Fun things to do in Manchester

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Manchester

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    The Godlee Observatory

    by oriettaIT Written Mar 7, 2014

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    I was really looking forward to visit the Godlee Observatory but unfortunately it is open only reserving ahead and planning the visit with the people of the Manchester Astronomical Society so I had to miss it.
    If you have an interest in Astronomy I highly reccomend to take a look to their site and make contact with them to organize a visit.

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    Big Wheel

    by Ben-UK Written Jan 3, 2014

    From time to time the Wheel of Manchester visits the city, as at January 2014 it's in Piccadilly Gardens, last time it was in Exchange Square off Corporation Street. It seems to be a popular attraction offering great views over the city. 2014 prices are £7 for an adult, £6 for youths aged
    11 to 16 and £3 for a child aged 3 to 10 - see photo for other prices.

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    National Football Museum

    by Ben-UK Updated Dec 9, 2013

    If you have any interest in football then the National Football Museum is well worth a visit.
    It's housed in the Urbis building in Cathedral Gardens, next to the junction of Corporation Street and Withy Grove (opposite Printworks) in the city centre. Exhibits are on 3+ floors and there's a lift should you need it. More or less everything is covered really: archive material, team kits, artworks, photos, videos and films, interactive displays, even (when I visited) George Best's last car - there is something for young and old alike. There is also a shop and café.

    Entrance is free.

    Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 11am-5pm

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    National Football Museum

    by slothtraveller Written Dec 1, 2013

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    I visited the National Football Museum in Manchester in September 2013 while visiting the city on a day trip. As a football (soccer) fan, I was keen to see what the museum had to offer and I really enjoyed the visit.
    The museum is very child-friendly with many interactive activities as well the usual collection of exhibits. For example, you can practice your commentating skills or see how much you know about the history of the World Cup. The museum doesn't just cover the English game but also has exhibits from the world of football such as Diego Maradona's shirt from the famous 'Hand of God' match and the only surviving version of the Jules Rimet Trophy after the original was stolen in Brazil in 1983.
    Many of the trophies on show are for competitions in the North West of England and the museum inevitably has lots of exhibits relating to clubs from that particular area, especially Manchester United and Liverpool. Indeed, fans of London clubs might feel that their teams are under-represented in the museum.
    I would nevertheless recommend a trip to this museum while you are in Manchester. Even the most ardent football fan could learn something new here! And furthermore, it's free to visit!
    Open 7 days a week (Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm)

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    NMW's Underground Manchester

    by suvanki Updated Nov 9, 2013

    VTer kaspian had spotted this prior to his visit for the 2012 Manchester Christmas Markets Meet, and wondered if others would be interested....

    Well I certainly was - A 2 hour guided walk by one of 'New Manchester Walks' blue badge or green badge guides, with the chance to see a WW2 underground air raid shelter and see a different part of Manchester.

    You need to book tickets prior to the event through Quaytickets.com
    https://www.quaytickets.com/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=0123F7FF-F921-41D2-A41C-D3973BA9ABC4

    Pick your date and time slot, then book your ticket
    It cost £9 (adult) November 2012. Not suitable for children under 9 years old.

    I received my tickets through the post within a few days.

    The meet up point is on the steps of the Midland Hotel. If you're there early, sneek a peep inside this historic hotel, and spot the plaque of Messers Rolls and Royce who met here to form their company Rolls Royce Limited.

    So, the six of us, wearing stout footwear and armed with torches (flashlights) joined the crowd of probably around 20.

    Our guide Sue was full of useful information and anecdotes about the history of Manchester, the Industrialisation of Manchester and the need for a canal transportation system.

    Although the 'Main Event' was the underground visit, we saw a few points of interest on the way there, including a secret atomic bunker, the Central Railway Station, more about the Midland Hotel and its planned purpose if the Nazis had invaded. The area around the Bridgewater hall, and the grandiose plans to transport concert goers to the venue - Also the Casino and night club favoured by the paparazzi for snapping local and visiting celebrities - and if they're doing what they shouldn't with who they shouldn't - Wayne Rooney? Kerrching!!

