3 Historic Places to Visit in Manchester, UK

The city of Manchester may not have castles, but the architecture is a compelling reason to visit. Here are some historical places you can visit.

If you think that America has a long history, then the history of Manchester City in the UK is long. It’s more than a city with a famous football team. It actually began as a Roman fort back in 79 AD and for hundreds of years after, it was just a small town. But it all changed unexpectedly in the 1800s because of the Industrial Revolution.

So for the most part, the “historic” places here are fairly new, at least by UK standards. Still, these historical places to visit in Manchester offer a great introduction to the city.

The Manchester Town Hall

The Manchester Town Hall

This was constructed in 1872, and it’s very different from any other town hall we’ve ever seen. That’s because of the building’s architecture. The neo-Gothic façade of the town hall is quite daunting, but a climb to the top of the tower offers an awesome view of the city.

Inside the building, there are paintings by Fort Madox Brown that present a lovely depiction of the history of Manchester. The Great Manchester Exhibition Centre was built in the middle of what used to be a Victorian rail road station, and now it hosts several musical performances each year.

Castlefield Urban Heritage Park

Castlefield Urban Heritage Park

Castlefield was designated as a conservation area in 1980, and it became the first designated Urban Heritage Park in the UK in 1982. But its location marks the very spot where the original fort of Mancunium once stood.

The spot also holds other notable distinctions:

  • It was the endpoint of the Bridgewater Canal, which was the first industrial canal in the world. It was built in 1764.
  • It is also the oldest canal warehouse opening, as it was built in 1879.
  • The first passenger railway in the world terminated here on this spot in 1830.
  • The first railway warehouse first opened here, back in 1831.

For many years before 1980, Castlefield was a neglected part of the city. Today, it’s a major tourist spot, where many popular events are held each year.

John Rylands Library

John Rylands Library

This is located at the University of Manchester, and it was founded to honor John Rylands, who was the first multimillionaire of the city. It was opened to the public in the year 1900 after 10 years of construction, and it became part of the university in 1972. Designed by the architect Basil Champneys, its neo-gothic design is certainly striking and unforgettable.

Many regard it as the greatest example of neo-gothic architecture in the whole of Europe. It incorporated surprisingly sophisticated technology, such as an air-filtering system designed to reduce pollution. Using water sprays, ducting, and heated water pipes, air is drawn from the outside were filtered to remove the grime that was prevalent in the textile manufacturing center.

Today, it currently holds the Special Collections of the university, and it’s now part of the 3rd largest academic library in the United Kingdom. It contains some of the finest collections of rare books, manuscripts, and archives in the world.

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