Manchester’s Hidden Gems: 5 underrated attractions in the city

Planning a trip up north? Manchester has long been dubbed the “New London” with impressive skyscrapers, multiple shopping centres, and Instagram-worthy eateries.

But there’s more to this friendly city than first meets the eye. In this blog, we’ll share 5 of Manchester’s hidden gems to help you create an unforgettable trip!

The Oldest Library in the UK: Chetham’s Library

Editorial credit: Kelly Whittlesey /

For over 350 years, Mancunians have had the privilege of visiting Cheltham’s Library to pick up a new book or two. But it’s not just the prospect of scoping out new reading material that makes this one of Manchester’s most spectacular hidden gems. The sandstone building dates back to 1421, when it was used by the priests of Manchester’s Collegiate Church. Every inch is riddled with rich history, from the ancient arches to the eye-catching ceiling beams and the mahogany bookshelves. It’s such an incredible piece of history that the library was officially accredited as a museum. You can even relish a guided tour while you’re there. For bookworms, history lovers, and intrigued tourists alike, a visit to Chetham’s Library is a must.

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Ancoats Peeps Art Exhibition

Located in the north-west of Manchester city centre is the vibrant neighbourhood of Ancoats. Formerly a textile district, it’s home to the Ancoats Peeps, an intriguing series of peepholes encased in the walls of many buildings. Inside, you can spot various pieces of machinery, hidden rooms, and other objects that provide a glimpse into Manchester’s industrial history. However, it’s not clear how many peeps there are, or exactly where they can be found. It’s up to you to scope them out for yourself, as you piece together the story behind this fascinating attraction.

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Manchester’s Northern Quarter

Editorial credit: Alastair Wallace /

If you’re a lover of street art, one-off shops, quirky restaurants, and bustling live music venues, Manchester’s Northern Quarter will be right up your street. This lively neighbourhood was established in the 90s to shed light on some of the city’s most incredible independent business owners. Why not take a trip to Afflecks to relish a multi-story shopping experience? Here you’ll find plenty of traders boasting vintage finds, one-of-a-kind jewellery, and even tattoo studios. Or head to Port Street Beer House for a drink, followed by a stop at Matt and Phred’s for an evening of relaxing jazz music. Whatever you like to do, you’ll find something to pique your interest in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

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Vimto Monument

Editorial credit: Richard Oldroyd /

For over a century, Brits have indulged in the distinct taste of Vimto, a drink invented by an enthusiastic herbalist living in Manchester. “A Monument to Vimto” is a wooden sculpture in The Vimto Park crafted to pay homage to such a well-loved beverage. At the base, you’ll find oversized fruits depicting the contents of the drink – a perfect opportunity to take a pew and snap a photo! Consider the Vimto monument an unusual yet intriguing must-see attraction when in the city of Manchester.

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The Washhouse Cocktail Bar

Fancy a night on the town? Perhaps you need a well-earned rest after perusing endless shops lining the vibrant streets of the city. A trip to the reservation-only Washhouse Cocktail Bar in Shudehill is perfect for kicking back with a mouthwatering tipple. But you’d better get your camera at the ready – this is a cocktail bar unlike any other. From the offset, expect mystery and excitement as you enter what appears to be a laundrette facility. You’ll need to follow a series of steps (first clue: visit their website) before making it through the secret door to enter the speakeasy. Once inside, you can order an array of cocktails, from the weird and wonderful to old-school classics. But shhh… don’t tell anyone you’ve been – after all, the bar doesn’t actually exist!

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