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Explore Manchester Our Travel Guide for Ancoats Square

Explore Manchester: Our Travel Guide for Ancoats Square

Ancoats—where cobblestone streets echo the footsteps of Manchester’s industrial past, yet buzz with the vibrant energy of the present. 

This isn’t just a district; it’s a lifestyle. Imagine Victorian mills reimagined as stylish apartments, indie cafes spilling over with freelancers, and public squares that host both old-timers and hipsters. 

Discover Ancoats, a neighbourhood where the charm of heritage seamlessly blends with contemporary living. Whether you’re considering a move, planning a visit, or simply curious, here’s an inside look into this vibrant area.

All About Manchester’s Ancoats Square

Ancoats started to take shape in the late 18th century, originally as a grid of streets flanking Great Ancoats Street and Oldham Road. The real game-changer for the area was the Rochdale Canal, surveyed by James Brindley in 1765. 

This vital waterway, completed in 1804, not only boosted transportation but also galvanised industrialists to set up cotton mills. 

The first of these pioneering mills sprang up in 1790, and by 1912, Ancoats had evolved into a bustling hub of industrial activity, showcasing an evolution in mill design that can still be seen today.

Also, the area has the distinction of hosting Victoria Square, built in 1889 as the country’s first single-class housing project and Manchester’s first foray into municipal housing. Not far from it, Anita Street, originally called Sanitary Street, followed suit with more model housing units.

But Ancoats wasn’t immune to economic downturns. The cotton industry faced a sharp decline in the 1930s, stunting the area’s growth. 

In fact, Ancoats was named Manchester’s ‘best place to live’ by The Sunday Times in 2023, overtaking previous winner Altrincham due to its rising popularity over the last five years.

However, the district found a second wind in journalism, notably when the Daily Express moved into a curtain-wall building in 1939, bringing a new kind of industry to Ancoats.

What is Ancoats like to live in?

Named among the world’s most fashionable neighbourhoods by Time Out magazine, Ancoats offers a blend of vibrant streets, historic listed buildings, parks, waterways, dining spots, cultural spaces, and retail options, forming a top-tier community.

Best Time to Go 

If you’re planning to experience the vibrant atmosphere of Ancoats, weekends during late morning to early afternoon are often the sweet spot. 

The area is buzzing but not overwhelmingly crowded, giving you a chance to fully soak in its unique charm. 

When it comes to seasons, late spring to early autumn, specifically between May and September, offer the most pleasant weather conditions for outdoor activities and leisurely strolls. 

During these months, you’ll get the added benefit of enjoying various open-air events and street markets that frequently pop up in the neighbourhood.

How to Get There

Train: The closest train station to Ancoats is Manchester Piccadilly, which is well-connected to various parts of the UK. From the station, Ancoats is just a short walk or a quick taxi ride away.

Bus: Several bus routes service the Ancoats area, making it easily accessible from different parts of Manchester. You can hop on any of the buses heading towards the city centre and get off at a stop near Ancoats.

Taxi: Taxis are a convenient but more expensive option. You can find a taxi at designated taxi ranks throughout the city or book one in advance. They offer the benefit of taking you directly to your destination within Ancoats.

Car Service: If you prefer a more luxurious travel experience, car services or ride-sharing options like Uber and Lyft operate throughout Manchester and can take you directly to Ancoats. This is an ideal choice for those who prefer a more personalised and comfortable journey.

Things to Do in Ancoats Square Manchester

Ancoats, home to numerous historic mills including the city’s likely oldest, Old Mill, stands as a significant site in the Industrial Revolution’s history. Old Mill was constructed in two stages, first in 1798 and then in 1801.

Walking through Ancoats and coming across the Old Mill is like stepping into a page of Manchester’s rich industrial past. 

The structure, the architecture, it all paints a vivid picture of the city’s role in the Industrial Revolution. And the best part? It’s nestled right in Ancoats Square. 

So, while you’re exploring the modern cafes and trendy shops around, you’ll have this tangible piece of history right there as a backdrop. It’s a blend of the old and new that makes wandering around Ancoats so unique and worthwhile. 

This square was once the beating heart of the industrial revolution, and has experienced a transformation worthy of a place in history books.

Ancoats was historically an industrial centre but is now evolving into a residential neighbourhood. It gained fame as the earliest suburban area focused on industry and was bustling from the late 18th century onwards.

As you stroll around the Great Square today, the echoes of the past are palpable. Majestic red-brick warehouses and Victorian-era structures now stand alongside modern apartments, telling a tale of resilience and evolution. 

