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Best attractions in Manchester: Top 30

One of the largest industrial, cultural and educational centers in England, the birthplace of computer programming and the city where the first railway station was built - Manchester is all this. It’s never boring, day or night, and in terms of the number of tourists it consistently ranks among the best in the country. People come here not only to see a match of the legendary soccer team Manchester United, but also to visit the many museums, cathedrals, and monuments. Manchester sights will be interesting for both adults and young people who have plenty of nightclubs and discos at their disposal in addition to fascinating excursions. Even if the trip is short, the city will leave a lasting impression.

Making a journey through Britain, it is impossible not to look at this industrial metropolis, which, nevertheless, pleases with a large number of old buildings, galleries and simply colorful streets. So that you can decide where to go during a visit to the city, which gave the world more than twenty Nobel laureates, we’ve compiled an overview of the most interesting places with descriptions and photos. If you can’t afford the excursions in Manchester, don’t get upset - even without an escort you can have a great time, and the tourist map of the city will help not to get lost.

What to see in Manchester: 15 of the most famous sights

Each travel portal or a reputable magazine for travelers compiles its rating of the most popular sights of Manchester. Using these recommendations, the tourist can decide on the route of independent acquaintance with the city or choose what excursions to book upon arrival. We offer you the best sights, according to the reviews of holidaymakers and experts:

1. Manchester Town Hall

Facade of Manchester Town Hall

The City Hall is a Neo-Gothic building from Queen Victoria’s time, visible from various parts of the city due to its 85-meter height. It was completed in 1877 and today, inside there are halls with luxurious decorations showing the history of the city thanks to mural paintings, as well as offices. We especially recommend a visit to the room with the sculptures depicting noble Manchester men.

Official website:

2. Castlefield District

Castlefield District

Castlefield is an ancient district of the city where the troops of the fleet of the ancient Romans of Mancunium were once stationed. It was here in the second half of the eighteenth century that the only industrial canal at that time was built. Forty years later the number of canals increased to three, and in the eighties of the last century Castlefield was recognized as the first Municipal Heritage Park in the country.

3. Chinatown

Manchester Chinatown Oliver Dixon

The Chinatown - Chinatown is located in central Manchester, opening up a world of oriental traditions and, of course, traditional Asian food to its visitors. You just need to walk through a colorful tiered gate, behind which you’ll find a variety of souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes.

4. Manchester Cathedral

Facade of Manchester Cathedral

The cathedral is a Gothic temple that was built in the Middle Ages and has been destroyed, rebuilt, and reconstructed many times. During World War II, much of the cathedral was bombed, and it took more than 20 years to rebuild. The building attracts with its grandiose size and splendid interior design that includes stone bas-reliefs in the form of angels, hand-made wooden frames and stained-glass windows that take your breath away. The temple is also distinguished by its 10 bells, the largest weighing more than a thousand tons.

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5. Manchester Opera House

Manchester Opera House Mike Peel

Manchester Opera House - first welcomed audiences here back in 1912, with exceptional companies from other cities shining on the stage for a long time. Now it has its own company, which gives regular performances and makes the theater one of the most popular in the whole country.

Official website:

Experience the atmosphere of Manchester in this beautiful video!

6. The Palace Theater

The main entrance to the Palace Theatre Rept0n1x

The Palace Theatre - has had the status of Manchester’s premier theater scene, opening its doors to audiences since the late 19th century. The building on Oxford Street was built and decorated by A. Darbyshire, who succeeded in creating a hall with stunning acoustics. The present size of the theater (capacity - up to 2.6 thousand people) acquired in the early 20th century. Theatergoers from all over the world come here, sometimes preferring Manchester to London.

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7. Theater of the Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange Theatre Gidzy

The Royal Exchange Theatre is a center for contemporary theater, ready to accommodate up to seven hundred spectators at a time. It hosts art house productions, comedies, and various festivals. The building was once used as a cotton exchange, but later it was converted for theatrical productions. Representatives of all kinds of genres have been performing here for more than half a century, and the number of performances in a year exceeds the figure of 350.

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8. Manchester Central Library

Manchester Central Library Ricardo

The John Rylands Library is a beautiful neo-Gothic structure that was originally a church, but was transformed into a book repository in the early twentieth century. Today it is part of the university library and contains a huge number of ancient documents and publications. Visitors can see with their own eyes the famous Gutenberg Bible, the first books printed in Europe, ancient manuscripts with illustrations, as well as the correspondence of famous English scientists, political figures, etc.

