Top ten Manchester attractions

Our pick of the top ten attractions in Manchester, from galleries and gardens to theatres of dreams

There's certainly plenty to do in Manchester, but which of the city's many attractions should you take in? We've done the leg work for you, by cherry picking our top ten Manchester attractions. There should be something for everyone, from highbrow galleries, marvellous museums and libraries littered with laudible literature to outdoor delights, gaudy retail meccas and even one very famous football stadium. Explore and enjoy. 

Attractions in Manchester

Manchester Art Gallery

Slap bang in the middle of the city centre sits on oasis of calm in the grand shape of Manchester's main art gallery, housing its superb collection alongside temporary exhibitions. And what a collection it is. Nearly 13,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs and other art forms, plus a similar number in the craft and design collection, all making for one genuinely world class gallery.

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Central Manchester

Old Trafford

Whether you think football is the beautiful game or just some overpaid men spending too much time falling over and pretending to be injured, there's no denying that United has put Manchester on the contemporary global map like nothing else. It doesn't matter where you go in the world, say that you come from Manchester and the first words you'll hear back in any language is 'Manchester United'. This is where the club calls home.

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Greater Manchester

The Quays

There are many reasons why The Quays should be at the top of your 'must see' list when you're in Manchester and Salford. This stunning waterfront destination has grown out of the once derelict docklands of the Salford and Trafford Quays area, transformed from desolate wasteland into a place where some of the country's most iconic buildings (both The Lowry and Imperial War Museum North are RIBA award winners) stand with their neighbours to provide a place where culture, sport, shopping and a lot more come together. And they're all within walking distance of each other.

Ordsall Hall

Salford is a city full of surprises, and not the least significant of these is the magnificent Ordsall Hall, a Grade I listed Tudor manor house slap bang in the middle of a housing estate. The first ever recording of the hall was back in 1177 so you can see why this lovingly restored building earned its Grade I status.

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Salford

Tatton Park

The current mansion is built on the site of a much earlier house, but still dates back to 1716. Its neo-classical architecture and elevated position make for a stunningly grand sight, even amidst the thousand acres of garden and landscaped parkland. Inside, the house is as immaculate as it is on the outside, with its rich furnishings and incredible collection of books, furniture and artworks.

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Greater Manchester

The Gay Village

Thanks to the efforts of the Village Business Association and increasing concerns about the continued need for dedicated LGBT resources, the Village is currently getting the Gay rammed right back in. By day, the Gay Village is the best place in the city to relax; ny night it's just a lot of fun. Of course, this area is a great host to many events throughout the year – Pride, Sparkle, the Great British Bear Bash to name but a few – so it's great to see that this current shift in emphasis is rejuvenating the Gay Village once again.

The John Rylands Library

In times of woe and in need of spiritual guidance, you could well find yourself wandering into The John Rylands Library mistaking it for a church, such is the late Victorian neo­-Gothic splendour of this magnificent building. However, inside you'd find something which could truly enrich the soul – about 200,000 books.

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Greater Manchester

Trafford Centre

A shopping and entertainment mecca to some, a gaudy retail fairground to others, however you look at it there's no denying that the Trafford Centre is a monumental success. The architectural offspring of the Taj Mahal, Ancient Rome and Blackpool (think the north of England meets Vegas and you won't go far wrong), the Trafford Centre's impressive collection of shops, themed bars and restaurants makes the place an enormous attraction. 

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Trafford

Victoria Baths

Thank goodness for the Friends of Victoria Baths. Built in 1906 and housing a stunning Turkish bath suite as well as the main pool, this was once considered 'the most splendid municipal bathing institution in the country' but fell into dereliction when, in 1993, Manchester Council could no longer afford to keep it open. The tireless work of the Friends meant that the baths won the public vote for funds through the TV show Restoration, in 2003.

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Greater Manchester

Salford Lads' Club

Established in 1903 as a club for working lads, The Salford Lads' Club has provided events, activities and a place to go now for over a century (it welcomes girls now, too). And so, from camping and computer games to boxing and badminton, this club - run by a team of tireless volunteers - provides a genuinely inspiring alternative for Salford's youth.

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Salford

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