Art + Culture City Break Manchester

Book on a Creative Art Course at AWOL Studios and turn your art course into a remarkable  Art and Culture City Break.  Stay in Manchester a while longer or arrive a day or two earlier. 

Manchester is an easily walkable city – look  up and you will be rewarded with interesting architectural gems from Manchester’s proud past creating a fascinating juxtaposition amidst the new steel and glass towers rising up within this fast changing city.

A great place for an Art + Culture City Break

If you have any preconceptions about Manchester – change them now! 
If you have any preconceptions about art – join one of the drawing, painting or mixed-media courses at Creative Art Courses – and have your mind changed forever.

Manchester University boasts

“Birthplace of a revolution, home of an evolution –
Manchester is the home of pioneers and we continue to be led by discovery.”

What better city to spend some time in, broaden your art horizons, discover your passions and talents, and leave inspired and a step closer to becoming the artist you’ve always dreamed of being.

Sign up to one of our Creative Art Courses
and stay a while longer to enjoy all that Manchester has to offer. 

All the venues listed are accessible by foot, Metrolink, Manchester’s free bus, and National Railway network.  It’s a great way of turning a 2-day creative art course into a rewarding 3 or 4-day Art + Culture City holiday. Tempting isn’t it!

The name Manchester originates from the Roman name ‘Mamucium’ from the 1st century settlement, derived from a Celtic world meaning ‘breast-shaped hill.  Visit Castelfield to experience an interesting juxtaposition of old world Roman remnants with new world Victorian engineering ingenuity of the Bridgewater canal and the world’s first railways.  It’s an excellent spot for a bit of Urban Sketching.  Why not check out the Manchester Urban Sketching group on facebook – they may have an event while you’re here.

Even with a long, proud and rich history, Manchester has become a bit coy about celebrating its past and it’s contributions to the world stage.  With a bit of help from the listings on this page you can tease out and discover some of its rich world-impacting history and culture.

Manchester is a city of firsts in art, culture and science 

Here is a list of just a few of Manchester’s inspirational arts, cultural and scientific gifts to the world;

  • Women’s Votes: Emmeline Pankhurst who started the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1903, supporting the Suffragette movement and finally gaining votes for women.
  • Computers: Alan Turing’s, known as the father of modern day computer science, contributed to developing the world’s first computer in 1948.
  • Libraries: Chethams Library, the first public library opening in 1653.
  • Modern City: Ancoats, the first industrialised suburb and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution around 1760.
  • Modern transport:
    • The Bridgewater canal, the first navigation canal operating independently of rivers opening in 1761 and still going strong.
    • Railways, with the first railway opening in 1830.
  • Science:
    • Splitting of the atom by Ernest Rutherford in 1919
    • Development of Graphene, the world’s thinnest substance, in 2004
  • Vegetarianism: The Vegetarian Society started in 1847
  • Nobel prize winners: More than 20 originate from Manchester

Liverpool isn’t far away 

Broadening your horizons, looking west towards the Irish Sea, you can travel effortlessly by train to Liverpool and enjoy another Northern UK city with a very different history and cultural offer.  It takes less than an hour to travel by train and is a rewarding day trip. Of our immediate interest is Tate Liverpool Art Gallery.

Manchester’s top Art + Cultural destinations

Manchester City Art Gallery

About
Manchester City Art gallery on Princess Street in Manchester city centre has works of local and international importance. It has an important collection of paintings from the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood and Victorian decorative arts that are well worth seeing.

Important works held in the collection are The Sirens and Ulysses, 1837, William Etty, The Hireling Shepherd, 1851, William Holman Hunt, The Scapegoat, 1854–55, William Holman Hunt and Work, 1865, Ford Madox Brown

The Manchester City Art gallery is a group of 3 buildings, now interconnected.  Two were originally built by Sir Charles Barry with the original building completed in 1823.

What’s on at Manchester City Art Gallery: Website

Metrolink station: St Anne’s Square

Lowry Art centre

About
The Lowry Arts centre in Salford, a separate city to Manchester, has over 400 drawings and paintings by LS Lowry on permanent exhibition.  It has a second gallery area for showing contemporary exhibitions.  Central to the arts venue are 2 theatres with the Lyric theatre having the largest stage outside of London.

The Lowry is a vibrant and important arts centre that showcases all the creative arts.

The Lowry was built as part of a Millennium project to revitalise the derelict Salford Docks area. It has been described as ‘Salford’s Guggenheim’ – not of the same size or complexity, although built for the same aims to spearhead regeneration.

Well worth a visit for performing arts entertainment, LS Lowry exhibition, the building itself, restaurants, Salford Quays and access to the Imperial War Museum North across the water.

What’s on at The Lowry: Website

Metrolink station: Media City

Manchester Home

About
Built as a replacement for Manchester’s iconic Cornerhouse, Home has become Manchester’s premier venue for contemporary Art, theatre and film.  It is well worth a visit to experience international artistic collaborations, innovative interdisciplinary and cross-art form productions of international standards.  Home boasts 2 theatres, 5 cinema screens, an art gallery, book shop and restaurant.

Home is surrounded by contemporary restaurants bringing a cultural mix to the area and is located round the corner from the site of the famous Hacienda night club.

What’s on at Home: Website

Metrolink: Deansgate + Castlefield

The Whitworth Art Gallery

About
The Whitworth has an interesting collection of modern art covering drawings, paintings, etchings, and its specialty – archives of wallpapers and textiles.  My favourite sculpture at the gallery is the famous sculpture Genesis (1929–31) by Sir Jacob Epstein.  The Whitworth won the Art’s Fund museum of the year award in 2015, so is well worth a visit.

The building is an interesting blend of its original free Jacobean style completed in 1900 with a contemporary twist after the completion of a £15 refurbishment in 2015. 

What’s on at The Whitworth: Website

Metrolink: St Peter’s Square + free bus + walk

Libraries

The Portico Library

John Rylands Library

Chethams Library

Theatres

Home

Hope Mill Theatre

The Palace Theatre

The Royal Exchange

Mueums

Imperial War Museum North

Museum of Science + Industry

National Football Museum

Peoples History Museum

The Pankhurst Centre

Manchester Museum

Manchester Jewish Museum

Manchester Transport Museum