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9. Whitworth Art Gallery

Whitworth Art Gallery

Whitworth Art Gallery is a place where the most extraordinary ideas are transformed into high art. Especially popular with visitors are the exhibitions of works by Van Gogh, Picasso and other masters of the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The gallery owes its creation to the man who invented the design of a sniper rifle - Joseph Whitworth, he at one time gave funds to equip the premises and buy paintings.

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10. Lowry Concert Complex

Lowry is a theater and gallery complex

The Lowry Concert Complex - erected by the shipping canal, it has a capacity of ten thousand spectators and is suitable for both small performances and fantastic shows that require the installation of a large amount of equipment for quality sound and special effects. Inside the complex there are two galleries, one with paintings by Lawrence Lowry and the other designed for temporary exhibitions. The last renovation was done in 2000.

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11. Museum of Science and Industry

Exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry Keith Williamson

Science and Industry Museum - Famous for being the place where the world’s first railroad station was once built. The surviving facade and warehouses are now part of Britain’s architectural heritage. A huge display of objects related to the development of industry, technology and science has made Manchester Museum the most important point of the route of the industrial heritage of Europe.

Official website:

12. Manchester Museum

View of Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum - More than 360,000 visitors come here every year to see the monuments of archaeology, history and anthropology. The museum collection began in the early part of the last century, and is now considered the largest university repository of antiquities, numbering some four and a half million objects.

Official website:

13. People’s History Museum

Building of the People's History Museum Bernard Randall

People’s History Museum - By visiting this museum, you can immerse yourself in the everyday life and daily routine of workers in various industries. The exhibits are displayed in a structure designed by C. Henry - visitors can see flyers and posters of the industrial era in the life of the city, see old photographs and diary pages.

Official website:

14. Manchester Arena

One of the most popular and visited venues Will Beardmore

Manchester Arena is known as the largest indoor arena in the country in terms of capacity (23,000 spectators), it has been in operation since 1995 and was even part of Britain’s bid to host the 2000 Olympic Games. One of the features of the sports complex is a reduced echo, which makes it an optimal stage for extravaganza musical performances. More than a million people come here a year, and the stadium has been renamed four times throughout its existence (the current name has been in use since 2015).

Official website:

Manchester sights: What else is there to see in Manchester?

15. Etihad Stadium

Etihad Stadium is the home ground for Manchester City Football Club

Etihad Stadium, also known as City of Manchester Stadium, is not only the home arena of the local soccer club, but also an auditorium for 48,000 people. At one time such legendary musicians as Bon Jovi, Rod Stewart Red, Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, U2 and many others gave concerts here.

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16. Old Trafford Stadium

Football game at Old Trafford Stadium

Old Trafford Stadium - can accommodate about seventy-five thousand spectators, this stadium has been used for eight years by the players of the famous Manchester United soccer club, and has five stars according to the UEFA classification. The size of the sports facility is second only to Wembley, so it is definitely worth coming here if you like grand buildings or soccer.

Official website:

17. The Beetham Tower Skyscraper

The Beetham Tower skyscraper is the tallest skyscraper in Manchester

Beetham Tower is a unique skyscraper ranked among the world’s thinnest structures. The building was built in 2006 using the most advanced technology at the time and was then considered the tallest residential building on the planet (the height of the skyscraper is 168 meters). On nearly fifty floors are located fashionable apartments of different layouts and sizes. Although only tenants are allowed inside, it is definitely worth seeing the building from the outside, especially since you do not need a guide, so the pleasure is completely free.

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18. Victoria Baths

Victoria Baths - Manchester's water palace

The Victoria Baths is a majestic structure built in the first half of the twentieth century. Designed by Henry Price, it’s immediately striking due to its bright colors (the architect used yellow and red bricks to decorate the facade) and colorful stained glass windows adorning the window openings. Manchester guides often bring tourists here as part of a sightseeing tour to show an example of an English Baroque building, and to show the place where Britain’s first Jacuzzi bathtub was installed.

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19. Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens

Green corner at Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens Wikidwitch

The Fletcher Moss Botanic Garden, a garden created by the famous English scientist Robert Wood Ulliamson, is over a century old. During this time the garden has grown significantly, becoming a full-fledged complex of entertainment and recreation for citizens and tourists. Here you can not only admire the local flora and picturesque views of the forest and river, but also play rugby, tennis and even soccer.

