Manchester – Arts and Culture

Things to see and do

Manchester's reputation as a cultural hub is immense - and when you witness the sheer number of theatres, museums, one-off art events, festivals, music venues, let alone its unique civil history, it will all make sense.

Gay and lesbian specific

'Out in the Past' Heritage Trails - first Saturday of the month
Follow the (often illicit) ups and downs, twists and turns of 200 years of LGBT history in Manchester, during one of these fascinating insights into gay life of old in the industrial heart of Britain.

Gay and lesbian interest

Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann's Square
One of the most important theatres outside of London, the Exchange not only continues to bring the biggest names in acting and directing to the stage, but does so in one of the most stunning settings in theatre-land.

John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate
Gorgeous, Gothic, romantic – all describe John Rylands Library . It has now re-opened following its dramatic redevelopment to unveil an exciting array of treasures and a striking contemporary extension.

Manchester Urban Cultural Trails
Whether you want to read up before you visit Manchester or simply walk it whilst in the city, the free to download trails offer an easy way to find out about Manchester’s diverse culture scene and the many stories behind it. Here's a quick snapshot on each of the trails to help you pick the right one...

Imperial War Museum North, Trafford Wharf Road, The Quays
The multi-award winning Imperial War Museum North (one of the top 4 Large Visitor Attractions in England 2010) is one of the most celebrated Museums in Britain today. Imperial War Museum North is about people and their stories, about how lives have been and still are shaped by war and conflict. The award-winning building by international architect Daniel Libeskind is a symbol of our world torn apart by conflict and is situated at The Quays, a waterfront destination 2 miles from Manchester city centre.

The Monastery, 89 Gorton Lane
What do a derelict Franciscan Monastery in West Gorton and the ancient ruins of Pompeii have in common? They are both on the List of 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world, a status granted to them by the World Monuments Watch in recognition of their architectural and historical importance, and their risk of being lost. The Monastery of St Francis, known locally as Gorton Monastery, designed by Edward Pugin (1834-1875) stands majestically on Gorton Lane, near to Manchester city centre.

The Lowry at the Quays, Salford Quays
The building itself is a must-see visitor attraction with its fascinating architecture rising from the regenerated docklands. The interior is equally impressive with two theatres and studio space for performing arts presenting a full range of drama, opera, ballet, dance, musicals, children's shows, popular music, jazz and folk.

Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road
There's always something worth seeing at this gallery , part of Manchester University; not least the soon-to-be developed building and its parkside location. Recent highlights have been the Subversive Spaces surrealism show, the American Scene prints exhibition and Walls Are Talking, and the varied event program includes related talks held in the “secret” lecture theatre.

Alan Turing Statue at Sackville Gardens
Visit Sackville Gardens next to Canal Street and you will notice the statue of a man named Alan Turing sitting on a bench. Who is he and why is he there?

Turing is one of Manchester's most famous gay figures. The story of how he helped defeat the Nazis in World War II but was shunned by a country unable to accept his homosexuality is a reminder of how far society has developed in the years since.

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