From interactive tours of Victorian engines to football memorabilia and Egyptian mummies, Manchester’s museums cater to many diverse interests. Take a look at our guide to the best museums in the city and start planning your next cultural escape.

Imperial War Museum North

Housed in a striking contemporary steal building designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, Imperial War Museum North is dedicated to exploring the influence that war can have on shaping individual lives, examining the life of soldiers as well as those who remain at home during wartime. The permanent Big Picture Show uses surround sound, photographs and projected images to explore different people’s experience of war.  

Manchester Museum

From African tribal charms to fossils, Roman swords to Egyptian mummies, Manchester Museum is home to an extraordinary diversity of objects. Perhaps the best known of Manchester’s museums, it comprises 15 galleries as well as the tomb-like Egyptian Worlds section, which features 20 mummies and 16,000 ancient Egyptian artefacts.


Manchester Art Gallery

One of the best places to see fine art in the city, Manchester Art Gallery hosts works by British artists the likes of Turner and Gainsborough, as well as Dutch, Flemish and Italian masters. As well as paintings, you can also peruse over 20,000 other objects, from ancient pottery to period clothing and accessories.


Museum of Science and Industry

Located inside one of the world’s oldest surviving railway stations, the Museum of Science and Industry offers a series of interactive exhibitions exploring the development of science, industry and technology. Curious visitors can attend anything from weaving workshops to Victorian engine demonstrations, with many interactive exhibitions geared towards children.


National Football Museum

Exploring every aspect of ‘The People’s Game’, the National Football Museum houses an impressive selection of football memorabilia. The proud keeper of the FIFA and Football League Collection, the museum showcases over 140,000 football-related items, alongside interactive exhibitions. Active football fans can take a penalty against a virtual goalkeeper and mini footie enthusiasts (under 5s) can take part in a variety of storytelling football adventures.


The Lowry

Set at the water’s edge in Greater Manchester’s Salford Quays, the Lowry’s striking metal and glass structure has made it something of a local landmark. Inside, you’ll find a broad range of both performance and visual art, with the largest public collection of paintings and drawings by LS Lowry in the world.


Whitworth Art Gallery

With striking views of Whitworth Park, Whitworth Art Gallery fuses its historic red brick building with new contemporary features such as huge glass panels. Part of the University of Manchester, the gallery is home to both historic and contemporary art, and collection highlights include watercolours by Blake and Turner as well as more modern works by Bacon, Freud and Hockney.


Written by Anna Jacobsen

Image credits:

IWM North © IWM North
The Whitworth re-development, Architecture Images © Alan Williams

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