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48-hours   ›   Short breaks › Travel Inspiration  ›  North West of England

My itinerary for a cultural weekend break in Manchester

If you’re thinking of a weekend away somewhere that will satisfy your cravings for culture, come for a weekend break in Manchester city centre.

In the words of Ian Brown, Manchester’s got everything except a beach, and I’d like to share that sentiment by telling you about some of the wonderful attractions we have here that you can fit into just 48 hours.

Manchester is steeped in history, bursting with art, scoring lots of goals and always dancing to our own beat. We’re famous for our exciting music history, being pioneers of the industrial revolution and for our football, but also for our diversity and being really friendly.

June 16, 2022

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Friday afternoon in Manchester

Once you’ve checked into your accommodation and fuelled up with some lunch, I thoroughly recommend beginning your weekend break in Manchester with The People’s History Museum in Spinningfields.

Located in a grade-II listed building that was originally a hydraulic pumping station, the museum teaches about the important history of the lives of working people in Great Britain.

You’ll learn about significant Mancunian history here that affected the rest of Britain, such as the women’s suffrage movement, the foundations of the cooperative movement, the Peterloo massacre and even football!

Speaking of football – if you’d rather start your weekend with some remarkable football history instead, you can head to the Etihad Stadium (home of Manchester City FC) or Old Trafford (home of Manchester United FC) for one of their popular stadium tours which can usually take place on a Friday.

Friday evening in Manchester

After dinner, unwind at one of our great music scenes – you’ll be spoilt for choice!

If you’re after a Mancunian indie experience I recommend visiting the multi-award winning Band on the Wall which has recently been refurbished. Partly responsible for Joy Division and The Buzzcock’s fame, the venue is also well known for their performances by international cultural artists.

If you prefer a classical music genre, visit Bridgewater Hall, home of the incredible Hallé orchestra and regular host for BBC Philharmonic performances.

There’s also the Royal Northern College of Music where you can enjoy live performances from international artists almost daily.

Saturday morning in Manchester

It’s day two of your cultural weekend in Manchester and a great day to start with some cool Mancunian history!

After breakfast, head to MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) in Castlefield. MOSI is very popular and with good reason – here you’ll be immersed in the history of the exciting industrial revolution in Manchester, but there’s also a great interactive section upstairs for you to play around in, even if you are a grown-up!

If you’d prefer somewhere quieter with stunning architecture, I thoroughly recommend John Ryland’s library on Deansgate. This huge, neo-Gothic masterpiece will take your breath away as you browse through its ancient books and admire it’s intricate arches and details!

Saturday lunchtime in Manchester

A cultural weekend in Manchester can’t be complete without experiencing The Koffee Pot in the Northern Quarter. It may only serve breakfast and brunch, but The Koffee Pot is dubbed a Mancunian institution and well-loved by many.

Think retro greasy-spoon café in a cool neighbourhood, with famously good fry ups and great eggs benny menu! There are vegetarian and vegan options available and a decent drinks menu, including booze.

And yes, there are Bloody Mary’s too to go with your MancMuffin!

Saturday afternoon in Manchester

After lunch I recommend visiting one of the many fantastic art galleries in Manchester, with one of my favourites being The Whitworth on Oxford Road. This gallery has been named Best Emerging Cultural Destination in Europe and houses over 55,000 works of art, including some beautiful textiles and a rare wallpaper collection.

The Whitworth displays both traditional and contemporary artworks, but exhibitions change frequently so it’s always good to check what’s on before your visit.

Saturday evening in Manchester

No cultural weekend break in Manchester would be complete without a visit to HOME! HOME is one of Manchester’s most important hubs for contemporary arts such as theatre, music, independent films and artwork.

Located on the lively First Street, HOME has a buzzing atmosphere where you’ll find a stage, big screens, an art gallery, a fantastic bookshop and a some great places to eat and drink – in fact, I recommend having your evening meal here before you see a show, followed by drinks at their great bar.

Sunday morning in Manchester

To finish your weekend break in Manchester I recommend one of our most popular attractions here which is Manchester Art Gallery on Mosley Street.

Prepare to be mesmerised at the incredible artwork collection here, particularly the incredible pre-Raphaelite galleries where some of the paintings are so huge that it’s not to become immersed in them.

The gallery also hosts some great events and exhibitions that reflect the diversity of our cultural communities here in Manchester.

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June 16, 2022


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