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Must see/do in Manchester

Scotland, UK
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Must see/do in Manchester

Hi

We are three 30 something girls heading to Manchester for long weekend at end of Nov. Have gots heaps of info from this site for shopping/eating/drinking etc. Just wondered what two culture items do you think we must see/do to keep us out the shops for an hour or two. (Think the Bank Manager would appreciate this!)

Thank you.

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Manchester, United...
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1. Re: Must see/do in Manchester

Hi

Really depends what you're into (ahem).

The main Museums are Urbis, Manchester Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Imperial War Museum North - all free of charge (charges apply for special exhibitions that may be on at the time).

City art gallery and Whitworth Art gallery are both good.

The big wheel (don't know if this counts as culture!).

The Lowry centre is excellent (galleries and theatres) - tram out to Salford Quays (Eccles line) - Imperial War Museum is there too.

Manchester United museum and ground tour.

You'll also be here when the Christmas markets are on - St. Ann's square and Albert Square (other locations as well no doubt) - again, not sure if it's cultural, but I can recommend getting a few gluwein's and having a wander round.

Just wandering round town is very pleasant as well (weather permitting) - I believe there are guided tours, but they may just run in summer - google it!

Finally, plenty of theatres, might want to check whats on while you are here - Palace, Opera House, Library, Contact, Green Room, Lowry, Royal Exchange.

Hope that helps.

Manchester
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2. Re: Must see/do in Manchester

You say only two? And Manchester has SO much more to offer...

If you are adament that it has to be two then I would recommend:

Manchester City Art Gallery

An excellent gallery, and well worth a visit. The special exhibitions are always worth a look, and the collection of Manchester art (including everything from Stone Roses album covers to Liam Spencers) is always worth a look, but it is the permanent exhibits which are breath-taking.

It houses an world class collection of Pre-Raphaelites, but to be honest I always adored the more 'Hollywood blockbuster' paintings such as the awe-inspiring Chariot race. If nothing else it is nice to just sit in front of the really big canvasses for a minute or two, and drink then in whilst feeling like a cultured Thomas Crown style character.

The second must-see for you guys is a trickier one. The Lowry and War Museum North are both excellent, but involve a tram-ride out of the city and a short walk which may not fit with your plans. If you are remaining in the city centre then I would say either Urbis or, controversially, the Town Hall Tour (yes, I know this is technically three).

The latter is a bit flawed (it seemed to be designed as an iconic building first, with the content an after-thought) but with the new creative team in charge some of the temporary installations have been outstanding. Pick of the bunch were the recent exhibitions of global grafetti art, and a Peter Saville retrospective (he designed the Hacienda, and all the New Order covers).

The general stuff is a fairly flabby and wishy washy guide to city life around the world and through the ages, and although it's a little bit 'trendy interactive' for me it is worth a look anyway now they have dropped the entry charge.

The Town Hall is a wild card, but I love architecture, and this building is without doubt the most impressive and important in the city. The guided tours are fairly regular, and take you to all the key areas as well as giving you a background on how the building came about (regional 'mines bigger than yours' Victorian willy-waving against Liverpoo, Leeds, Birmingham etc basically).

All of the interior of the building is worth seeing, but the main staircase are a joy, and the main banqueting hall is absolutely beautiful. Although the building is neo-Gothic and thus relatively modern the feeling of a weight of history and posterity within the bricks is tangiable, and the gravitas is such that you can see why so many TV crews use it as a more accessible version of the Houses of Parliment etc.

Hope that helps, and enjoy your time in our fine city.

Cheers

Thom

Scotland, UK
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3. Re: Must see/do in Manchester

Hi

Many thanks for both your suggestions. I know there is heaps to see and do but think we may spend a fair bit of time shopping and in the Xmas markets, hence only 2 things. Is the Lowry Outlet Mall in the same area as the Lowry and War Museum? That would make a great afternoon out.

Thanks again guys.

Manchester
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4. Re: Must see/do in Manchester

The Lowry Mall faces the Lowry Arts Complex, and the War Museum is just across the adjacent bridge. A good compact and bijou location to while away an afternoon.

Of course going to the outlet will expose you to the twin evils of shopping and eating. For food you have a so-so Chinese (Pond Quay I think), a so-so bar (Lime) and Pizza Express, plus the usual coffee shops etc. The standard of shopping is very mixed, but their are some good places (Flannels, Monsoon etc) which do have some genuinely good deals.

You need to get a tram out to Salford Quays, and then it's a 3-5 minute walk around one the quays past some offices and apartments.

Cheers

Thom