100 things to do in Manchester
This is your year to experience new things, explore the city and make the most of your time at Manchester. How many activities will you try?
Play pool and watch live bands at Bunny Jackson's
Head to the home of chicken wings, live bands and pool for a fun and cheap night out. Bunny Jackson’s is “the best dive bar in the world” with salty chips and even saltier language. There’s no need to be fancy, you can get as messy as you’d like with dirty fries and 25p wings, and if you’re up for it, have a go at their Hotter than the Sun challenge.
Listen to live jazz at Matt and Phreds
Turn up to this little back street Jazz Club and enjoy a show at Matt and Phreds. With live music six days a week, Matt and Phreds boasts an array of outstanding up and coming musicians who play throughout the night. For a quieter, more intimate gig try a Wednesday or Thursday, or head down on a Friday or Saturday to have a dance.
Explore the Makers Market in the Northern Quarter
There’s something for everyone at the Makers Market, from independent artist goods to artisanal bakers. Why not pick up something for your room to make it feel more homely or grab a coffee and delicious food with mates? With markets across the North West, you can find your local in the Northern Quarter every month.
Stand out and make a difference with the Stellify Award
We take our commitment to social responsibility seriously and know that our students want the opportunity to make a real difference in the world. The Stellify Award gives you the chance to choose how you make your mark in a way that feels authentic to you, your passions and interests. Through volunteering, leadership roles and ethical grand challenges, you’ll not only feel like you’ve taken action to help causes you truly care about, but will also be prepared for life after university and will enter the world of work feeling confident in your abilities.
Visit the Hidden Gem, the oldest Catholic Church in Manchester
Tucked away on Mulberry Street and a stone's throw away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, The Hidden Gem was founded in 1794 and was the first Catholic church built after the Reformation. It's now home to the nationally acclaimed work of art 'the Adams Stations of the Cross', which attracts many visitors each year.
Complete the Sustainability Challenge
Not only a great icebreaker during your first week on campus, the Sustainability Challenge also offers you the chance to imagine and create a better world. You'll work with students from various disciplines to develop plans for a new campus as the world around you changes and the time counts down.
Hop on the tram and stroll down Beech Road
Tucked away in leafy Chorlton, Beech Road is a hidden gem if you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There’s lots of quirky pubs and bars for a quiet pint or independent shops to explore. Just 20 minutes out of the city centre, discover the many local haunts Beech Road has to offer.
Visit Heaton Park for the best view of the city
As one of the highest points in Manchester, Heaton Park should be on everyone’s bucket list. The nearby garden centre, beekeeping sanctuary, walking routes and animal centre make it a great place to escape the city. Heaton Park Astronomy Group also hosts regular stargazing events, or why not hire a rowing boat or pedalo during the summer months?
Audition for a student drama production at the Martin Harris Centre
The Martin Harris Centreis situated in the heart of the University campus and offers a varied programme of arts events, often organised and performed by students. Brave the stage and audition for a role in a theatre production, band or spoken word event – or simply come along to watch an unforgettable performance!
Hang out with the donkeys at The Donkey Sanctuary
If you’re missing your pets and want to hang out with a furry friend, book a free visit to The Donkey Sanctuary. Set on seven acres of beautiful land, the donkeys are free to roam as they please so you might find them grazing in their paddocks, relaxing in a barn, or taking part in an enrichment activity to keep them stimulated and engaged.
Drink Daquiris at Mirage Queer Bar
If you have a taste for neon and Eastenders' Pat Butcher then Mirage Queer Bar is the place for you. A bar inspired by an imagined queer utopia set up by Pam St Clement following her escape to the desert from a nuclear apocalypse, this might be one you just have to go and see for yourself.
Catch a comedy show at The Laughięnda
Named after the famous nightclub and music venue, The Haçienda, The Laughięnda Comedy Club takes place every Thursday from 7:30pm at The Lion’s Den. The comedy club features a weekly new act or new material night, showcasing the freshest talent from all over the North West. You might even catch a pro-headliner trying out some new jokes.
Get your groove on at an MUBB performance
Manchester University’s Big Band (part of the Manchester University Music Society) are well known for their electric performances, putting a classic jazzy twist on your pop favourites. You can see them perform at the Martin Harris Centre, around campus or at multiple student bars in Fallowfield, Victoria Park and across the city.
