One of Manchester’s premier museums, the Manchester Art Gallery was founded in the early 19th century and boasts a collection of more than 25,000 objects. It’s particularly renowned for its Victorian-era artworks (including multiple Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces) and places a strong focus on the decorative arts.
Beyond its collection highlights, the Manchester Art Gallery is a destination in its own right. The museum is situated in two Grade I and Grade II listed buildings designed by architect Sir Charles Barry (who’s best known for helping rebuild the Houses of Parliament in London). Following a renovation in 2002, the museum also contains a third, modern wing.
Free to enter and conveniently located in the heart of the city, the Manchester Art Gallery is a perfect stop on walking tours, cultural jaunts, and other forays around town.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Manchester Art Gallery is free to visit and open daily.
- The museum offers “explorer belts,” which contain magnifying glasses, binoculars, and other tools designed to engage younger visitors.
- The three-story museum is fully accessible to wheelchair users and those with strollers.
- The on-site gallery café offers an array of tasty dishes cooked from scratch.
How to Get There
Located in the center of town, the Manchester Art Gallery is easy to reach. The museum is just a short walk from Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, and Manchester Victoria train stations. It can also be accessed by bus (with nearby stops at Piccadilly Gardens or on Princess Street), by Metrolink tram (St. Peter’s Square and Market Street stations are located close by), or simply on foot.
When to Get There
In addition to its permanent collection, the Manchester Art Gallery hosts several temporary exhibitions every year. If you wish to explore further, free collection-highlight tours are held Thursday through Sunday. The museum is open 10am–5pm daily, but if your visit falls on the first Wednesday of the month, you can take advantage of late opening hours.
Manchester Art Gallery Collection Highlights
A number of works by Pre-Raphaelite artists—including John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John William Waterhouse, and Ford Madox Brown—are part of the Manchester Art Gallery’s collection. Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs is among the best known. The museum also owns canvases by Renoir, Pissarro, and Degas. Its craft and design collection, meanwhile, ranges from Egyptian canopic jars to contemporary furnishings.