Free Things To Do In Manchester

Mar 14, 2018

Short of change? Here are a few things you can get up to in Manchester without spending a single penny.

Make a day of it at the Quays

From rundown portside to Manchester’s premier tourist magnet, Salford Quays has undergone some mighty regenerations in recent years.

The industrial boats of the Manchester Ship Canal have been replaced by legions of tourists wandering between the plethora of high street chains and popular eateries that have sprung up along the waterfront.

The Quays is also home to the expansive MediaCityUK, Manchester’s creative hub and the residency of the likes of ITV and the Beeb.

Be sure to swing by the Lowry, the impressive theatre and gallery space on Pier 8 or browse the poignant exhibits at Imperial War Museum North.

Get your groove on to Manchester’s music scene

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Manchester and music go hand in hand. From Oasis and The Stone Roses to Take That and The Chemical Brothers, the city has produced some of the biggest acts in modern music.

Music runs through the city and there isn’t a day without a live act on somewhere. Manchester’s clubbing scene is one of the best in the country, from the vibrancy of Canal Street to the storming bass of Warehouse Project.

Pop into one of Manchester’s many independent music stores and vinyl shops to browse the stacks of gems and jewels from musical eras gone by.

Discover the city’s unbelievable contributions to science

Music isn’t the only thing Manchester has up its sleeve; Mancunians tend to be a scientific lot. The first atom was split here in 1917 by Ernest Rutherford, while the world’s first steam engine sputtered into life on the streets of this city.

Discover this rich history at Manchester’s Museum of Science & Industry, tucked away inside the oldest surviving passenger railway station.

MOSI is dedicated to Manchester’s industrial past and plots the city’s rise from market town to leading light thanks to innovation and scientific improvement.

Marvel at the impressive range of architecture

Manchester is arguably one of the best-looking cities in the country. There’s such a variety of architectural styles, from the imposing appearance of the city’s neogothic town hall to the lofty peaks of Beetham Tower, the tallest building in the UK outside of London.

There is plenty to spot just by wandering around the centre, in a city that made the provisional list for UNESCO protection, in part due to its wealth of impressive buildings.

Get your hands muddy at the community farm

Head down to Manchester’s very own community farm and meet the local residents. There’s a chance to have a go at feeding the farmyard animals, as well as letting the kids get stuck into potting and planting.

Wythenshawe Community Farm has its own onside farm shop too, so if you so happen to have a few bob to spare, put it towards some fresh produce and support the local community.

Explore the Northern Quarter, a hipster’s paradise

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The bustling Northern Quarter is a hipster’s paradise, with its swanky bars and trendy coffee shops hawking unheard-of beverages and avocado-based grub.

The area has long been held as the city’s capital of bohemian culture and all things alternative and as such is immensely popular with the local student population.

Home to Affleck’s Palace (more on that later), NQ is the bating heart of Manchester’s music scene, with some of the top clubs, shops and street performers found here.

Delve into the history of the world’s most popular sport

If there is one thing that everyone across the globe knows about Manchester, it’s the football.

Home to two of the biggest teams in Europe, hugely successful rivals Manchester City and Manchester United, the city’s sporting success goes without saying.

Take a look at the history of the world’s most popular game with a trip to the National Football Museum where exhibits include a matchball from the first World Cup, a replica of the Jules Rimet trophy, and Diego Maradona’s 1986 “Hand of God” shirt.


Get lost at Afflecks

Located in the Northern Quarter, Afflecks (former Affleck’s Palace) is something of a Mancunian institution.

The immense indoor market is home to all things bohemian, eclectic and counterculture. Serving generations of Manchester folk in its near forty year history, you’ll find all manner of music, fashion, and food inside.

Be sure to spend a few hours wandering around this Aladdin’s Cave of underground goodies.

Stretch those legs in the city gardens

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Pack a picnic and take a stroll in one of the city’s many parks and gardens. Head to Platt Fields Park for a saunter by the lake or stretch those legs in the expansive grounds of Alexandra Park.

Spend an afternoon at the oldest English-speaking library on Earth

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You may have walked past his hidden gem multiple times without even knowing it was there – we’re sure many have.

Cheetham’s Library is the oldest English-speaking public library in the world, with the buildings dating back to 1421.

Visually stunning, the rows of wooden shelves look straight out of Hogwarts, and the library is a wonderfully atmospheric place to settle down with a book.

Being incredibly old isn’t Cheetham’s only claim to fame however. It was also the place that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels worked on the early Communist Manifesto, with the desk and alcove in which the pair researched still viewable today.

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