Discover rare books and Special Collections at John Rylands Library
The John Rylands Library is a great place to learn and discover, offering the space to explore rich collections of rare books and manuscripts, take a break from the busy campus library, and research outside of your studies. Its archives are world-leading in many areas of interest, and it's ranked in the top five university special collections in the world. As a student you are automatically registered as a Special Collections Reader, allowing you physical access to some of the most coveted archives in the UK – at the John Rylands, your curiosity has no bounds!
Sit under one of Isaac Newton's apple trees
Cut offs from Sir Isaac Newton’s infamous apple tree have blossomed at specially selected Science Centres on campus and across the UK. Head to the Pariser Building on Sackville Street or Jodrell Bank for a glimpse of one of the most famous scientific anecdotes of the past.
Cycle the length of the Fallowfield loop
The Fallowfield loop is a largely traffic-free walking and cycling route, following a former railway line. The route is a classic urban railways path and is good for cyclists who want to build up their confidence away from road traffic before peddling into campus. The route passes close by several parks which are great places to stop, especially the 130-acre Debdale Park near the northern end of the route.
Join a religious, cultural or international society
Your Students’ Union has a huge range of societies to join that will help you feel at home in Manchester. From the Arab Society, Japanese Society and Jewish Society, to the Somali Society, Christian Union and LGBTQ Society, you’re guaranteed to discover people and cultures from all walks of life.
Check out what’s on at Factory International
Factory International’s mission statement is “invent tomorrow together”, so they always have their eye on the future. They’re all about new ways of creating and collaborating to bring unforgettable art and experiences. Manchester International Festival runs every two years but now with a permanent home at Aviva Studios, there are events on year-round for you to check out.
Commemorate the birthplace of democracy at the Peterloo Memorial
In August 1819, up to 60,000 working class people from the towns and villages of what is now Greater Manchester marched to St Peter’s Field to demand political representation at a time when only wealthy landowners could vote. Their subsequent massacre is widely understood to be a turning point in British history, paving the way for parliamentary democracy and working-class consciousness. Head to Windmill Street to see the memorial, designed so you can stand on the speaker’s podium and inspire future change.
Join a sports society
Your Students’ Union has a huge range of sports societies to join, regardless of your skill level, to help you stay active and meet new people. From boxing to cheerleading and polo, to archery, yoga and touch rugby, you have the perfect opportunity to discover a love for new sports and hobbies.
Sample some street food at GRUB festival
GRUB is Manchester’s biggest and friendliest street food venue with an ever-rotating line-up of food stalls cooking delicious grub fresh to order by passionate chefs. GRUB only works with small independent businesses, championing locally sourced food and drink so you know they have the good stuff – from momos to gyros to vegan bakes.
Visit the Manchester Cathedral
Situated in the heart of the Medieval Quarter, Manchester Cathedral is not only a beautiful place of worship but a Grade 1 listed masterpiece and home to a vast ancient archive. Its lively and inclusive programme of events is not to be missed as it celebrates its 600th anniversary this year.
Explore the Greater Manchester Police Museum
Trust us on this one, the GMP Museumis one of Manchester’s best-kept secrets! This isn’t just a fan favourite among the city’s history buffs, but is widely loved by the entire community. Browse the extensive archive, get a glimpse of an 1895 Magistrates Court and come face to face with historic police equipment, evidence and cars. Try not to get yourself locked up overnight in the spooky cells though.
Become a Library Peer Network Mentor
The Library Peer Network scheme was launched during the pandemic and aims to provide weekly academic resources and live networking sessions for students from under-represented backgrounds, hosted by current students and recent graduates who have faced similar experiences. You can get involved either as a mentor, or by helping to create the open educational resources.
Wander around Stockport’s Underbanks
Once part of a market charter in 1260, Stockport’s Underbanks have undergone quite the development. Wander around the historic Underbanks as they welcome more interesting small businesses, from Rare Mags to Old Town General Store. Don’t forget to check out Stockport’s food market, Winter’s clock and The Devil’s Steps!
Turn your ideas into reality at the Venture Further Awards
Have you got a stand-out business idea? Venture Further is the University’s annual start-up competition that offers a £75,000 prize fund to help kick-start your business empire, as well as a world of support programmes, workshops, mentors and networks to grow your ideas.
Go charity shopping in South Manchester
South Manchester has some of the best spots to go charity shopping, so if you’re into sustainable fashion make sure to check out Oxfam in Withington, Sue Ryder in Didsbury, and British Heart Foundation in Chorlton. If you want to venture further afield, Sale and Altrincham are excellent for cheap finds and window shopping.
