Whitworth Hall viewed from Brunswick Park

Image: Whitworth Hall, Oxford Rd

Stretching south from St Peter's Square in the city centre, the Oxford Road Corridor is the city's innovation district and home to a unique concentration of knowledge, business and culture. Within one square mile, you will find two of the UK's largest universities, a university NHS foundation trust, and a large cluster of digital, technology and life science businesses. 

Steeped in history, Oxford Road is where the atom was split, where Alan Turing helped usher in the modern computing era and where, most recently, graphene was first isolated. Across the Corridor, you can discover some of Manchester's most historic buildings, from the Alfred Waterhouse-designed University of Manchester and the Grade I listed Holy Name Church to 200-year-old pubs like Peveril of The Peak and Brittons Protection. 


Music

Manchester is one of the UK hotspots for live music and many of the city's most iconic venues are found around Oxford Road. The musical history here begins in 1858 when Sir Charles Hallé formed what we now know as the Hallé Orchestra at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. Fast forward to 1966 and the Free Trade Hall would become part of musical history again when Bob Dylan was famously heckled for going electric. Ten years later the Sex Pistols played the "gig that changed the world". Punk was born with Joy Division, The Fall, Magazine and The Smiths not far behind.

Venues like The Ritz and Manchester Academy have hosted many legendary acts over the years, while smaller venues such as YES, The Deaf Institute, Big Hands, Joshua Brooks and Gorilla ensure the city keeps its finger on the pulse with an unrivalled programme of contemporary bands and DJs. For the traditionalists, the RNCM is one of the leading conservatoires in the world and The Bridgewater Hall is home to three resident orchestras: the Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata.  


Art

The front of Whitworth Art Gallery

Image: The Whitworth Gallery, Oxford Rd

Opening again in 2023 after a £15m refurb, Manchester Museum is the largest university museum in the UK with six million items from across the world, spanning over four floors of displays and exhibitions in 15 galleries. Further along Oxford Road is The Whitworth art gallery, the gallery at the park provides contemporary exhibition programmes that have gained global attention.  

The Holden Gallery is at the heart of the Manchester School of Art, housed in the original building which was built in 1880, the space explores thematic ideas through the work of established and mid-career artists as well playing host to the highly respected degree and MA shows. 

On the fringe of the Corridor boundary is Castlefield Gallery. Established by artists in 1984, the arrival of the gallery in the city was to become an important catalyst for rapid cultural growth and an increased presence of visual artists in the city. Supporting artistic and career development for artists is a key driver for the gallery, as well as enabling audiences to fully connect with contemporary art.


Theatres and Entertainment

Inside HOME cinema

Image: HOME cinema

HOME, a £25 million multimedia venue that opened in 2015, has one of the most notable exhibition spaces around Oxford Road with a regular programme of international contemporary visual art. HOME is a major cultural destination in its own right, with an unrivalled independent cinema programme, bookshop and restaurant. Its 500-seat space has seen productions from a wide range of international partners such as Complicité, National Theatre, National Theatre Scotland, Javaad Alipoor, Boy Blue, Hofesh Shechter, Rhum and Clay, Kneehigh and many more. 

From Laurel and Hardy and Judy Garland in the early 1900s to more recent notable performances such as the Book of Mormon and The Lion King, The Palace Theatre is Manchester's largest traditional theatre space and brings a West End feel to the Oxford Road theatre scene. In contrast to the world-famous shows at The Palace, at the other end of Oxford Road is. Contact. Notable for its castle-like appearance, Contact is the leading national theatre and arts venue to place young people. Expect a varied programme of emerging theatre here, often starting their very own Contact Young Company. 


Literature

Hand-in-hand with Oxford Road's theatre scene is its literary roots which stretch deep into this UNESCO City of Literature. Central Library welcomes over 2 million visits per year, making it the most visited public library in the country. The International Anthony Burgess Foundation celebrates all aspects of the life and work of Anthony Burgess. Elizabeth Gaskell's House is the former home of the famous author and her family. More recently The Manchester Poetry library has opened on Oxford Road and like many venues in the area, plays a vital part in the Manchester Literature Festival. 


Food

The Oxford Road Corridor is the largest district in the city and includes some of Manchester's newest neighbourhoods. Circle Square is the latest, centred around Symphony Park, an impressive new green space, it boasts a mix of commercial office buildings and accommodation as well as some of the most exciting new restaurants in Manchester. Hello Oriental is an exciting new fusion destination, formed from a diverse community of Asian street food specialists. Over the three floors, you'll find a world of delights from traditional Vietnamese, a Chinese bakery as well as a fully featured supermarket and bars trading in both beers and spirits sourced from all over the world. Canvas is just as impressive, a fully featured day and night venue within a venue with several floors of entertainment across more than eight thousand square feet. And as the name suggests, you'll find a strong emphasis on arts and creativity with a gig venue and members club for special events. Tahi brings a myriad of flavours direct from New Zealand to the city, Bird of Prey takes fried chicken to the next level and the much-loved Japanese tea house, Tsujiri rounds at the ever-expanding offer in the neighbourhood.  


Less than 10-minutes from Circle Square is First Street, a vibrant neighbourhood between Oxford Road and Deansgate that's home to some outstanding food and drink options including the excellent Indian Tiffin Room, Gas Works, First Steet Kitchen and MasterChef-winner Simon Wood's acclaimed restaurant, WOOD


Parks and Greens

Some of Manchester's best green spaces are to be found right here. 

All Saints Park is a popular destination for students and residents to relax in and will soon be improved by pedestrianisation of the surrounding roads. At the very south end of Oxford Road, you will find Whitworth Park which opened in 1890 as a memorial concept to the famous engineer Sir Joseph Whitworth, this sprawling park is home to the Whitworth and several monuments including a Grade II listed bronze statue of Edward VII. In more recent years the University of Manchester's Brunswick Park and University Green has added even more greenery to the area.

More food

HATCH from the view of Oxford Road

Image: HATCH, Oxford Rd

Dotted between all these attractions is an increasingly exciting food and drink offer that rolls well into the evening to create a vibrant nightlife. Food halls HATCH and Society are ideal destinations for catering to large crowds, for Indian food, there is Zouk, Indian Tiffin Rooms and a widely popular street food offering at Bundobust Brewery. Fine dining options include WOOD and The French alongside favourites like The Refuge and hidden gems like Seoul Kimchi.


Pubs and bars

There are too many excellent bars and pubs to name here, but some of the best include Sandbar (who quietly do one of the best pizzas in town), rock n' roll dive bars Big Hands and The Temple as well as The Old Abbey Tap House and The Las O Gowrie. If you are looking for a late night, Joshua Brooks, Dog Bowl, Bunny Jacksons and FAC251 have you covered. 


Accomodation

There's so much to take in around Oxford Road, the only question is where you are going to stay! Luxury and boutique options include The Midland, The Edwardian and Kimpton Clocktower with excellent modern options like The Hyatt Regency and Maldron also within the Corridor.

Inside The Kimpton Hotel

Image: The Kimpton Hotel, Oxford Rd

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