Canals and locks in central Manchester
West Central Manchester covers the area in central Manchester west of Quay St, Peter St, and Oxford St. It covers the locales of Castlefield and St. Peter's Fields.Castlefield is located within The Historic County Boundaries of Lancashire.
Castlefield is the site of the original Roman settlement Mamucium and has been known as Castlefield since Medieval times. It is the centre of Manchester's canal network and includes the Castlefield Basin, which joins the Rochdale and Bridgewater canals. Very important in industrial times, it became run down in post-war times until it was completely regenerated in the 1990s and designated Britain's first Urban Heritage site. These days it is like a small country oasis in the heart of the city, with regular events and a handful of great pubs around the canals and the neighbouring streets. It is also the only place to see wildlife in Manchester's centre.
Peter's Fields (also known as the Exhibition Quarter) is the home of Manchester's exhibition, conference and concert halls, as well as the almost-deserted Great Northern shopping and entertainment centre and two of the city's most luxurious hotels. It is also home to the Beetham Tower, the tallest building in the UK outside of London and the home to Manchester's Hilton hotel.
Manchester Deansgate railway station is situated nearby.
Map of the Metrolink city zone
Deansgate-Castlefield stop is located to the north of the railway station with a connecting bridge.
- St. John's Gardens, Byrom Street. Open daily during daylight hours. The site of the former St. John's Church has become central Manchester's most beautiful park. Come here in the the summer to see the flowers and bring some bread for the hundreds of birds that make St. John's their home.
- Museum of Science and Industry, Lower Byrom Street, 0161 832 2244 (email: varies, see site), . Su-Sa 10AM-5PM. This is a great museum for those interested in our (global) industrial heritage: sited at one end of the world's first passenger railway line. The working cotton weaving machines are particularly worth experiencing. Catch one of their regular demonstrations of their operation. There is also the opportunity to explore the city's former sewers (now fully cleaned!) to get an idea of the living (and dying) conditions of Manchester's cotton workers. Most impressive of all is the huge collection of working engines in the Power Hall, powered by steam, gas, water, you name it. Across the road is the Air and Space Hall, containing real examples of Britain's aeronautical history. Free, except for temporary exhibits (prices vary).
- Roman Fort, off Liverpool Road. Not much survives of Manchester's four Roman settlements, but what is left can be seen in the gardens of Castlefield running from Liverpool Road down to Castle Street. The North Gate of the fourth fort on Duke Street has been fully reconstructed, as has the West Wall above the ruined granary.
- G-MEX, Windmill Street, 0161 834 2700 (fax: 0161 832 3621). Open only during events. The G-MEX (now "Manchester Central") was once Manchester Central railway station and it carries the air of many of the grand stations in London with its enormous arched steel frame and giant railway clock. These days it is home to Manchester's largest exhibitions and fairs. Attached is the much newer and thoroughly unimpressive International Conference Centre. Price varies with event.
- Bridgewater Hall, Lower Mosley Street, 0161 950 0000 (email: email@example.com; fax: 0161 950 0001), . M-F 10AM-8PM, Sat noon-6PM. Manchester's main classical music venue is a stunning musically-inspired building dating from 1996. It is home to the world-famous Hallé orchestra and boasts an enormous 5500-pipe organ across the whole of one wall. The building is also home to a cafe and restaurant. Free entry to building.
- See The Merchant's Bridge near Catalan Square. Look up and marvel at the massive Victorian structure which carries the metrolink trams and trains over the canals.
- Sit back and relax with a cool pint at one of the many pubs in Castlefield.
- AMC Great Northern, 253 Deansgate, Unit 2 The Great Northern, Manchester, M3 4EN, ☎ 0870 755 56 57, . 16 screen cinema multiplex. Shows the usual Hollywood movies. £4 student (with NUS card), £6 adults. edit
Most bars in Castlefield provide bar meals.
- Dukes 92, . Famous for its huge cheese and pate boards. Plus, they serve a selection of pizzas late into the night. edit
- Alberts Shed, . Recently built restaurant which offers mid-priced modern Italian cuisine. edit
- Choice, . An award winning restaurant housed within a converted red brick warehouse. It serves a menu of modern British food, along with a good selection of wines. edit
- Deansgate Hot Food Bar. For breakfast, nothing beats this. Situated next to Deansgate station, it's a cheap and friendly authentic greasy spoon. edit
- Akbars, 73-83 Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4NQ, ☎ +44 161 834 8444, . M-Th 17:00 - 23:00, F-Sa 17.00 - 23.30, Sun 16:00 - 23:00. Slightly upmarket Indian restaurant. Not cheap, but very good value. Around £20. edit
Canal boats in Castlefield
Castlefield bars are extremely popular during the summer months when tourists, local residents, and city centre workers flock to the area to enjoy the large outdoor drinking areas and views across the Bridgewater Canal.
- Choice. Although primarily a restaurant, Choice has a good selection of wines and is an ideal choice if you want to escape the crowds. edit
- Dukes 92, . By far the most popular venue in Castlefield, Dukes 92 has an unusual, but successful, mix of antique furniture, modern deep leather sofas, and minimalist décor. Although relatively quiet in winter, it is hugely popular on hot summer days due to its large patio area overlooking lock number 92 of the Rochdale Canal. An outside bar has recently been installed in an attempt to reduce what can be a lengthy wait for refreshment. edit
- The Knott Bar. A quirky, modern take on the traditional boozer. Housed within a railway arch it is popular amongst real ale fans, but also serves a good selection of bottled and drought ciders and lagers. It has a great jukebox and a sheltered balcony overlooking Deansgate and Beetham Tower. edit
- Lava Bar, . Across the canal from Dukes and next door to the Key 103 radio station, Lava Bar is a small and friendly bar which also has an outdoor drinking area. edit
- The Ox, . Away from the Castlefield basin on Liverpool Road you will find The Ox. Popular with the stars from Coronation Street due to its close proximity to the set, this lively gastro pub has the distinction of being the only pub in the country to be named after a potato - the Ox Noble. edit
- White Lion. A traditional boozer of little note, although it does feature on its walls an interesting aerial photograph of pre-developed Castlefield. Soundtrack of soul and funk with congenial staff set it apart from the others. edit
The Deansgate Locks are a bunch of bars and clubs alongside a set of locks:
- The Comedy Store, ☎ 0870 593 2932, . From free to £15. edit
- Castlefield Hotel, . Castlefield's hidden gem. Mid-priced three star hotel with the best leisure facilities in the city centre, including an 18m heated pool, sauna, gym and steam rooms. edit
- Castlefield Youth Hostel, . Boasting views across the canal, this YHA hostel offers no frills accommodation, with easy access to Castlefield and the city centre. edit
The Beetham Tower, the newest addition to Manchester's skyline, is the tallest building in UK outside of London. Manchester's Hilton occupies the lower half of the building.
- Hilton International, Beetham Tower, . The recently opened five star Hilton housed within the Beetham Tower offers amazing views over Castlefield, Manchester and beyond. edit
- The Ox, Liverpool Road, . A friendly welcome and a small number of reasonably priced rooms. edit
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