See all the banners at the People's History Museum
The People’s History Museum is the national museum of democracy, telling the story of its development in Britain: past, present, and future. Make sure to catch the Banner Exhibition before it ends in January 2024 to explore the stories of campaigns, revolutions and movements as told by the voices of the people that made it happen.
Push yourself to run the Manchester Purple Wave
The University’s Purple Wave challenge is a fantastic opportunity each year for the UoM Community to come together and create a wave of purple as staff, students and alumni take part in the Manchester 10K. It’s a great goal to aim for and will help you keep fit and meet new people throughout the year!
Explore the archives at The Working Class Movement Library
The Working Class Movement Library is self-described as one of the most unusual libraries in the world. You can discover the stories of working people’s struggles, explore the past and change the future. Their collection contains books, pamphlets, photographs, banners and more. Its collection tells the story of Britain’s working classes from the beginning of industrialisation to the present day.
Learn to be unstoppable at an AMBS Original Thinking webinar
Innovation is at the heart of everything Alliance Manchester Business School does, encouraging your entrepreneurial spirit to thrive. Become a contributor to its Original Thinkers Blog, listen to Helen Pankhurst as she discusses Women Leading in Business on the Original Thinking Podcast, or attend a future Original Thinking Webinar, where you can develop your skills, network and learn to be unstoppable.
Get lost in Affleck's Palace
Home to the weird and wonderful, Affleck’s Palace is a must-see hub of independent indie commerce, eclecticism and that famous Mancunian spirit. If you’re in need of a fancy-dress costume for your first freshers party, glitter by the gallon for festival season, or a crazy poster to decorate your new room, this is the place to be. Stretched across a multi-floor ‘department store’ of small stalls, shops, eateries and salons, it doesn’t get more ‘Manchester’ than this.
Explore Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens
In need of some green space? Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens is a beautiful haven in East Didsbury and just a short bus ride away on the 142. It’s the perfect place for a stroll and a coffee all year round, and if you’re a nature lover with a keen green thumb, volunteer as a Friend of the Park and Gardens.
Join a campaigning or political society
Your Students’ Union has a huge range of societies to join where you can find your voice and stand up for what you believe in. From Model United Nations, Student Action for Refugees and Young Greens, to the Feminist Collective, Amnesty International and the Debating Union, your revolutionary spirit has the chance to thrive and make real change.
Dance the night away at Manchester Jazz Festival
Manchester Jazz Festival is the city’s longest running music festival and promotes both up-and-coming and well-established regional jazz artists. If you’re looking to showcase your performance skills, you can apply to one of the festival-run talent development programmes for your chance to play at next year’s event! Alternatively, if you’re just looking for a weekend to remember filled with music, food and fun, make sure to jot this down in your calendar for next summer.
Delve into The Smiths Room at Salford Lads Club
Set up in 1903 as a community club for young lads in Salford, the Club is now a buzzing home to all young people in the area. It became famous when British band The Smiths featured the club on their album The Queen is Dead, alongside several music videos. The club now proudly acts as a Smiths archive, which you can visit for free. A must for any music fans!
Volunteer with a local charity
There are countless local charities for you to get involved in, and the University’s Volunteering Fair in the first semester is the perfect opportunity for you to find out more about charities and nonprofits that are the perfect fit for you. Check out the Volunteer Hub to find opportunities throughout the year: you can make new friends, become part of the local community and develop new skills which will look great on your CV.
Challenge yourself to complete a parkrun
Heaton Park, Platt Fields, Worsley, Sale Water Park: there’re countless green spaces around Greater Manchester for you to explore. Joining an organised parkrunis a great way to meet new people, stay active and explore different areas of the city – and there’s almost always a coffee stop at the end to help you stay motivated on route.
Visit Marx and Engel's desk at Cheetham's Library
Founded in 1653, Cheetham’s Library is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world. Book a tour, browse the archives and explore the 101 Cheetham Treasures; a first edition of Newton’s Principia, the desk where Marx and Engel worked in 1845, and a collection of Hogarth prints, to name just a few.
Take a day trip to the Trafford Centre
Where else can you find mini golf and laser quest, a huge shopping mall, cinema, food, drink, and even sharks all under one roof? And just a stone’s throw away is Eventcity, Chill Factore, indoor skydiving, a driving range and dino golf. The Trafford Centre really has it all, and is easily accessible via Manchester’s bus and tram routes.
Take a dip in Gaddings Dam, Todmorden
Gaddings Dam is an early Victorian earth embankment reservoir situated high on the moors above Todmorden. The reservoir can only be reached by a steep hike so it’s great for those who are up for a challenge. There are no facilities at the dam so make sure to pack supplies when you go for a dip. The dam is one of the few places near Manchester where you can swim outdoors for free, so it’s worth visiting if you can make the hike.
