Discover England: Manchester Gateway
The Sightseeing Manchester hop on, hop off bus is the perfect way to discover the city's most famous attractions, with 15 stops carefully chosen to ensure visitors can cover as much or as little as they wish. We've highlighted 10 of these stops below, with a little more information on what can be found at each stop.
Stop 1. Albert Square
Albert Square is home to a number of significant buildings, monuments, and statues, with Manchester Town Hall claiming the largest building title. An impressive Victorian Gothic structure designed by Alfred Waterhouse, it boasts a 280ft bell tower complete with 23 bells. The Square is also dominated by Prince Albert, being named in his honour and with the largest memorial, the Albert Memorial, dedicated to him. This memorial is intricately decorated, with the Prince's likeness approved by his wife, Queen Victoria, personally.
Stop 2. King Street
Dating from the 1800's, King Street is one of Manchester's most important streets due to its historic ties with the banking industry in the North West, with many former banking institutions lining it on either side in handsome, listed buildings, as well as being the site of the first Manchester Town Hall. More recently, it has become well known for being the heart of high-end shopping in Manchester, home to a wide range of designer shops.
Stop 4. Piccadilly Gardens
Once the site of on ornamental pond, the Manchester Royal Infirmary, and even an asylum, Piccadilly Gardens has evolved through the ages. Now a green space set in Manchester's city centre offering respite from the bustling crowds as well as being a space for music and cultural events, it offers a fascinating overview of Manchester's history from the wide range of buildings that border its edges, from Industrial Revolution-era structures to ultra-modern office blocks.
Stop 5. Church Street
On Church Street you'll find an authentic and vibrant street market whose origins date back to over a hundred years ago. Traders sell everything from exotic fruit and vegetables to secondhand books to hog roasts!
Stop 6. National Football Museum & Victoria Station
A must see for any fan of the beautiful game, the National Football Museum holds an astounding collection of football history with exhibits of some of the firsts in the game, including the first ever rule book from 1863 and a shirt from the first ever international match between England and Scotland. It has a wide range of exhibits covering all aspects of football, from clubs to stadiums, and of course, the players!
Stop 7. Manchester Cathedral
This medieval masterpiece has a fascinating history, having survived two separate bombings in the 1940's and the 1990's. It now blends Gothic style with modern touches, notably the stunning stained glass windows designed by Tony Holloway in the latter part of the 20th century. The rich workmanship of the cathedral is evident throughout, from the 16th century misericords to the angel minstrels supporting the nave.
Stop 10. The Quays
Found on Manchester's waterfront, the Quays combine arts and culture, shopping, history, and sport into one unique destination. You'll find the Lowry, a cutting-edge complex comprising of an art gallery, two theatres, and a drama studio, as well as MediaCityUK, home to the media and creative industries and where the BBC produces some of its favourite programs like Dragons' Den and Match of the Day. As one of Manchester's most vibrant quarters, it's the perfect place to indulge in some shopping or just relax with a cocktail in one of the cosmopolitan bars.
Stop 12. Manchester United
See Old Trafford, the stadium that Manchester United calls home and, with a capacity of nearly 75,000, the largest club football stadium in the UK. The Theatre of Dreams gives visitors complete insight into the history and the workings of this football club, the tragedies that its faced and the personalities that have shaped it.
Stop 13. Imperial War Museum North
The first branch of the Imperial War Museum to be found in the North of England, this museum focuses on the effects of war on people and society, particularly modern conflicts, using sound, photography and the film archives of the IWM to innovatively explore this theme. The award winning museum building was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind and its eye-catching structure represents a world shattered by conflict.
Stop 14. Museum of Science and Industry
This museum explores the development of science, technology and industry with a particular focus on the contribution that Manchester has made to these fields. It houses fascinating exhibits on communications, textiles, and transport, including a full RAF Avro Shackleton aircraft.