Manchester’s Cultural Evolution
England’s northern gateway is all about reinvention, and the city’s transformation is at full speed heading into 2023. Formerly one of the world’s great hubs for industry and shipping, Manchester’s warehouses have been reclaimed to make the city an exciting destination for “industrial chic” creativity, culture and food. Visitors will also be spoiled for choice with a diverse selection of new accommodation where they can hang their hats and explore the beating heart of Manchester right outside their hotel door.
The big news:
Highly anticipated, Factory International is a new cultural space designed by Rem Koolhaas’s architect’s Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) opening in the heart of Manchester in 2023. At 13,300 square metres, this large-scale venue will be located on the famous old Granada Studios site and will become the north’s flagship cultural centre. The £110m venue, will host a year-round programme of concerts, theatre, music and opera to major exhibitions; it will also become the permanent home of Manchester International Festival. Upon completion, it is expected to attract 850,000 people from across Manchester, the UK and the world annually, boosting the region’s economy by £1.1b over a decade.
New and refurbished music venues:
In late 2023, Manchester will see the opening of Co-op Live Arena, the UK’s largest new live music venue. Featuring a 23,500-seat arena and 32 bars & restaurants, the new venue is slated to open in December 2023 in East Manchester.
New Century Hall, a legendary music venue (which has seen the likes of Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones), recently reopened its doors (September 2022) in the NOMA area of the city centre. With an 800 capacity, sprung dance floor and 60’s style “disco ceiling”, the Grade II listed New Century Hall celebrates its historic legacy. All original features have been fully restored alongside a new food and drinks space, known as New Century Kitchen. The food and beverage venue will feature five independent food operators alongside more permanent concepts that will expand into an outdoor space.
The city’s oldest music venue, Band on the Wall has been entertaining Manchester since the 19th Century. In March 2022 the venue expanded into the Victorian Cocozza, taking the venue’s total capacity to 500 people. An enhanced archive and visual exhibition documenting the rich social and musical history of Manchester’s communities and the local area will also be added.
New green spaces:
The National Trust’s Castlefield Viaduct, a striking Victorian-era steel viaduct, is on its way to becoming a green ‘sky park’ - Manchester’s answer to New York City’s Highline. Around half of the 330m viaduct opened to the public in summer 2022 as part of a phase one trial that will guide permanent plans for the site.
The 6.5-acre Mayfield Park will be Manchester’s first new city centre public park in over 100 years. The park is currently under construction on the expansive Mayfield site adjacent to Piccadilly Station, which also houses the new food and drink venue, Escape to Freight Island (details further below). The park’s initial opening took place in September 2022 and will continue to undergo a phased opening.
Northern Roots’ goal is to become the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park as well as a fully functioning visitor destination. Set on 160 acres located in the heart of Oldham, Greater Manchester, experiences will include hands-on community projects such as beekeeping, animal husbandry and growing plots, as well as a bike hub, mountain biking trails, arts, culture and events.
Major museum reopening:
The cultural scene continues to evolve next year as Manchester Museum reopens in February 2023 following a £15 million renovation. The aim of the project is to help build a better understanding between cultures, a more sustainable world and a more inclusive museum. The museum will re-open with a new two-storey extension, as well a new South Asia Gallery and Exhibition Hall. The museum will also gain an expansive new entrance, shop, café, picnic areas and other inclusive visitor facilities that are fully accessible.
Creative food halls:
Visitors can explore Manchester’s thriving food scene at Escape to Freight Island, an open-air food hall that recently opened in an old freight depot. In late 2022, visitors and locals alike will also be able to wander through Diecast, a “creative neighbourhood” featuring a brewery, food hall, canal-side green spaces and a night market housed in a former factory in Manchester’s new Piccadilly East neighbourhood.
Leonardo Hotel Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester | Opened May 2022
Leonardo Hotel has arrived in Manchester Piccadilly, offering 275 contemporary rooms equipped with the Leonardo DREAM bed for that all-important injection of comfort. Its unique award-winning design is sure to catch the eye of passers-by, inspired by Milan’s vertical forest and Jenga blocks. With accessible rooms, an on-site bar and restaurant, Leo’s, and a wellness suite for all guests – every part of a stay has been thought about. Found a short distance from Manchester Piccadilly train station, the hotel is also ideally situated for discovering the bustling foodie and shopping scene in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Forty-Seven, 47 Peter Street, Manchester | Opening autumn 2022
Occupying a former shipping warehouse, hotel Forty-Seven from KRO Hospitality will open in Manchester with 32 luxury guest rooms. With bold artsy interiors throughout which complement the building’s heritage, guests can expect a boutique hotel that gives a nod to its former days. For lavish dining, look to The Peterman hosting 24 guests in a uniquely suave setting, or for an evening meal, the onsite restaurant, Asha’s, will serve up award-winning authentic Indian cuisine. Exploring outside the hotel will allow guests to discover the heart of Deansgate, with its quirky bars, coffee shops and even axe-throwing.
Treehouse Hotel, Manchester | Opening spring 2023
Getting ready to set its roots in Manchester next year, Treehouse Hotel will be the second venture in the UK, with a sister hotel already in London. Inspired by adventure and craft, the 206-bedroom hotel will offer vibrant rooms and two restaurants serving up menus curated by local chefs Mary-Ellen McTague and Sam Grainger. Head to the hideaway to explore a secret space, or take to the rooftop terrace for jaw-dropping citywide views. The hotel forms part of a wider redevelopment, which will see retail and pop-up food and drink vendors spring up on Deansgate and on the banks of the River Irwell.
Mollies, Manchester | Opening 2023
The contemporary hotel and diner chain, Mollies will be heading to Manchester’s Old Granada Studios for a 2023 opening. The 1950s studio has hosted the likes of the Beatles and Sex Pistols for their first TV appearances, and will soon become the third British outpost of Mollies. Designed by Soho House, the hotel will offer a relaxed yet modern home away from home, with all-day dining, digital check-in, work stations, and food on the go.
Soho House Manchester | Opening 2023:
Soho House’s first northern hotel, in Manchester, will be exclusive to members. Spanning the three upper floors of what once was the Granada Studios building, Soho House Manchester will include a rooftop bar and pool, plus dining and lounge areas. Centrally located in St Johns, the building will also play host to The Factory, a vast cultural space which is set to open in 2023.
Looking ahead to 2024:
2024 will see the opening of UK’s first city-based wellbeing resort Therme. Opening in TraffordCity, Therme will encompass a “next generation” waterpark, thermal bathing and a wellbeing spa, as well as immersive digital art, an on-site urban farm and botanical gardens. Therme’s aim is to create an integrated experience to benefit physical and mental health.
Manchester Town Hall, which closed in 2018, is undergoing a £300 million essential upgrade and will reopen its doors in 2024. The project’s aim is to boost public access and ensure that the building and square continues to play a role at the heart of city life.
To learn more about what’s on in Manchester, visit: www.visitmanchester.com
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