UK Travel Tips ‘n’ Tweets: What to do and see in Manchester

I requested tips on the blog and on Twitter about what to do and see on the Manchester stop of the Summer 09 UK Blogging Tour. Here are the tips I received to help you make the most of your visit to Manchester.

Manchester through the centuries

Manchester through the centuries


Paul Morris of the Chocolate Cafe recommends a trip to Ramsbottom which takes around one hour to reach from Manchester city centre by metro link and steam train As well as a visit to local Chocolate Cafe you have the award winning Ramsons restaurant, The Vineyard Wine Merchants and the East Lancs Railway.

Chocolate Cafe, Ramsbottom

The Chocolate Cafe, Ramsbottom

Creative Tourist have a couple of great guides you can download, full of ideas of what’s happening in Manchester. If you’re looking for a cheap, filling meal, This & That offer a “rice and three” where for under £5 you can have rice, nan and a choice of three curries (meat or veggie). The Manchester Craft and Design Centre, in a former Fish Market, houses artists, designers and photographers. You can purchase original artwork here and fortify yourself in their cafe.

Here’s a detailed intinerary for Manchester newbies put together by R J MacRae of Redbeard Travels. “Anytime I have guests new to the city I start at the Urbis then go around to the cathedral and its visitor centre, then past the old Shambles pubs (Sinclairs and the Wellington). Chethams School of Music is behind the gates across from Urbis, but I’m never sure when the medieval chained library inside is open to the public – you can ask at the booth though. Then go to St Annes church, popping inside the Royal Exchange along the way.

Urbis, Manchester

Urbis, Manchester

Head onto Deansgate (which is a mess at the mo due to roadworks) and down to the gorgeous Rylands Library which always has some interesting exhibits from its collections. Then through Brazennose Square past the statue of Abe Lincoln, popping into the ‘hidden gem’ Catholic chapel along the way which has some extravagant paintings for such a small building.

By now you can’t miss the Town Hall on Albert Square. During the day you’re free to call in for a closer look at the tiles and marble. Upstairs is a grand hall with pre-Raphaelite murals you should be able to see.

Around the corner from the Town Hall is both the city library (go upstairs to its domed reading room) and the city art gallery (worth an hour at least). Once you cover the highlights you might want to carry on past the art gallery into Chinatown, the gay village along Canal Street, then down Oxford Road towards the university where you’ll find the Manchester Museum (bones and stones, mainly) and Whitworth gallery (though the gallery may be shut as it was stripped bare during the International Festival last week).

Chinatown, Manchester

China Town, Manchester

That leaves Castlefield (some Roman ruins, canals, good pubs and the Museum of Science & Industry), Salford Quays (Lowry art gallery and Imperial War Museum, both stunning buildings on the waterfront) and the Northern Quarter (a bit like Soho – boutiques, bakeries, grungy pubs, wine bars, jazz clubs, sex shops, all sorts).”

Forever Manchester Blog writer, Chris Norwood, recommends Manchester Museum as being particularly interesting because it was designed in a Darwinian style (promoting study rather than reverence) and it currently has a hermit living in the tower. It is also right next to the site of two world-changing events, the splitting of the atom in 1919 and the construction of the first computer in 1948.

Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum by sam moorehouse

Susie Stubbs of Travels with my Baby urges a visit the Cup in the Northern Quarter, which she describes as “very sweet, quirky and very Manchester”.

Michael Herbert recommends that anyone coming to Manchester who wants to know more about the city’s radical working class history should not leave without visiting the Working Class Movement Library which houses archives and a library. They have permanent displays on events and movements over the past 200 years such as Peterloo, the Chartists, suffragettes,General strike, the spanish civil war and much else besides. They welcome visitors. You can also find out more about Manchester’s history on the new Radical Manchester website.

Working Class Movement Library, Manchester

Working Class Movement Library

More Tips for Things to Do in England

We’ve plenty of travel tips for what to do in England, outside London.