Castlefield – Manchester

Castlefield is an area to the southwest of Manchester city centre, bounded by Quay Street, Deansgate, and the River Irwell. It is the Manchester terminus of the Bridgewater Canal, built in the 1760s by the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater to carry coal from his mines in Worsley to the city, and was the site of the world’s first passenger railway station.

In the 20th century the area fell into disrepair as canal and railway transport declined in importance. In 1982 the area became the UK’s first Urban Heritage Park and, with the help of millions of pounds of public sector funding, an extensive regeneration programme commenced.

Canal and barges in the Castlefield area of Manchester

Many of the warehouses and buildings at Castlefield have now been converted into bars, restaurants, hotels, and apartments. The area, with its viaducts and waterside walks, is particularly pleasant in the summer months.

The major attraction in the area is the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). Situated on the site of the former Liverpool Road station, it explores North West England’s industrial and scientific achievements. Exhibits and attractions here include a Victorian sewer, an Avro Shackleton aeroplane, an interactive science gallery, and a planetarium.

On the other side of Liverpool Road are the remains and reconstructed gate of the Roman fort of Mamucium, established around 79 AD. Nearby is Castlefield Arena, an outdoor events venue used for concerts, festivals, and screening events such as the World Cup.

Liverpool Road is also home to a number of restaurants, pubs, and hotels. The Ox is a popular gastro pub that offers a modern British menu and a good range of cask ales. It also offers reasonably priced accommodation. Just down the road is the Castlefield Hotel, a 3 star hotel with 48 rooms and access to a leisure club and swimming pool.

Other businesses on Liverpool Road include the Commercial Hotel, a friendly pub offering budget accommodation, the Sapporo Teppanyaki Japanese restaurant, and Akbar’s Indian restaurant.

Dimitri’s is a popular Greek restaurant and bar has been in business for decades and offers great value meze and tapas. The best time to go is at weekend when live music and entertainment is provided. It’s situated at the corner of Deansgate and Tonman Street, opposite the Great Northern and Hilton Hotel/Beetham Tower.

The Manchester Studios, better known as Granada Studios and famous for being the location of the Coronation Street set, is situated at the western end of Quay Street. Until 1999 visitors could explore the set and others as part of the Granada Studios Tour.

Just east of the Manchester Studios is the Great John Street, a 4-star boutique hotel in a converted Victorian schoolhouse. To the west is the Marriott Manchester Victoria & Albert Hotel.

Dukes 92 is a bar with one of the best outdoor drinking areas in Manchester city centre. It overlooks the Rochdale Canal and was established in 1991 by James Ramsbottom. The bar was originally the stables for the horses that pulled the barges along the canal and is named after the adjacent lock, the 92nd on the canal.

Next door is Albert’s Shed, a British/Italian restaurant also owned by James Ramsbottom. It takes its name from the owner’s uncle who stored his tools in the building during the construction of Dukes 92.

The railway arches on Catalan Square house the Bohemia Bar & Grill, originally opened as Barca by Mick Hucknall of Simply Red. Other places to eat and drink in Castlefield include the Binary Bar, Banyan Tree, and Choice Bar & Restaurant.

The nearest train station to Castlefield is Deansgate and the closest Metrolink station is Deansgate-Castlefield.

Visitors arriving at Victoria train station or the Shudehill Interchange can catch the free Metroshuttle bus (number 2) and alight at Liverpool Road or Lower Byrom Street.

There’s also a free Metroshuttle bus from Piccadilly train station (number 3) which stops on Quay Street in Castlefield.