Get a feel for Manchester’s atmosphere by visiting Albert Square. Located in the heart of the city, the square is of great importance to the people of Manchester and is celebrated for its architecture, history and cultural events. It’s surrounded on three sides by unique heritage-listed buildings, the most impressive of those being the grand Town Hall.
Albert Square was laid out in 1863 to make space for a memorial to Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. His elevated statue, covered by a shrine-like spire, is the biggest monument in the square. Discover smaller statues of former prime ministers and bishops as you take a short walk over the cobblestoned pavement.
The benches lining the square and the steps of the fountain are good places to relax in between shopping and sightseeing. You can’t miss the impressive sight of the Victorian Gothic Town Hall, which dates from the late 19th century. On the opposite side of the square, 1980s office blocks house cafés and restaurants. To the right, you’ll see other notable buildings, including Albert Chambers and the Memorial Hall on the corner.
The square is absolutely packed during special events. Fans of the city’s two premiership football teams gather in their thousands in Albert Square during victory parades, proudly cheering their heroes. Albert Square is also the site of art and music festivals.
By far the most popular event held at the square is the Manchester Christmas Market. If you are here in late December, browse the hundreds of stalls to find handmade gifts or souvenirs, and sample hot herbal wine and sausages. Smaller outdoor markets are held throughout the year; check the council’s website for a schedule of events.
Catch a taxi, pay for parking at a nearby garage, or take public transport to reach Albert Square. Buses stop on the square and the nearest Metrolink tram stop is at St. Peter’s Square.