    Points on the ground, such as manhole covers were noted as we were walking above the area that we would soon be walking underground.
    To be honest, I couldn't always 'keep up' with where our guide was describing what was below (or later above)

    We stepped inside the 21st century building, and had a short wait for the security guard to let us through to the stone steps that led down into the long-disused tunnel of the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal, that was to became the largest WW2 air raid shelter in Manchester.

    Well, it was well worth visiting, though I can't imagine how the people coped in this dark and crowded place. Tens of thousands of Mancunians spent nights here,
    During the day, they were banished outside, while the shelter was 'sanitised' to reduce risk of infectious diseases.

    Some relics from this time can still be seen, such as the telephone exchange with telephone numbers scribbled on the wall. Also faded 'Rules of Conduct' notices - alcohol was prohibited, due to risk of drunken fights and other misdemeanour's!

    We also saw evidence of UrbExers having discovered the tunnels - graffiti and tags were painted on some of the walls.

    You certainly needed a torch for part of this walk, along with sturdy waterproof footwear.

    UPDATE November 2013 - These tours aren't running at the moment, due to essential building work being carried out.
    Check %L[ http://www.newmanchesterwalks.com/walks-tours/underground-other-unusual-things/underground-manchester/] for updates

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    National Football Museum

    by tvor Written Jun 12, 2013

    There's a new museum in Manchester, housed in the green glass building that used to be Urbis. It's the National Football museum and you may wonder what took them so long to open a museum to the national sport obsession! At least admission is still free! There's lots of history of the game in the UK, with a Hall of Fame, and changing temporary exhibits as well as permanent ones. 50 years of football fashions, a good place for kids to experience the museum and the game, lots of exhibits donated by regular fans as well as collections from various clubs.

    If you're a football fan (soccer for those in North America), this is a great place to spend a few hours.

    There's a restaurant and bar at the top of the building and a cafe on the ground floor.

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    NATIONAL FOOTBALL MUSEUM

    by alyf1961 Written Apr 15, 2013

    I visited the National Football museum on my last visit to Manchester.
    The museum is in the Urbis building which is not far from Victoria station. The building was designed by Ian Simpson and built in 2002. When it opened as Urbis it was a museum on modern urban living.
    The National Football Museum opened in 2012.
    If they removed everything on Eric Cantona and George Best the remaining half of the exhibits are quite interesting.
    Covering the beginnings of English club football in the 1850’s, through the development of the game and its laws. There are interactive screens where you can look up your favourite team’s performance in any league year as well as FA cup and World cup history.
    I didn’t have a lot of time as I arrived there ½ an hour before closing at 5pm so I shall hopefully visit again.
    My favourite bit was the video showing Leeds United beat Arsenal 1-0 in the 1972 centenary FA cup final.

    The painting “the portrait of a king” with Eric Cantona at the centre dressed as Christ holding a St George flag is wrong on so many levels.

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    Sackville Gardens

    by mickeyboy07 Written Dec 13, 2012

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    Also known as 'Whitworth Gardens' is bounded by the Manchester College Shena Simon Campus on one side,and Whitworth st,Sackville st,and Canal st.on the others.The land was purchased by Manchester Corporation in 1900 and laid out with paths,lawns and flower beds.The Park contains the 'Alan Turing' memorial statue,which depicts the 'father of modern computing' sitting on a bench in the middle of the park.The park also contains the 'Beacon of Hope' which is britains only permanent memorial for people who have,or have suffered from HIV/AIDS.The sculpture,a decorated steel column designed by 'Warren Chapmen' was erected in the year 2000.On World AIDS day a candlelight vigil generally takes place at the beacon.The park is well maintained and is nice and peaceful for a walk around or a sit on the bench and relax.

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    I would have expected a little balance.

    by planxty Updated Nov 13, 2012

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    I have a natural expectation when visiting museums in the UK that there will be a certain amount of balance shown in the presentation of the exhibits, and this is generally the case. I cite for an example the rather good Ulster Museum in Belfast which deals very even-handedly with the recent "Troubles" in that Province. I have been to Museums elsewhere, particularly Southeast Asia, where the rhetoric tends towards the "glorious freedom fighters" and "Imperialist running dogs" sort of thing. I am not for one minute suggesting that the People's History Museum in Manchester is anywhere near that but there is a very definite Left wing / socialist bias, reasons for which will become apparent later.

