Visiting Chetham's Library
Chetham's Library, in the heart of Manchester's Medieval Quarter, is the oldest public library in the English speaking world. It's entire collection has been designated as one of national and international importance. This year marks the 600th anniversary of Chetham's medieval buildings: the oldest in Manchester. They mark the foundation of the Manchester we know today. A new tour programme, launching 21 June 2021, will guide visitors through 600 years of Manchester history. To book tickets, please visit www.chethams.org.uk
Booking for Library Tours
Library Tour tickets must be booked in advance, and may be purchased online, in person or by telephone. Children under 12 years of age and accompanied by an adult visit free of charge.
All funds raised from ticket sales will help us invest back into the Library, conservation projects, research projects and a programme of events and workshops for all of our visitors.
Ticket Prices (includes 50p booking fee)
Concessions (Students/+65 yrs) £5.50
Under 19 yrs £5.50
Children under 12 yrs FREE when accompanied by an adult.
Why do I need to pre-book a Library Tour?
To ensure you have the best possible experience and to protect the historic buildings, we have limited the number of visitors that can visit the Library at any one time. This means that you will need to book into a time slot ahead of your visit. As spaces are limited to 25 visitors, we strongly suggest you book tickets early for your preferred date and time.
Please book a Library tour in advance. Tours will usually take place every weekday at 11.00am and 2.30pm, with numbers limited to protect these delicate ancient buildings – please check the booking system to see if there are tickets available for your preferred date and time.
Visitors need to be aware that for security reasons large bags and suitcases are not permitted on site (bags larger than 35cm x 40cm x 19cm). Security officers may perform random bag searches before allowing admission to the site. The nearest luggage storage is located at Shude Hill Luggage Storage
Please note: the Library is closed on public holidays, and between Christmas and New Year.
What can I expect to see?
Chetham’s has been in continuous use as a public library for over 350 years. It is housed in a beautiful sandstone building dating from 1421, which was built to accommodate the priests of Manchester’s Collegiate Church. Join our expert volunteers on a tour packed with historical fact and fascinating stories: amongst the highlights are the gated book presses with thousands of books dating from as early as the 16th century, the historic furniture and paintings, a remarkable chained library, the desk where Marx and Engels studied, and medieval cat flaps!
Please note: some parts of the medieval buildings are not available to view as part of the Library tour. For a closer look at the Library and a full tour of the medieval buildings, we also offer guided tours through our partner Jonathan Schofield, which can be booked through his website.
Located in the heart of Manchester’s Medieval Quarter, Chetham’s Library is easily accessible by road, tram, train and foot.
This map of the city centre shows the location of Chetham’s, which is located opposite the National Football Museum. Entry to the Library is through the main gate on Long Millgate, M3 1SB, just off Cathedral Gardens.
Chetham’s Library is open to readers Monday to Friday 9am-12.30pm and 1.30-4.30pm by prior appointment. You can explore the collections via our online catalogues.
|Ticket Type||Ticket Tariff|
|Adults||£6.50 per ticket|
|Concessions||£5.50 per ticket|
|Under 19s||£5.50 per ticket|
Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.
|Chetham's Library Tour dates and times (1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2021)|
|Monday - Friday||11:00||- 12:00|
|Saturday - Sunday||Closed|
* The Library is closed on public holidays, and between Christmas and New Year.
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