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Urban Culture Trails
Explore city at your own pace
The initial series of four themed, self-guided Urban Culture Trails offer you the opportunity to discover Manchester's arts & culture scene past and present by walking it. Whether you want to read up before you visit Manchester or simply walk it whilst in the city, the free-to-download trails offer an easy way to find out about Manchester's diverse culture scene and the many stories behind it.
Here's a quick snapshot on each of the trails to help you pick the right one. Click on the titles below or use the related downloads on the right hand side to download your trail.
Manchester's museums and galleries are closely linked with the city's unique past from an industrial powerhouse to the rise of the Free Trade Movement and Suffrage Movement right through to the bold and contemporary city it is today. Manchester's museums and galleries hold up a mirror to the radical spirit of the city, both in terms of the evolution and architecture of the building themselves and the approach they have taken to engaging people from all walks of life in high art and popular culture.
Manchester has always been known for its independent music scene. There's Charles Halle who pioneered organised musical life in Manchester and established the UK's first symphony orchestra, the birth of Northern Soul or the legendary Sex Pistols concert which started the punk rock and New Wave movement. Not to forget is the Madchester era and the rise and fall of Factory Records and the Hacienda. Music in Manchester has always refused to be pigeon-holed. It's this rebellious streak that's lives on today, which is why the city can embrace such a huge range of musical tastes.
Manchester has a long history of creativity, and innovation has led the city to be a city of firsts. Manchester's contemporary arts scene is both innovative and creative, from the UK's only centre of contemporary Chinese art to Islington Mill - an old cotton-spinning mill housing over fifty artists' studios (and the Ting Tings' rehearsing space).
The drive for innovation and change that made Manchester the city it is today is reflected by its theatrical history. Manchester was the first city in the UK to have a repertory theater, was the birthplace of the Manchester School of Dramatists, is still home to UK largest theater concentration outside London and the former Cotton Exchange, once the world's biggest trading hall, now houses one of Manchester's most prestigious theatres.