Other places to go & things to do in Manchester
Manchester is a really vibrant and interesting city, so if you have time to explore we would certainly recommend it! Here are a few suggestions of things to see & do in the city:
Town Hall – Manchester’s famous neo-gothic town hall was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and built between 1868-1877. The imposing 280 foot clock tower is a landmark across the city skyline, and there are a number of sculptures both outside the building and inside in the grand sculpture hall – for example, the entrance hallway is flanked by scientists James Prescott Joule and John Dalton on either side, who both lived and worked in Manchester. The ground floor sculpture hall area is open for the public to look around, and there is a very nice café here too. Further info at http://www.manchester.gov.uk/townhall/
Market St & Arndale Centre – If you are looking for a little retail therapy, the main shopping area of Manchester is along Market Street and the adjoining Arndale Centre. Here you will find all of the big high street shops, and department stores including Debenhams, Selfridges and Harvey Nicholls (Harvey Nicholls is just a little past the end of Market St, in Exchange Square). The shops get very busy at the weekend, but there are plenty of coffee shops for a rest, and there are generally a selection of street entertainers on Market St especially at the weekend.
Northern Quarter – for an alternative shopping and dining experience, the Northern Quarter area of Manchester contains many smaller and independent outlets. Afflecks Palace is located on Church St and is a treasure trove of small shops selling all things from crafts, buttons, alternative clothes and ice creams! (Ginger’s Comfort Emporium ice-cream shop is one of the best in the city). Bars such as Odd and Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club are well known local haunts, and worth a look in an evening. Almost Famous and Solita are very good casual dining places in this area – both selling gourmet and imaginative burgers!
Manchester Art Gallery – For a little culture, the Manchester Art Gallery is just a 10 minute walk from the conference venue on Mosley St, and is a lovely oasis of calm in the city. The main gallery houses fine art and craft & design collections, with a separate Costume Gallery located a few miles away in Rusholme. During the conference, there are exhibitions on ‘The Edwardians’, ‘Jai Redman: Paradise Lost’, ‘Strange and Familiar: Britain as revealed by International Photographers’ and ‘To Be Human’. Entrance to the gallery and all exhibitions is free. Further info at http://manchesterartgallery.org/
John Rylands Library – John Rylands Library on Deansgate is not to be missed by anyone with an interest in Libraries or beautiful architecture! The main reading room is breath-taking, seeming more like a cathedral than a reading room. The gothic building opened in 1900, and was originally a memorial by Henrietta Rylands to her husband. It is now owned by Manchester University, and holds their special collections. It is open to the public daily (entry is free), and as well as marvelling at the building itself, there are regular exhibitions showcasing their collections including medieval manuscripts and examples of the earliest books ever printed. Further info at http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/rylands/