Join a fundraising or volunteering society
Your Students’ Union has a huge range of societies to join so that you can help make a difference to both our local and global community. From Dogs Unleashed, Want not Waste and Direct Access (Women's Project SA), to Biko Bikes, Outreach (Homelessness SA) and the Speech and Language Therapy Society, you’ll easily find a great cause to get involved in.
See portraits and sculpture at Salford Museum and Art Gallery
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were the first patrons of this museum when it opened in 1850. It has undergone a lot of changes since then, adding on new wings and expanding its collection. Today, you can visit the Victoria Gallery for paintings and fine art, admire the largest collection of Pilkington Ceramics in the UK and check out hand-crafted goods by local designers and makers.
Get in touch with nature at Chorlton Water Park
Get lost in winding paths and beautiful scenery at Chorlton’s local nature reserve. Easily accessible by bus, tram or bike, it’s perfect for a sunny day outside of the city centre. There’re lots of easy trails to follow and the park is open from dawn until dusk all year round. You could even make a day of it and head down to Beech Road for dinner and drinks after a day spent soaking up the sunshine.
Connect with the local environment through the UoM Tree Trail
Here at the University, we treasure our green spaces. The Tree Trail is a project led by the Environmental Sustainability team and is designed to encourage you to get out and enjoy the physical and mental benefits of walking, boost your mindful reflection and learn something new about the trees that you pass every day. You can choose your own starting point or follow one of our suggested routes, making this a unique way to explore campus and get to know the surrounding area.
Take part in Sporticipate
Sporticipate is the University’s scheme to encourage everyone to take part in a wide and varied range of accessible, inclusive sports and activities. Sportcipate runs a full weekly drop-in timetable, coaching sessions and regular large scale events, and the #ActiveAnywhere campaign means you can stay involved no matter where you’re studying this year.
Take a day trip to Hebden Bridge
Hebden Bridge is a welcoming and arty village filled with independent shops and eateries, where you can venture along the canals to find canal boats in every colour. Hebden is also known as the Lesbian capital of the UK, so it's a safe place to visit if you're LGBTQ+. Hebden also makes a great day trip for hikers, as there are lots of walking paths nearby, including a route to Hardcastle Craggs, a wooded Pennine valley just two miles outside the centre.
Play rounders at Chorlton Park every Wednesday
Chorlton Rounders Club is a friendly, weekly rounders game made up of members of all abilities. The club is always looking for new players and put on their Facebook page whether they are playing that week due to the weather. They meet on Wednesdays at 6:45pm, Chorlton Park.
Step on stage at Verbose’ open mic night
If you’ve been wanting to have a go at reading out the latest poem you wrote, try Verbose. Verbose is Manchester’s award-winning, free, regular spoken word event. Performers will read poetry, prose and everything in between that can’t be categorised. The event happens every last Monday of the month at The King’s Arms and new performers are always encouraged.
Find something to watch at the Mediateque in Central Library
Manchester Central Library has a lot to offer, but one of its most exciting claims is being home to the North West British Film Institute (BFI) Mediateque. The Mediateque has over 2,000 complete films and TV programmes, including more than 100 depicting life in Manchester and the North West. There are viewing stations throughout for you to explore the collection and you might want to check out The Shakespeare Hall for a view of the stained glass windows while you’re there.
Visit the bright lights of Canal Street
Canal Street is a hub of celebration in the heart of the city and home to Manchester’s world-famous Gay Village. From club nights, bars, drag shows and theatre, to charity initiatives and delicious food, Canal Street is a safe space for all in the LGBTQ+ community. The Village hosts a number of annual events and activities to help support members of its community, both on a local and international scale, such as Pride and Sparkle.
Visit Bolton Steam Museum on a Steam Day
The Bolton Steam Museum has the largest collection of working mill engines in Europe. 120 years ago, Lancashire produced more than half the world’s supply of cotton textiles, so hundreds of mills were in action. The steam engines that drove all the machinery were mostly built by local engineering companies. As the industry has declined and production has moved overseas, only a few hundred mills survive. If you visit the museum on a Steam Day, all the engines will be in steam so you can catch them in action.