Exploring Ancoats on foot allows you to truly appreciate its blend of historic charm and contemporary flair, making it a must-do for history enthusiasts, architecture lovers, and urban explorers alike. 

Whether it’s the intricacies of the old mills’ architecture or the trendy cafes that have sprouted up in their stead, Ancoats offers a walk that’s both a journey back in time and a glimpse into the future.

Got a penchant for drama? Look no further than Hope Mill Theatre, just a stone’s throw from the Etihad Stadium. 

Since its debut in 2015, it’s been the talk of the town for dishing out West End-worthy performances right here in Manchester. 

With its intimate setting, it’s all about getting up close and personal with the magic of theatre. And guess what? 

Whether you’re a theatre buff or an aspiring artist, they’ve got something for everyone— including theatre classes and platforms for budding talents.

Imagine this: a relaxed evening with friends, music in the background, and a drink in hand. That’s Blossom Street Social for you. 

It’s not just about sipping cocktails; this place is an adventure. The menu? Diverse. The events? Always buzzing. 

And if you’re feeling generous, there’s a little something for your loved ones too. Their weekend ‘social sessions’? Total game-changer, blending music, art, and taste into one memorable night.

A unique space blending art, mental health, and community outreach, The Horsfall serves as a sanctuary for well-being. 

It continues the legacy of Thomas Horsfall’s 1884 Ancoats Art Museum, aiming to make a difference in people’s lives through art and activities. Beyond its gallery space, The Horsfall organises mindfulness workshops, creative writing

Ever thought of finding an orchestra in an old church? Welcome to Hallé St Peter’s. A space reborn from the ashes, it now resonates with musical notes from one of the UK’s best orchestras. 

Swing by for a concert or perhaps, a relaxed afternoon tea session at the Oglesby Centre. And if you’re someone who believes music isn’t just for listening but learning, they’ve got workshops and programs that’ll spark your interest.

A walk in Ancoats is incomplete without stepping into Cutting Room Square. This spot is a beautiful dance of yesteryears and today. 

With its industrial landmarks and contemporary buzz, it’s an Instagrammer’s delight and a history buff’s playground. So, next time you’re around, grab a coffee, find a cosy spot, and let the ambiance whisk you away to different eras.

Where to Eat

Address: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441312259846


Opening Hours: Daily 9:30 AM to 6 PM

A community staple since 1811 The Edinburgh Castle is your go-to for an authentic pub experience. 

Don’t be fooled by its age; the food is contemporary and mouthwatering. With an extensive whiskey selection and a relaxing old-world charm, it’s the perfect spot for unwinding.

Edinburgh Castle is more than just a pub; it’s a living monument to Ancoats’ rich history. Whether you opt for a casual drink or attend one of their live music events, you’ll immediately sense the comforting warmth that has made this venue a community cornerstone for centuries.

Address: 14 Hood St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6WX, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441612368171


Opening Hours: Monday, closed; Tuesday to Thursday 3 to 11 PM; Friday to Saturday 12 PM to 12 AM; 

Far more than a cosy neighbourhood bar, The Jane Eyre is a culinary gem in Ancoats. Founded by two brothers who named it after their mother, this spot offers delectable small plates that give even pricier restaurants a run for their money.

Addition: It’s also worth noting that The Jane Eyre hosts frequent culinary events featuring guest chefs and special menus. 

Their ever-changing selection of craft beers and cocktails complements the seasonal menu, so each visit offers a new experience.

Address: 65 Great Ancoats St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5AB, United Kingdom

Contact Details: [email protected] 


Opening Hours: Daily 12 to 2:30 PM

Viet Shack has successfully transitioned from a market stall to a fully-fledged restaurant, and its popularity has skyrocketed for good reason. 

The venue captures the essence of street food culture from Vietnam, offering dishes that are not only delicious but also artfully presented. 

From their Pho to Banh Mi, the flavours are authentic, and the ingredients are always fresh. A visit to Viet Shack is like a mini vacation to Vietnam, right in the heart of Ancoats.

Address: Cutting Room Square, Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5DH, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441618705904


Opening Hours: Thursday to Sunday 12 PM to 12 AM; Monday to Wednesday 3 to 11 PM 

Canto brings the relaxed yet vibrant vibe of Mediterranean life to Ancoats, serving up authentic Portuguese cuisine. 

The restaurant excels at small plates, allowing you to explore a variety of flavours in one sitting. With its stylish decor and warm atmosphere, it’s a perfect place for a weeknight dinner or weekend socialising.

