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What You Need to Know about the Imperial War Museum in Manchester

What You Need to Know about the Imperial War Museum in Manchester 

The Imperial War Museum North—quite a mouthful, isn’t it? But this awe-inspiring institution in the heart of Manchester is every bit as grand as its name suggests. 

With a unique building design that’s a work of art in itself and exhibits that span across conflicts and eras, it’s a poignant reminder of the effects of war on people’s lives. 

To ensure you get the most out of your visit, we’ve created this guide to the Imperial War Museum North, highlighting what not to miss, visitor tips, and more.

Time Zone 

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1)

Best Time to Visit 

There’s no bad time to visit the Imperial War Museum North. Although, if you prefer a quieter experience, weekdays outside of school holidays will be your best bet.

Don’t forget, the museum is closed on Mondays (except Bank Holidays), so plan your visit accordingly!

Things to Know 

Currency: Pounds Sterling

(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: English 

Calling Code: +44

Address: Trafford Wharf Rd, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester

Operating Hours: Mon-Sun 10AM – 6PM

How to Get There 

Trams: The Metrolink tram service runs from Manchester city centre to MediaCityUK, and the museum is just a short walk from there. 

Buses: The X50 or 50 bus routes will drop you off right at MediaCityUK. 

Car: If you’re driving, there’s a paid car park at the Lowry Outlet, a few minutes walk from the museum.

Where to Stay Near Imperial War Museum

The Ainscow Hotel

Address: Trinity Way, Salford, Manchester M3 5EN, UK

Phone: +44 161 827 1650

Pricing: ££

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The Ainscow Hotel exudes charm with its exposed brick and carefully restored architecture. Don’t let the historical façade fool you, the interior is modern and comfy. What’s that, a rooftop spa you ask? Indeed! 

Soak in views of the city while unwinding from your day. Definitely a hidden gem in Salford.

Hilton Manchester Deansgate

Address: 303 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ, UK

Phone: +44 161 870 1600

Pricing: £££

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The Hilton Manchester Deansgate isn’t just a place to rest your head – it’s a part of Manchester’s skyline! Located in the Beetham Tower, it has stunning city views and even boasts a swanky cocktail bar on the 23rd floor. 

If you fancy a dip, check out their indoor pool—it’s quite a treat!

Holiday Inn Manchester – MediaCityUK

Address: White, MediaCityUK, Salford M50 2HT, UK

Phone: +44 161 813 1040

Pricing: £

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Let me tell you, MediaCityUK is more than just a hotel—it’s your home away from home. From the moment you step through the doors, you’ll be greeted with warmth and comfort. 

And let’s talk about convenience. With an in-house Italian restaurant that serves up delectable dishes and a Starbucks to fuel your caffeine cravings, you’ll never go hungry or thirsty. 

Plus, its prime location in the heart of MediaCityUK means you’re just steps away from an array of attractions and entertainment options. Get ready to explore and discover the vibrant neighbourhood right on your doorstep.

The Edwardian Manchester, A Radisson Collection Hotel

Address: Free Trade Hall, Peter St, Manchester M2 5GP, UK

Phone: +44 161 835 9929

Pricing: £££

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The Edwardian Manchester truly offers a one-of-a-kind experience by being situated within the legendary Free Trade Hall, a renowned music venue. Indulge in the best of both worlds with its seamless fusion of contemporary luxury and timeless elegance. 

Treat yourself to an exquisite dining experience at the tantalising steak and seafood restaurant, and let the spa pamper you, melting away any fatigue from your museum adventures.

Hotel Football Old Trafford

Address: 99 Sir Matt Busby Way, Stretford, Manchester M16 0SZ, UK

Phone: +44 161 751 0430

Pricing: ££

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Hey, all you footie fanatics out there! Hold on tight because I’ve got something seriously awesome to share with you. Hotel Football Old Trafford is where it’s at! Imagine staying in rooms that scream football passion from every corner. 

And guess what? The restaurant is owned by none other than the legendary Ryan Giggs himself! Talk about scoring big in the culinary department. But here’s the kicker: their rooftop bar offers killer cocktails and epic views of Old Trafford Stadium.