Mooch around NQ’s record shops
The Northern Quarter is the best place to go if you’re looking to mooch around some record shops. You’ll hear music blasting out into the street from Empire Exchange, packed full of weird and wonderful stock – they even once sold the former owner’s ashes (by mistake)! Vinyl Exchange has new and second hand stock priced by quality, and you can even pick up some very cheap records if you check under the racks. Vinyl Resting Place in Afflecks is full of second hand vinyl – make sure to check out the £1 singles box for a bargain.
Join in the street parties for Manchester Day
Manchester Day aims to bring friends and families together to celebrate the city and spend a day on holiday – at home. There are performers, musicians, a bandstand and a helter-skelter, and everything is free!
Take part in veganuary
Attempting veganuary couldn’t be easier in Manchester! The city is home to some of the greatest vegan cafes, restaurants, shops, markets and street food that even the most ardent meat lovers can enjoy. Try Seiten Bao Buns at Vertigo, the Mezze platter at Fuel in Withington or a Philly ‘Cheesesteak’ at Herbivorous. Challenge your mates and see who can last the longest on a plant-based diet.
Take a street art tour of the Northern Quarter
The streets of Manchester (but most notably in the Northern Quarter) are well-known for their vibrant murals, tags and commemorative artwork. You can take a tour on your own phone using the Street Art Cities app, or for a more personal touch try Skyliner’s Alternative Manchester Tours. If you fancy just going for an explore on your own, make sure to visit the 22 Bees mural on Oldham Street and the Outhouse in Stevenson Square.
Explore Manchester's cultural history at the Portico Library
This Regency-period library is one of Manchester’s oldest institutions. With books stacked across every wall and a programme of eclectic events and workshops, the Portico Library is not only a great spot to indulge your cultural interests but a place to learn, research and develop your studies through collaboration and open discussion.
Join in a Creative Jam at The Yard
In amongst Manchester’s fashion wholesale district, The Yard is a hidden gem for creatives. This is a workspace, venue and bar designed for the visionary minds of the city with a space for live music, film, theatre, spoken word, fashion and touring production rehearsals. If you want to meet other creative people and hone your craft, head to The Yard to join in a Creative Jam.
Go hiking in the Peak District
If you’re in need of a break from the city, or just fancy a bit of an adventure, head into the Peak District for some of the most stunning landscapes the UK has to offer. Don’t worry if you don't have a car as there are extensive train and bus routes from Manchester into the heart of the National Park, making this an easily accessible option when making your weekend plans. Go on a hike with friends, or for something a little different, why not try organised gorge walking, rock scrambling or caving experiences?
Explore Irish culture at the IWHC
The IWHC is a modern and accessible events venue serving as a major hub for the Irish community in the North West of England. The centre has a diverse programme of traditional cultural activities, including Irish music, dance and language groups. The centre also has a traditional Irish bar, which has panoramic views of Manchester city centre. There’s lots to do and see, and the large garden is enclosed by an Iron Age Celtic fort-style wall.
Check out Stockport’s Medieval Market
Stockport has been market trading since the late Anglo-Saxon period, with the Market Hall dating back to the 1860s. The Covered Market Hall is a Grade II listed building, once known as the ‘glass umbrella’. A walk around the restored hall shows its rich history, keeping alive the tradition of traders selling local produce and handmade goods. The hall supports over 30 small independent businesses.
Head down for the Foodie Friday street food event on the last Friday of every month.
Take advantage of new study spaces at MECD
As the birthplace of a revolution, Manchester is the home of ground-breaking discovery. The Manchester Engineering Campus reflects pride in our rich academic and civic heritage, and is a site designed to inspire innovation where you can research, ‘play’, collaborate, create and learn.
Browse the 35 miles of book shelving in Central Library
Facing St Peter’s Square, Manchester’s Central Library is hard to miss: the impressive architecture and central location make it an ideal place to work and explore. It boasts an impressive 35 miles worth of shelving with a vast collection of rare books, archives and local history so there’s bound to be something that piques your interest. If you’re in need of a new study spot, the central Reading Room is the perfect place to work and research.
Commemorate the father of AI at Sackville Gardens
Sitting directly in-between the University’s North Campus and Manchester’s Gay Village, the Alan Turing statue is a celebration of both his public and private life. Turing was a pioneer of mathematics, computing and academia, and since his death has become an icon of the LGBTQ+ community. He inspired change and helped build the world as we know it. Visit his memorial, or get involved with current research at The Alan Turing Institute.
Check out everything on offer at the Students’ Union
Your Students’ Union is the place to be. From free and fun activities to spaces to catch up with friends – check out everything there is on offer, including a low-cost and student-friendly hairdressers. Situated in the heart of our Oxford Road campus, it’s home-from-home for many students, and we hope that will include you too!