Address: 46 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6BF, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441612365264


Opening Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 5 to 10 PM; Friday to Saturday 12 to 10 PM; Sunday 12 to 9:30 PM; Monday, closed 

SUD Pasta is the place to be if you’re a fan of Italian food. The restaurant emphasises authentic, homemade pasta dishes that make you feel like you’ve stepped into a little corner of Italy. 

It’s intimate, it’s cosy, and the pasta—ranging from classic carbonara to innovative seafood variants—is out of this world.

If you’re settling in Ancoats and you’re a pasta lover, get to know the chefs and the daily specials at SUD Pasta. They often source local ingredients, so you’ll feel connected to both your new neighbourhood and a global culinary tradition at the same time.

Where to Stay


Hotel Brooklyn Manchester combines a touch of New York City’s elegance with Manchester’s industrial chic. 

The hotel provides a seamless blend of comfort and style, with a restaurant and bar that add an extra layer of convenience to your stay.

Being so close to Ancoats, you could even consider a longer-term stay at Hotel Brooklyn while house hunting or getting acquainted with the neighbourhood. The walkable location means you can step out and immediately immerse yourself in Ancoats’ culture.


Located less than a mile away from Ancoats Square, Manchester Piccadilly Hotel offers a 4-star experience complete with a spa and restaurant. Its steam room provides that extra layer of relaxation, making it perfect for unwinding after a day of neighbourhood exploration.

Make use of the spa facilities if you’re considering living in Ancoats. This is your chance to experience the kind of luxury amenities that could be a regular part of your life.


Wilde Aparthotels offer an upscale experience just a brief stroll from Ancoats Square. The establishment promises more than just a room—it offers an elegant living experience complete with a fitness centre and café.

This is a fantastic option for business travellers or remote workers contemplating a move to Ancoats. The free WiFi and central location make it conducive to productivity while allowing you to feel the pulse of the city.


Leonardo Hotel Manchester Piccadilly situates you right in the heart of the action because of its near proximity— literally just a few steps from Ancoats! With its own restaurant and bar, the hotel provides an all-inclusive experience, ensuring your needs are met without venturing far.

The hotel’s fitness centre is a valuable perk for those considering the active lifestyle Ancoats affords. You can keep up with your fitness regimen while getting to know the neighbourhood.


This hotel is a Manchester institution, offering a historic, grand experience that’s bound to make your stay memorable.

The Midland is a great way to dip into Manchester’s rich history while getting to know modern Ancoats. Consider dining at one of its luxurious restaurants for a special evening out.

Where to Shop 


Ancoats General Store isn’t your typical convenience store. It’s a hybrid space that combines the best of a general store with a quirky café, providing everything from groceries to handcrafted gifts. 

If you’re considering living in Ancoats, this store is more than a grocery shop—it’s a community hub. Take advantage of its mix of necessities and novelties to really feel at home in the area.


Co-op Food in Ancoats offers a wide variety of quality food products, including a good selection of organic and local items. 

It’s convenient, with a layout designed for quick in-and-out shopping, making it ideal for weekly grocery runs or last-minute meal ideas.

If you’re environmentally conscious, Co-op Food is the place to go for responsible shopping. Their Fairtrade and organic sections will make you feel good about your choices while settling into Ancoats.

Pet parents, Ancoats have a treat for you! Dive into Sticks & Socks, the chic boutique that promises goodies galore for your furry pals. 

Think premium pet treats and sustainable accessories. But there’s more. With its regular community events and partnerships with local pet charities, it’s all about spreading love and wagging tails!


MM2 Local serves as your neighbourhood corner store with an upscale twist. Beyond the basic groceries, you’ll find a curated selection of gourmet foods and imported items, appealing to the foodie in everyone.

This store is perfect for grabbing quality ingredients for a special dinner. If you’re looking to impress as you settle into your new Ancoats home, MM2 Local is your secret weapon.


Costcutter is the go-to spot for budget-friendly shopping without sacrificing quality. Whether you’re stocking up for the week or just need to grab something quick, Costcutter offers variety and affordability.

It also has weekly deals that are a lifesaver for those looking to save money, especially when getting accustomed to a new neighbourhood. Keep an eye out for their rotating specials to make the most of your grocery budget.


M&S Outlet in Ancoats is a godsend for those in search of quality goods at reduced prices. From high-quality food items to clothing and home goods, it’s the place to find branded items at a fraction of the usual cost.

Consider it a resource for furnishing your new Ancoats home with style but without breaking the bank. It’s also an excellent place to grab gourmet food items for less when you’re looking to entertain.

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