The Lowry Hotel

Address: 50 Dearmans Pl, Salford, Manchester M3 5LH, UK

Phone: +44 161 827 4000

Pricing: ££££

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Get ready to indulge in the luxurious embrace of The Lowry Hotel, a true five-star paradise nestled along the picturesque River Irwell. This place has some serious clout, hosting the likes of celebrities, footballers, and even royalty. 

If you’re in the mood for a taste of the high life, head over to the swanky River Bar and savour a perfectly crafted cocktail. And why stop there? Treat yourself like royalty and unwind with a rejuvenating massage at their top-notch spa. 

Premier Inn Manchester City Centre

Address: 7-11 Lower Mosley St, Manchester M2 3DW, UK

Phone: +44 333 321 1246

Pricing: £

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The Premier Inn Manchester City Centre is perfect for those seeking comfort without breaking the bank. Despite the budget-friendly price tag, you’re still spoilt for choice with the dining options. 

You’ve got Thyme, an in-house restaurant, and countless eateries nearby. Did I mention it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Arena and the Printworks? Talk about a fantastic location!

Where to Eat Near Imperial War Museum 

The French

Address: The Midland Hotel, Peter St, Manchester M60 2DS, UK

Phone: +44 161 235 4780

Pricing: ££££


“The French” echoes with an elegant charm you won’t easily forget. Head Chef Adam Reid has crafted a menu that’s as intriguing as it is appetizing, brimming with inventive dishes. 

Let your senses relish the masterfully presented, local Manchester-inspired delights—each a unique story of taste and tradition. The gorgeous setting of the historic Midland Hotel is the cherry on top.

Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza

Address: 9 Cotton St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5BF, UK

Phone: +44 161 820 8203

Pricing: £


Rudy’s, a bustling, friendly joint where you can witness your pizza being hand-tossed by passionate pizzaiolos. Neapolitan-style pizza is their forte, with the freshness of San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella lending an authentic Italian taste. 

The lively and casual atmosphere, with shared tables and chatter, is reminiscent of the pizzerias lining Naples’ streets. And the absolute must-try? Their creamy burrata—trust me, it’s a game-changer.


Address: 32 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BT, UK

Phone: +44 161 537 3737

Pricing: ££


At Dishoom, you’re transported into the heart of Bombay—without leaving Manchester. Inspired by the old Irani cafés of the Indian city, Dishoom’s menu is a beautifully blended symphony of flavours. 

Start with their signature Black Daal, a deliciously creamy lentil curry, and their beloved Butter Chicken—a rich, aromatic dish that’ll keep you coming back. For a delightful end to your meal, don’t miss their Kulfi on a stick. 

The Ivy

Address: The Pavilion, Byrom St, Manchester M3 3HG, UK

Phone: +44 161 503 3222

Pricing: £££


The Ivy offers an unforgettable dining experience in an enchanting setting. The choice of cuisine here is diverse and international—think sushi, shepherd’s pie, and everything in between. 

But it’s not just the food that catches the eye; the view from their rooftop garden is quite a spectacle, too. While the food will satisfy your cravings, the impeccable service and the enchanting surroundings will stay etched in your memory. 

Before you leave, take a moment to savour the view and toast to a spectacular Manchester sunset.

The Koffee Pot

Address: 84-86 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LF, UK

Phone: +44 161 236 8918

Pricing: £


Breakfast at The Koffee Pot is an institution in Manchester. This down-to-earth eatery serves up no-nonsense British comfort food, and their Full English Breakfast is the stuff of legends. 

Tuck into hearty servings of beans, bacon, eggs, and toast—just the fuel you need for a day of exploring. And remember, don’t leave without trying their house coffee, it’s the ‘Koffee’ in the Koffee Pot for a reason!

Mackie Mayor

Address: 1 Eagle St, Manchester M4 5BU, UK

Phone: Not available

Pricing: ££

Mackie Mayor is not just a restaurant, but a vibrant food hall set in a restored Victorian market building. Home to various local artisan food vendors, it’s a foodie’s paradise where you can sample a world of flavours under one roof. 

