We know that some of you will be travelling from far and wide to attend the conference, and you might want to explore the city while you are here. That is why we decided to put together this blog as a source of inspiration for your time in Manchester.
There was some debate within the PHPNW team as to what could be included. To clarify, only venues that are in the district of the city of Manchester have been included. This sadly means that Old Trafford and The Lowry haven’t been included, as they are located in Trafford and Salford in Greater Manchester respectively. (They do earn honourable mentions though!)
Anyway, enough of the boring criteria, here are our ten recommendations in no particular order:
Museum of Science and Industry
Located on the site of the world’s first railway station – the Manchester Liverpool Road Railway Station (1830) – this museum is dedicated to commemorating Manchester’s achievements in the fields of science and industry. You can watch demonstrations of original machinery, take a train ride behind a replica steam locomotive and take part in hands-on workshops. The museum is one mile from the conference centre.
Manchester Art Gallery
This gallery, which is just half a mile from the conference centre, spans three floors and attracts over half a million visitors every year. Entry is free and the art collection covers over six centuries up to the present day, making it one of the country’s finest galleries. There are tours available to help visitors learn more about the collection and there is a varied programme of exhibitions, showcasing contemporary art, design and photography.
National Cycling Centre
The home of British cycling, the National Cycling Centre has been open since 1994 and was Britain’s first indoor Olympic cycling track. With a wide-ranging programme that offers activities and coaching for all levels of ability, the centre caters for everyone from elite athletes to complete novices. The centre is just over two miles away from the conference centre.
National Football Museum
The world’s greatest football collection – with over 140,000 items – including the FIFA Collection, this is the leading museum of its kind in the world. Admission is free, making it a must-visit for football fans. You can look forward to a penalty challenge, a photo opportunity holding the Premier League trophy and the chance to record your own match commentary. This museum is one mile away from the conference centre.
The Warehouse Project
Running from end of September to New Year’s Day, the Manchester clubbing institution takes over the city for three months. Presenting the biggest names in electronic music, a trip to one of their events underneath Piccadilly train station this year will definitely be a night to remember. Watch this Pitchfork video to check it out. The Warehouse Project takes place at Store Street this year, half a mile away from the conference centre.
The Manchester Museum
In this museum, which is part of the University of Manchester, you can see Egyptian mummies, a model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a live animal gallery. A new exhibition on Siberia has just been opened, with a 42,000-year old baby wooly mammoth having just been loaned to the museum. This is another entry on the list that offers free admission and it is under a mile away from the conference centre.
Royal Exchange Theatre
Known for producing classics including Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, the Royal Exchange is an award-winning theatre with distinct style. The theatre is situated within a seven-sided, glass-walled capsule, suspended from marble pillars. This unique design means all seats are less than nine metres from the stage, facilitating excellent views for all visitors. The theatre is less than a mile away from the conference centre.
The Northern Quarter
If you’re after some fancy big-label shopping you are best off heading to the King Street area but if more quirky, edgy garments are your thing, then the independent boutiques in the Northern Quarter are the place to go. This vibrant area of Manchester is also full of bars, cafes and restaurants, making it a lively place to explore any time of day. The Northern Quarter is less than a mile away from the conference centre and you can learn more about the area here.
This is an entertainment complex including an IMAX cinema, clubs, bars and restaurants. Enjoy some live music at the Hard Rock Cafe, watch a 3D movie and have a few drinks afterwards all under one roof. Printworks is just over a mile away from the conference centre.
Home to the People’s History Museum, John Rylands Library, as well as a selection of top restaurants and luxury shops; Spinningfields is an award-winning commercial/retail development. It is less than a mile away from the conference centre.
This list is just a starting point and we hope it provides you with some ideas for spending your time in Manchester. Think we have missed a must-visit attraction? Let us know in the comments below!