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“Great Building. Go see it.”

Manchester Town Hall
Ranked #10 of 177 things to do in Manchester
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This neo-Gothic masterpiece was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and completed in 1887. At the front main entrance sits a statue of the Roman Governor, Agricola, founder of the original fort of Mamuciam, from which the city began. The building dominates Albert Square.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1,059 reviews
675 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 441 helpful votes
“Great Building. Go see it.”
Reviewed 8 June 2014 via mobile

I live in Manchester and often have the pleasure of business meetings in Manchester Town Hall. Both the exterior and interior are impressive. I am always amazed how you can just walk in off the street and admire the interior. There are cafe facilities also. Admire the architecture of yesteryear.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank CorneliusfudgeGM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level Contributor
379 reviews
78 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 648 helpful votes
“Well worth a visit and the Sculpture Cafe”
Reviewed 6 June 2014

We visited the town hall and nearby excellent library. Visitors are free to walk around the ground floor of this Victorian architectural masterpiece. Film& TV crews were working on a new series of "Ripper Street" using parts of the inner courtyards as location shots. After gawping at the actors we adjourned to the Sculpture Cafe, a hidden gem of a cafe in the Sculpture Hall. Well worth a visit for good service in very comfortable surroundings.

Visited May 2014
Thank BrandonDublinIreland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Interesting Perspective”
Reviewed 6 June 2014

It is an interesting tour if you have some knowledge of Manchester. The tour guide we had was a classical liberal, he gave a tour that re-enforced a lot of modern Torie values. Personally I am a left wing and Irish so found the whole thing a bit too much - "Free Trade, Empire, Liberation", there was even ten minutes dedicated on the tour to celebrate how Irish rebels were hung back in 1867 for escaping from a police van, it seemed hypocritical to the general thyme of the tour as they were republicans (didn't want an unelected monarch running their their country), but then again they weren't free trade capitalists. At this stage even the local Mancunians on our tour were looking at each other and the Torie tour guide and thinking he needs to check the demographic profile of this city again. (Frank Gallagher from Shameless was nowhere to be seen, everyone appeared very educated). The tour guide mentioned Cromwell, free trade, and all the good things that came to the North West for all the merchants; but don't forget the proud efforts that the working class (and their trade unions) gave to the rest of the world, they stand to this day. A very interesting tour, but there was a political slant to it. No need to mind my views, I'm adding a left wing slant. Be independent.

Visited July 2013
Thank Jimbarry100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Beautiful, but need an appointment to go inside”
Reviewed 5 June 2014

You can walk into the city hall during the week, but in the weekends it is mostly closed. When you walk in, you can see the beautiful inside of the building. But I reccomend to book the tour (not for free..) in the weekends to get to know the real building. With the tour you can go into some of the rooms, but during the week everything is closed. Inside the town hall there is a flyer with the times and dates of the tours.

Visited July 2013
Thank Mireill3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stockport, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
50 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“The Town Hall tour”
Reviewed 4 June 2014

Designed by architect Alfred Waterhouse, and built in
1877, Manchester Town Hall was the result of the booming
local economy, assisted by the suitability of the climate for
cotton weaving and the locally skilled workforce. To reflect
the wealth that this produced, no expense was spared in
it's construction, which was built on an unequal triangle,
neo-gothic in design and incorporating an impressive 280
foot bell tower (which can be explored on a separate tour).

The tour began outside the front of the Town Hall, which is
said to be one of the finest examples of it's type in this
country. Ray, the tour guide was able to impart lots of
information regarding it's history and construction as we
progressed into the interior. If you've never set foot inside
the Town Hall before, or a visitor to this City or country,
you will no doubt be impressed by the opulence of the neo-
gothic architecture, used as a location for filming The Iron
Lady, (because of it's similarity to The Houses of Parliament)
and Sherlock Holmes.

In common with other similar tours of working buildings, the
tour was rather restricted to certain areas, so as a result
you will only see a relatively small portion of what the building
has to offer, which will usually include the Great Hall containing
the Ford Maddox Brown murals, depicting the history of
manchester, and also contains an impressive pipe organ.
The stairways are also impressive, having been originally
designed to enable ladies with long skirts to ascend and
descend more easily.
To conclude the tour, Ray took our party down to the cobbled
courtyard, which has changed little since the Town Hall built,
and was used in the making of Sherlock Holmes, and contains
prison cells (not part of this tour) a left over from the time when
the Town Hall was home to the local constabulary. To finish
we were taken over one of the link-bridges to the Town Hall
extension to see the impressive council chamber and ante-
room, containing many plaques which celebrate famous names
who have in some way contributed to Manchester's fame.
Unfortunately, because of time constraints, we were unable to
sample the sumptuous Sculpture Hall cafe, although the prices
charged seemed very reasonable for hot and cold drinks and food.

At £7.00 & £6.00 for concessions, the cost of this tour is not
unreasonable, and if you've never ventured inside this building
or are visiting Manchester, the Town Hall tour is a must, along
with The John Rylands Library, which is quite close-by on Deansgate.

Visited May 2014
Thank Davidfarrow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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