From the most delicious sourdough Neapolitan pizzas at Honest Crust to tender rotisserie chicken at Rotisserie, there’s something to appease every palate. 

If you can, save room for dessert—the churros with dipping chocolate at El Marchador Tacos are out of this world.


Address: 42 Blossom St, Manchester M4 6BF, UK

Phone: +44 161 392 7294

Pricing: ££££


Mana is Manchester’s first Michelin-starred restaurant in over 40 years. Helmed by Chef Simon Martin, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience where British ingredients are showcased in innovative and surprising ways. 

Opt for their 16-course tasting menu—it’s a gastronomic journey that goes beyond simple nourishment, into the realm of food artistry. Each bite is a revelation, and the restaurant’s minimalist décor allows the food to shine. 

Reservation is a must here, and believe me, it’s worth every penny and every bit of planning!

What to Do at the Imperial War Museum

Learn about conflicts from World War I to the present day

Address: The Quays, Trafford Wharf Rd, Manchester M17 1TZ, UK

Phone: +44 161 836 4000

The Imperial War Museum North, part of the Imperial War Museum collection, isn’t your typical military museum. Its striking architecture, known as the “Shattered Globe,” embodies the world fractured by conflict, a metaphor that really hits home once you step inside. 

This museum packs a punch, covering everything from World War I to contemporary conflicts. What’s more, the 360-degree Big Picture Shows use surround sound and projected images to provide an immersive understanding of war.

Stroll through the special exhibitions

Address: The Quays, Trafford Wharf Rd, Manchester M17 1TZ, UK

Phone: +44 161 836 4000

Let’s talk about temporary exhibitions; the Imperial War Museum North is known for them. Ranging from the thought-provoking to the downright harrowing, the special exhibitions dive deep into specific areas of conflict. 

Take “Syria: Story of a Conflict” for example; this exhibit closely examined the complex roots and ongoing impacts of the Syrian conflict. Just be sure to check the museum’s website ahead of your visit to see what’s on.

Check out the Harrier Jump Jet and the 15-Inch Guns

Address: The Quays, Trafford Wharf Rd, Manchester M17 1TZ, UK

Phone: +44 161 836 4000

For the militaria enthusiast in your life, the Imperial War Museum North delivers in spades. The sizeable collection of military hardware includes a Harrier Jump Jet and a T-34 tank. 

But it’s the 15-inch naval guns that really draw the crowds; these monstrous weapons, once stationed on the HMS Ramillies and HMS Resolution, command attention. You can’t help but imagine the power behind them.

Participate in a family activity or workshop

Address: The Quays, Trafford Wharf Rd, Manchester M17 1TZ, UK

Phone: +44 161 836 4000

Family time can still be learning time at the Imperial War Museum North. The museum hosts a range of family-friendly activities and workshops throughout the year, covering a diverse array of topics related to conflict and its effects on society. 

From creating your own propaganda poster to a hands-on history lesson, these interactive experiences are sure to keep the little ones engaged (and maybe even spark a life-long interest in history).

Discover extraordinary personal stories

Address: The Quays, Trafford Wharf Rd, Manchester M17 1TZ, UK

Phone: +44 161 836 4000

The heart of the Imperial War Museum is not in its weaponry or exhibits, but in its stories. 

Personal accounts of people from all walks of life, from soldiers on the front line to children evacuated to the countryside, provide a poignant insight into the human experience of war. 

So, when you visit, don’t just see, listen. You’ll leave not only informed but deeply moved.

Try the café and explore the gift shop

Address: The Quays, Trafford Wharf Rd, Manchester M17 1TZ, UK

Phone: +44 161 836 4000

Alright, let’s talk about the essentials for your visit to the Imperial War Museum North. First things first, you need to refuel, right? Well, the café here has got your back. 

Whether you fancy a satisfying lunch or a much-needed tea break, they’ve got tasty options to keep you going. And oh boy, don’t even get me started on the gift shop! It’s like a time machine of history-themed goodies. From cool books to unique memorabilia, you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

Attend a talk or lecture

Address: The Quays, Trafford Wharf Rd, Manchester M17 1TZ, UK

Phone: +44 161 836 4000

Can’t get enough of the history stuff? The Imperial War Museum North hosts a variety of talks and lectures, often led by renowned historians and veterans. These events offer a chance to dive deeper into specific topics and engage in discussion. 

