Staying in one of our Manchester hotels for a big event or a big day out? Whatever brings you to England’s northern capital, it would be a shame to leave town without taking in some of the culture the city’s famous for. And whether you love film, theatre or art, you can find all these and more at HOME, the art centre that’s right in the heart of the city’s new Cultural Quarter.
A great addition to the Manchester arts scene, HOME was opened by Danny Boyle in May 2015, and quickly became the city’s answer to London’s Barbican Centre. It merged the much-loved Cornerhouse cinema complex with the Library Theatre and put them together in one gorgeous glass building, designed by award-winning Dutch architects Mecanoo.
The project cost an eye-watering £25 million to complete, but spend a few moments inside HOME’s light, contemporary spaces and you’ll know it was money well spent. With two theatres, five extremely comfy cinemas and lashings of gallery space, there’s bags of choice when it comes to what to see here. But with facilities that rival any world-class arts venue, it’s also a fashionable place to eat, drink and hang out.
Luckily, there’s a Premier Inn near HOME with comfortable beds and great breakfasts sure to get your Manchester visit off to the best possible start. Called Premier Inn Manchester City Centre Deansgate Locks, it’s right in the heart of Manchester, making it your ticket to all of the best cultural hotspots in town.
This international concert venue was built with one purpose in mind - to give Manchester the best possible space for music. Here’s a little glimpse of what to expect.
HOME's two theatre spaces are the place to catch thought-provoking drama and dance that you won’t be able to see anywhere else - the focus here is strongly on new commissions and developing up and coming talent. Its eclectic mix of productions has included Christmas cabarets, family-friendly twists on fairy tales and gripping plays exploring the darker sides of Manchester life.
HOME’s five cinemas show brand new arthouse releases and the best of foreign language cinema. Screenings are often followed by director talks and panel discussions. Catch classic horror films each Halloween and family favourites at Christmas time, or come for a film festival, such as the VIVA Spanish and Latin American Film Festival, held here every summer.
HOME really is where the art is. It’s fantastic exhibition space provides a platform for the most ambitious and unusual artists to showcase their work. With new commissions from regional and international artists, recent shows have included Callum Cooper’s live, growing installation of cabbages, and a display of puppets from Altrincham-based puppet makers Mackinnon & Saunders.
If you’re bringing the car, you’ll find a car park right next door. Luckily, you can get a 25% discount whether you’re coming to HOME for a show, or just eating or drinking at the venue. Validate your ticket at the box office or just show a receipt from the bar or restaurant.
The facilities here are gleaming - and manage to be immaculate without feeling sterile. Although the space is beautiful, it’s so warm and welcoming that you’ll always feel comfortable, whether you’re here to watch the best in contemporary culture or you’ve just popped in for a cocktail.
You’ll find HOME at 2 Tony Wilson Place, First Street, M15 4FN and the phone number is 0161 200 1500. The box office and bookshop both open at 11am everyday, but other parts of the building open even earlier - the Ground Floor Bar opens at 10am Monday to Saturday, and at 11am on Sunday. It’s free to come in and look around.
Looking for an unusual card or quirky gift for that hard-to-shop-for friend? Head to HOME’s fantastic bookshop. Not only is it the place to go for specialist film magazines and books with a distinctly arty theme, you can also pick up some one-of-a-kind gifts. There’s everything from film posters and paintings, to Manchester mugs, maps and badges.
There are five cinemas on the top floor gallery, as well as two theatres. Theatre one is the largest - with a capacity of 450, it hosts the venue’s main programme of events. The second theatre is more of a flexible studio space. With seats for 180 people, it provides an intimate setting that’s perfect for smaller scale productions.
You’ll find all parts of the building accessible, with lifts to the cinema screens on the top floor. There are accessible toilets on each floor, and wheelchair spaces in all the cinemas and theatres. In addition, there are autism-friendly screenings and performances, audio-description headsets and caption subtitles available for certain theatre shows.
Turn your visit to HOME into a whole day’s worth of sightseeing by taking advantage of some of the other cultural highlights that are right on its doorstep.
Just a five-minute stroll away is the popular music venue, Bridgewater Hall. Famous for being home to the Hallé Orchestra, this beautiful building on Lower Mosley Street is also well-known for the crystal-clear acoustics in its jaw-dropping auditorium. But even if you’re not coming for a concert, it’s worth heading to Bridgewater Hall for a look-around. You may even be lucky enough to catch free events in its foyer, from top-class jazz musicians to harpists and folk singers.
And if the installations in HOME’s gallery have made you thirsty for more contemporary art, Castlefield Gallery is a five-minute walk in the other direction. Tucked away down a back street, this community art space hosts regular exhibitions and events in its bright and airy rooms.
Hungry or thirsty after soaking up all that culture? There's plenty to eat and drink at HOME, and a wealth of great eating and drinking options not far from its shiny glass doors.
First Floor Restaurant
HOME does pre-theatre dining extremely well in its beautiful First Floor Restaurant. Comfy, contemporary and flooded with natural light from its floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s the place to enjoy three-course lunches, dinner, or even brunch if you’re seeing a matinee. Vegans and vegetarians are particularly well-catered-for here, with the cauliflower buffalo wings and vegetarian lasagna coming highly rated. Even the pizza is innovative and surprising. Try the tandoori mackerel or Greek lamb toppings - daring, but delicious.
Ground Floor and Cinema Bar
HOME has two fashionable bars filled with people who’ve come to catch a performance or who just want to hang out with a coffee or a cocktail. The Ground Floor Bar has an outdoor terrace that’s great for sunny days, and its eat-in or take-away menu includes burgers, posh kebabs, pizzas and salads. Heading to see a film? You can grab a quick drink to take in with you from the Cinema Bar. It also has a roof terrace which is great for soaking up some rays after you’ve spent a couple of hours in a dark cinema.
If you’re celebrating a special occasion or don’t mind pushing the boat out a little bit, Masterchef winner Simon Wood’s fine dining restaurant Wood will really fit the bill. His spacious First Street restaurant is just a stone’s throw from HOME and apart from a fantastic blind tasting menu featuring some bold British flavours, Simon serves up three of the dishes he made on the TV show. The highlight here has to be the chef’s table for meals with great views into the kitchen.
The Liquor Store First Street
The sister bar to the original on Deansgate, The Liquor Store is the perfect place to enjoy some drinks, tasty nibbles or a humongous burger. Decorated American-diner style, it has cool exposed brickwork and dark leather booths. Drinks-wise, cocktails with a musical theme are the order of the day - there’s a whole selection dedicated to Madonna called the Immaculate Collection. Popular with the after-work crowd, its happy hour deals are legendary.
You’ll find HOME in the heart of the city centre within easy reach of all of Manchester’s public transport links.
Driving to HOME? Put M15 4FN into your sat nav. It’ll take you to the nearest car park (the Q-Park at First Street) which is right next door. There’s space for 700 cars, 28 disabled spaces and it’s open around the clock.
The 256 bus service from Piccadilly Gardens stops nearby, or hop on one of the free Metroshuttle buses that link up all of Manchester’s main train stations, car parks and shopping areas.
You’ll find the nearest train stations on Deansgate or Oxford Road - both of these are an easy, five-minute walk from HOME. Piccadilly and Victoria stations are a 20-minute walk - or a short journey by tram.
The nearest Metrolink stop is just a five-minute walk away from HOME. The Deansgate-Castlefield stop also has services that can take you to MediaCityUK, Piccadilly, Old Trafford and the Etihad.
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