Mancunians will proudly tell you that Manchester is the best city in the UK, and there are plenty of reasons to fall in love with it, from its innovation and history to its friendliness and nightlife.
But sometimes you can start to take the city for granted or even resent it, after yet another day when you’re running late, it’s raining again and the roadworks are playing havoc with your journey.
So here’s the antidote to those times. Whether you’re new to the city and haven’t had chance to fall for its charms yet, or you just need to rekindle your passion, here are 16 places guaranteed to make you fall in love with Manchester.
— the Whitworth (@WhitworthArt) October 1, 2015
Founded in 1889 as the first English gallery in a park, the Whitworth has recently been transformed by a £15 million development which has seen the gallery double in size. We love the art garden designed by Sarah Price, the sculpture terrace and orchard garden, the landscape gallery, the learning studio, and a café in the trees.
The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, M15 6ER – whitworth.manchester.ac.uk
Manchester House is home to Aiden Byrne’s lavish fine dining restaurant, but you don’t need to eat there to take advantage of the vantage point – take the lift up to the bar on the 12th floor and soak up the wonderful view from the terrace. Time it right and you’ll be treated to a glorious sunset across the city with your G&T – how romantic.
Tower 12, 18-22 Bridge Street, M3 3BZ – manchesterhouse.uk.com
— Murry (@mmmurry) October 11, 2015
One of the largest conservation areas in Manchester, and the UK’s first Urban Heritage Park, Castlefield’s focus is the Roman fort from which it derived its name. Beautiful old warehouses have now been converted to flats, offices, galleries and studios, and new buildings include a stadium with a tensile skin roof for viewing spectacular events. Once a hub of industrial activity, Castlefield is now a peaceful, relaxing spot in the city.
Home to some of the most spectacular attractions and iconic buildings in the UK, Greater Manchester’s stunning waterfront destination The Quays boasts arts and entertainment complex The Lowry, the award-winning Imperial War Museum North, Emirates Old Trafford and the Lowry Outlet Mall as well as MediaCityUK, and you can take a leisurely boat trip along the Manchester Ship Canal. Try climbing the IWM North’s AirShard, 100 feet in the air, for spectacular views.
The Quays – thequays.org.uk
The Midland Hotel
— The_Worker_Bees (@The_Worker_Bees) September 12, 2015
Over its 100 year history, The Midland Hotel – one of the most beautiful buildings in the city – has played host to kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and rock stars, and it’s also where Rolls met Royce. Dining options include critically acclaimed fine dining restaurant The French by Simon Rogan, but we also love popping in for a cocktail at Mr Cooper’s House & Garden bar. The newly opened spa offers a welcome respite from the bustle of the city.
Peter Street, Manchester, M60 2DS – qhotels.co.uk
Beetham Tower and Cloud 23
— Louise Rhind-Tutt (@lrtpublicity) September 29, 2015
A 47-storey landmark, completed in 2006 at a cost of £150 million, Beetham Tower is the highest building in Manchester and the tallest residential building in Europe. Take the lift to the Cloud 23 bar on the 23rd floor, grab yourself a drink, and fall in love with one of the best views of the city, as well as the Peaks, the Pennines and the Cheshire plains.
Beetham Tower, 303 Deansgate, M3 4LQ – cloud23bar.com
— Wesley Harding (@whhardingphoto) October 16, 2015
Home of the original Queer as Folk, Manchester’s world famous Canal Street is recognised as the UK’s LGBT community hub outside of London. By day, relax and grab a bite to eat in the sunny waterside bars, and when night falls check out the giddy whirl of bars and clubs.
The Northern Quarter
— Hannah Ward (@HannahLiliWard) October 13, 2015
We adore The Northern Quarter, packed full of unique pubs, restaurants, late-night bars, live music venues and independent shops. The NQ is regularly used as a film set, and it’s not surprising given its resemblance to New York of old. We also love checking out all the ever-changing street art.
Between Deansgate and the River Irwell, Spinningfields offers a chance to see some of Manchester’s newest architecture alongside some beautiful traditional buildings. It’s also a great place to grab a bite to eat, a picnic on the green, or enjoy a romantic meal, with over 30 restaurants and bars at Spinningfields and The Avenue.
— WOW247 Manchester (@wow247manc) May 20, 2015
Formed by the merger of two of Manchester’s best-loved arts organisations, Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company, arts hub HOME opened earlier this year and has quickly become one of our favourite creative spaces in the city, with two theatres, five cinema screens offering the best of independent film, and a large gallery space.
2 Tony Wilson Place, First Street, M15 4FN – homemcr.org
— Wesley Harding (@whhardingphoto) October 18, 2015
Following a £50 million makeover to restore its gorgeous Grade II listed neoclassical structure to its former glory, Central Library is a building which makes your heart swell with pride. There’s a Reading Room with seating for 300 people, you can compose, play and record your own music at the Henry Watson Music Library, or spend a rainy afternoon at the British Film Institute Mediatheque, with highlights from the world’s greatest and most diverse collection of British film and television.
St Peters Square, M2 5PD – manchester.gov.uk
The Town Hall
One of the finest examples of Neo-Gothic architecture in the UK, Manchester Town Hall was designed by architect Alfred Waterhouse and completed in 1877. The Great Hall is decorated with murals by Ford Madox Brown that illustrate the history of the city, and you can climb the 85m high Clock Tower to see the movement of the clock that has kept Manchester in time for 133 years – with spectacular panoramic views across the city, the Pennines, the Cheshire Plain and beyond.
Albert Square, M2 5DB – manchester.gov.uk/townhall
National Football Museum
Boasting the world’s greatest football collection with over 140,000 items, footie fans will fall in love with The National Football Museum. Exhibitions explore the game, past and present, whilst the FIFA Collection, the finest single collection of football memorabilia in the world and housed permanently at the museum, includes the 1966 Jules Rimet trophy. The building itself is pretty stunning, too.
Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, M4 3BG – nationalfootballmuseum.com
— Polly Checkland (@PollyCheckland) October 22, 2015
On the site of the oldest surviving passenger railway station, in the heart of the world’s first industrial city, the Museum of Science and Industry is well placed to inspire visitors with the stories behind ideas that changed the world. We defy you not to feel a burning Mancunian pride as you browse models used by John Dalton to demonstrate his atomic theory, or parts from the world’s first commercially available computer – as well as some fun contemporary exhibits.
Liverpool Road, Castlefield, M3 4FP – msimanchester.org.uk
John Rylands Library
One of my favourite buildings. John Rylands Library Manchester pic.twitter.com/BPKU6311e5
— James Parry (@bramleycore) October 8, 2015
The John Rylands Library – one of the best example of neo-Gothic architecture in Europe and indisputably one of the finest libraries in the world – holds an impressive collection of rare books, manuscripts and archives spanning 5,000 years. The Deansgate building has undergone a £15 million programme of repairs and conservation in recent years, and we just love The Reading Room, a soaring, cathedral-like space which perches 30 feet above street level.
150 Deansgate, M3 3EH – library.manchester.ac.uk
The football grounds
Manchester is synonymous with the beautiful game – the first professional football league was formally created and named in Manchester’s Royal Hotel on 17 April 1888, and the city now boasts two of the world’s biggest teams. Depending on whether you’re red or blue, there’s no doubt that watching your team in action live at Old Trafford or The Etihad will tug your heartstrings. And Derby Day in Manchester is something else.
[All original photography including main image by Tobias Alexander unless otherwise credited]