View of bridges at Salford Quays in Greater Manchester.
Salford, a university town, lies on the River Irwell with many tourist attractions, such as Ordsall Hall, the Bridgewater Canal and the Lowry Centre.
The Lowry opened on 28th April 2000, an architectural flagship, along the redeveloped Salford Quays. Two theatres for performing arts present a full range of drama, opera, ballet, dance, musicals, children's shows, popular music, jazz, folk and comedy; gallery spaces showing the works of LS Lowry alongside contemporary exhibitions; and ArtWorks an interactive attraction are all found under one roof.

Bury, England

Bury (pop. 172,200) is located 10mi/16km northwest of Manchester. The town has a large arts scene including a museum, art gallery and library all under one roof that was refurbished in 2005. The Bury Market has been on the same site for the past 600 years and operates on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The market attracts visitors for miles around the town.

Rochdale, England

Rochdale (pop. 92,704) is located on the Roch River 10mi/16km northeast of Manchester. There are several landmark buildings including the Rochdale Town Hall, completed in 1871, and the Parish Church of St Chad from Norman times. Rochdale was also the founding place of the modern cooperative movement and the birthplace of John Bright, the politician and orator.

Altrincham, England

Altrincham (pop. 39,641) is located 8mi/13km southwest of Manchester. This commuter town began as a market town in 1290. Attractions include Dunham Massey Hall Deer Park, Stamford Park and a number of historic sites such as the market and restored whipping post.

Dunham Massey

Dunham Massey is located in Altrincham in Greater Manchester. The 18th C house is a National Trust property with extensively replanted grounds, a deer park and water-mill.
Address: Dunham Massey Hall, Altrincham WA14 4SJ, England

White Cottage

The White Cottage at Dunham Massey was built circa 1500. It is a timber-framed cottage built as a cruss trussed open hall and was altered in the 17th century.
It is open to visitors by permission of the tenants.

Ashton-Under-Lyne, England

Ashton-Under-Lyne is located on the Tame River 6mi/10km east of Manchester. There are coal deposits in the area. The night life in Ashton-Under-Lyne is quite active, with many clubs in the town centre.
Ashton-Under-Lyne is also home to St. Michael and All Angels, completed in 1262.

Museum of the Manchesters

The museum illustrates the history of the Manchester Regiment and its local community from 19th century to National Service. Besides, there is an exhibtion about the history of medals.
Address: Town Hall, Market Place, Ashton-Under-Lyne OL6 7JU, England

Bolton, England

Bolton is a large town in the north of England with many attractions and historical sites to visit. The town has social roots dating back to 1251. Bolton has two notable landmarks - Bolton Parish Church, completed in 1871, and the Town Hall, opened in 1873.

Hall i'th' Wood (Home of Samuel Crompton)

Hall i'th' Wood was the home of Samuel Crompton, the inventor of the Spinning Mule (1779). Built in the 15th C, this typical medieval merchant's house contains Stuart and Georgian furniture.
Address: Greenway, Crompton Way, Bolton BL1 8UA, England

Smithills Hall

Smithills Hall is set above Ravenden Brook on the lower slopes of Smithills Moor. Dating back to the 15th C, it features a nature trail and garden center.
Address: Smithills Dean Road, Bolton BL1 7NP, England

Disley - Lyme Park

Lyme Park was originally a Tudor House but has been encased in a classical skin by the Palladian architect Giacomo Leoni. This is one of th biggest houses in Cheshire and it contains detailed decorative work and fine quality furnishings. The house is set in a large country park with splendid views.
Address: Disley, Stockport SK12 2NR, England

Bramall Hall, Stockport, England

Bramall Hall is located in Greater Machester, in the town of Stockport. It is one of Cheshire's most important black and white timber framed houses, it was built in 1590.
The Stockport Viaduct, completed in 1840, features 27 brick arches and has been featured in many paintings.

Styal - Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate

Quarry Bank Mill is Europe's largest working textile museum. There is a special display on children's roles in the cotton industry and as you make your way through the factory, interpreters explain the history of cotton production from bale to bolt.
The museum was a recipient of the Tourism for All award.
Address: Quarry Bank Road, Styal SK9 4LA, England

Alderley Edge, England

Alderley Edge is located just south of Manchester on the A34. The village is situated on the Edge, a steep red sandstone escarpment, that is enjoyed by day trippers who explore the rolling fields and surrounding woodland.

Nether Alderley Mill

Nether Alderley Mil, a restored 15th century corn-mill, is a National Trust property located in Alderley Edge. It is powered by water from a lake it is set against and has been restored to full working order.
Address: Congleton Road, Nether Alderley SK10 4TW, England

Macclesfield, England

Old street side houses in Macclesfield.
Macclesfield (pop. 147,000) is located on the Bollin River 17mi/27km south of Manchester. At one time the town was a major center of silk manufacture and Macclesfield hosts a museum highlighting the history of the silk industry.

Jodrell Bank Science Centre

The world-famous Lovell telescope, a giant dish 76 meters in diameter and built in 1957, was the world's largest steerable radio telescope until 1971. It is on display at the Jodrell Bank Science Centre which is part of the Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories.
Interactive displays on astronomy, space, energy and satellites. Planetarium shows. Arboretum.

Hare Hill

Hare Hill is a National Trust property located near Macclesfield. The site includes a walled garden with pergola, rhododendrons and azaleas as well as extensive parkland.
Address: Over Alderley, Macclesfield SK10 4QB, England

Macclesfield Silk Museums

The Macclesfield Silk Museum is small but delightful and is housed in a former silk weaving factory. This area was famous for silk production from the late 18th C to World War II.
Address: Park Lane, Macclesfield SK11 6TJ, England

Shringley Hall Golf & Country Club

This championship 18-hole course is set in 262 acres of plush land. The course is par 70.
Address: Shringley Park, North Macclesfield SK10 5SB, England

Knutsford, England

Knutsford (pop. 13,675) is located 13mi/21km southwest of Manchester. The town is noted as a popular eating out destination due to the plenty of restaurants available. It is the 'Cranford' of Elizabeth Gaskell, the English novelist.

Tatton Park

Tatton Park is one of Northern England's most popular historic attractions. It features a 1930s working farm, a medieval old hall and a magnificent mansion. The deer park is set in 1,000 acres of parkland containing two lakes.

Rushcart Festival, Uppermill Saddleworth, England

Uppermill is the largest villge in Saddleworth with a museum, craft shops, and tea rooms. The Rushcart Festival is an annual event that takes place in late August featuring Morris Dancing.

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