Free things to do in Manchester
“HEY! MY NAME IS SIMONE AND I’M A RECEPTIONIST
AT HATTERS HOSTEL MANCHESTER! BELOW ARE A
FEW OF MY SUGGESTIONS FOR WHAT TO DO FOR
FREE IN MANCHESTER NEXT TIME YOU COME AND
Northern Quarter Makers MarketOne of the best ways of soaking up the culture of a new city is by visiting local markets, not just because of the vast array of food, drink, art and vintage goods on display but also due to the free samples on offer! The Northern Quarter Makers Market is one of Manchester’s best displays of local artisan talent, it pops up every second Sunday on Hatters doorstep and showcases a wonderful mix of Manchester based designers, food producers, bakers and artists. The market is that popular that it even has it’s own soundtrack, provided by the NQ’s very own DJ Pasta Paul! If all of that wasn’t enough to tempt you, then get this – it is literally 2 footsteps away from both Manchester Hatters Hostels!
Afflecks Palace Indoor Market
If you’re after a trillion weird and wonderful stalls, shops and boutiques that sell everything from Top Hats to Tattoos all under one roof, then Afflecks Palace is the place for you! This quirky Northern Quarter Indoor market is great to walk around even if you don’t plan on buying anything! The buildings unique quirks and maze-like layout has paved the way for Afflecks to become a hub for independent and alternative culture in Manchester since it opened in 1981. Afflecks currently has over 70 businesses running inside, most of which sell clothing, record shops, tattoos and retro games.
Northern Quarter Graffiti
Being based in the glorious Northern Quarter we have seen the growth of this thriving part of Manchester over the years and one of the things that makes this area so great is the amount of independent bars, restaurants, shops and amazing graffiti!
It’s hard to walk around the Northern Quarter and not notice the amount of cool graffiti and giant murals around each corner. This cool area of Manchester has become a real mecca for talented street artists from all around the world to showcase their work and the majority of graffiti was inspired by key global issues. Here is a great article on some of the best NQ graffiti and where to find it.
Greater Manchester Police MuseumEver fancied sleeping on a wooden pillow? Being a Victorian criminal must have really sucked. Located a stones throw from Hatters Hostel on Newton Street, the Greater Manchester Police Museum offers a fascinating insight into life as a prisoner in the 19th century. Wander into the 120 year old Newton Street police station and the original Victorian cells, and discover how life must have been for naughty people back then. The Greater Manchester Police Museum has lots of great artefacts and collections detailing the history of policing in greater Manchester. Apparently there was a prisoner who was locked up there who used to work in the circus and managed to escape by bending his body to fit through the cell bars, collect the keys and run away, good effort! The staff here are super knowledgable and helpful, so if you have questions, fire away!
John Rylands LibraryBefore you start yawning at the mere mention of the word ‘library’, this one is actually pretty cool and a true gem of Manchester city centre. Nestled within modern office blocks and shop fronts, this Victorian masterpiece looks more like a cathedral than a library and is home to one of the worlds finest collections of rare books and manuscripts. John Ryland was one of Manchester’s most renowned industrialists who built a fortune of over £2 million! When he died in 1890, his wife – Enriqueta, commissioned the library to be built in memory of him. She sounds like a real keeper! (sorry – RIP John).
Check out Sam’s favourite Manchester beer gardens here.