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Tours 2015: MCR's Most Charming Building, Ghosts & Incredible Interiors

Some of the best city tours this year

Published on February 19th 2015.

Tours 2015: MCR's Most Charming Building, Ghosts & Incredible Interiors

TOURS galore going overground and undergound, up buildings, into buildings and through the streets. There'll be alleyways involved, pubs too, maybe masks, definitely the odd quiz, prizes and spooks of course. Most of the tours are guided by Manchester Confidential's editor and award-winning tour guide Jonathan Schofield.

NEW for 2015 AN EXCLUSIVE TOUR Chetham's Library And The Baronial Hall 

In 2015 Chetham's Library and Baronial Hall is opening for certain Saturdays at 3.30pm to allow tours. I'm overjoyed I'll be conducting these with assistance from library staff.

To get into these precious buildings on a Saturday is a rare privilege. An honour. The tours are sure to book up quickly so don't delay. 

Here's a bit of background. 

Chetham’s Library - and the building it sits within and shares with Chetham's School of Music - is the oldest complete structure in the city, dating from the 1420s when it was erected as a single building to house priests.

After the Reformation, the premises gained a new lease of life when they were purchased through the will of local merchant Humphrey Chetham in 1653. He wished to set up a charity school for 40 poor boys and a free public library for the ‘use of scholars and others well-affected’. 

It's all still there and the buildings not only look ancient but feel ancient. Most of the library fixtures and fittings are original and date from the mid-1600s. The books are shielded behind 18th century gates and were formerly chained to the shelves. Down the side corridor is the main Reading Room with its wonderful carvings. 

The collection is beautiful and the role call of visitors astonishing; Daniel Defoe, Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Disreali, Winston Churchill. Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx, Damon Albarn and many others have studied in the Reading Room. 

This is Manchester’s most charming yet potent building.

And now there's Saturday access at 3.30pm exclusively available here.

Saturday 21 February, Saturday 21 March, Saturday 18 April, Saturday 23 May, Saturday 30 May, Saturday 11 July. Tours cost £10 each and last ninety minutes. The tour meets at the main entrance of Chetham's Library on Long Millgate, M3 1SB. 

Chetham's LibraryChetham's Library



The Haunted Underworld World Tour

The only Manchester tours taking place in the absolute dark, delivering dastardly and moving haunted tales. Stories might include those of dead artists, sinister magicians, tragic lovers and body-snatchers. Expect the unexpected and also lots of laughs. 

I wanted to drop you a line following our Haunted Tour on Friday. Very simply put, absolutely brilliant. Andy T. Andrew Titterton. Director, for and on behalf of Studio KMA.

Tours £10 each and last just over an hour. Minimum age is ten for these tours - but if the child is very sensitive, best not to bring the under 12s. Meet in St Ann’s Square, at the War Memorial, City centre, M2 7EF. Dates: Every second Saturday. Next tour 21 February. 

Book here.

Under the city there is no peaceUnder the city there is no peace

Uninteresting Objects

Nice pulleyNice pulleyManchester's unique tour. Ah yes, the un-regarded things that make a city. This tour reveals odd sculptures, mad details, washed up remnants of things inside and outside buildings. It’s different – guaranteed. Each tour will tackle a different area of the city centre and environs and uncover massive quantities of uninteresting objects. It'll be so uninteresting you'll be captivated. The routes are new ones so if you’ve been on this Uninteresting Tour before you’ll be surprised by all the uninteresting bits yet to see.

Thank you once again for looking after the group yesterday. They said you were amazing - informative and very 'interesting' as well. Best Regards, Angela, Experiential Learning, Fortune Travel, Singapore. 2013.

Tours cost £8 each and lasts up to two hours. Meeting point: various, click here. All tours start at 3pm. Next tour: Saturday 7 March.

Castles in the air


Castles in the air

NEW for 2015: April Fools Day Tour, the Most Serious Tour Of The Year

Serious tourSerious tourThere will be no fun on this tour, no laughing and being silly. It's time to forget all the childish behaviour associated with this incredibly important day. 

