There are a wide variety of historical sites in and around Manchester, including an array of mills from the Industrial Revolution and a scattering of National Trust properties right on the city’s doorstep. If you’re interested in the history of the city and love exploring old buildings, make sure these five locations are on your list.
This Grade II listed Edwardian building is beloved by many Mancunians and for good reason. When it opened in 1906, the beautifully decorated Victorian Baths were lauded as ‘the most splendid municipal bathing institution in the country’, with three large pools and abundance of decorative tiles, stained glass and mosaic floors. The building has slowly been undergoing restorations with the aim of eventually restoring the Turkish baths and bathing facilities, but is currently used for a variety of events, fairs and even sporadic theatrical performances.
Located just outside the city centre in Gorton, Manchester’s 17th-century The Monastery is one of its most spectacular historical buildings. Previously listed as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world, it has undergone extensive restoration works to transform the ancient building into a space now used for a variety of events including weddings, conferences and even fashion shows. The public can pay a visit most Sundays, although it’s worth checking their website to keep up to date with a variety of musical, wellbeing and historical events.
Salford’s Grade I listed Tudor Ordsall Hall has a rich history that includes a reputation as one of Greater Manchester’s most haunted buildings. History lovers will enjoy learning about its prior residents, including Tudor nobles, artists, priests and medieval aristocrats, as they take a tour around the building and its grounds. Exhibitions, events and recently restored interiors may be standard field trip attractions, but it’s also possible to take a walking tour, get married or even spend the night on a ghost hunt inside the hall.
Anyone local with an interest in historical buildings can tell you that Manchester Cathedral is one of the oldest and most impressive sites in the city. Its history can be traced back to the 7th century, with the cathedral as we know it now having been established in 1847. Although the building suffered extensive damage during World War II, it has been lovingly preserved with careful restoration over the years, remaining one of Manchester’s most iconic buildings. Visitors can walk through the cathedral and its grounds most days of the year, with plenty of interesting architectural features to discover. It also plays host to sporadic musical performances from both orchestras and contemporary artists.
The only reminder of Manchester’s Roman beginnings can be found in Castlefield where General Julius Agricola based the original settlement. The amphitheatre that fills with crowds during summer outdoor gigs may be a modern addition to the area, but visitors can discover the ruins of the fort that once stood here. The world’s first passenger railway and industrial canal both originated here too, offering plenty to see for history buffs.