MM’s top five… Manchester museums for heritage, culture and cheap Christmas days out

By Alex Bysouth

Steeped in heritage and culture and one of the UK’s finest cities, Manchester inevitably has a great range of museums and galleries on offer – and what’s more, each is free to visit.

With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, MM has put together a top five sure to tickle your festive fancy and provide a cheap day out for all the family.


Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) merged with the National Science Museum this year and offers extensive displays on the themes of transport, communications and computers, textiles and even Manchester’s  sewerage and sanitation.

The museum sits on the world’s first ever railway station, Liverpool Road, which was opened in 1830 as part of the Liverpool to Manchester Railway.

The quantity of things to see and do at the MOSI means it can be enjoyed as day out for all the family.

Whether this is watching a show on moving seats, facing water spray and air blasts in the 4D theatre or experiencing the heat, sounds, sights and smells of the working engines and locomotives, join in the fun at Liverpool Road, Castlefield, M3 4FP.


Manchester Art Gallery

Opened in 1824 and designed by Sir Charles Barry, Manchester Art Gallery is as spectacular on the outside as the work exhibited inside.

The gallery reopened last year after a £35million makeover and now has twice as much space to show off an array of work from the city’s art collection, famously including Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian paintings.

Since the renovation three new galleries are available to showcase work from the 20th century including the Gallery of Craft and Design, hosting one of the best decorative art collections in the country, and the CIS Manchester Gallery, which gives visitors a visual history of the city’s art and design.

Check out Manchester Art Gallery on Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL.


Imperial War Museum North

The northern counterpart of the Imperial War Museum was opened in 2002, and overlooks the Manchester Ship Canal in Trafford Park.

The area also plays home to The Lowry and MediaCityUK, but as Manchester’s key industrial centre was heavily bombed in 1940 during the Blitz.

Daniel Libeskind’s impressive building gives visitors the chance to discover powerful war stories through exhibitions exploring themes relating to modern conflict.

Get the Metrolink out to MediaCityUK and check out this impressive museum on Trafford Wharf Road, M17 1TZ. 

The National Football Museum

In 2011 the National Football Museum moved to Manchester and now boasts more than 140,000 items – including the FIFA collection – in what is arguably the beautiful game’s greatest collection of memorabilia in the world.

England is the birthplace of ‘the people’s game’ and, as home to two of the country’s most successful teams, Manchester makes for the perfect setting with the free-to-enter museum providing an exciting day out not just for football fanatics but for anyone who appreciates the sport’s cultural heritage. 

England is the birthplace of ‘the people’s game’, and, as home to two of the country’s most successful teams, Manchester makes for the perfect setting.

This extensive archive of football relics attracts a global audience; with exhibitions on show in the near future include Manchester Subbuteo Club demonstrations and a West African drumming workshop.

Get down to Cathedral Gardens and check out the National Football Museum in the Urbis Building, M4 3BG. 

The Manchester Museum

Owned by the University of Manchester, the Manchester Museum sits among the campus’s Neo-Gothic buildings.

Visitors can witness more than six million items from around the globe including fossils, Egyptian artefacts and live amphibians and reptiles as well as Stan, the Tyrannosaurus rex.

The museum captures the imagination of young and old with hands-on sessions and interactive activities.

Visit the Manchester Museum for research, an educational trip or just a fascinating day on Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL.


Photo courtesy of Billion, with thanks.

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