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Top five Monday

Top 5 wet-weather activities in Manchester

Monday, August 25th, 2008

The British are obsessed with the weather. It’s an unfair accusation to say that it always rains in the north of England. It just rains some of the time.

Manchester, UK is a city with much to offer the world – music, nightlife and a huge cultural scene – but it’s true it does rain there quite a lot. Here are five activities to keep you dry if it rains when you’re there:


Manchester city centre is quite compact and it’s easy to get around much of it on foot. But if the rain begins to fall it’s probably much easier to get around by tram.

The city’s Metrolink network of overland trams runs from the suburbs right into the centre of the city. And it’s a great way to see the sights of the central Manchester without getting wet.

Tickets are available at every stop and the automatic announcements tell travellers when the next trains are due. The main hub of the network is Piccadilly station in the centre of town, and it’s here you’ll arrive if you’ve come to Manchester via train from London or from the airport nearby.


Outside London, Manchester has the highest concentration of quality arts and heritage venues in one city. Here are a few highlights, all with free entry:

Manchester Art Gallery is based in the centre of the city. With a huge collection of British and international art, it is especially popular with schools. To avoid the rush of kids, visitors are advised that the gallery is quieter after 3pm on weekdays.

Address: mosely Street, Manchester M2 3JL

Open: Daily 10-5, closed Mondays

The Manchester Museum has over 4 million objects. There’s everything here, from Egyptian mummies and archaeological remains, to modern gadgets and even live animals. It’s especially family-friendly.

Address: Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL

Open: Tues-Sat 10-5, Sun and bank holidays 10-4

Boys old and young – and quite a lot of girls too – will enjoy the Museum of Science and Industry, with its huge collection of aeroplanes and amazing flying things and the giant steam hall, showcasing the industrial heritage of Manchester. Don’t miss the chance to creep through an original Victorian sewer!

Address: Liverpool Road, Manchester M3 4FP

Open: Daily, 10-5

It’s also well worth a trip to Imperial War Museum North, an outpost of the main museum in London. Huge audio-visual presentations dominate the dramatic space on the hour and invite visitors to reflect on over a century of modern conflict. Although it sounds rather a depressing way to spend a wet afternoon, it’s truly worthwhile a visit.

Address: The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester M17 1TZ

Open: Daily, 10-5 (10-6 in winter)


This striking shaft of glass and metal rising from the ground is near to the epicentre of the IRA bomb which devastated parts of central Manchester in 1996. It is the highest building in the redeveloped zone of the city known as the Millenium Quarter and is a symbol of this regenerated and now proud area of the city.

Urbis isn’t a museum, more of a visitor centre with exhibitions and displays exploring the topic of urban life. Pollution, population, travel, law and order etc.

It’s a thought-provoking place, presented in a vibrant and accessible way. With plenty of touch screens and interactive games, it’s also a place for all the family. And it’s entirely inside so you can shelter from those Mancunian rain drops.

Entrance is free, but visitors are advised to arrive early.

Address: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester M4 3BG

Open: Sun-Wed 10-6, Thur-Sat, 10-8


Mancunians love to shop.

St Anne’s Street (next to St Anne’s Church) and King Street are home to the high-end outlets and the place to head for if you’re in search of designer labels. Harvey Nichols and Selfridges & Co also have stores nearby.

Also in the centre the former Corn and Produce Exchange has also been developed into an indoor shopping complex – the Triangle. If that’s not enough, the Trafford Centre is the largest shopping centre in the north-west of the England, on the outskirts of the city.

House of Fraser is perhaps the most famous department store in Manchester – until recently trading on the famous name of Kendal’s. It’s located on Deansgate, near to the main shopping area.


Opened in 1996, this magnificent and imposing concert hall is home to Manchester’s world-famous orchestra, the Hallé. The hall also attracts international musicians, both classical and popular. Check the listings for what’s on.

It’s worth sheltering from the rain for a quick bite in the Bridgewater’s excellent café. The Charles Hallé restaurant (featured in 2008 Good Food Guide) also serves lunches daily 11-2 and dinner on concert evenings. Reservations are required.

The building is an architectural phenomenon – the core of the building is somehow cushioned on enormous spring-loaded foundations, allowing for the quiet calm of the concert hall itself to remain completely uninterrupted by nearby trams, trains or traffic. Soon after the hall opened one cleaner had been inside the hall quietly getting on with her work while the aforementioned bomb exploded nearby. She emerged completely unaware of what had happened. Now, that’s sound-proofing!

Visitors can take behind the scenes tours of this state-of-the-art building to see those giant springs and areas not normally open to the public.

Address: Lower Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3WS

Photo of raindrops in Manchester, UK originally posted by BinaryApe

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer steve slack

Steve Slack is a writer and researcher based in London. He’s most often to be found either in a museum or in the bar. Or even museums which have bars. He writes about the wonderful world of south London for

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