Visit a Roman fort at the Castlefield Urban Heritage Park
Discover what Manchester looked like in the Roman era at the Mamucium in Castlefield. The Castrum was founded in c. AD 79 and left virtually undisturbed until the rapid expansion of the city during the Industrial Revolution. Featuring original stone foundations and reconstructed walls, you have the chance to walk around the oldest part of the region and become immersed in the history around you. The fort is just a three-minute walk from the Museum of Science and Industry and so a fantastic day out for lifelong learners and history buffs!
Wave in the background of the news at Media City
Media City is an international hub for technology, innovation and creativity and is where many of the UK’s broadcasting networks film and produce content. It’s home to Box on the Docks, the Blue Peter Garden and an exciting calendar of events, and is easily accessible via the tramlink. You should also explore the surrounding Salford Quays where you’ll find a watersports centre, City Centre Cruises and The Lowry Theatre.
Have a Yorkshire pudding wrap at the Christmas Markets
Manchester’s Christmas Markets are a key event in the community calendar. More than 300 decked-out stalls pop up on the streets of the city centre, offering delicious food, gifts and Christmas activities to get you in the holiday spirit. Make sure to wrap up warm as you soak up the atmosphere, and grab a picture in front of the giant light-up Santa.
Celebrate the trans community at Sparkle
Sparkle Weekend is the world’s largest free-to-attend celebration of gender diversity and is a safe space for anyone who identifies as trans or gender non-conforming, as well as their families, friends and allies. Based in Sackville Gardens, Sparkle is a festival with live music and entertainment, as well as workshops and talks.
There will be stalls held by charities and trans-run businesses. The Sparkle mission is to promote a positive public image of the Trans community within the UK and beyond, and with trans people’s rights under attack more than ever, attending Sparkle is a great way to show up for this community.
Join an academic or special interest society
Your Students’ Union has a huge range of societies to join to help your curiosity flourish. From the Geology Society, Astronomy and 3D Printing, to Bell Ringing, Current Affairs and Linguistics, you have the freedom to grow your interests and explore.
Check out the exhibitions at The Lowry
The Lowry is a theatre, exhibition, and events space, so there’s always something going on. The Lowry is committed to the local community and its young people, and offers opportunities to engage with culture for free – perfect for students interested in the arts who might not usually have access. Keep an eye out for free and low-cost events to attend throughout the year.
Go to Welcome Wednesdays at The Victoria Baths
Victoria Baths is widely recognised as Britain’s finest historic swimming pool. It was first opened in 1906 and was a huge part of the local community. The baths closed in 1993 but they remain a heritage, events and community venue. With vintage furniture fairs, cabarets and historic tours, there’s much to explore in this beautiful building.
Be inspired by the Irwell Sculpture Trail
Winding all the way from Bacup to Salford Quays, Irwell Sculpture Trail features over 70 artworks by renowned artists. The route is 33 miles long and is the largest sculpture route in the UK, connecting local heritage and the landscape to its communities. You can find a visitor guide on the website that breaks down the trail into smaller parts, so you can plan your route in advance. Near Salford, you’ll find sculptures The Lookout, The Moat DIG and more. Head down for the day and see how many canaries you can spot in the park!
Visit the Community Gallery at Gallery Oldham
Gallery Oldham is a free gallery based in Oldham’s Cultural Quarter. It has a busy events schedule, which includes life drawing, circus skills and reading challenges. Gallery Oldham’s most popular painting is Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, painted by John William Waterhouse. The painting was completed in 1891 and joined the collection in 1951. It reflects the classical story of Circe found in The Odyssey, where she is a sorcerer who wants to keep Odysseus under her control, having already turned his crew into pigs. The painting is striking and worth a visit for fans of Circe and classical mythology.
Sit on concrete deckchairs at Islington Marina
If you’re looking for a break from the bustle of the Northern Quarter, Islington Marina is a short walk away and offers an oasis of calm. Nestled among the historic cotton mills of Ancoats and up the cobbles of Redhill Street, it’s a great space to take a break from the city centre. Take a seat on a stone sun lounger beside the marina and watch the ducks and canals float by. There’s also space for a picnic at Cotton Field Wharf, so bring a sandwich and kick back.
Check out the textile room at the Whitworth Art Gallery
From Old Masters to contemporary revolutionaries, the Whitworth Gallery has something for everyone. Its world-renowned collection is one of the University’s greatest cultural assets, and the surrounding park is a real hotspot on a sunny day.
