Posted by: marymarthatours | March 18, 2012

Some Places to Visit in Manchester, England

Our England in Miniature Tour has reached its minimum number of 15 travelers, so we now know that we will definitely be heading for England in September 2012.


Because this tour was priced as “Land Only”, some of our group members will be booking their arrival in Manchester for the day before the actual tour starts. They might be looking for something to fill up their arrival afternoon other than a nap. (We recommend that travelers from the US to England try to stay up until their normal bed time — it’s a better way to shorten or eliminate jet lag.)

So for the tireless and adventuresome that arrive early in Manchester, here are a few suggestions for their arrival afternoon.

 John Rylands Library

After visiting the fabulous library at Trinity College, Dublin, in 2011, I’d love to see the beautiful reading room at the John Rylands Library in downtown Manchester. The building, a memorial to John Rylands commissioned by his wife Enriqueta, was opened in 1900. The architect, Basil Champneys, designed the building in Victorian Gothic style and included many “modern” innovations to protect the documents inside from the polluted air of industrial Manchester. Among its collections, the library houses rare medieval manuscripts, early printed works, and papyrus fragments from North Africa. Entry to the library is free.

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John Rylands Library, Manchester, exterior and reading room

 Manchester Art Gallery

Another free venue for Manchester visitors is the Manchester Art Gallery on Moseley Street in downtown Manchester. It is known for its works by artists of the “English School” such as Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Hogarth. But what might bring Martha to visit here, is the large collection of paintings by the PreRaphaelite Brotherhood. She could even participate in the Gallery’s “The PreRaphaelite Experiment”, in which viewers of four particular paintings will have a chance to share their thoughts about the works.


The Bower Meadow by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, one of the paintings in the Manchester Art Gallery’s year long “The PreRaphaelite Experiment”. Martha will recognize the redhead on the right as Janie Morris, wife of William Morris and lover of Rossetti. This painting was done “after what he called his ‘time of love’ with Jane Morris at Kelmscott Manor.” (Manchester Art Gallery website)



Manchester Costume Gallery

An extension of the Manchester Art Gallery is located in Pratt Hall in Pratt Fields Park south of downtown Manchester. This building houses the Gallery of Costume, a huge collection of wearing appeal for both the gentry and the working class of all ages from the 17th century to the present day. The Gallery of Costume has just undergone an extensive remodeling. It is open from Wednesday to Saturday, 1:30-4:30 PM.

 Whitworth Art Gallery

Located just south of the University of Manchester in Whitworth Park is the Whitworth Art Gallery, another free option for visitors to the city. The Whitworth is known for its collections of watercolors, sculpture, wallpaper and textiles. I would make a bee-line for the wallpaper collection, featuring thousands of samples from the 17th century to the present, including paper by Arts & Crafts designers such as Morris, Voysey, and Crane.


Whitworth Art Gallery exterior and interior

These are just some of the options available to people who arrive early for our September 2012 England in Miniature Tour. At the time of writing, there are still 2 places left. We’d love to have you join us.

(by Mary)

Photo credits: John Rylands Library photos copyright Mike Peel and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License. Whitworth Art Gallery interior photo copyright Cnbrb and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


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