When travelling, there’s nothing better than traipsing the streets of a city and wandering across some of the stunning scenery it has to offer, especially when it comes to beautiful buildings. Manchester in the UK has plenty of the latter, with an array of places that look just as awesome on the outside as they are on the inside.
The John Rylands Library can be overlooked by tourists, but you wouldn’t want to miss out on this Victorian neo-Gothic building, which is a sight to behold. It houses one of the finest collections of rare books and manuscripts in the world – including the oldest known piece of the New Testament, the St John Fragment.
2. London Road Fire Station
The terracotta-tiled, Grade II-listed London Road Fire Station will soon be a space filled with restaurants, bars and plenty more exciting reasons to visit. For now though, it’s still worth wandering by to view this stunning block by Piccadilly Place. Opened in 1906, it was built by J. Gerrard and Sons of Swinton, and was listed as a Grade II building in 1974 – meaning that it is of special architectural or historical interest and national importance. It operated as a fire station until 1986.
Following a refit and extension into Whitworth Park, Whitworth Art Gallery was named the Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2015 – and it’s hardly surprising, given that it takes your breath away before you even step inside. Surrounded by a lush green lawn, it’s especially magical at sunset, when the interior lights glow to reveal the artworks. It’s considered one of the finest galleries on the continent, so put it on your must-visit list – if not for the art, then for a chill-out session in the glass-walled cafe or for a picture underneath the brick arches.
4. Manchester Town Hall
This neo-Gothic, Victorian building is the headquarters of the Manchester City Council and got the go-ahead for a £330 million (roughly US$427 million) revamp in November 2016. At 140 years old, the Grade I-listed building – meaning it is a building of exceptional interest – is a great photo opportunity while it is still standing in its original form (the revamp is slated for completion in 2023).
5. Imperial War Museum North
One of five branches of the Imperial War Museum, this Daniel Libeskind-designed building really stands out at Salford Quays. The structure’s unconventional look – it comprises three interlocking parts – represents a globe shattered by war, leaving earth, water and air shards behind. You have to pay a small fee to climb the ‘air shard’, which offers incredible views of MediaCityUK and Salford Quays.
6. Onward Buildings
The construction of Onward Buildings, found on the east side of Deansgate, at the corner of Bootle Street, was financed by local temperance societies. Designed by Charles Heathcote in 1903, its red brick and yellow sandstone lines really make it stand out among the city’s other buildings. The terracotta doorways and porthole windows also catch the eye.
This Grade II-listed building in the Longsight area of Manchester opened in 1906. After a £30 million restoration, the magnificent building is now open to the public for the first time in 24 years – locals recently returned to the three pools that used to be categorised for top-class gentlemen, second-class men and female customers.
Located on Peter Street, Albert Hall Manchester was known as the Methodist Central Hall when it was originally built in 1908 by J. Gerrard and Sons of Swinton (the same people behind London Road Fire Station). Now, the former Wesleyan chapel is an iconic music hall and Grade II-listed building – totally worth checking out if you want to catch a live-band performance or simply appreciate great architecture. It was unused from 1969 to 2012, when this baroque and gothic building started hosting shows.
9. Rochdale Town Hall
This baroque municipal building is regarded as one of the UK’s most splendid civic halls. Located in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, the Grade I-listed place is the headquarters of the Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council and boasts a Gothic Revival style, thanks to architect William Henry Crossland. Apparently, its stain-glassed windows so caught the attention of Adolf Hitler that he planned to ship the building to Germany if it defeated the UK in World War II.
10. Bramall Hall
Located in Stockport, Greater Manchester, this black-and-white timbre-framed Tudor manor house is set in 70 acres of parkland. Having been restored, it’s one of the most stunning buildings in England. Inside, you’ll find servants’ quarters, Victorian kitchens and Elizabethan ceilings that’ll keep you staring for hours.
– TEXT BY LEAH SIMPSON
PHOTOS: SUPPLIED, THE WHITWORTH FACEBOOK, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM NORTH FACEBOOK, FRIENDS OF BRAMALL HALL FACEBOOK
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.