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Tour Director

  • Explore Manchester’s prestigious collections of fine and decorative arts at Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth Art Gallery

  • Visit the fascinating Silk Museum in nearby Macclesfield, discovering the history of silk weaving

  • Explore The Lowry on Salford Quays, flanked by the Manchester Ship Canal

"The whole Manchester experience was a joy"

- ACE customer on the 2024 Art Treasures of Manchester tour

The city of Manchester awes both first-time and experienced visitors alike with the breadth of its cultural heritage, the prosperity of its industrial past and its world-class art collections. This tour explores the artistic treasures to be found in Manchester’s art galleries and university collections, as well as some rich cultural heritage outside the city.


Manchester Art Gallery opened in 1883 in buildings designed in the Greek Revival style by Sir Charles Barry, now linked by a modern extension designed by Hopkins Architects. The gallery is home to an extensive collection of fine and decorative arts, including a particularly impressive group of Pre-Raphaelite works.


The University of Manchester’s art gallery, the Whitworth, won the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year in 2015 following a major redevelopment. It houses an important collection of works by modern artists such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ford Madox Brown, David Hockney, Van Gogh and Picasso, as well as paintings by Turner.


We look forward to a visit to the John Rylands Research Institute and Library, as well as a special tour of Chetham’s School Library, founded in 1653 and the oldest public library in the English-speaking world.


We will extend our exploration outside the city into the Cheshire countryside with an excursion to Knutsford. The 18th century Palladian Tabley House boasts paintings by Turner in the rooms for which they were created.


Meanwhile, nearby Macclesfield is home to the Silk Museum, containing “Europe’s largest collection of Jacquard silk handlooms in their original setting”. We will have an opportunity to explore the mill and also hope to view its assemblage of original pattern books.

Our tour concludes at Salford Quays, for a visit to The Lowry to see the permanent collection of paintings by the famous Salford artist.


We will stay at the four-star Clayton Hotel Manchester City Centre, a smart modern hotel situated just a few minutes’ walk from Manchester Art Gallery.


This tour will be led by art history expert Julia Marwood, MA, a lecturer and tour guide specialising in the arts of Manchester as well as those of Scotland and Germany. An accredited Arts Society lecturer and guide at Manchester Art Gallery, Julia originally studied at the universities of Durham and Manchester. She has a passion for travel and for sharing the joys of looking at art.


Tour Director Julia Marwood says: “In 1744, Clive of India wrote in a letter, ‘If I should be so blessed as to revisit again my own country, but more especially Manchester, all that I could hope or desire would be presented before me in one view’. I’m not sure exactly what he loved so much about the city, but I’m very excited to be able to explore my favourite places with you in this magnificent and often underappreciated city. And as a tour guide at Manchester Art Gallery for many years, I’m particularly looking forward to showing off the wonderful treasures entrusted to our care.”

Tour Code

Included: accommodation based on sharing a deluxe twin or double bedded room, three breakfasts, three dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.

Not Included: travel insurance, deluxe double room for single use supplement £165.

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