Top 5: Places in Manchester to get your arts & culture fix

Ok, pulling this shortlist together was hard. And that’s because there are so many iconic cultural institutions here in Manchester. We’re known for making history across all sectors and industries, but our arts and culture offer is up there as one of the best in the world.

Take a look at some of our favourite places and exhibitions across the city centre that you can explore right now.


Manchester Art Gallery

This multi award-winning venue attracts flocks of visitors from all over the world every year (when restrictions allow!) to explore its fine selection of art which includes photography, contemporary work, design and decorative art, as well as some historically significant collections from the Pre-Raphaelites and notable 19th century British painters.

One of their current must-see temporary exhibitions is Grayson’s Art Club, a collection of pieces created by celebrities and the general public in response to lockdown and curated by famous artist Grayson Perry. You can book tickets for the exhibition here and the gallery is open from Weds-Sun, 10am-5pm, with Grayson’s exhibition running until September.

If you’re feeling arty yourself, you can upload your own creations to your social channels and tag #MAGARTCLUB to feature on the digital screens in the exhibition!


The Whitworth

Located in the beautiful Whitworth Park on the outskirts of the city and part of the University of Manchester, The Whitworth houses over 55,000 works of art, textiles and wallpaper. It was founded in 1889 in memory of the industrialist Sir Joseph Whitworth for ‘the perpetual gratification of the people of Manchester’ and continues this mission today in new contexts. The space features gallery spaces, a study centre and learning studio, as well as a lovely café and communal gardens where outdoor exhibitions are featured. Open Weds-Sun, 10am-5pm


Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Tucked away in the heart of Manchester’s vibrant Northern Quarter in a stunning Victorian building (once the home of the city’s retail fish market) is the Manchester Craft & Design Centre. Home to artists, designers and makers from all over the North West, the centre promotes public awareness and appreciation of arts and crafts. Browse the diverse array of studios before enjoying a coffee and some homemade cake in Oak Street Café. Open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5.30pm, the centre is just a 5 minute walk from Broadside.


Royal Exchange Theatre

Housed in a stunning Grade 2 listed building in the heart of the city, just off St Ann’s Square, The Royal Exchange theatre is the hub of theatre life in Manchester.

Having reopened their doors on June 23rd, it’s now full steam ahead for a full programme of exciting events to welcome visitors back. Check out their full reopening programme and book your tickets here:


The John Ryland’s Library

Arguably the most beautiful building in the whole of the city, John Ryland’s is a world-renowned research institute and library opened on New Year’s Day 1900. Part of the University of Manchester, the library houses the majority of the University’s Special Collections – the third largest academic library in the United Kingdom.

Take a tour of this incredible space and learn all about its fascinating history. Their current exhibitions include one on Manchester’s Guardian newspaper. Open Thursday to Saturday, 10am-12pm and 1.30-4pm.


Did we miss one of your favourite arts and culture spots? Let us know over on Instagram.


Meet the Broadsiders: Talking interior inspiration & local hotspots with Shane

In the first of our new series of Broadsider features we chat to Shane, whose beautiful apartment is giving us serious interior inspo…

Hi Shane, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m originally from Nottingham and moved to Manchester just before the first lockdown. I work in the hairdressing industry as a Technical Director.

Talk us through the inspiration behind your beautiful apartment. How do you approach home styling? What kind of look were you going for?
I have a background in art and design, and now working with hair I’m inspired by all things colour. My aim for the styling of my apartment was to have a feeling of fun, with clashes of colour that you might not necessarily put together, and a little bit of camp! Ultimately, I wanted the interior to make me smile when I walk through the door.



Where do you go for new home interiors? Any local favourites?
I’m always on the look-out for new bits. Some of my favourite places for knick-knacks are Habitat, and Homesense. I always take a look in the windows of charity shops too as you can find some amazing bits in there.

What’s your favourite part of your flat and why?
My favourite area of the flat is just behind the sofa in the lounge. I moved the sofa away from the wall to create an extra area for storage, where I was also able to display some of my favourite art and plants.

