MM’s top five…Off the beaten track Manchester tourist gems

By Sam Ruffe

Now boasting the honour of being Britain’s third most visited city, Manchester is far from short of quality tourist destinations.

The Lowry, Old Trafford and the Museum of Science and Industry rightly sit on the tip of every guide’s tongue as they welcome visitors to the city.

But away from the hustle and bustle of the top attractions, our fair city plays host to a number of quality establishments you may never have heard of.

Here MM takes a look at Manchester’s top five off the beaten track tourist gems.

5. 2022NQ

Having opened its doors in April 2012, creative space 2022NQ has quickly become the jewel in the crown of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Devised by a group of passionate music and creative event promoters, this unique venue hosts regular exhibitions, club nights, talks and networking events.

Situated just off Dale Street, 2022 opens its doors Tuesday to Saturday and boasts a well stock bar, constantly-changing art installations and even a ping pong table!

Not to be missed: After Work Social, every Friday, where Manchester’s work force are welcomed to enjoy a relaxing pint over a game of ping pong – they even let you choose the music.

4. Chetham’s Library

Despite being the United Kingdom’s oldest serving public library, Chetham’s Library is definitely off Manchester tourists’ radar.

Founded in 1653 by Humphrey Chetham, this hidden gem holds over 120,000 books and scripts, of which over 60 percent were published before 1851.

Hidden away behind Chetham’s School of Music, this unspoilt wonder gives visitors a real glimpse into the past, with creaky corridors and stunning rafters adding to the experience.

Not to be missed: Chetham Library was the meeting place of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and the window seat where the two would meet is still there.

3. Islington Mill

Fashioned out of an old cotton spinning mill just off the A6, Salford’s Islington Mill is home to over 50 artist studios, gallery spaces, a club venue and even a B&B.

Founded in 2001 by fashion student Bill Campbell, Islington Mill is now the recognised hub of Salford’s creative arts scene.

The labyrinth-like complex is a treat for the senses and welcomes visitors to view an eclectic mix of arts and crafts, from ceramic works all the way to costume design.

Not to be missed: Sunday May 26, OneFiveEight Expo:02. OneFiveEight presents their second expo showcasing talent across photography, visual arts and music.

Visitors are invited to get involved with the creation of artwork and help transform the gallery into an exhibition with a difference.

2. Slattery

Although Slattery is relatively well known in the foody community, it is its location which puts it firmly in the realm of a hidden gem.

Situated on Bury New Road, Bury, this treat for the taste buds is often regarded as too far off the beaten track for most tourists to venture.

However anyone who has sampled Slattery’s lunches, enormous selection of cakes, chocolates or fine sugar work will know it is well worth the trip.

Not to be missed: Running constantly throughout the year, Slattery’s offers a huge selection of confectionery courses, ranging from sugarcraft to bakery and everything in between!

1. Hidden Gem Church

A countdown of Manchester’s top five hidden gems would not be complete without a doff of the touristy cap to the namesake of this very list.

The Hidden Gem Church, or St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church as it was originally called, was first consecrated in 1794 and remains the oldest Catholic church in Manchester.

Aptly named because of its tucked-away location, Hidden gem unassumingly sits on Mulberry Street between Albert Square and Deansgate and is a must for anyone visiting the city.

Not to be missed: Norman Adams’ The Stations of the Cross  a series of unique works by the late Royal Academy member.

Often described as the leading British religious artist of the 20th century, Adams has created 14 exquisite and imaginative pieces depicting the Passion of Christ.

Picture courtesy of juliaL49 via Flickr, with thanks

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