Urban Architecture, Urban Photography and Urban Tours in Manchester

The diverse architecture of Manchester works as a catalyst for the city. The structures within it run the gamut from classical historic buildings to modern, even futuristic hotels and business centres. The architecture reflects the cosmopolitan population that has had a definite effect on the regeneration of Manchester.

Urban Architecture in Manchester

This red brick and terracotta building won the BBC's 2003 Restoration Series Award. It houses the Victoria Baths, one of the finest municipal baths in Britain. The interior has extensive stained glass, wrought iron balustrades, tiled Art Nouveau walls and decorative mosaic floors. The pure water for the baths was provided by its own well and pumping system.

Urban Tours in Manchester

Walking tours of Manchester are a popular way to see the city. From the Visitor Centre the group walks to Manchester's Chinatown. A mass immigration from China in the 1950's brought a number of their cultural events into the area. The huge Imperial Arch acts as a symbol of Chinese prosperity. Its decorations include dragons and phoenixes that symbolise good luck and success

Next on the route is the Manchester Art Gallery. One exhibit is "Remembering Slavery" which houses objects linked to the transatlantic slave trade. The gallery tour is both dynamic and interactive, allowing the visitor to make his/her own interpretation of the meaning in the artworks reflecting this period in England's history.

A Venetian styled sandstone building housed The Reform Club when it was constructed in 1871. Its windows soar two stories high, separated by thin stone columns. Oriel towers on each corner rise through the upper floors ending in gazebos. Eventually the Reform Club closed in 1988. In 2011, it became home to the Reform Restaurant and Liam Gallagher's clothing shop.

The tour continues to Ship Canal House in the centre of Manchester's business district. This steel-framed building clad with Portland stone was finished in 1927. Currently used as office space and residential suites, the building has a pedimented architrave framing the central second floor window.

The walk next takes visitors to the Manchester Royal Exchange, opened in 1729. When the cotton industry boomed a more modern building was completed overlooking Market Place. A new role was given to the structure when it became home to the Royal Exchange Theatre. The walls still carry the cotton price information boards that were there on the final trading day as a reminder of the building's beginnings as a cotton mill.

The walk includes two exceptional, but very different churches. The exquisite St. Ann's Church comes before a stop at a pub for a break, then on to the Hidden Gem Church. Next on the tour is the Town Hall, an imposing neo-Gothic structure that was built in 1877. The building's pale stone frontage dominates Albert Square while the Hall fills the triangular site on which it was constructed surrounding a central hidden courtyard.

A stop at the Midland Hotel brings visitors to the revamped Free Trade Hall, one of Manchester's great landmarks. The ornamental, neo-classical façade of carved stone was a masterpiece of 19th century design. It served as a concert hall and home to the Hallé Orchestra. In 1966 the Hall was converted into a 5-star grand hotel, preserving the Italianate front.

The walk ends at the John Rylands Library. Its new extension features Pilkington glass extensively in the exterior structure providing natural lighting. This contrasts with the original gothic style building's dark interior. The extension has provided room for a café and gift shop at the same time upgrading to include wheelchair access.

Whether area guests want a walking tour, a ride on a tour bus or to follow a drive yourself tour, Manchester will provide fascinating historic buildings and renovated structures put to new uses that match the city's growth.

Getting to and around Manchester

The city of Manchester is a major transportation hub within the United Kingdom, benefiting from a range of travel options both within the city and to further afield.

Manchester Airport is one of the busiest in the UK with services throughout the UK along with international destinations, also offering fantastic airport parking facilities.

Manchester is home to an extensive tram network as well as a number of train station which include Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria. Bus services operate throughout the city of Manchester, or you can choose to drive your own car or motorbike. If you have not yet obtained your UK drivers license you can find a local instructor in Manchester here.