Take a canal walk along Manchester’s waterways
Manchester is famous for its canals and there are so many incredible walks you can do. Especially popular are the canals down by Deansgate, where the graffiti and architecture make for a great backdrop for photographs. You can venture as far as you like, with starting points as broad as Ancoats and Saddleworth. From scenic walks to exploring the back streets of the city centre, there is so much to see along Manchester’s canals, so make sure to find a route that suits you.
Check out Manchester’s sky park at Castlefield Viaduct
The National Trust has transformed a giant 330 meter steel viaduct into an elevated park with trees, plants and flowers running alongside the tram stop at Deasgate-Castlefield. Visitors can explore the structure, discover the viaduct’s heritage and learn about urban gardening. One section of the viaduct has been left untouched to see how nature has reclaimed the space since the site closed in the 1960s. The viaduct is free to visit, but you have to pre-book a time slot.
Dress up as a Tudor at Ordsall Hall
Step back in time at Ordsall Hall, the oldest building in Salford. The Hall has been used as a family home, a working men’s club and church hall. It was famously owned by the Radclyffe family for 300 years, but today it’s a welcoming heritage site which tells the story of the hall and the people who made it their home. There are many rooms to explore, including the kitchen, the Star Chamber and the Coat of Arms room. You can even dress up as a Tudor or go along to a Ghost Night if you’re brave enough!
Challenge yourself to go zero-waste for a week
If sustainability is your passion and you fancy a challenge, see how long you can live a zero-waste lifestyle. There are many great local and independent shops around Manchester that can help you achieve this, for example; Lentils and Lather in Withington, Want not Waste on campus, and the zero waste home delivery service, Fantastic - No Plastic.
Try artisanal goods at Levy Market
Levenshulme Market is a great spot for finding local traders, fresh produce and baked goods. Running every weekend between March and December, levy market is volunteer-run and celebrates local talent. You won’t want to miss queer and feminist bookshop and tiny press Pen Fight, which is an almost permanent fixture of the market.
Challenge your flatmates to a game of pool at Squirrel's Bar
In the heart of Oak House on the Fallowfield campus you’ll find Squirrel’s Bar. Many Students' Union (SU) societies use the venue to host events, but the large communal space, cheap drinks, pool tables and sports screens make it a student favourite any day of the week.
Visit the Collections Gallery at Bury Art Museum
Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre is free to enter and showcases the best of international and local art. It’s the perfect place to go if you would like to find out more about the rich history of Bury by visiting its archives. The Collections Gallery spans over a century and is filled with everything from Victorian oil paintings to contemporary ceramics, sketches and moving images. Make sure to check out the Sculpture Centre and Curated Tree Walk.
Learn about the Suffragettes at the Pankhurst Centre
Grab a picture with the Emmeline Pankhurst statue in St Peter’s Square, and visit the Pankhurst Trust behind the Stopford Building on campus where you can discover the story of the Suffragettes in the very building where it all began. Now the home of Manchester Women’s Aid, there are many volunteering opportunities for you to get involved in to follow in Pankhurst’s footsteps.
Meet The Baby at the Science and Industry Museum
Explore Manchester’s rich history of innovation at The Science and Industry Museum, including The Baby, the first computer to store and run a programme. There are always new events and exhibitions to explore alongside the permanent collection, which celebrates the transformative power of science and engineering. You’ll leave inspired to change the world!
Become a Peer or PASS mentor
If you’re in your second year or above, volunteer to become a PASS Leader in your degree subject. Whether it’s offering essay-writing advice or explaining some of the trickier concepts of your subject, you’ll run informal group sessions to help your fellow students with their studies, tailoring advice to their needs. Alternatively, you can train to become a Peer Mentor, a scheme that helps first-years adjust to all aspects of university life.
Check out the golden mummies at Manchester Museum
Right by campus on Oxford Road, Manchester Museum has re-opened its doors and new vegetarian/vegan café. In the Egypt and Sudan gallery, you can find out all about the ancient Egyptians, including well preserved everyday objects and artefacts that give us an insight into the lives of the people who lived in northern Africa nearly 4,000 years ago. If mummies aren’t your thing, have a look at The Vivarium, which houses a collection of live amphibians and reptiles including many critically endangered species. Get up close to all kinds of frogs and be the first among your friends to spot those which are harder to find.
Join a music, arts or literature society
Your Students’ Union has a huge range of societies to join that will help fulfil your creative interests. From Creative Writing, Barbershop Singers, Women’s Theatre and K-pop, to Indian Dance, Magic and Tango, you’re bound to flourish and meet new friends.