Most of the art is by my brother, Brett. We both went to art college together. He was furloughed like a lot of us so decided to use his time to create some art and start a new business. You can find his online shop here. My other artworks are from East End Prints and Homesense.



How have you found spending more time in your flat and at Broadside generally over the past year with lockdown?
I moved to Broadside just at the end of December last year which was great timing as it meant I got to spend a few solid months getting to know my new place. Having a balcony and the use of the roof terrace has definitely helped too.

Why did you want to move to Broadside?
As soon as I walked into the show apartment and saw the view I was sold. I really loved the finishes available and the furniture that came with the flat. When touring the building with Steven, I was really impressed with the amenities, especially the roof-top and gym.

What do you like about Broadside?
As I mentioned earlier, I really love the roof-top, and I’m excited to be able to book out the Residents’ Lounge to entertain friends. I have to give a shout-out to the Concierge too – they do a great job of looking after my parcels!

What are your favourite bars and restaurants local to Broadside?
I tend to head across to Cutting Room Square, which has a great buzz. Some of my favourite places are Jane Eyre, Blossom Street Social, Edinburgh Castle and Elnecot. An exciting new addition to the area is Ramona, which has an amazing outdoor area with gorgeous pizza. Sammy’s is a one of a kind cocktail bar that you have to try. We also love to spend a Sunday afternoon in the Gay Village watching the drag queens – always good fun!

What would you say to someone thinking of moving to Broadside?
I’d say don’t hesitate! The location is perfect, it’s close to the Marina, Ancoats, the Northern Quarter and only a ten-minute walk to the Gay Village.


To view our stylish selection of one, two and three-bedroom apartments here at Broadside, email

Weekend Walks: Our top scenic walks and outdoor spots in and around Greater Manchester

It’s so important, now more than ever, to get out and about for some fresh air and headspace whenever we can.

Getting active outdoors does wonders for the mind, and the body, and there are lots of beautiful places to explore in and around Greater Manchester.

And remember, now that the ‘Stay Local’ message has officially been lifted, you can head out with up to five people from other households (rule of six), or two households of any number (and your pet pooches, of course). 

So, grab your coat and your sunscreen and get ready to explore your local parks and scenic hotspots…


Heaton Park 

Just 15 minutes away by bus or Metrolink from Shudehill, Heaton Park is a 600 acre park in Prestwich, famous for its live gigs and festivals. And whilst there aren’t any events in the pipeline at the moment, Heaton Park still offers a wealth of attractions and walking routes for you to explore. Meander around the grounds of Grade 1 listed Heaton Hall and head up to the observatory with a flask of hot coffee to enjoy views across the whole of Manchester. You can also take a pleasant stroll around the impressive boating lake and feed the ducks, or see what’s growing over in the Kitchen Garden.

Heaton Park, Prestwich, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M25 2SW


Chorlton Water Park 

Manchester’s first designated local nature reserve is one of the most popular outdoor spots in South Manchester. Set on the banks of the River Mersey in Chorlton, just 5 minutes from Barlow Moor Road tram stop, the Waterpark has a beautiful central lake which is great to walk or cycle around, with different paths that will lead you through woodlands and across wildflower meadows. Look out for lots of birdlife on the lake such as kingfisher, herons and geese.

Chorlton Water Park, 74 Maitland Ave, Manchester M21 7WH


Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens

Fletcher Moss in the heart of Didsbury is a beautiful spot to wander, relax and admire an array of different winter trees and flowers. This local nature reserve has easy walking trails that allow you to stroll around the scenic setting at your own pace whilst taking in the plant and animal life that thrives there.

Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens, 18 Stenner Lane, Manchester, M20 2RQ


Holcombe Moor

A bit further afield over in Ramsbottom in Bury you’ll find a challenging (but very rewarding!) circular walk that has it all – spectacular views, riverside rambling and perfect picnic spots. Starting in the centre of Ramsbottom you can begin your climb up Holcombe Hill to the historic Peel Tower which was built in 1852 to commemorate Sir Robert Peel, Prime Minister of Britain (1841–1846) and founder of the modern police force. Catch your breath once you reach the top and take in views over the West Pennine Moors all the way over to Wales on a clear day. Your journey back down will take you along the River Irwell. There’s parking available and the full route takes around 2-3 hours.