    Whilst researching this tip, I found out that before it came to it's present home, a proportion of the collection was displayed in Limehouse Town Hall in the East End of London which is about 30 minutes walk from my home.

    I shall take you through the apparently random images which may explain a little of what the Museum is about, which is predominantly social issues like Trades Unionism and womans Suffrage. The Trades Union issue is very well represented with a particularly good display of old Trades Union banners. The reason for the choice of some images will show "the interconnectedness of all things" as the late Dougls Adams used to say.

    The first image is obviouslt the exterior of the building but the interesting thing to notice is not the new building in the centre but the red brick building to the left which forms part of the Museum. This is an old pumphouse and is the last one remaining in Manchester. It is worth a quick look at the architecture of it before venturing inside.

    The second image is a reconstruction of the living room of a typical mid 20th century British home. This is not typical, there are few such Tableaux in the Museum.

    The next image needs a bit of explaining. It is a coat belonging to the late Michale Foot (1913 - 2010), a Socialist writer and politician and former head of the Labour Party, one of the two major parties in the UK. So why should his coat be of such importance. Well, Mr, Foot wore it to a Remembrance Day service and was casitgated in certain sections of the press for disrespect in having worn a "donkey jacket" to such a solemn occasion. For those not familiar with the term, a donkey jacket is a garment normally associated with manual labourers. As usual the press were making something out of nothing as it was in fact a short jacket from a well known shop in London.

    The next image is one of a large number of posters on display involving social issues, in this case a mass rally of dock workers in 1891 to unfurl a new banner. what interested me is that if you look closely just below the banner headline, you will see that the registered office of the Union is at 33, Mile End Road, E. This building still stands and I walk past it every day, it being no more than 100 yards from my home. It is now a solicitors office.

    The last image is yet another piece of synchronicity. It depicts a singer / songwriter called Billy Bragg, whose work I greatly admire. He is included here as he is a very committed social activist and has been for years. The synchronicity is that a few years ago I had the pleasuree of sharing a stage with him at a Trades Union gig, all of which is recorded on my homepage. Indeed, my current profile picture was taken at that gig. Obviously, this may change if I change my homepage significantly, but if you happen to read this in years to come, believe me they were there.

    So why does the place have the political emphasis it has? It appears that unlike many other British Museums, it is not Government funded and relies on private and corporate donations as well as money from the National Lottery. It is certainly worth a look and allow at least a couple of hours to see round it.

    Now to the technicalities.

    The museum is open Monday to Sunday from 1000 until 1700 and admission is free (donations gratefully accepted). There is a cafe onsite, probably appropriately called the Left Bank cafe, although I did not sample the wares there. There is wheelchair access to most of the Museum and guide dogs are welcome. There are full details for facilities for the disabled on the rather good website shown below.

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    O2 Apollo Manchester

    by Benson35 Updated Jul 16, 2012

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    The O2 Apollo is a much smaller venue than the M.E.N Arena which is also in Manchester.
    The O2 Apollo is a theatre, so there is an upper circle and the stalls infront of the stage.
    Depending on the event, you have the option of standing or sitting.

    I have been here a few times, the most recent to see Toby Keith (October 2011) and Lady Antebellum (July 2012). Toby Keith was all sitting, and Lady A was standing and sitting.
    I always pay a little extra to sit in the stalls as I believe there is a much better view (you're on the same level as the stage).
    When I was standing, it wasn't too crowded. It was full, but I had a little room to have a little wiggle to my favourite songs!!!

    One thing that has always happened while I've been here is that it gets HOT. It's not a modern building and doesn't have modern facilities.
    It does have three bars, a confectionary booth, toilets (in good condition), and a merchandise section in the main foyer.

    For these two music shows, there was a large queue to get in, but it moved quite steadily and I didn't feel like I'd wasted half the night in a queue! So get there early like I do, then there is no way you will miss the start of the show.