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20. Heaton Park

Fall beauty of Heaton Park

Heaton Park is a terrific place to spend time outdoors with your kids. The huge park is away from the hustle and bustle of the city (about a 20-minute drive from Manchester) and features a lake where you can go boating in the warmer months. Kids can see alpacas, donkeys, and other animals in their natural habitat up close, and adults are sure to love Heaton Hall, a neoclassical structure that delights with its thoughtful architecture.

Knowing what places to see in Manchester will help you decide what to see first, and how best to plan your stay so you can return home with plenty of excitement and pleasure. And after seeing this wonderful city you can go to see the other places of interest in England, which are pleasingly diverse and can be found literally at every step.

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21. Market Street

Market Street is one of Manchester's main shopping areas BetacommandBot

Manchester can sometimes leave very contradictory impressions of itself. Its districts differ from each other so much that you can get the impression that now you’re strolling through a magnificent English park, and half an hour later you’re already in the center of a modern metropolis. Market Street, along which the most prestigious stores and upmarket galleries line the city’s commercial streets, shapes the image of Greater Manchester. From the name itself it is clear that this is the most important shopping street in the city. After a productive shopping spree you can head to the nearby Piccadilly Gardens, a green space with fountains in the heart of the city. The second side of Market Street is pedestrian and there are almost no stores, but on this side you can find a large number of performing artists, street musicians and other creative natures.

22. St. Anne’s Church

Monument in the square in front of St. Anne's Church in Manchester David Dixon

Among the finest examples of British architectural and spiritual heritage are the 15th century Manchester Cathedral and St. Anne’s Church, Manchester. The origin of the name of this shrine is connected not only with the name of the saint, but also with the patroness of the temple, Lady Anne Bland. The church was erected in the late 18th century - at that time it was an impressively large building with two towers. Immediately after the erection of the church, its interior was very modest, and only in the 19th century, its external appearance was noticeably transformed, instead of glass in the windows appeared colored stained glass. Next to the church rises a square 42-meter tower with a high spire, on its upper level is a bell tower with 5 bells. The vaults and walls inside are painted with various episodes from the life of St. Anne. Above the tall oak altar are three large stained glass windows with the faces of the saints. Every Sunday, St. Anne’s holds services, organ concerts and classical music events.

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23. Chatham Library

Fonds of the oldest free public reference library in the UK Mike Peel
The interior of the reading room of the Chatham Library in Manchester

Manchester is home to one of the oldest public libraries - the Chatham Library, founded as early as 1653, is housed in a 17th century building along with the hospital. In that year under the will of Humphrey Chatham a building in the heart of Manchester was bought and under its roof a hospital and a music school were founded. It should be noted that the library was established on the basis of a rich collection of publications collected by Chatham himself - for this purpose his 24 executors bought and collected books and manuscripts in the most diverse fields of knowledge - according to the founder’s plan, the library was to compete with the collections of Oxford and Cambridge. From the very first day the institution has been functioning as a charity organization, which provides its publications absolutely free of charge. Today the library’s holdings include 100,000 volumes, most of which were published earlier than the 19th century.

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24. John Rylands Library

The interior of the John Rylands Library resembles a medieval cathedral Mdbeckwith

Another of the largest libraries was founded in honor of John Rylands. Today, the building’s distinctive neo-Gothic façade, which stands out against the surrounding buildings, is simply impossible to ignore. The collection of the library, which opened here in 1900, formerly belonged to the businessman Rylands. In addition to his main occupation, he also collected rare literary editions - his collection was the reason for founding the library. At the time of its opening, the collection contained about 40,000 books, including valuable specimens such as the first book in the history of European printing, the Gutenberg Bible. It is certainly worthwhile to visit the magnificent premises of this library, even if you have no plans to explore its literature. Its Victorian neo-Gothic reading rooms with their huge shelving, carved arcades and massive wooden furniture are nothing short of spectacular.