The guide guarantees to fail to refer to the most farcical, ridiculous, stupid, side-splittingly funny episodes and stories of Manchester life. There will be no visits to places of public amusement, no ridiculous prizes given away.

There will be no fun.

By order.

The tour will be the very model of the perfect old-fashioned tour, because LIFE IS SERIOUS and we must maintain STRAIGHT FACES AT ALL TIMES.*

Right you've been told.

*The guide reserves the right to deviate from the description above.

What is guaranteed is a 6pm start on Wednesday 1 April, a price of £8 and a meeting point outside Marks & Spencer on Market Street. 

Book here

Incredible MCR Interiors

THIS is a tour that goes inside some of the more special and jaw-dropping interiors in the city centre. You'll be amazed by the variety of spaces we visit. Expect surprises and expect some interiors to be specially opened just for this tour. Some interiors we visit may be familiar and include the Rates Hall, Manchester Cathedral, Central Library, Manchester Town Hall, John Rylands Library, (former) Midland Bank, The Royal Exchange, Mercure Hotel, Manchester Art Gallery but there will also be a guaranteed surprise revealed on the day. In all the places we visit the story will be told of the buildings and people who created them.

Tours cost £8 each and lasts up to two hours. Tour begins at 3pm. Meet in St Ann’s Square, at the War Memorial, city centre, M2 7EF. Next tour date: Saturday 21 March. 

Book here

Rates Hall

Rates Hall

 The Original Pub Tour 

The funniest pub tours in the country, absurd yet factual roller-coasters slurping across two hundred years of Manchester's drinking history. There's a daft quiz at the end with very few questions and prizes to follow. The tours cover various areas in the city centre. 

Thanks we had a great time in Manchester. Outstanding. Never met a better guide. Thanks again. The tour was very funny and very informative. Tiina Iranmanesh, Groups & Incentives, Scancoming Ltd. 2013

Tours cost £8 each and last up to two hours. Meet outside Manchester Visitor Information Centre, Portland Street, City centre. All tours at 6pm. Next tour Thursday 5 March. 

Book here

City Arms

City Arms

Down the Irk Valley - the Impossible Bridge and the Improbable Hill

Cemeteries, the strangest sculpture in Manchester, great views, astonishing history and a scramble up the stones that built the city (if you feel like scrambling, otherwise you can just take a look from a distance). The tour follows this story published on Manchester Confidential. If you love a two hour walk through epic history and you love sampling the lost corners of Manchester then this tour is for you. It brings together all the romance of faded industry, ruins and memory with dramatic insights into how cities morph and change and new optimism can blossom in even the most unlikely corners of urban areas. We start the tour at Manchester General Cemetery on Rochdale Road, a mile or so north of Victoria Station and easily accessible by public transport, and we finish right in the heart of the city centre.  

Tours are free on Saturday 16 May at 11.30am and 3.30pm. Meet Harrowby Drive, Collyhurst Park, M40 8LP. 




View at twilight of the city centre from the Improbable Hill

Tours of the city - enjoy your Manchester, find out about it and be entertained at the same timeTours of the city - enjoy your Manchester, find out about it and be entertained at the same time

Chetham's Library doorChetham's Library door

First Edition Of Samuel Johnson Dictionary at Chetham's LibraryFirst Edition Of Samuel Johnson Dictionary at Chetham's Library


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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Tom StearsJanuary 12th 2014.

Do you do Sunday tours?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 14th 2014.

Private Sunday tours yes

Amanda EveryJanuary 14th 2014.

Regrettably, I'm in LDN on 29th March. Will you be doing the Incredible MCR Interiors walk on any other date, please? :)

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Amanda EveryApril 25th 2014.

Never did get a bleedin' response!

Jonathan SchofieldApril 25th 2014.

Oops it's on the Saturday 19 July

AnastasiaSeptember 29th 2014.

is there any tours on this weekend? 4/5th october?

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