Manchester's Best Attractions

Something I think we are all guilty of is not treating our city as the tourist attraction that it can be.

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 27 January 2019

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I don’t mean be a knob and walk around with a selfie stick, I merely mean there are so many attractions that go under the radar here and we’re all quick to think of London having the main attractions. Think again.

Victoria Baths
Victoria Baths paves the way for art, culture and other festivals such as the pop-up cinema and the annual gin festival, but there’s even more to see than just the great events. It’s a heritage attraction in which you can take solo or group tours with the aim of it being restored to it’s former glory as a swimming pool or Turkish baths in years to come. The baths were built in 1906 by Manchester’s first City Architect, Henry Price, and closed in 1993 and left to rot. It wasn’t until 2007 (and a TV show) that saw a multi-million pound restoration project begin.

Victoria Baths, Hathersage Rd, Manchester M13 0FE


National Football Museum
Once in Preston (as Preston North End are one of the founding clubs of the football league) now in Manchester, you can devour an exciting history of the football league across three floors, plus many other exhibitions such as old football games and interactive delights.

National Football Museum, Cathedral Gardens, Todd Street, Manchester, M4 3BG
0161 605 8200


Legoland Discovery Centre
I must admit this is a first for me too, as I never knew there was an ultimate Lego playground with 3 big rides, 10 Lego build and play zones and a 4-D cinema on our doorstep! Who’s up for a visit?

Legoland Discovery Centre, Barton Square, The Trafford Centre, Manchester, M17 8AS


The Trafford Centre
As far as shopping centres go, the Trafford Centre is incomparable. Not only is there every shop and retail brand you can possibly wish for, there’s a food court to die for, bars, a bowling alley, arcade games and so much more. There’s even a SeaLife Centre and a drive thru Krispy Kreme!

Intu Trafford Centre, Trafford Blvd, Manchester, M17 8AA
0161 749 1718


Manchester Cathedral
Still very much a working cathedral, serving a large and diverse urban diocese of ten towns, Manchester Cathedral is open for visits seven days a week and admission is free. Built in 1421, the gothic building alone has 600 years’ worth of history to be discovered, with its impressive archives and all-encompassing visitor’s centre.

Manchester Cathedral, Victoria St, Manchester M3 1SX


East Lancashire Railway
A lovingly restored steam train that you can ride from Heywood through to Rawtenstall whilst discovering the history of a true struggle to keep a part of Britain’s heritage alive. The railway is closely linked to each stop’s industrial past, but there are plenty more activities you can take part in than merely riding on a train. For adults, you can join a rail Ale Trail or visit the Bury Transport Museum, as well as loads of events for the kids.

East Lancashire Railway, Bury Bolton Street Station, Bolton St, Bury BL9 0EY
0333 320 2830


Coronation Street Tour
For some this is a real highlight; a chance for you to wander the cobbled streets of one of the UK’s longest running soap operas. It’s the actual set where filming takes place and this 80-minute-long tour includes the exterior sets of Coronation Street, Rosumand Street and the never before seen Victoria Street. It’s worth noting that you must book this tour online, so don’t expect to just rock up to MediaCityUK and be let straight in – you won’t.

Coronation Street The Tour, The Studios from dock10, MediaCity UK, Salford M50 2EQ
0161 414 0781


Old Trafford Museum and Tour and Etihad Stadium Tour
Of course two of the biggest attractions are two of the biggest football teams on the planet. Not only do they attract thousands of punters for the football, the Etihad has some of the biggest and best musicians play there throughout the year.

Read more about the tours here:
Tours to Take in Manchester


Manchester Museum
Manchester Museum is an excellent place to find all things weird and wonderful (many of them solidified in jars). You can span through millennia under one roof via mummies, dinosaur bones, fossils and ceramics. Oh and many, many stuffed animals. It makes for a fascinating discovery and a bloody good cultural day out. Plus, Manchester Museum is free to visit.

Manchester Museum, University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PL
0161 275 2648


Roman Fort Mamucium
If there’s anywhere that you need to visit as a main attraction in Manchester, then it must be where the foundations were laid for this fine city by the Romans – quite literally where it all began. Roman Fort Mamucium was built in 79 AD and you can still see bits of it in Castlefield. Even though the Romans weren’t even the first ones here, Castlefield is still the birthplace place of this city.

Roman Fort Mamucium, 106 Duke St, Manchester M3 4RU


Manchester Art Gallery
Home to an impressive permanent collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, the Manchester Art Gallery is a must-visits attraction in the city – especially considering it’s free. They always aim to keep at the top of their game with a mass of newer exhibitions from contemporary artists, alongside photography, sculpture and every else in between.

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL
0161 235 8888


John Rylands Library
I’d describe John Rylands Library as an absolute must-see attraction, not least for the building’s profound beauty, but also for the impressive collection of books and excellent exhibitions. The neo-gothic building, founded by Enriquita Augustina Rylands, was created as a “gift to Manchester and its people” over 100 years ago. It’s still a working place for study, which is completely brilliant.

John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH


Science and Industry Museum
Not only is Castlefield the birthplace of Manchester but it’s also one of the areas that helped kick-start the Industrial Revolution, so in turn the birthplace of the modern world. Visit the impressive Science and Industry Museum and take a journey through this fascinating history, pinpointing how and why Manchester and the North was such a focal point for industry (and science).

Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4FP
0161 832 2244