6 Can't-Miss Historical Spots in Manchester to Explore

Manchester, a city steeped in history, has played a critical role in shaping the contemporary world. From being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution to the epicentre of scientific breakthroughs, Manchester has a legacy that can only be described as rich and vibrant. Known as "Cottonopolis," this place went from being a humble market town to the world's first industrial city. The architectural gems and layered past offer many interesting and unique places to go to in Manchester.

Exploring these historical gems by car allows you to experience Manchester's unique past in complete comfort and flexibility. Navigate urban and rural landmarks, embrace spontaneous detours, and discover hidden treasures along the way

car hire at Manchester Airport

Book a car hire at Manchester Airport from Hertz and choose from a wide selection of vehicles that meet your travel preferences. The airport's strategic location and link with major highways allow you to effortlessly access central Manchester and beyond. As you embark on your adventure, here are six unmissable historical spots in Manchester:

1. Manchester Town Hall

Manchester Town Hall is a breathtaking example of Victorian Neo-Gothic architecture. Completed in 1877, it is a powerful symbol of the city's industrial past. You can take a guided tour of the hall to learn about its rich history and admire the intricate details of the Great Hall. The clock tower offers unique panoramic views of the city. Inside the tower, you will find impressive murals depicting the history of Manchester. The outer walls of the tower feature statues of prominent figures, making it a fascinating place to visit in Manchester.

Distance from Manchester Airport: 10 miles

Time from Manchester Airport: Approximately 30 minutes

Parking Nearby: Park your rental car at the Piazza or Chinatown paid parking lots.

2. John Rylands Library

John Rylands Library, inaugurated in 1900, is a marvel of neo-Gothic design. You'll discover rare books and manuscripts, including a Gutenberg Bible from 1455. Enriqueta Rylands founded the library in memory of her husband, John Rylands. You can wander through the historic reading rooms and enjoy the peaceful ambiance. The building is an example of finesse and fine workmanship with stained glass windows and intricate woodwork. The library often hosts exhibitions and events, earning it a prominent spot on the ‘Manchester’s Places to Visit’ list.

Distance from Manchester Airport: 10.5 miles

Time from Manchester Airport: Approximately 30 minutes

Parking Nearby: Find paid parking spots at King Street West and the Great Northern, just a few minutes from the library.

3. Old Trafford

Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, is one of the most important football-related places to visit at Manchester. You can take a stadium tour to see the museum, the trophy room, and the players' dressing rooms. The stadium, nicknamed "The Theatre of Dreams," has witnessed countless historic matches since its opening in 1910. You will learn about legendary players like George Best and Eric Cantona. On match days, the atmosphere is electric, with fans from around the world cheering for their favourite teams.

Distance from Manchester Airport: 8 miles

Time from Manchester Airport: Approximately 25 minutes

Parking Nearby: Park your rental car at the YourParkingSpace Premier Inn or the Euro Car Park on Norton Street.

4. Science and Industry Museum

The Science and Industry Museum celebrates Manchester's role in the Industrial Revolution. Located on the site of the world's first passenger railway station, it offers interactive exhibits on science, technology, and industry. You can see working steam engines and learn about the city's textile heritage. The museum also features a section dedicated to computing and telecommunications. It is a great place to visit in Manchester, providing a comprehensive look at how Manchester helped in shaping the modern world.

Distance from Manchester Airport: 10 miles

Time from Manchester Airport: Approximately 35 minutes

Parking Nearby: Find parking spots on Liverpool Road, 5 minutes from the museum.

5. The University of Manchester

The University of Manchester is one of the UK's leading research institutions. Established in 1824, it has produced a phenomenal number of 25 Nobel laureates! You can explore the beautiful campus, which includes historic buildings like the Whitworth Hall and the Manchester Museum. The university offers various cultural activities, including public lectures and art exhibitions. Its rich academic history and contributions to science and the arts make it an inspiring place to go to in Manchester.

Distance from Manchester Airport: 10 miles

Time from Manchester Airport: Approximately 35 minutes

Parking Nearby: Park your rental car at the public parking spaces in the University car park spaces.

6. Lake District

Although a bit of a drive from Manchester, the Lake District is worth the stretch. This UNESCO World Heritage is an exceptional beauty with its lakes, mountains, and forests. You can hike, boat, or simply enjoy the gorgeous scenery. This place was home to, and has inspired many writers, including William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Beatrix Potter, and has an important place in the UK's literary history. You can visit Dove Cottage, Wordsworth's home, and the Beatrix Potter Museum. The Lake District is a perfect day trip from Manchester if you enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking and cycling.

Distance from Manchester Airport: 90 miles

Time from Manchester Airport: Approximately 2 hours

The Bottom Line

Manchester offers a treasure trove of historical sites of great significance not just in Manchester but in world history. Exploring these sites is best done at your own pace, making car travel the pragmatic choice. Rent a car to move comfortably from one attraction to another and make the most of your visit.

car hire Manchester Airport

For a hassle-free experience, get a car hire at Manchester Airport from Hertz. Hertz makes the perfect travel partner with an extensive fleet, convenient rental locations, and reliable service. Whether navigating Manchester's city streets or venturing out to the historical Lake District, we offer the flexibility and freedom you need to make your trip unforgettable.