There’s a reason the Manchester Art Gallery is on everyone's list of things to do in the city – it’s collection of British and European artists is among the best in the country with more than 25,000 pieces of art. With architecture dating back to the 1830s (the older wing of the gallery was designed by Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament), the interior is packed with works of art, including paintings ranging from pre-Raphaelite masterpieces to landscapes.
On display in three rooms housing the gallery’s permanent collections of 20th century artists are such luminaries as Henry Moore, Lucien Freud and Stanley Spencer. In addition to paintings, the gallery also houses the Ashton Bennett silver collection, metalwork and porcelain pieces.
For people visiting between Easter and September, carve out some additional time and check out Heaton Hall, the gallery’s annex located about four miles away and houses decorative art from the 18th and 19th centuries. Hours may vary, so check with the Manchester Visitor Centre before heading out.
The gallery is accessible via Metrolink tram, bus and train. Take either the Altrincham or Eccles lines to St. Peter’s Square or Mosley Street stations. If you’re taking the bus, the nearest bus stop is St. Peter’s Square or Piccadilly Gardens. If visiting by train, exit at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road or Manchester Victoria stations, then hop on the Metrolink Tram.