Wander down to Castlefield, south-west of the city centre, and you’ll stumble upon one of the largest conservation areas in Manchester, with its meandering canals and a very significant historical landmark: an ancient Roman fort called Mamuciam. The fort’s location marks the birthplace of Manchester as we know it today.
Once declared Britain’s first Urban Heritage Park, Castlefield is a peaceful haven in the midst of a busy, modern city. Here, locals and visitors alike come to stroll along the canal pathways, relax with a pint at one of the many pubs, catch a gig at the open-air Castlefield Arena or browse the stalls at the Sunday Castlefield artisan market (which takes place at Radcliffe Market Hall).
Formerly a busy industrial area, Castlefield is home to a number of impressive old red-bricked warehouse buildings, many of which developers have converted into apartments, galleries, office spaces and studios. While visiting Castlefield, be sure to stop in at the excellent Museum of Science and Industry (on Liverpool Road), which occupies the former Liverpool Road Station building. Liverpool Road Station opened in 1830 and holds the title of the world’s first railway warehouse, further adding to the historical importance of Castlefield.
Following Lower Byrom Street away from the canals brings you to the quaint St John’s Gardens, which used to be a church and cemetery until 1931. A staggering 22,000 people were buried in its grounds. Now, the tombstones have been covered with soil about a half a metre deep. The train station within the Castlefield area is Deansgate. From there, you can explore the canals, Roman fort and the Museum of Science and Industry as well as stop for a bite to eat or a drink at the pub.