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25. Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery in a monumental building of classical architecture David Dixon

While British soccer, the legendary Beatles, Tudor-era mansions, and port facilities are all symbols that shape modern Liverpool, Manchester’s attractions are a number of cultural treasures, a national treasure of England. Today, Manchester is dominated by signs with the names of galleries, posters with festivals and other cultural events. One of the main attractions of Manchester and the whole UK is rightly considered an art gallery, founded in 1884. In total, the collection contains more than 25,000 items of arts and crafts. The collection of works of art here covers a variety of eras and areas of creativity. Thus, the most valuable is the collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings of the 19th century. The centerpiece is the collection of fine art - engravings, sculptures, hundreds and thousands of paintings. Of separate interest are collections of clothing, toys, jewelry, and silverware.

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26. Albert Square

Albert Memorial with the Royal Albert Hall (concert hall) in the background ChrisO
Fountain in Albert Square installed for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Mattcoxonline

One of Manchester’s squares is named after the British Prince Albert. Albert Square features historic Victorian buildings and a number of monuments and statues, the largest of which is the Albert Memorial. Also a landmark of Albert Square is the fountain installed for the sixtieth anniversary of Queen Victoria.

27. National Football Museum

Urbis is a modern exhibition center with a soccer museum inside User:Olli ruhr
The collection of soccer memorabilia at the National Football Museum in Manchester David in Lisburn

Manchester on the map of England is a relatively small city in the United Kingdom, but has many historically significant monuments and important sites. In order to develop the interest of residents and visitors to the city for its history and heritage, Urbis, a large exhibition complex, was created. It was originally planned as a museum, narrating the life of the city. Alas, the exposition was unattractive to visitors, and the creators had to change direction. Since 2012 the National Football Museum is located on its territory - for fans of ball sports it is the best option where to go in Manchester. The main trump card of the exposition is an extreme technical equipment, providing the visitors with interactive information and “trying on” a role of one of the world soccer stars. So, anyone here can test their skills - try to make a pass or a certain trick with the ball, shoot a penalty, test the accuracy of the kick and the reaction rate, play two against two and even try on the referee’s mantle. Those who think soccer players have it easy should visit the special section entirely devoted to player injuries. The sensory technology system allows everyone to be in the midst of soccer events.

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28. Greater Manchester Police Museum

A former police station converted into the Greater Manchester Police Museum Rept0n1x
Helmets and motorcycles on display at the Greater Manchester Police Museum David Edgar

There are some interesting places in Manchester that are almost unknown in the tourism industry. For example, a secret gem of Manchester is the Greater Manchester Police Museum, located right inside a former police station. Visitors are greeted at the entrance by a bright blue sign and a realistic sculpture of a stately police officer. The exhibitions showcase the history of Manchester’s police force and include an impressive collection of official and archival documents. You can learn a lot about police items such as police uniforms, squad cars and other thematic paraphernalia. But the most interesting thing is that you can try on some of the exhibits yourself: put on a helmet, try on a uniform, sit in an old police car and take a photo, which not all museums allow.

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29. One Angel Square Building

The One Angel Square Building is the largest office center in all of Great Britain The Co-operative

For those interested in the latest in architecture, the One Angel Square building is worth including in your walking itinerary. Over 70 meters in height, 15 floors, 30,500 square meters of office space - all this combines a modern structure in Manchester, built with green building technology. The building has a solid steel frame, which makes the structure look almost airy, and the energy-saving technologies implemented in it provide an economical use of natural resources - heat, light and water. The double coating of the facade, for example, minimizes energy costs for heating, and the rainwater recycling system makes it possible to use purified water even for food purposes. And management even encourages anyone who chooses a bicycle as an alternative to a personal automobile to do so - a bicycle parking lot has been created near One Angel Square.

30. Manchester Museum of Public Transportation

Exhibits of the Manchester Museum of Transport's large collection of vehicles Neil Turner

The Manchester Transportation Museum was designed not only to develop public interest in the history of the local transportation system, but also, in general, to stimulate the advancement of the transportation industry in the Northwest England region. This is one of the largest museums in Great Britain - in its collection there are about a hundred buses, for the accommodation of which the institution has a special large annex. The most valuable exhibits are the streetcars and trolleybuses of the 1900s, once owned by such companies as Ashton and Metrolink. The museum has a large collection of old maps, route schedules, emblems, plans and manuals - documents that have something to do with the operation of transportation. The 1979 museum still enjoys unprecedented popularity these days. Every day there is a buzz of work going on here related to the repair and restoration of various models of transportation.

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Read also about the best sights of London and be inspired to travel further in England.

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