Ramsbottom Station Car Park, Railway Street, Ramsbottom, BL0 9AL 


Dovestone Reservoir 

Set on the edge of the Peak District National Park in Greenfield, Oldham, Dovestone Reservoir is surrounded by miles of picturesque countryside and is the perfect place to blow away the city centre smog. A leisurely stroll around the reservoir takes around 2-3 hours and takes you up into the beautiful Chew Hills and rambling moors of Dove Stone Moss before bringing you back to the serene shores of the reservoir. Just a 30-minute drive from Broadside, you’ll feel like you’re a world away from the hustle and bustle of Manchester. It’s also a great destination for dogs!

Dovestone Resorvoir Car Park, Greenfield, Oldham OL3 7NE

Back on Track: Empowering Manchester’s vulnerable communities

Back on Track is an incredible local charity (just a stone’s throw from Broadside) that empowers disadvantaged adults to make lasting, positive changes in their lives.

They work with people who are going through recovery or rehabilitation, having encountered problems with homelessness, mental health, drugs and alcohol, or offending.

Their learning centre offers a range of support and activities including training courses, one to one guidance and work experience to give people the skills and confidence they need to get their lives back on track. Through their Swan Kitchens social enterprise they also cater events with delicious home-cooked food and they’re working on some fabulous Easter hampers that we can’t wait to get our hands on!

For the first of our guest blogs, we invited Sam Turner, Fundraising and Communications Manager at Back on Track to tell us a bit more about the amazing work they do…


If you ever go past the corner of Oldham Road and Great Ancoats Street, you might have noticed a striking giant mural on a wall – an image of a man slumped, his hands gripping a metal bar. The building inside is where our charity, Back on Track, is based. The mural was created five years ago to mark the work we do to support people with mental health problems.

In fact, we work with all kinds people who’ve been through a hard time in life. Some are homeless (there has been a massive increase in homelessness in Manchester in the last ten years), while others have drug or alcohol problems. In normal times we see hundreds of people at the centre every week – getting one to one support, volunteering and doing all kinds of courses.

One of our flagship projects is Swan Kitchens, our catering social enterprise. The Swan Kitchens team run the café in our centre and also provide event catering across Greater Manchester.

They mostly cater for meetings and conferences but they’ve also done quite a few weddings, birthdays and the like. But it’s not an ordinary business, it’s more a part of the community.

As well as catering for events, they distribute food to people facing poverty and work to reduce food waste by using (still fresh) food that supermarkets were going to throw out. The profit is all reinvested and one of the best things is that we’ve been able to create real paid jobs for disadvantaged people. At the moment four people who initially came to Back on Track for support are employed as catering workers for Swan Kitchens.

The last year has been a big challenge for Back on Track, especially during the strict lockdowns. For a lot of people, we were the only contact they had and their only way of getting information about keeping safe and getting food and medication. This year, with so many people experiencing isolation and mental health problems, we’ll be needed more than ever.

The pandemic has certainly had a big impact on Swan Kitchens. The team have stepped up to help whenever they can: during the first lockdown the team provided more than 2500 free meals to vulnerable people across Manchester. More recently they’ve been catering for staff and volunteers at vaccination centres.

However, as you can imagine, the market for event catering has dried up quite a bit. Because of this, the team has been putting their heads together to think up new enterprise ideas – ways to build the business back up and create more life-changing opportunities for disadvantaged people.

Just before Christmas we came up with the idea of the Swan Kitchens ethical hamper. We only had about six weeks to get it together, but we did it and it was a huge success. In fact, it went so well that we’ve now launched an Easter hamper, with our own products (cake and brownies), plus Easter eggs and more from our favourite ethical companies. So why not treat yourself or a loved one – you’ll be doing some good for the local community with every bit of chocolate you eat!


You can find out more about the amazing work that Back on Track do for communities in Manchester over on their website and order your Ethical Easter Hamper here. All profits go to Back on Track’s projects supporting local people facing disadvantages. The last date for orders is 19th March.