This religious and historic site tells the story of the wars, terrorist bombs and other unforgettable history that shaped the city center you see today.
An essential stop for anyone interested in architecture and history is the iconic Manchester Cathedral. The interior features the best examples of medieval woodwork in northern England. Carved details in the quire and ceiling are intricate and full of life, while the more modern stained-glass windows tell the story of the destruction of the cathedral, and the city itself.
The original building dates back to 1215 and was the Parish Church of Manchester. Baron Robert Greslet, Lord of the Manor of Manchester, had the church built next to his residence. Many current features are the result of renovations made centuries later.
The building was badly damaged by a bomb during World War II, and all of the ancient windows were destroyed. The Fire Window in the Regiment Chapel depicts this destruction. The cathedral was restored all over again after it was damaged by an IRA bombing in 1996.
Today, the church is still in use and is part of a Church of England diocese. The building is open daily to the public, except during ongoing restorations and special services. Have a coffee at the popular on-site café, attend a service or listen to the choir. Many people simply take a walk around to admire the cathedral’s interior.
If you are interested in religious heritage, take the free daily guided tour. You can also purchase an Architectural Guide from the welcome desk to learn all about the design and history.
Outside, look for the Hanging Ditch Bridge; it’s the oldest structure in Manchester. Spot the carved stone gargoyles and a golden Madonna, then step inside to gaze up to see the carvings of “musical angels” from the 15th century. Under the quire seats are the 16th-century wooden carvings known as Misericords.
Manchester Cathedral is a short walk from Victoria train station and there is ample parking available for a fee at the Manchester Arena (MEN), next to Victoria Station. Check the cathedral’s website or call the cathedral office before your visit to confirm whether it will be open.