Manchester is a lively, multicultural city filled to the brim with things to see and do and there’s incredible history to the city too. Many books have been written on the music of Manchester, the historical significance of some of its most amazing buildings, and even the gangs that have populated the city over the years. However, where do you go if you want to escape the hustle and bustle, and settle down with a good book? Well, in no particular order, we have some recommendations for you.
2 Tony Wilson Place, manchester, M15 4FN
[Insert corny joke like – “well what if I don’t live in the city!”]. No, we’re not talking about not traveling to the city at all. Home is an incredible cultural complex that boasts a cinema, art exhibitions, and a brilliantly quirky bookshop. There’s also a great little cafe inside too, so head here to grab yourself a coffee, find a seat inside or outside if the weather’s nice and soak in the arty atmosphere whilst enjoying your latest read.
Chapter One Bookshop
19 Lever Street, manchester, M1 1BY
Heading across the city and into Manchester’s lively and exciting Northern Quarter – home of some of the city’s best pubs, bars, record shops, and alternative retailers like Aflex Palace – we have Chapter One Books. Located right on the edge of the NQ, Chapter One is a fantastic, well-stocked bookshop. However, they also sell amazing cakes, tea, and coffee, and have one of the most relaxed atmospheres I’ve ever encountered in a bookshop.
Sit down, grab a cuppa, read and relax with the sound of the fountain as your soundtrack (yes, there’s a fountain!). Chapter One also hosts a plethora of events, so check out their listings too.
St Peter’s Square, manchester M2 5PD
Heading back out of the dead centre of Manchester now, we have one of the most incredible buildings in the city. Manchester Central Library is a landmark that is the focal point of St. Peter’s Square and it’s just as amazing inside. The recently renovated library is one of the best in the country and is worth popping into just to take in its atmosphere even if you’re not stopping or checking out a book to read.
Also a brilliant events space, it’s worth checking in advance to see if there are any events taking place in the library before you visit. Manchester Central Library has played host to many a bookish talk, author event, and is even home to the Northern Publishers Fair
John Rylands Library
150 Deansgate, manchester, M3 3EH
In keeping with the theme of our previous location, we have yet another library. However, John Ryland’s is unlike any other in the city and one of the most famous in the world. Comissioned by Enriqueta Rylands to commemorate her husband following his death, the library’s gothic exterior stands out against the glass-fronted modern architecture that surrounds it and the reading room inside will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time.
Manchester’s university students will be familiar with John Rylands Library as it’s a home away from home for many of the city’s university students whilst they’re studying in the city. If you do pay this glorious building a visit, be sure to take a look around: John Rylands often has exhibitions taking place and the incredible statues need to be seen to be believed.
50 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5LE
Manchester is known as a city that likes a party. “A city that thinks tables are for dancing on,” as writer Mark Radcliffe once said. However, the city’s pubs can also be a haven for a reader — especially on a cold winter’s day. We could have opted for a few different pubs here, but the Briton’s Protection stands out as one of Manchester’s best.
Perfect for a pint and with a great selection of whiskys to wet your whistle the historic pub, first opened in 1811, also plays host to a number of cosy nooks that you’re more than welcome to settle into with a good book. You’ll get little bother if you want to keep yourself to yourself.