The prestigious Whitworth Art Gallery
Crossing the Curry Mile, with its stalls of shimmering saris and its small Indian restaurants, and reaching to the city centre, Oxford Road is home to the most prestigious cultural centre of the city: the Whitworth Art Gallery. Installed in a red brick building that is part of Manchester University campus, this more than 125-year-old gallery is an impressive sight. Its recent renovation, which has doubled its exhibition area, has promoted it to the category of the great international art institutions. One day won't be long enough for you to take in the 55,000 modern and contemporary artworks exhibited.
Amongst its eclectic exhibitions, you will discover some extraordinary collections: an abundance of antique textiles and an incredible succession of wallpapers which will help you understand this decorative genre better. You will be blown away by the refinement of the watercolours and drawings by British artists before you admiringly enter the rooms adorned by masterpieces by major artists such as Dürer, Rembrandt, Lucien Freud and David Hockney. The museum is open every day and also offers many activities for the whole family, whatever the age of your little one. There are, for example, workshops especially designed to introduce your baby to art.
As you cross the gallery's new wing, constructed completely of glass and steel, your gaze is drawn to the surrounding grounds. Take the air in the art garden designed by the English artist Sarah Price. Thematic outings are offered for your children to introduce them to the relationship between art and nature. This walk in the cool air will take you to a terrace of sculptures dominated by the powerful works of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. You can recover from this excitement by enjoying a cup of tea in the museum's cafeteria, tucked away amongst the trees studded around the grounds.
The Whitworth Gallery
Manchester M15 6ER
+44 161 275 7450
Classicism and modern art at Manchester Art Gallery
Another must-visit for art lovers, Manchester Art Gallery boasts a remarkable collection covering six centuries of fine arts, ceramics, furniture and costumes. Its neoclassical building created by the famous architect Charles Barry, perfectly matches the style of the Victorian paintings exhibited. Amongst these marvellous artworks, do not miss the portraits by Gainsborough and Reynolds, the depictions of animals by Stubbs and Turner's landscapes. As regards modern art, you will be spoilt for choice with works by the renowned artists Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson and Francis Bacon. Take the opportunity of a visit with the family to reveal your artistic talent. Enrol for the day's workshop and create personalised artwork from reclaimed products.
If your visit has given you an appetite, head to The Waterhouse pub, a stone's throw away. And for a 100% British experience, sample its excellent fish and chips. This establishment offers no fewer than five different children's menus! One of them consists of a mixture of 10 different vegetables – courgettes, aubergines, carrots and fennel… – enhanced by a tomato-mascarpone sauce. Manchester will charm your mind and your taste buds.
Manchester Art Gallery
Manchester M2 3JL
+44 161 235 8888
67–71 Princess Street
Manchester M2 4EG
+44 161 200 5380
The Lowry, a symbol of the Mancunian revival
Art also flourishes in Greater Manchester. You won't fail to be impressed by The Lowry, an immense construction of glass and steel rising up from the renovated docks of Salford Quays, in the city of Salford. Inside this exuberantly designed cultural centre, a large area pays tribute to one of the great Mancunian artists of the early 20th-century: Laurence Stephen Lowry. Admire his paintings which testify to the overcrowded atmosphere of industrial Manchester: you will love the market scenes, the children playing in the streets, the workers returning from work, as well as the superb marine landscapes. Take advantage of your visit to take a walk around this former working -class district, which has been completely redeveloped for its residents, with numerous shops and urban gardens, such as the Blue Peter Garden. Here you can take the pulse of this city which is experiencing a complete reincarnation.
Salford, M50 3AZ
+44 343 208 6000
Art and history at the Gallery Oldham
Make a beeline for the Gallery Oldham, an ambitious public art gallery in Oldham town centre, on the outskirts of Manchester. Opened in 2002, it is actually the latest reincarnation of the Oldham Museum & Art Gallery, created in 1883. The modern building which welcomes visitors today is connected by a glass bridge to the historic building. The building's exterior architecture, just like the exhibition “Oldham stories” bears witness to the transformation of the town over the ages. A visit to this hybrid space, which brings together different eras and all types of art, is free and you can explore one of the largest permanent collections in north-west England and examine thousands of natural history specimens and archaeological artefacts. The rooms devoted to oil paintings will transport you to the era of the Pre-Raphaelite artists, from the end of the Victorian era to post-war paintings, from pop art to abstract art.
This year, if you are passing through before 30 November, do not miss Oldham Open. This multidisciplinary exhibition, organised every year, presents the work of artists living or working in the Oldham area, thus bringing you into contact with the entire artistic life of the locality.
35 Greaves Street
Oldham OL1 1AL
+44 161 770 4653
Exploring street art in the Northern Quarter
Since the Cities of Hope Festival, in 2016, Manchester has become a hotspot of street art. This event, the aim of which is to raise awareness amongst the public of major societal problems, has thrown up some engaging and explosive works, created by artists of international renown, such as Alex Void, nicknamed the “Da Vinci of street art” and the Case Ma'Claim collective. As you explore the alternative neighbourhood of the Northern Quarter, set off to discover these powerful messages adorning the brick facades of a former industrial district which has become the symbol of “trendy” Manchester. Near Stevenson Square, lift your gaze and admire the Serenity fresco by the street artist SNIK, a tribute to women who fight injustice. Here and there you will notice the stylised bees of the artist Qubek, a sculptor and street artist. These little workers symbolise the neighbourhood's working-class soul. Before your admiring gaze the colourful, outsize face of a young Papuan appears, created by the English artist Dale Grimshaw. Further away, a portrait by the French street artist C215 pays homage to a photo of a homeless man by Lee Jeffries. Continue your artistic wanderings to Tib Street, where other mural paintings blend in seamlessly with the brickwork. Here, you can enjoy one of the city's best brunches at Evelyn's Cafe Bar, where multiple culinary influences are at play, with delicacies such as bowls of quinoa and fresh vegetables, fried Korean chicken and sweet pancakes to be enjoyed.
Evelyn Cafe Bar
44 Tib Street G18 Smithfield building
Manchester M4 1NB
+44 161 834 3303