This vibrant city is overflowing with history, culture, events and sports. You’ll certainly never run out of fun places to go in Manchester, that’s for sure. From cheering on your favourite football team to visiting cathedrals and museums, Manchester really knows how to turn it on. There are also plenty of hidden secrets scattered throughout the city, so it’s a good thing we’re here to help you discover them…
There are plenty of good times to be had in the UK’s fastest growing city outside of London
Calling all bookworms!
One of Manchester’s best kept secrets is its collection of libraries, in particular Chetham’s Library, the oldest public library in the English-speaking world. Tucked away near Manchester Cathedral and the National Football Museum, Chetham’s Library is a beautifully historic site with a collection of over 100,000 volumes of printed books. A little known fact about the library is that it was here that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels used to meet (you can even sit in the same place as they once sat) and it was where the pair first started working on what would become the Communist Manifesto. It’s one of the city’s oldest buildings, although most locals don’t even know about it. It’s a great literary oasis tucked away in the busy city and it’s free to enter.
Manchester’s hidden gem
Quite literally, this 220-year-old Catholic Church is known as The Hidden Gem (although its official name is the less exciting St Mary’s Catholic Church). It was given its nickname due to its secret location on Mulberry Street, just near Albert Square. It’s the oldest post-Reformation Catholic Church – dating back to 1794 – and the architecture is simply amazing. Take a look inside to see the impressive marble High Altar, its stained glass windows, and one of Manchester’s greatest pieces of art, the original Norman Adams’ Station of The Cross.
Get lost in Ancoats
Near the Northern Quarter of Manchester is Ancoats, a unique and unusual area that’s worlds away from the touristic centre. Once an industrial hub, Ancoats has undergone much regeneration and there are more and more shops, restaurants and attractions to see. If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet, head down to Chapeltown Street and located behind some anonymous residential apartments, you’ll find the Ancoats Canal, a lovely waterside walkway brought to life with blooming flowers, ducklings, local fishermen and canal boats. It’s a great picnic spot as well as a regular running track. Another fun activity in Manchester is walking around Ancoats and looking out for The Peeps, little brass spy holes hidden in the old buildings. Installed by artist and architect Dan Dubowitz, these interesting brass tubes are a throwback to the area’s past – there’s no maps or guides to find them though, you just have to keep your eyes peeled. Hint: They’re mostly around Cutting Room Square.
An international flavour hit
Manchester is a very multicultural city and it’s especially clear when you look at its cuisine. Manchester’s Chinatown has been a city landmark since 1970 and tourists from around the world come to take a photograph of the impressive Imperial Chinese Archway and enjoy some of the best Cantonese food this side of Asia. There’s also varieties of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and everything in between; including some authentic supermarkets. If Indian cuisine is more your thing, there is also Curry Mile in Rusholme. A fragrant 800m stretch of Indian restaurants, shops and food stalls, Curry Mile is sure to whet and then sate your appetite.