If you live or work in Manchester and you’ve not been to The John Rylands Library then you are missing a treat. Housed about halfway along Deansgate near the entrance to what is now the Spinningfields district sits this imposing Gothic building.
Open in 1900, it was one of the first building in Manchester to be lit by electricity and it became part of Manchester University in 1972. The library holds a wide variety of rare books and extremely old archive materials with tapestry’s on the walls and regular exhibitions- on our visit the exhibition was “Fifty Years of Clockwork Orange”, perhaps not the sort of content you’d expect housed in this classical building- and all the better for it.
In 2012 the library won Best Large Visitor Attraction in the Manchester Tourism Awards, its well worth a trip and is very Harry Potteresque if you like that sort of thing.
There’s a lovely little cafe on the ground floor in the modern atrium and a gift shop sell a whole manner of quirky items and history books naturally.
They host loads of events and tours too, from Visitors Portraits and Art Classes to Library tours for photographers to children’s activities like Dragon Tours.
And of course the fact its a library and such a peaceful place, away from the hustle and bustle of Deansgate, if you work in the city and need some head space you should pay a visit on your lunch hour.