John Rylands Library picture1 of 3
John Rylands Library2 of 3
Michael Barrow Photography/Getty Images

Key Info

150 Deansgate

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.8

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

The University of Manchester's John Rylands Library is known as much for its beautiful architecture as it is for its collection of rare books and manuscripts. The impressive Gothic structure took 10 years to build and opened to the public in 1900. Among its vast collection are a fragment of Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" manuscript, as well as the personal letters and papers of writers, military generals and more. There is even a papyrus fragment of the Gospel of John from the Bible. The fragment is believed to be the earliest part of any New Testament writing ever found.

Recent visitors said that the architecture is stunning, likening it to a scene out of the world of "Harry Potter." Though tripods and flash photography are not allowed, reviewers suggested snapping several photos of the interior (with no flash). Others recommended a stop in the restroom to have a look at the Victorian toilets, which have remained largely unchanged since 1900.

The John Rylands Library is open Sunday and Monday from noon to 5 p.m. and Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library is located off a street called Deansgate right in the city center, and it's free to visit. For more information, visit the library's website.

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More Best Things To Do in Manchester

Manchester Art Gallery1 of 16
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Type
Time to Spend
#2 Manchester Art Gallery

Established in 1823, the Manchester Art Gallery boasts a collection of more than 25,000 items that has been collected over a period of 200 years. Of particular note is its pre-Raphaelite collection. There is also a costume collection of dress from the 1600s to present day. Families with younger children will appreciate the museum's explorer tool belts with binoculars, magnifying glasses and more items. Plus, visitors can refuel in two on-site cafes.

Recent visitors said the museum is a great spot to see beautiful, romantic paintings and well worth a stop. Many also recommended indulging in a cake at the cafe.

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