Travelling to Manchester for one of the many amazing concerts taking place this summer? National Rail have put together some fantastic audio guides on the music history of popular destinations, including a dedicated Manchester episode which you can listen to from the comfort of your train seat. 

Download the free Window Seater app and, as you arrive into Manchester by train, you can learn about the 1976 Sex Pistol’s ‘gig that changed the world’, the history behind home-grown label Factory Records and the iconic Haçienda nightclub. 

Below, discover some of the iconic venues mentioned in the guide – a must visit for music lovers. 

The striking building on Peter Street, built in the 1850’s, was the home of the Halle Orchestra between 1951 until its closure in 1996. During those years, it hosted major music events, including a gig by the Sex Pistol’s that inspired the birth of bands such as The Smiths, The Fall and Joy Division. 

Another iconic Manchester name present at the Sex Pistol’s concert was Tony Wilson, TV presenter that went on to start record label Factory Records and, later, the notorious Haçienda nightclub that was key in the evolution of the city’s own musical and cultural indie-dance scene, appropriately named ‘Madchester’. 

Opened during the expansion of the ‘Madchester’ movement, the Boardwalk was a multi-floor live music venue and nightclub in Little Peter Street known for hosting Oasis’ first-ever gig in 1991. Over the years, many iconic bands graced the stage of the Boardwalk, including The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and Rage Against the Machine. 

Made up of four different venues, each hosting regular concerts throughout the year, Manchester Academy is used by the University of Manchester Students’ Union. Academy 1, the only standalone building of the four, opened in 1990 with a performance by the Bolton band, the Buzzcocks. 

Manchester’s oldest music venue was founded in 1803 as a pub and re-opened in 2022 with an incredible transformation. The name Band on the Wall comes from the venue’s early days when bands would play on a stage higher up on the wall to make space for the public. Joy Division, the Fall and Buzzcocks played some of their earlier gigs in this spectacular venue. 

Located on Oldham Street opposite Piccadilly Records, Night & Day Café has seen world renowned artists take to the stage, including Elbow, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and Lizzo. The venue hosts gigs most nights of the week and has a reputation of supporting talented up-and-coming artists. 

If you want to listen now, you can find the guides on the Transpennine Express website before diving into all the Unmissable Music in Manchester

TransPennine Express run regular services into Manchester from cities across the north of England and Scotland including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool and York. Book an advance ticket and save over 50%, plus you can receive 20% discount if you are travelling in a group of 3 or more*. 

To find out more click here.

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Photo Credit: Band on the Wall, Jody Hartley