Explore the latest exhibitions at Manchester Art Gallery
Manchester Art Gallery is known for its important collections and brilliant exhibitions, and this year is no exception. Trading Station considers how hot drinks shape our lives, while Room to Breathe is an ongoing project to help you visit the museum in a more mindful way. Once you’ve checked out the exhibitions, you can reflect over a brew at the museum café – a spot of calm in the heart of the city.
Grab a photo under the arches at the Stockport Viaduct
This is a must-see for engineering enthusiasts. As one of the largest brick structures in the UK, the Stockport Viaduct remains a major feat of the early railway age. How many bricks can you count? While you’re in Stockport, take a trip to The Hat Works, underground Air Raid Shelters and Anson Engine Museum for the ultimate inquisitive day out.
Discover emerging African artists at Chuck Gallery
Chuck Gallery is a private art space dedicated to the promotion of contemporary African art. The gallery’s collection is made up of an eclectic mix of forms, from realism to abstract impressionism, so there is something to suit every taste. You'e invited to interact and engage with the collection as you browse and chat with the excellent tour guides.
Have an active day out at Sale Water Park
During summer, the lake will often be filled with sail boats and jet skis as visitors can hire sports equipment from the Water Sports Centre but there are plenty of quieter spots to escape to if that’s not your thing. You can walk along the River Mersey and grab a drink at Jackson’s Boat Bridge, or walk the perimeter of the lake and find a grassy spot to have a picnic and people watch.
Brave a carnival ride at Platt Fields on Bonfire night
With a funfair, music, food and drink stalls, a bonfire and the all important firework display, Platt Fields Park is the place to be on November 5. You don’t need a ticket as this is a party for the whole local community to enjoy. Wrap up warm and make sure all your flatmates are with you to enjoy the festivities.
Step back in time to the 1920s at Portland Basin Museum
The Portland Basin Museum is housed within the restored nineteenth century Ashton Canal Warehouse in Ashton-under-Lyne. The museum sits peacefully on the canal and has a recreation of a 1920s street, bringing historic Tameside to life. The kitchen and parlour provide an insight into how we used to live, revealing the industrial heritage of the area.
Take a selfie next to the Vimto statue
Enjoy hot Vimto, cold Vimto, fizzy Vimto and Vimto-flavoured sweets? You're not alone! If you need some fresh air in the middle of a study session, take a walk to the Vimto statue in Vimto Park, Sackville Street (the exact spot where the fruit drink was first invented in 1908) to discover a little bit of fun local history.
Walk through woodlands and waterfalls at Healy Dell Nature Reserve
Healy Dell is a beautiful woodlands and wildlife sanctuary, rich in industrial archaeology. The River Spodden has carved its way through the woodlands for thousands of years, creating spectacular scenery and waterfalls once used to power mills. There’s a disused 1800s railway line which makes up part of the nature trail, offering magnificent views from 100-feet. If you’re looking to explore green spaces further away from the city centre, this nature reserve is an excellent visit and is open year-round.
Visit the Ice Age boulder on the Old Quad
As you explore campus in your first few weeks, make sure to take a stroll through the archway on Oxford Road and into the Old Quad where you’ll find this glacial giant. The boulder weighs over 20 tonnes and was found in 1900, 28 feet underground just south of the University at the site that is now the junction of Oxford Road and Devas Street. It’s composed of andesite from Borrowdale in the Lake District and was carried to Manchester by the last glacial period to affect this region about 20,000 years ago.
Head to Platt Fields for a picnic on a summer's day
Just opposite the Fallowfield campus, Platt Fields park is a hub for students all year round. Grab a picnic from “Big Sainsbury’s” down the road for a day in the sun, or if you’re in need of a quick break from the hustle and bustle of city life, pack your headphones or a book and go for a wander around the lake.
Snap a selfie under the arch in Chinatown
Manchester’s Chinatown is the second largest in the UK and home to a wide choice of shops, restaurants, supermarkets and bakeries. Snap a picture in front of the iconic archway on Faulkner Street, and join in the festivities during Chinese New Year.
Get lost in the Samuel Alexander building
Don’t worry, we’ve all done it! The Samuel Alexander building is home to many of the University’s Humanities courses and is a wondrous maze of lecture halls, study spaces and seminar rooms. If ever you’re feeling lost on campus, don’t hesitate to reach out to an AskMe ambassador, member of staff or a fellow student in the corridors: we’re all in this together. You can also make use of our handy campus map to find all your buildings ahead of the start of teaching.