England 7 MINS READ

The 15 Best Things to do in Manchester, England

The 15 Best Things to do in Manchester, England

England 7 MINS READ
The skyline of Manchester, in England, UK.

Often overlooked in favor of London, Manchester has plenty going for it. The city is still well off most travelers’ maps but flaunts an array of notable attractions, including beautiful libraries, first-class museums, art galleries, and larger-than-life football stadiums.

Give “England’s second city” a chance, and you’ll be positively surprised! Some of Manchester’s main sights include the majestic Old Trafford Stadium (an absolute must for sports fans), the Gothic-style Manchester Cathedral, and the trendy Northern Quarter.

Here’s a guide to the 15 best things to do in Manchester: historical sites, museums, family-friendly attractions, and unique nature-based locations.

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15 Amazing Things to do in Manchester, England

Manchester Town Hall (at Albert Square)

The Manchester Town Hall (at Albert Square), in Manchester, England.

The Manchester Town Hall is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Located in Albert Square, this Neo-gothic municipal building draws crowds of visitors thanks to its collection of paintings called the “ Manchester Murals,” which beautifully illustrate Manchester’s history.

While the Manchester Town Hall will be closed for renovations until 2024, the building can still be viewed from Albert Square.

By the way, walking around the square is also a well-worth thing to do in Manchester. Here, you’ll come across an array of historic buildings and statues, including the Albert Memorial, a neo-Gothic sandstone shrine-like structure built to shelter a marble statue of Prince Albert in his garter robes.

Address: Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester

Recommended Read: The 5 Best Hotels in Manchester, England

Manchester Cathedral

The Manchester Cathedral, in Manchester, England.

The Manchester Cathedral is an eye-catching Perpendicular Gothic-style church that is the seat of the Bishop of Manchester and the city’s parish church. One of the top highlights is the 15th-century Hanging Bridge. This ancient monument is hidden in the basement of the Manchester Cathedral Visitor Centre and connects the rivers Irk and Irwell in Manchester.

Constructed of three types of stone, the Manchester Cathedral also boasts thirty 16th-century misericords, considered among the finest in Europe, several angel sculptures, and ten majestic bells cast by Gillett & Johnston in 1925.

Address: Victoria St, Manchester

Northern Quarter

The Northern Quarter, in Manchester, England.

Also known as Manchester’s Shoreditch, Northern Quarter is one of the trendiest areas in the city. This up-and-coming neighborhood has irreverent street art murals, hip bars, independent record shops, and trendy restaurants.

On the edge of this creative district lies the Piccadilly Gardens, an open green space occupied by landscaped gardens. This is a prime spot for a breezy afternoon stroll and people-watching.

The Northern Quarter is also a destination for sampling Manchester’s top craft beers. This district’s best breweries include The Crafty Pig, Beatnikz One Republic, and Common John Brewing Company.

Old Trafford Stadium Tour

The Old Trafford Stadium Tour, in Manchester, England.

Sports enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the award-winning Old Trafford Museum and Stadium. With a capacity of 74,310, it is the largest club football stadium in the United Kingdom and home to Manchester United FC, which competes in the Premier League of football.

A guided tour of the Old Trafford Football Stadium will give you a glimpse into typically restricted areas. You’ll see the players’ tunnel, walk next to the stadium’s world-famous pitch, and visit the dugouts before getting the view from the Ability Platform.

The tour also includes access to the award-winning Manchester United Museum, which houses treasured memorabilia about the club’s past.

Address: Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Stretford, Manchester

Heaton Hall at Heaton Park

The Heaton Park, in Manchester, England.

Heaton Park is a serene park that encompasses an area of 600 acres. Perfect for outdoor activities, the park comprises lush green spaces, an 18-hole golf course, a boating lake, an animal farm, a pitch and putt course, and ornamental gardens.

The park’s crown jewel, however, is the Heaton Hall, a jaw-dropping 18th-century country house that harbors a treasured collection of furniture, and musical instruments, aside from hosting occasional recitals in the Music Room.

Address: Middleton Rd, Manchester

Manchester National Football Museum

The Manchester National Football Museum, in Manchester, England.

The Manchester National Football Museum is the world’s largest of its kind. Sports fans can marvel at a dazzling collection of over 2,000 items, including precious football memorabilia and archives.

Highlights of the museum include shirts, medals, and caps belonging to the likes of Tommy Lawton, Willie Cunningham, Franz Beckenbauer, Alfredo di Stefano, and other world-class football players.

Address: Urbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester

Manchester Art Gallery

The Manchester Art Gallery, in Manchester, England.

Set within a Greek Revival-style building from 1835, the Manchester Art Gallery is an amazingly curated museum. Their extensive collection comprises over 46,000 fine-art objects, decorative art, costume, and world-famous Pre-Raphaelite paintings.

Etihad Stadium and Manchester City Club Tour

The Etihad Stadium and Manchester City Club Tour, in Manchester, UK.

