Discover Manchester: 11 Free Things to Do Today!

Discover Manchester: 11 Free Things to Do Today!

Manchester is a city with a rich history that dates back centuries. Its people have always been proud and passionate, and the city has always been a vibrant and thriving place. The city has since become a major centre for business and finance, but it still retains its strong industrial heritage. Manchester was also the home of the world's first public library, which was founded in 1653. The city is also home to two of the world's most famous football clubs - Manchester United and Manchester City. So whether you're interested in history, business, or sport, there's something for everyone in Manchester.

In this blog post we:

  • List the best places to visit for no charge at all
  • Show all places on an interactive map to help you locate each place easily.

Manchester has many options for things to do and see for free today. You could see the many rare and valuable books at the John Rylands Library, find out about the local people of Manchester at the People's History Museum, or take a stroll and enjoy the beauty of the Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens. Click on each name to be taken straight to the blog post for that place.

Things to do for free
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    Museums and Galleries

    free things to do in manchester today

    John Rylands Library

    The John Rylands Library is one of the most beautiful and interesting libraries in the world. The building which was completed in 1900, is a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture. The library's collection includes thousands of volumes, including many rare and valuable books with particular interest to be found in the history of religion and social and cultural history amongst others. In addition to its physical beauty, the John Rylands Library is also known for its impressive atmosphere. The library is always filled with a hushed sense of reverence, and it's easy to imagine the centuries of history that have been housed within its walls.

    The Science and Industry Museum

    The Science and Industry Museum is an excellent place to learn about the history of science and technology in the very place that’s known for being the world’s first industrial city. The museum has a wide variety of interactive exhibits, and the staff is very knowledgeable and passionate about their work. Find out about the many industries that have graced the city and spend some time in the gardens here to have an enjoyable afternoon on your trip.

    The Manchester Museum

    With over 4.5 million items to see, The Manchester Museum is one of the best museums in the city. It is packed with exhibits that will educate and entertain you. The museum has something for everyone, whether you are interested in archaeology, anthropology, or natural history. Run by the University of Manchester, the museum is highly rated by visitors and students alike.

    Manchester Art Gallery

    Manchester Art Gallery is one of the most important art galleries in England, with a collection that spans centuries and includes works by some of the most famous artists in the world. Manchester was an important industrial city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the Manchester Art Gallery reflects this history. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, and prints by artists such as Pierre Adolf Valette, William Holman Hunt, and Charles Mengin. The gallery also has a wide range of temporary exhibitions, which means there is always something new to see.

    The People's History Museum

    The People’s History Museum in Manchester, England is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of working people. The museum tells the story of the struggle for democracy and workers’ rights, from the industrial revolution to the present day. With interactive exhibits and a wealth of artifacts, the museum brings to life the incredible history of working people in Manchester and beyond. The People’s History Museum is also located in one of Manchester’s most historic buildings. The Grade II listed building was originally built as a pumping station between 1907 and 1909 and served as a symbol of the city’s industrial power. Today, the museum is an essential part of Manchester’s cultural scene and a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of workers’ rights.

    The Greater Manchester Police Museum

    The Greater Manchester Police Museum is just one of the many historical gems that can be found in the city. The museum is dedicated to preserving the rich history of law enforcement in Manchester. Visitors can learn about the early days of policing in the city, as well as see displays of equipment and uniforms used throughout the years. The museum also houses a collection of vintage police vehicles. Founded in 1981, the museum is funded by Greater Manchester Police and is a great source of information on the police force.

    Whitworth Art Gallery

    Founded in 1889, the award winning gallery was created to showcase the work of local artists, and it quickly became a hub for the city's thriving arts scene. Today, the gallery houses an impressive collection of over 55,000 works of art and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. In addition to paintings, visitors can also see sculptures, ceramics, and prints. Whether you're a history buff or an art lover, Whitworth Art Gallery is worth a visit.

    Clayton Hall Museum

    The museum is located in a beautifully restored 15th-century Manor House and is home to an impressive collection of artefacts that tell the story of the building’s rich history. The Clayton Hall Museum also features a stunning moat, which is the only remaining moated manor house in the Greater Manchester area. With links to famous names including the poet Lord Byron, the museum has plenty to offer.

    Free things to do in Manchester FAQ's

    There are plenty of things to do in Manchester city centre for free!

    Some popular activities include visiting the Museum of Science and Industry, going for a walk in Albert Square or Piccadilly Gardens, exploring the Canal Street area and browsing the shops on Market Street.

    There are also many free concerts, art exhibitions and other events taking place throughout the city centre regularly, so there's always something new to check out!

    In Manchester, there are a number of museums that offer free admission. These include the Museum of Science and Industry, the Greater Manchester Police Museum, Manchester Art Gallery and The Manchester Museum to name a few.

    There are plenty of free things for kids to do in Manchester. One option is to visit one of the city's parks, such as Piccadilly Gardens or Chorlton Water Park. Another option is to visit one of the city's museums, such as Museum of Science and Industry or Manchester Art Gallery where kids can get involved with some of the interactive displays.

    History and Culture

    cheap things to do in manchester

    Manchester Cathedral

    Manchester is a city with a rich history and Manchester Cathedral is one of its most important landmarks. The building dates back to the 14th century, and it has been through a lot in its 800 years of existence. It was damaged by a bomb during the Manchester Blitz in 1940 and took over 20 years to repair. Despite this setback, the cathedral has undergone a number of restoration projects and it is now one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. Visitors can explore the building's beautiful Gothic architecture, learn about its fascinating history, and stay for the church service if they wish.

    Walks and Nature Trails

    what to do in manchester for free

    Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens

    The award winning Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens was gifted in the early 20th century by local philanthropist Alderman Fletcher Moss, and it quickly became a beloved spot for residents and visitors alike. Today, the park is home to a variety of beautiful gardens, an outdoor café, nature trails, and tennis courts. The park is a great place to take a walk or enjoy a picnic while offering stunning botanical beauty.

    Heaton Park

    Heaton Park covers an area of over 600 acres and is one of the largest urban parks in the country. The park is home to a diverse array of attractions including a boating lake, play areas, an animal centre, and a golf course. Visitors can also enjoy plenty of green space for picnics, walks, and a busy events program. Whether you're looking for history, culture, or just a relaxing day in the sun, Heaton Park is sure to have something for you.


    Use the map below to locate all the places mentioned to create your itinerary for your trip.

    Open Google Maps to see distance information between locations and directions on how to get to each place.

    Other Blog Posts from Manchester

    We write lots of blog posts from each area of free activities to do. Have a look at our blog posts from the city of Manchester by clicking the links below:


    Manchester Blogs


    Cycling Routes in Manchester


    Forest Walks near Manchester


    Local Delicacies from Manchester

    Please note...

    All outdoor activities including forest walks involve a degree of risk. The walks are recommended due to the well known features of each forest but this may change over time and further research is required before undertaking any activity. The weather can also impact the surface and general conditions of each path so please keep yourself updated with the weather forecast before setting off to enjoy your walk!

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