Things To See in Manchester, England

Top-class museums, beautiful churches, and a number of fun cultural attractions, make this city an attractive destination with travellers. Here you’ll find a lot of interesting things to see and do, and the best part is many of them are free.

To learn more about this city and see a huge number of historical artefacts, check out the Manchester Museum which is part of the University of Manchester. Here you’ll see everything from a giant T-Rex skeleton to ancient Egyptian mummies to live animals. Two of Manchester’s main art galleries are the Manchester Gallery and the Whitworth Art Gallery, both of which are home to large collections of art works by national and international artists.

Sports fans will want to visit Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, one of the top soccer clubs in the world. Here you can visit the museum and see some of the trophies won throughout this club’s illustrious history. You can also take a tour of the stadium, from the players’ dressing room to the manager’s spot on the sideline of the pitch.

In Manchester, you won't be short of shopping opportunities. Everywhere you look you'll see stores of all kinds, including a wide range of well-known brands. These are most prominent on Market Street and in shopping centres such as the centrally-located Manchester Arndale and Triangle centres, as well as at the sprawling Trafford Centre, which is located around 20 minutes outside the city. For something a bit different, be sure to head to Affleck's in the Northern Quarter. Spread out over four floors, this collection of indoor independent stalls is the place to go for alternative shopping in Manchester.

Attractions in Manchester

  • Imperial War Museum North

    Trafford Wharf Road, The Quays, Manchester, England

    An interesting and moving museum, here you’ll learn the stories of many different people whose lives have been touched by war in one way or another. Housed in an award-winning, striking and contemporary building, displays cover everything from art to artillery.

    Open daily Mar-Oct 10am-6pm, Nov-Feb 10am-5pm; admission free.

  • Manchester United Museum and Tour

    Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Manchester, England

    Visit Old Trafford, the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, which is home to the world-famous Manchester United soccer team. In the museum here you can see some of the many trophies this prestigious club has won throughout its incredibly successful history. The tour takes you inside the stadium, from the manager’s spot on the sideline to the players’ dressing room.

    Open daily 9.30am-5pm; admission £12.

  • Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)

    Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, England

    Housed in five listed buildings, this museum encompasses 15 different galleries housing everything from a replica of a Victorian sewer to the first all-British aeroplane in the Air and Space Hall. One of the most fun parts of this large museum is Xperiment, an area filled with interesting interactive displays.

    Open daily, 10am-5pm; admission fee.

  • John Ryland’s Library

    150 Deansgate, Spinningfields, Manchester, England

    In the hushed, almost reverent rooms of the Gothic-style John Ryland’s Library you’ll see a fascinating collection of old books. Wander under the vaulted ceilings and take a peak at titles from all over the world, including a book of fairy tales dating from 1825, a selection of Bibles, and a plethora of dictionaries.

    Open Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-5pm; admission free.

  • Manchester Cathedral

    Victoria Street, Manchester, England

    What strikes you when you walk into the Cathedral is how open it feels, compared to some other large cathedrals. Apart from the magnificent collection of stained glass windows, it’s not overly ornate inside, but it does have a nice, well-used feeling to it. Chalices and other religious artefacts are displayed in the various side alters. Hymnals are left out all over the cathedral are a nice touch, and many musical events are held here.

    Open Mon-Fri 8.30am-7pm, Sat 8.30am-5pm, Sun 8.30am-7.30pm; admission free.

  • Ubris

    Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, England

    Spread over three floors, this museum is home to a collection of various temporary exhibits on cultural and social life. Photography, video clips and more are all important in this bright, modern building.

    Open Sept-March Tues-Sat 10am-6pm, Apr-Aug Sun, Tues, Wed 10am-6pm, Thurs-Sat 10am-8pm; admission free.

  • Manchester Art Gallery

    Mosley Street, Manchester, England

    Here you’ll find a huge collection of over 25,000 works of art, including paintings and objects d’art like vases, chairs and much more. The interactive area is particularly entertaining, and is home to everything from a mechanical dragon to a huge wall of luggage. Lots of people have attached tags to this luggage, which make for an interesting read. There’s a gallery of craft and design in here too, filled with everything from cutlery to jeans.

    Open Tues-Sun 10m-5pm, closed Mon; admission free.

  • Manchester Museum

    The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, England

    From the giant T-Rex to the ancient Egyptian mummies, this museum houses a fascinating collection of artefacts. Opened in 1888 at its current location, it sees hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It’s also home to a small but interesting selection of live animals for you to marvel at, including colourful frogs and scaly snakes.

    Open Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun-Mon 11am-4pm; admission free.

  • Whitworth Art Gallery

    The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, England

    Strange and unusual examples of modern art, fine art and sculpture all find a home in this eclectic gallery, which is part of the University of Manchester. While walking through the gallery, you’ll see everything from video installations to paintings to items of clothing.

    Open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-4pm.

  • Market Street

    City Centre, Manchester, England

    Bustling Market Street is Manchester’s main shopping street. Here’s where to go if you’re looking for internationally recognisable brands including HMV, H&M, Footlocker, Clarks, Schuh, Debenhams and Miss Selfridges. Budget retailer Primark also has a huge shop on this street.

  • Arndale Centre

    Market Street, City Centre, Manchester, England

    Manchester Arndale, or the Arndale Centre as it’s also known, is the UK’s biggest city centre shopping centre and sees some 30 million shoppers each year. Home to around 240 stores, you could spend hours wandering around the huge array of shops offering everything from clothes to electronic good. Well-known stores like Lacoste, Monsoon, Vero Moda, Game, Disney and more are spread through different buildings connected by walkways and glass lined halls.

    Open Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 10am-6pm.

  • Trafford Centre

    Barton Dock Road, Trafford, Manchester, England

    Spread across two sprawling floors, the Trafford Centre with its almost palatial design is home to more than 230 different stores. Whether you’re looking for new music or the latest fashion trends, this is the place to go. Immense and popular with crowds of people, the centre sports an impressive dome at its heart. It’s a well-laid out spot, so despite its size it’s easy to navigate, no matter what shop you need. Now all you need it the time (and the cash) to visit them all.

    Open Mon-Fri 10am-10pm, Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 12pm-6pm; take dedicated shuttle bus from Stretford Metrolink Station.

  • Affleck’s

    52 Church Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, England

    Resembling an indoor version of London’s famous Camden Market, Affleck’s is an alternative haven and is home to a huge number of independent traders selling everything from jelly bracelets to army surplus gear. Take your time browsing around all the different stalls across the building’s 4 floors. And if that’s not enough, while you’re here you can also brave a tattoo, get a new piercing or even learn your future from a tarot reader.

    Open Mon-Fri 10.30am-6pm, Sat 10am-6pm, closed Sundays.

  • The Lowry Outlet Mall

    Salford Quays, Manchester, England

    If it’s a bargain you’re searching for, look no further than the Lowry Outlet Mall. A bright and spacious mall, it is home to some 80 stores filled with discounted clothes, shoes, toys, accessories and more. In fact, some of the prices are around 50% less then those on the high street, so it’s a good choice if you’re looking to buy while still saving some of that hard-earned cash.

    Open Mon-Wed, Fri 10am-6pm, Thurs 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 11am-5pm.

  • The Triangle Shopping Centre

    Exchange Square, City Centre, Manchester, England

    Yet another of Manchester’s shopping centres, here at the Triangle you’ll come across stores like Body Shop, Roxy, Jigsaw, Karen Millen, East and Bravissimo. On top of that, there are plenty of local brands to be found across the centre’s three floors.

    Open Mon-Wed, Fri 10am-6pm, Thurs 10am-8pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm.

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