Explore: Manchester

Date Posted: 01/02/2013

The city of Manchester offers a great day out for groups, with activities ranging from guided tours of The National Football Museum to watching performances at the Opera House and The Lowry.

What’s New?

There are plenty of exciting new openings in Manchester in 2013. A £6.5million Sea Life Centre is set to open at The Trafford Centre in late spring, the 14th in the UK and always a popular group attraction. The aquarium at the shopping and leisure complex will feature more than 5,000 creatures, 30 dazzling marine displays and an underwater ocean tunnel.

Wicked, the award-winning musical telling the story of the witches of Oz, will have its UK regional premiere at the Palace Theatre as part of the Manchester Gets It First initiative. Running from 12th September to 16th November, booking is now open and there are discounted tickets for groups of ten or more. 

The Opera House Manchester recently raised its curtain on a series of events to celebrate its 100th anniversary with actress Patricia Hodge renaming the Auditorium Bar the Centenary Bar. The venue offers a year-round programme of dance, drama, music and comedy to appeal to all tastes.

Essential Sights

Castlefield: The historic heart of the city and site of the Roman fort of Mamucium. Visit the 1761 Bridgewater Canal, the world’s first true canal system, and terminus of the world’s first passenger railway.

National Football Museum: A recent addition to Manchester’s football heritage is the world’s biggest football museum dedicated to the sport, with more than 140,000 exhibits. Admission is free and special tours and meal packages are available for groups. Football fans can also indulge their passion with a stadium tour at Old Trafford or the Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester United and Manchester City respectively.

Imperial War Museum North: The historic attraction has just celebrated its tenth anniversary and offers welcome sessions for groups and access to the Air Shard Viewing Platform, with spectacular views across the Manchester Ship Canal.

Take a Tour

Victoria Baths, the Edwardian swimming pool and Turkish baths complex that won the first series of the BBC’s Restoration programme, is an unusual attraction. Used as a filming location for television dramas including Cracker and Life on Mars, group tours are available from April to October.

Enjoy a different view of Manchester on a boat trip around Salford Quays with City Centre Cruises. On weekdays there are private lunch tours, specifically for groups of 25 to 50, with the choice of a two or four-hour cruise.

Walk in the footsteps of celebrities with a tour of the BBC at MediaCityUK, the vast new waterside studio complex. Home to Match of the Day, Blue Peter, Dragons’ Den, BBC Breakfast and Radio 5 Live, tours provide a fascinating insight into how TV and radio work, with the chance to take part in your own television production in the interactive studio.

Best for Groups

The people and places of Manchester come to life with Manchester Guided Tours. Coronation Street, music, ghosts, industrial heritage and pub walks are among the many topics on offer and bespoke tours can be tailor-made for you. A popular new addition is a walk through Manchester Southern Cemetery, final resting place of local philanthropist John Rylands, British aviator John Alcock who made the first non-stop transatlantic flight in 1919 and Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby.

The Lowry performing and visual arts centre offers a range of engaging and exclusive group visits. These include a backstage tour of the theatres and welcome tour of the gallery, with an introduction to the current exhibition, and a special group catering and performance programme to avoid queues. The group booking team can also organise half day itineraries incorporating a theatre performance at The Lowry and other attractions on the Salford Quays waterfront.

Based in a restored Edwardian pump house, The People’s History Museum shows how ordinary working people have changed lives and shaped history. Charting the history of democracy, the story starts with the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 when 60,000 mill workers and their families held a reform meeting to protest against appalling living and working conditions. Groups can make the most of a visit with a guided tour of the collection’s highlights followed by refreshments in the cafe.

Where to Stay
  • Close to rail and tram stations, the four-star Park Inn by Raddison Manchester is a five-minute walk from the Manchester Arndale shopping centre.
  • The Manchester Marriott V&A Hotel offers excellent facilities for large groups and is near Manchester United and the Museum of Science and Industry.
  • The largest four-star hotel in the city, the Manchester Macdonald is within easy reach of the motorway network.

For further group travel information visit www.visitmanchester.com.

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