Remember to check their events calendar online; you might get lucky and find a talk happening during your visit!

Where to Shop near Imperial War Museum

Manchester Arndale

Address: Market St, Manchester M4 3AQ, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 161 833 9851


Manchester Arndale is the nucleus of shopping in the city centre. It’s the kind of place where your “quick look around” turns into an all-day event. With a blend of high street and high-end brands, it’s got your fashion needs covered. 

Feel peckish? There’s an impressive food court just begging you to take a shopping pit-stop. As for accessibility, it’s perfectly situated near multiple public transport links. 

Plus, the architecture of the centre makes for an eye-catching backdrop to your shopping spree.


Address: 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 161 839 0718


Step into Afflecks, and you’ll think you’ve fallen down Manchester’s very own rabbit hole. This maze-like emporium is chock-full of treasures, from quirky home decor to vintage fashion finds. 

Shopping at Afflecks feels like hunting for hidden treasures in an urban jungle of creativity. It’s the place to go if you want to shun mainstream fashion and express your individuality. Not to mention, they have a fab collection of vinyl records.


Address: 1 Exchange Square Central, Corporation St, Manchester M3 1BD, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 800 123400


Selfridges in Manchester isn’t just a shopping experience – it’s a full-on retail extravaganza. This place has an aura of luxury that can make anyone feel like a star. 

Known for its eclectic range of top-tier brands and designer labels, it’s the kind of place where you can get lost in racks of beautiful clothes. If you’re hunting for a showstopper outfit or a signature scent, this is your spot. 

Oh, and don’t miss the food hall; it’s a gastronome’s dream come true. Top tip: give their personal shopping service a try for a truly tailored experience.

Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet

Address: Kinsey Rd, Ellesmere Port CH65 9JJ, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 151 348 5600


A short hop from Manchester, Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet is a trove of over 145 luxury and high-street brands. With markdowns of up to 60% year-round, you might need a bigger car trunk. 

The serene, open-air layout sets it apart from the usual mall scene – it’s more like a stroll in a stylish village. Pack some snacks or indulge in their smorgasbord of food options. Warning: you might leave with more bags than you can handle.

Northern Quarter

Address: Northern Quarter, Manchester, UK


Northern Quarter is Manchester’s creative hub, pulsing with vibrant street art, vinyl stores, and indie boutiques. It’s like a treasure trove where the edgy, the chic, and the vintage coexist. 

Meandering around its quirky stores feels more like an art tour than a shopping spree. Need a pick-me-up? There’s always a cosy cafe nearby. After all, shopping is better with a cuppa in hand.

The Lowry Outlet

Address: The Quays, Salford M50 3AH, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 161 848 1850


Situated by the waterfront, The Lowry Outlet combines shopping with stunning views. It’s home to many well-known brands offering steep discounts, making it the perfect place to bag a bargain. 

After a day of shopping, take a leisurely stroll along the quays, or indulge in a delicious meal at one of the eateries. It’s a different pace of shopping – slower, more relaxed.

King Street

Address: King St, Manchester, UK


King Street is Manchester’s swanky shopping district. With an ensemble cast of luxury boutiques and high-end retailers, it’s the go-to place for some high-class retail therapy. 

The beautiful architecture and cobblestone streets make shopping here a uniquely charming experience. Plus, its proximity to some of the city’s top dining spots means you can unwind post-shopping spree with a sumptuous meal.

Barton Arcade

Address: 48 Barton Square, Manchester M3 2BH, UK

Barton Arcade is a must-visit Victorian-era architectural marvel that seamlessly combines retail therapy with a touch of history. Each store within this historic gem feels like a curated treasure trove rather than a typical shop. 

Step inside and you’ll be immersed in vintage vibes, while still having access to contemporary clothing stores and charming coffee shops. It’s the perfect fusion of old and new, offering a unique and memorable experience. 