The Etihad Stadium is home to the Manchester City team in Premier League Football. An exclusive 120-minute VIP tour of this stadium will take you to see what happens on matchdays in the Home Team dressing room; feel what it’s like to walk down the famous glass players’ tunnel and get a bird’s eye view of the stadium from the dug-outs.

Science and Industry Museum

The Science and Industry Museum, in Manchester, England.

Opened on September 1830, this is the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station and first railway warehouse. The railway stopped handling passenger traffic in 1844 and goods in 1975, but still, to the present day is one of the most emblematic buildings in Manchester.

Listed as a Grade I building, this former station is now part of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, which documents the city’s achievements in science, technology, and industry.

Address: Liverpool Rd, Manchester

Chester Zoo

Penguins at the Chester Zoo, in Manchester, England.

Located in Upton-by-Chester, within an hour’s drive from Manchester, the Chester Zoo is a top place to visit with the kids. The zoo has 128 gardens and hosts over 20,000 animals, including Andean bears, elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, and giraffes.

The Chester Zoo also flaunts a collection of award-winning gardens dotted with rare plants like the nepenthes, which can be found across South East Asia and are flesh eaters!

Address: Moston Rd, Upton, Chester

John Rylands Library (at The University of Manchester)

John Rylands Library, at The University of Manchester, in England.

Part of the prestigious University of Manchester, the John Rylands Library is the third-largest academic library in the United Kingdom. The library is known for its neo-Gothic building, which was granted Grade I listed status in 1994, and it’s regarded as one of the best examples of Victorian Gothic architecture in Europe.

Inside, there are 1.4 million items spanning more than five millennia. The library’s treasure includes medieval illuminated manuscripts and fine examples of early European printings.

Address: 150 Deansgate, Manchester

Lake District National Park

Lake District National Park, in England.

Need to escape from Manchester’s bustling streets? Then a day trip to the Lake District might be just what you need. Considered one of the best places to visit in England, this sprawling national park lies in a rugged area, encompassing glacial ribbon lakes, rugged mountains, rolling hills, and forests.

The Lake District National Park is one of the most beautiful places in England to visit with your pet! Plenty of scenic walks are perfect for hiking and exploring the great outdoors. Be sure to stop by Grasmere, which has excellent dog-friendly pubs that allow you to enjoy quality time with your dog.

Some top things to do in the Lake District National Park are driving through the countryside to marvel at the park’s gorgeous landscape, hiking over 500 scenic trails, cycling, and enjoying watersports like rowing, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding.

Recommended Read: The Best Dog-Friendly Destinations In The UK

Best Destinations for Family-Friendly Holidays in the UK

Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum, in Manchester, England.

Located in a neo-Gothic building designed by architect Alfred Waterhouse, the Manchester Museum attracts over 400,000 visitors yearly thanks to its comprehensive archaeology, anthropology, and natural history collection.

Among the collection’s 4.5 million items, you’ll come across rare Egyptian and Sudanese objects, gilded mummy masks, and precious images known as ‘Faiyum Portraits,’ dating back to the Graeco-Roman Period (around 300 BCE to 300 CE).

Address: University of, Oxford Rd, Manchester

Manchester Jewish Museum

The Manchester Jewish Museum, in Manchester, England.
Photo Credit: Manchester Jewish Museum

The Manchester Jewish Museum has over 31,000 items documenting the story of Jewish migration and settlement in Manchester. Located in a former Spanish and Portuguese synagogue, the museum holds treasured objects like a diary written by Kindertransport refugee girls, a Russian washboard used as a cricket bat, and a collection of belongings from a Holocaust Survivor who spent the war hiding.

Address: 190 Cheetham Hill Rd, Cheetham Hill, Manchester

Trafford Centre

Trafford Centre, in Manchester, England.

In need of some retail therapy? Then, head over to the Trafford Centre, a shopping mall boasting over 200 stores and one of the largest food courts in Europe. The mall has many family-friendly attractions, from a Legoland theme park to a majestic aquarium.

Address: Regent Crescent, Manchester


What are the top attractions in Manchester?

The most popular Manchester attractions are:

  • Manchester Town Hall;
  • Manchester Cathedral;
  • Northern Quarter;
  • Old Trafford Stadium Tour;
  • Heaton Hall at Heaton Park;
  • Manchester National Football Museum;
  • Manchester Art Gallery;
  • Etihad Stadium and Manchester City Club Tour;
  • Science and Industry Museum;
  • Chester Zoo;
  • John Rylands Library;
  • Lake District National Park;
  • Manchester Museum;
  • Manchester Jewish Museum;
  • Trafford Centre.

What is Manchester known for?

Manchester is known for being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and a former leading producer of cotton and textiles. The city is known for its rich history, fantastic architecture, and world-class museums, and is home to 2 spectacular football stadiums.

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