Top 10 free things you can do in Manchester

Whether you live in the Manchester area or are visiting, here are 10 places you can visit for free. Although it’s not one my favorite cities (even though I have visited it 4 times), it is definitely a must-see destination for anyone who lives in the UK… so you should already be planning to go!

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Photo: Gordon Marino

John Rylands Library

This masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture looks more like a castle or a cathedral.

It forms a part of the University of Manchester, The John Rylands Library houses one of the best collections of rare books and manuscripts in the world.

When John Rylands (one of the most successful industrialists in Manchester with a personal fortune of 2.75 million pounds at the time) died in 1888, the library was commissioned by his wife, Enriqueta Rylands, in memory of her late husband. Its world-class collection includes the oldest known copy of the New Testament according toSt John.

The historical library is also home to one of the most pleasant cafes in Manchester, Café Rylands.

150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH

http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/rylands/

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Photo: Trevor Cummings

Manchester Art Gallery

Since its renovation in 2002, the Art Gallery is a regional museum that has earned a reputation. Thanks to its important art collection, visited by over 400,000 people a year, it is a destination you shouldn’t forget about when you’re in the city.

Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL

http://www.manchestergalleries.org/

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Photo: Andrew Nić-Pawełek

Manchester Cathedral

A city is only “registered” as a city if it has a cathedral. And Manchester more than meets this requirement.

Due to the extensive refurbishment carried out on the building in the nineteenth century, both inside and outside, many people may think that, based on appearance, Manchester Cathedral is a relatively modern church. But its construction actually began in 1491, although it was expanded over the centuries until 1882.

Whether you go to see the old architecture, listen to the choir, have a coffee, or attend a special event or exhibition… you will always feel welcome at Manchester Cathedral.

Victoria Street, Manchester, M3 1SX

http://www.manchestercathedral.org/

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Photo: Steve Parkinson

Town Hall

Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square is one of the most emblematic monuments of the city. Considered one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the United Kingdom, it is one of the most important protected buildings in England.

Several TV series and films have been shot there, including: Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Junior and Jude Law (2009).

The Town Hall is open Monday to Saturday.

Albert Square, Manchester M2 5DB

http://www.manchester.gov.uk/townhall

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Photo: Marcello

Central Library

That mythical and beautiful circular building right next to St Peter’s Square. After some serious renovations, it has been opened to the public again, so you can enjoy its books or use its computers or wifi, in addition to enjoying the largest collection of British cinema and television in the world.

That’s definitely better than spending the afternoon at a Starbucks.

St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD

http://www.manchester.gov.uk/centrallibrary

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Photo: Matthew Hartley

St Ann’s Church

Ann’s Church and St Ann’s Square are over 300 years old, which makes them unique. Head over any time from Tuesday to Saturday. This quiet and beautiful church is open from 10am to 5pm .

St Ann Street, Manchester M2 7LF

http://www.stannsmanchester.com/

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Photo: cutitoutstitchitup

Gallery Of Costume

If you are not into fashion it may seem boring, but let me remind you that it’s free. This museum has one of the largest clothes collections that exists, with more than 20,000 items, coming from the 17th century all the way up to the present.

Because history is not only old stones or paintings. Clothing can reveal a lot about our daily lives, the time we live in and the development of society.

Platt Hall, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5LL

http://www.manchestergalleries.org/our-other-venues/platt-hall-gallery-of-costume/

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Photo: David McKelvey

Imperial War Museum North

A very interesting museum, as it shows the history of armed conflicts since the World Wars to the present. It tries to promote understanding of those periods of time. It is very educational and also interesting becauseof all the items it has on display.

The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Trafford Park, Manchester M17 1TZ

http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-north

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Photo: Wikipedia

People’s History Museum

Formerly known as the National Museum of Labour History (until 2001) in Manchester, it is the UK’s national centre for the collection, conservation, interpretation and study of material related to the history of workers in the UK.

Located in the former firefighter station, it tells the story of democracy in Britain and the lives of ordinary people at home, in the workplace and enjoying their free time over the last 200 years. It contains a collection of printed material, physical objects and photographs showing the life of ordinary people at work, rest and play. Because sometimes you have to forget about museums full of kings and find out more about normal people.

Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3ER

http://www.phm.org.uk/

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Photo: tatchie

National Football Museum

Football + Manchester… I don’t know if it’s worth adding anything else. If you are a fan of this sport, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “Manchester” is probably football. You’ll love this museum. It has a huge collection of trophies, shirts, historical items, etc. and a permanent FIFA exhibition. What more can you ask for?

Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester M4 3BG

http://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/

Do you have any other recommendations I might have left out?

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