10 of the best for culture vultures

From historic locations tracing Manchester’s art through the years past to avant-garde venues in old mills and engine rooms, here’s our roundup of the best Manchester Art Galleries:

1. Manchester Art Gallery

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Take your time as you browse the Manchester Art Gallery. It is located right in the heart of the city and has been at the epicenter of city life for over two centuries. It has an impressive public collection of over 46,000 objects spanning fine arts, crafts and more, and has been shaped not just by museum officials but also by the people of Manchester themselves.

Besides his impressive collection, he also has a number of exhibitions and rotating events throughout the year. So, with plenty to discover, why not spend the day in the historic space and take in all it has to offer? Best of all, it’s completely free to go to the gallery’s main collections and exhibition spaces, so it’s also good for the old wallet and a good place to go when it’s raining.

You will find the Manchester Art Gallery in Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL.


The exterior of HOME, one of Manchester's top art galleries in the North West of England
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A center for contemporary art in Manchester as well as theatre, music and film, HOME is, in its own words, a space for ‘push the boundaries of form and technology, to experiment, have fun and take risks‘.

Bold, innovative and often provocative, the art exhibits featured here are ever-changing. – this year they have the ‘British Art Show’ – which features major new commissions supported by the prestigious Art Fund – and ‘Intervention’ – which is designed to contextualise the disused statue of Friedrich Engels that stands in the center of Manchester through the eyes of Ukrainian activists and writers. They also screen independent films from around the world as well as dance and theater performances.

You can find HOME at 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, M15 4FN.

3. Rogue artist studios

The next round-up of Manchester’s best art galleries is Rogue Artists’ Studios – the largest artist studios in the North West which is currently houses more than 90 artists. Studio owners range from recent to established artists, and once a year the studio opens its doors to the public, you will be able to see all the works on display and even buy some if you wish.

They also organize a program of events in the project space – Manchester’s latest contemporary art gallery offering a flexible space to showcase their incredible work. keep your eyes open on their website for more information.

You’ll find Rogue Artists’ Studios at 4 Barrass Street, Openshaw, Manchester, M11 1WP.

4. Salford Museum and Art Gallery

The exterior of the magnificent Salford Museum and Art Gallery
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Founded in 1850 – then known as the Royal Museum and Public Library – the Salford Museum and Art Gallery is, as its name suggests, a museum and art gallery dedicated to the history, Victorian art and architecture of Salford. But it’s not everything about the history here – contemporary art is also given pride of place with regular traveling exhibitions.

Perhaps the most unique part of this Manchester art gallery and museum is Lark Hill Place – a reconstructed street that encapsulates past living conditions in Salford by displaying everyday products and objects from the years past. There is a gift shop where you can also purchase a range of artistic trinkets.

You will find the Salford Museum and Art Gallery at Crescent, Salford, M5 4WU.

5. The Lowry

The unique exterior of the Lowry Gallery and Cultural Center in Manchester, Greater Manchester
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Named after the early 20th century painter LS Lowry – who was famous for his paintings of industrial scenes in Manchester and surrounding areas – The Lowry is an award-winning cultural center housing two theatres, art galleries, a famous studio and much more. Believe us, this is a must visit place when you are in town.

Another of Manchester’s art galleries offering free entry, The Lowry has a permanent exhibition of 400 works by Lowry – the largest collection in the world – as well as “Picture This” – a temporary exhibition devoted to six popular children’s books that have come to life on stage. You can also catch regular shows here, and there are also great places to eat and drink before or after visiting.

You will find The Lowry at Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ.

6. The Whitworth

The brick red building of the Whitworth Art Gallery shining in the sunlight in Manchester, England
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Part of the University of Manchester and first established in 1889, The Whitworth has gone through a £17m redevelopment in 2015. Since reopening it has welcomed almost two million visitors and established itself as one of Manchester’s leading galleries.

The gallery currently holds over 60,000 different works of art, which range from eclectic textiles, prints and wallpapers to historic fine art and more contemporary pieces. Nothing here is permanent, so chances are there will be different works of art on display each time you visit.

You will find The Whitworth at Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER.

7. Islington Mill

Founded in 1996 by artist Bill Campbell, the Islington Mill became an arts club in 2000 and has since been home to over 100 resident artists and collectives in the main factory and adjacent machine rooms.

He ooccasionally organizes events highlighting the city’s emerging artistic talents, and sometimes there are also club nights and interactive exhibits. Stay tuned later in the year, with more events and other exciting things coming down the pipeline.

You will find Islington Mill at James Street, Salford, M3 5HW.

8. Holden Gallery

Next on this roundup of Manchester’s best art galleries is the Holden Gallery – the contemporary art exhibition at Manchester Metropolitan University and its accompanying art school. This hosts the annual BA and MA degree exhibitions and also champions the art of promising creatives.

This particular gallery is one of the best places to see contemporary art in Manchester – and the whole of the UK for that matter – and there are usually four shows here throughout the year – ranging from photography to live performance art.

You’ll find the Holden Gallery in the Manchester Metropolitan University Grosvenor Building, Cavendish Street, Manchester, M15 6BR.

9. Castlefield Gallery

Nestled right in the heart of Manchester’s Knott Mill district, the Castlefield gallery is ‘Manchester’s first public gallery of contemporary visual art dedicated to the advancement of contemporary visual art and artists‘.

They offer a varied program of exhibitions, events and programs throughout the year, so keep your eyes peeled on their website to see if there is anything in particular you like.

You will find the Castlefield Gallery at 2 Hewitt Street, Greater Manchester, M15 4GB.

10. Oldham Gallery

The neon lighting and futuristic exterior of the Oldham Gallery in the North West of England
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Rounding out this list of the best art galleries in Manchester is Gallery Oldham which, as the name suggests, is based a little further afield in Oldham. The gallery itself has four large exhibition spaces which currently feature exhibitions such as the “British Wildlife Photography Awards” and “Oldham Stories”, featuring selected objects from the gallery’s collection of 110,000 people to tell and show the stories of Oldham and its local communities.

You will find the Oldham Gallery in the Oldham Cultural Quarter, Greaves Street, Oldham, OL1 1AL.

So there you have it, culture vultures – best of the best Manchester Art Galleries. So what are you waiting for? Get your dose of culture and go see them and experience them for yourself!

Mildred D. Field