    It's also easy to get to by public transport and there are places to park near by.
    The website also gives detail about the public transport that will get you too and from the O2 Apollo, so if in doubt, take a look!!

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    Manchester Central Convention Centre

    by spidermiss Updated Jun 2, 2012

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    Manchester Central Convention Centre, housed in a former Victorian railway station, offers conference and exhibition facilities with an abundance of halls, conference suites and exhibition spaces. It was formerly called the G-MEX and the centre held the artistic gymnastics sessions for the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.

    I have never been inside but please check the website for further information.

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    Rochdale Canal

    by spidermiss Updated May 22, 2012

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    The Rochdale Canal was built from 1798 and officially opened in 1804. The 32 miles (51km) Canal runs across the Pennines between Sowerby Bridge (where the Calder and Hebble Navigation meets) to the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield Basin in the City Centre.

    We walked the stretch from Oxford Street under the roads of Princess Street, Chorlton Street, Aytoun Steet and left the Canal at Piccadilly Lock. It was interesting to see the canal locks, boats in action and also walked through Canal Street/Gay village.

    It was interesting to the see the city from this perspective. However I would strongly recommend to walk the route at least in a pair during the day.

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    Cineworld - Disbury, Parrswood, Manchester

    by Benson35 Written Mar 19, 2012

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    This cinema is great. It's spacious, clean, well-kept and has good facilities.
    I've been here many, many times.
    I was just thinking that if you're in the area and fancy a chilled night or a night out with the children, this is an idea for you. Also, Cineworld is part of a complex with Tenpin bowling and plenty of choice for resturants. Parking is ample and there are bus stops right outside.

    The cinema has a large lobby where you queue to but tickets. Up the escalators (or lift) you will find the 11 screens, places to buy food and soft drinks, and also a bar area.

    Parrswood is about a 20 minutes drive (depending on traffic) outside of Manchester city centre, or a 30 minute bus ride. The destination is Parrswood and at the moment (March 2012) the numbers of the buses that go to Parrswood from Manchester city centre are 50 (Albert Square) & 42 (Picadilly Gardens).

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    Belle Vue Dogs (Greyhound racing)

    by Benson35 Updated Feb 10, 2012

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    Not too far out of the city centre is Belle Vue Dogs track. Go onto the website listed below to see when the next race meeting is.
    There are a few options you can choose from when going to watch the dog racing.
    Firstly, you can go into the main area. There are limited seats here, a bar and fast food bars. There is also access to track-side viewing which is outside. You will have to either put your bets on outside or in a kiosk inside.
    Second, you can choose to have a 3 course meal in the Grandstand Resturant. You will have a seat all night, food, staff who will go to the bar for you and staff that take your bets from the table. You don't have to move all night if you don't want to.
    Third, there are different packages you can choose. All of these come with a price (details on the website). Included are 'execuitive suites' for hire for family parties or corporate entertaining. Again, food is included and it's easy to put on your bets.

    The race meetings are usually on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday every week.
    Prices vary as to what you want to do while you're there, for example, a meal or no meal.

    It's such a good, fun night out! There are usually 13 races and the minimum bet is £2, but remember, you don't have to bet on every race if you don't want to, and if you don't know where to start betting; the staff are so lovely and happily explain all of the options for you.

    I usually go with a group of 50+ people! We all have the 3 course meal and a great night out, even if I don't win!!!
    I've also been with a small group of friends where we've stood all night and still had a great time!

    So if this is your cup of tea, get yourself down to Belle Vue race track for a great night!
    (have a look on the website for the lasted offers)

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    Manchester's Historic Quarter

    by spidermiss Updated Dec 22, 2011

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    Manchester's Historic Quarter (part of the Northern Quarter) has been in existance since the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th Century and was the economic centre of Manchester's textile industry. In the later 20th Century, extensive regneration took place in the area and today the Northern Quarter contains shopping areas, independent shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes.

    We visited The Old Wellington for the VT evening meal which is situated on Shambles Squares and not far from Manchester Cathedral.

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Manchester Things to Do

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Manchester has a lot to keep you busy, wether its museums, churches, canals, architecture, food and drink or great concerts, plays and opera that you prefer you will find it all here.

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