Manchester’s strikingly beautiful Neo-Gothic Town Hall, which rises over Albert Square, is without a doubt the city’s most iconic landmark. It features an elegant 85-metre-tall clock tower and a series of exquisitely designed rooms and hanging murals that you can view and explore Monday through Saturday (as long as events aren’t taking place).
The Town Hall has been a Manchester fixture since 1877. It possesses a number of ornate ceremonial rooms such as the Great Hall. This grand room is adorned with 12 murals by Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown that depict the significance of Christianity, textiles and commerce over the course of Manchester’s history. You can take a guided one-hour tour of the clock tower. During the tour, you’ll climb its spiral staircase and see the ringing room, mechanism room and dial room (behind the clock face) before finally reaching the top. Here, you can view the giant hour bell and bask in gorgeous panoramic views of the city and its surrounds.
As such an atmospheric setting, it’s no wonder the Town Hall is a popular film and TV location. Two big-name movies that have had scenes shot here include Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Junior, and The Iron Lady, with silver-screen icon Meryl Streep. Additionally, there’s a cafe in the majestic Sculpture Hall, where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or traditional afternoon tea with a regional twist while soaking up the history and grandeur of the city council’s ceremonial headquarters.
To get to the Town Hall, take the Metrolink tram to St Peter’s Square from Manchester Piccadilly, Deansgate or Victoria. The main entrance is on the Albert Square side. Nearby attractions include the fantastic Royal Exchange and Piccadilly Gardens with its enormous water fountains and surrounding cafes, bars and eateries.