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Portico Library What to Expect, See and Do

Portico Library: What to Expect, See and Do

Ready to delve into a world brimming with knowledge and vibrant history? The Portico Library is your next stop. It’s more than just a library; it’s a journey waiting to unfold.

Whether you’re a book lover or simply looking for a tranquil place to unwind, you’ll find what you’re seeking here. Immerse yourself in the rich culture and vibrant atmosphere that this iconic spot has to offer.

So come along, a treasure trove of experiences awaits. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect, see, and do on your visit. Let’s get started, shall we?

Best Time to Visit

The Portico Library is a beacon of knowledge and culture that welcomes us all year round, yet there’s something magical about visiting during the autumn months. Just imagine being engulfed in a gripping tale while the world outside is adorned in golden hues.

To seize the moment of tranquillity amidst the whispers of turning pages, we’d recommend popping by on a weekday in the late morning hours. Concerned about holiday schedules? 

A handy tip from us: check their official website for the latest updates on operating hours and special events before planning our venture.

Location: 57 Mosley St, Manchester

Opening Hours:

  • Mon – Wed 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thur 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Fri 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM 
  • Sat 12:00 –  4:00PM


Currency: Pound Sterling (Check the current exchange rate)

Language: English

Calling Code: +44

Traffic and Parking: Navigating through Manchester’s lively streets can sometimes be a bit hectic. To sidestep any parking dilemmas, we might opt for public transport or a taxi. 

For those of us who prefer driving, there are several public car parks in close proximity; just bear in mind that spaces can be snapped up quickly during peak hours, so it would be wise to plan our visit accordingly.

The Portico Library welcomes visitors to enjoy their free public exhibitions, café, and bookshop, housed beneath a striking painted glass dome. These areas are open to all and showcase a rotation of artistic and literary exhibitions. 

For more frequent visits and additional benefits, the Portico Library offers membership options with subscription fees ranging from £70 to £223 per year. 

While the library is open to the public and free to enter, membership provides added perks and regular access to all the library’s facilities. Make your visit a rich and fulfilling experience by exploring all that the Portico Library has to offer!

How to Get There

Trams: The Metrolink tram service is a convenient option, with the nearest stops being St Peter’s Square or Market Street, both a short stroll away from the library.

Walking: If you find yourself nearby, a leisurely walk through Manchester’s streets leading up to the library is a delightful choice, allowing you to soak in the city’s vibrant energy.

Taxis: Hail a taxi or book one through services like StreetCars or Uber for a comfy ride. It’s fuss-free and gets you to your literary adventure in no time!

What to Do in Portico Library

Oh, trust us, the seminars at the Portico Library are not your average snore-fests. We’re having lively discussions where you can plop down with a cuppa and really get into the nitty-gritty of some cool topics with others who are just as into it as you are. 

You might even find yourself staying a bit longer than planned, chatting away with a new friend or contact. And hey, why not? It’s a super relaxed environment where you can just be yourself and learn something new. 

The Portico Library and Newsroom in Manchester opened in 1806, a venture initiated by a group of local businessmen in 1803 who were influenced by the architectural elegance of Thomas Harrison’s Liverpool Lyceum. 

This institution has been a hub for notable historical figures, including the distinguished scientist John Dalton, thesaurus author Peter Roget, former British Prime Minister Robert Peel, and Rev. William Gaskell, the husband of famed novelist Elizabeth Gaskell.

Today, the library stands as a significant cultural and historical landmark, offering visitors not only a rich collection of books but also a glimpse into its storied past through its Georgian architecture and notable membership legacy. 

Explore the Portico Library through personalised group tours available Monday to Friday, either between 10am-12 pm or 2-5 pm. These tours can host up to 25 people and give you a 1-hour introduction to the library’s Georgian and Victorian collections.

Pricing varies from £5 to £30 per person, based on what you’d like to include, such as tea, coffee, or snacks. Just remember, you’ll need to give at least 2 weeks notice for bookings, and reservations are open from mid-May 2023.

Ideal for families, clubs, or corporate outings, these tours offer a unique glimpse into one of Manchester’s cultural gems.

You can study in the tranquil surroundings of the Portico Library in Manchester. This historic library offers a calm and focused environment, making it an ideal spot for individuals seeking a peaceful study session. 

Surrounded by centuries of knowledge, it’s the perfect place to concentrate on your academic work or delve into a good book.

Right, here’s the deal: the exhibitions at the Portico Library are seriously worth your time. You’ll get to see some fantastic art and historical pieces, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a bit of culture on a lazy afternoon? 

It’s like taking a little trip through time and different art movements, all without leaving Manchester. And the best part? No two visits are the same with their ever-changing line-up, so it never gets stale. Go on, give it a whirl; you might find yourself becoming a regular!

Okay, let’s talk about books because, oh boy, does the Portico Library have a lot of them. Whether you’re a seasoned bookworm or just looking for a new hobby, this place is a dream come true. 

Picture yourself leisurely browsing through shelves filled with an astonishing variety of books and periodicals. Find a cosy corner, settle down with a fantastic read, and just enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. 

