Manchester's music scene is fuelled by the incredible live performances taking place in its venues – up-and-coming artists and global superstars sharing a city that buzzes with the history of those who came before them. Widely regarded as the capital of music in the UK, Manchester’s musical history is ingrained into the streets and buildings, some that have long since been transformed to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. But the stories of Madchester, Hacienda and the local bands that took over the world remain – and you can discover them all through these six enlightening tours.  

1. Wonderwalk through Manchester

Explore Manchester in a ‘Wonderwalk’ with the entertaining and knowledgeable Nic, who will guide you through the different genres found around the city – from raving at the Hacienda to reggae at the Thirsty Scholar and the classical scene at the Royal Northern College of Music. Join the tour and explore lesser-known places as Nic shares insight from his own musical and life experience. The tours are one of a number from Invisible Cities, who train people affected by homelessness to become expert tour guides, showing you their unique perspective of the city. 

2. Manchester Taxi Tours

A more comfortable way to see Manchester, John Consterdine’s Manchester Taxi Tours are popular amongst visitors. The tours can be customised to the guest’s interests, and John offers a bespoke music tour that will take you to some of the most iconic venues in the city, from the Free Trade Hall to Salford Lads’ Club. During the 3–4-hour tour, your friendly guide will drive you through the history that inspired the artists of today. 

3. Manchester Music Trail

If you’d prefer to explore the city in your own time, check out the Manchester Music Map. Curated by Hayley Flynn, the mind behind the alternative Skyliner tours, this trail gives you interesting facts on historical venues in the city centre, from Aatma in the Northern Quarter to Mayfield Depot, now home to the Warehouse Project, with an easy-to-follow trail which can be downloaded to your phone. 

4. The Manchester Music Walkabout

Starting from the 1960’s, through the exciting 90’s, all the way to modern day, Manchester expert guide Jonathan Schofield will bring you along on his Manchester Music Walkabout as he tells you the stories and anecdotes of the past, with a special curated playlist of iconic bands including The Smiths, Oasis, Joy Division and many more, so you’ll get vibing to the sounds of Manchester before you embark on this 1.5 hour journey. 

5. Manchester Music Tours

Discover the old hangouts of your favourite Manchester bands on this dedicated bus and walking tour led by Rose Gill. Manchester Music Tours was founded by Craig Gill, Inspiral Carpet’s drummer, and after his passing his wife continued his work to celebrate Manchester’s music legacy. Having experienced ‘Madchester’ in its prime, Rose runs dedicated band tours, or a Manchester Music Special for anyone wanting a broader history session. 

6. Manchester Music Walking Tour

Organised by Brit Music Tours, this Manchester Music Walking Tour lasts around 1 hour 45 minutes and is led by an experienced guide that will share his vast knowledge of the city’s musical history while taking you around the hipster-haven of the Northern Quarter and past fascinating venues and landmarks of the punk and post-punk scenes that emerged in Manchester. 

 

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From Parklife to Warehouse Project and Pride to ground-breaking performances in offbeat venues including the White Hotel and Hidden, Manchester is the home of Unmissable Music. 

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