Which Neighbourhoods to Visit near Imperial War Museum Manchester



The Castlefield neighborhood in Manchester is where past meets present. If you’re a fan of Roman history, you’re in for a treat; it’s got a preserved Roman fort. And for the less historically inclined? Don’t worry, it’s not all ancient ruins. 

This place has its fair share of modern bars and trendy eateries, so you can grab a pint and soak up the atmosphere after a day at the museum.

The Northern Quarter


Let’s chat about the Northern Quarter.  It’s got everything you need to up your hipster game. We’re talking street art that’ll blow your mind, vintage shops that’ll make you feel like you’re stepping into a time machine, and even quirky events like a punk rock flea market. 

I mean, how rad is that? The Northern Quarter is where creativity thrives and the offbeat rules. You never know what you’ll stumble upon in this artsy paradise, and that’s what keeps you hooked. 



Now, if you’re after a bit more glitz and glamour, make a beeline for Spinningfields. This place is all shiny skyscrapers, high-end shopping, and swanky eateries. You’ll feel a tad posher just strolling through it. 

If you have a soft spot for a bit of luxury, Spinningfields might just be your jam.



Looking for a change of pace? Didsbury is your answer. With its charming village-like atmosphere and convenient city amenities, it’s the best of both worlds. From cozy indie bookshops to inviting cafes, Didsbury has you covered. 

And when you need a breather from the hustle and bustle, just escape to the peaceful Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens for a dose of nature. Didsbury strikes the perfect balance between liveliness and relaxation, making it the ultimate spot to unwind and recharge.



If you want to see the part of Manchester that’s humming with fresh energy, Ancoats is where you need to be. 

Known for its industrial past, Ancoats today is a buzzing neighborhood with trendy restaurants, minimalist coffee shops, and a thriving independent food scene. 

It’s the kind of place where you’ll stumble upon an impromptu gig at a local bakery, or discover a pop-up art show in an old warehouse. It’s quirky, it’s dynamic, and it’s worth a visit.



Chorlton has something for everyone. It’s known for its independent spirit, making it the ideal place to spend a day exploring. With a variety of artisanal food markets, vegan eateries, and a popular craft beer scene, you’ll be spoiled for choice. 

And if you’re in the mood for some greenery, Chorlton also boasts a stunning water park. That’s right, it’s not all about urban sprawl here!



Deansgate has a reputation as one of Manchester’s busiest areas—and for good reason. It’s filled with shops, bars, and restaurants, as well as some of the city’s most notable landmarks. 

Deansgate has the Beetham Tower, the tallest building in Manchester, and the John Rylands Library, an architectural gem that’s straight out of a fairytale. It’s a lively, bustling place to explore and really feel the energy of the city.



Home to the famous Curry Mile, Rusholme is the place to go if you’re a foodie. It’s a vibrant neighborhood with a large South Asian community, meaning you’ll find some of the best curries in the country here. 

It’s not all about food, though; Rusholme is also known for Platt Fields Park, a large green space perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic. A melting pot of cultures, Rusholme is a neighborhood brimming with character.

What to Expect at the Imperial War Museum Manchester Weather

Spring: As the city thaws from its winter chills, the Imperial War Museum is perfect to explore, both inside and out. The museum’s unique architecture shines under spring’s softer sunlight, while the inside exhibits are pleasantly less crowded.

Summer: Summer sees a rise in footfall at the museum. It’s the ideal time for a family visit, with the museum organising many interactive sessions and workshops for kids. Just be sure to carry a bottle of water – the Manchester summers can surprise you!

Fall: With the changing colours providing a stunning backdrop, the museum’s water-side location is particularly beautiful in fall. The cooler weather also makes exploring the museum’s five floors of exhibits comfortable.

Winter: The museum in winter has its own charm. The earlier evenings allow you to enjoy the spectacular lighting of the building. It’s quieter during these months, so you can take your time perusing exhibits.

Apps to Download for a Trip to Imperial War Museum Manchester

Uber: Ride hailing, electric bikes and motorised scooters, food delivery
iOs | Android

Google Translate: word translation with offline capabilities
iOs | Android

TheFork: Guide to restaurants, in-app table reservations
iOs | Android

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