It’s not just a library; it’s a place where you can unwind, learn, and maybe even discover your next favourite author.

Ever fancied meeting your favourite author face to face? The Portico Library gives you a golden opportunity to do just that! 

They often host book launches and author signing events where you can meet the brains behind some of the best literary works, get your book signed, and maybe even snap a selfie or two. It’s not everyday you get to have a casual chat with a renowned author, is it? 

So, keep an eye on their events calendar because you never know who might pop by!

Fancy lending a hand and being a part of something bigger? The Portico Library welcomes volunteers with open arms. It’s a brilliant way to immerse yourself in the literary world, meet like-minded people, and maybe even pick up a new skill or two. 

Plus, you get to hang around in this super cool place all the time, which is pretty much a win-win situation in our books. If you’ve got some time to spare and fancy being a part of a vibrant community, this might just be the gig for you!

Ah, for those of us itching to get a bit hands-on, the Portico Library has got us covered! Regularly, they host workshops and masterclasses where you can dabble in something new. 

From creative writing sessions where you can pen down those thoughts buzzing in your head, to art workshops where you might discover your hidden talent – it’s all there. Plus, you’ll be in the good company of fellow enthusiasts who are just as keen to learn and have fun. 

Did you know that you can actually host your own event at this historic venue? That’s right, whether it’s a seminar, workshop, or even a wedding, the Portico Library could be your next event hotspot. 

Imagine saying your vows surrounded by centuries of knowledge or hosting a workshop in a place brimming with inspiration. Plus, the staff there are super helpful and will ensure everything runs smoothly. Now, how cool is that for a venue?

Shopping alert! Now, who doesn’t enjoy a bit of retail therapy? The library’s curated gift shop is chock-full of quirky finds, from unique literary accessories to adorable stationery items that you just won’t be able to resist. 

It’s the perfect spot to pick up a memento of your visit or a gift for the book lover in your life. Seriously, it’s like a little haven for anyone who adores all things literature and art.

Thinking of making the Portico Library a regular haunt? Becoming a member is the way to go. As a member, you get to enjoy a host of exclusive perks including early invites to events, discounts at the café, and so much more. 

It’s basically like being part of an elite club for book enthusiasts and culture vultures, minus the snootiness! So go ahead, sign up and join the fun at this vibrant hub of learning and enjoyment.

Where to Eat in and near Portico Library

Address: 57 Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3HY, UK

Phone: +44 161 236 6785

Pricing: ££

Don’t miss out on the in-house café at the Portico Library, a snug spot to settle down with a delightful sandwich or a slice of homemade cake. It’s like a little oasis in the midst of your cultural day out, offering a peaceful atmosphere where you can enjoy a quiet cup of tea or coffee. 

And don’t forget to taste their seasonally changing menu, always offering fresh and delightful choices for a light meal or snack. It’s the ideal spot to reflect on your library finds while indulging in a culinary treat.

Address: Ancoats, 67 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester M4 5AB, UK

Phone: +44 161 236 0180

Pricing: ££


Just a short distance from the library, you’ll find the Blue Eyed Panda, an amazing spot for lovers of Asian cuisine. It’s a place where every dish tells a story, offering an array of flavours that are both bold and vibrant. 

The menu is quite extensive, offering a diverse range of options that cater to various tastes and preferences. So, if you’re up for a delightful culinary adventure, make sure to stop by.

Address: 57 Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3HZ, UK

Phone: +44 161 236 1616

Pricing: ££


The Bank, located just a stone’s throw away from the library, serves up classic British cuisine with a modern twist. Imagine savouring delectable meals in a warm and inviting setting, a place where the menu beckons you to come back for more. 

Whether it’s a leisurely lunch or a sumptuous dinner, The Bank promises a top-notch dining experience, proving to be the perfect end to a day spent immersed in the literary wonders of the Portico Library.

Address: 18-20 St Mary’s Gate, Manchester M1 1PX, UK

Phone: +44 161 832 0708

Pricing: ££


Nicholson’s, nestled not far from the Portico Library, is your go-to spot for a delightful range of classic pub grub. Picture this: you’re unwinding in a cosy, traditionally British setup, with a pint in hand and a plate full of hearty, good-quality food

The establishment is known for its friendly staff and a menu that covers a wide spectrum of UK favourites. So, after a fulfilling day at the library, this is the place where you can sit back, enjoy a pleasant meal, and maybe even make a few new friends!

Address: 27 Princess St, Manchester M2 4EN, UK

Phone: +44 161 236 1906

Pricing: ££


Let’s swing by Take Five next, shall we? This little gem, located just a stroll away from the library, promises a casual dining experience with a menu that doesn’t disappoint. Here, you’re greeted with a medley of flavours, offering dishes that are both comforting and tantalising. 

The atmosphere is relaxed, making it a fantastic spot for a catch-up with friends or a quiet meal by yourself. And hey, don’t miss out on their delightful desserts, they are the cherry on top of a satisfying meal.

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