A walk through Manchester's Gay Village and First Street

sign for Manchester's Gay Village

This 2 km walk starts at Piccadilly rail / Metrolink station, takes you past the historic Crown Court building and through Manchester's Gay Village. It continues along the Rochdale canal with a diversion to the First Street area of the city before finishing at Deansgate Castlefield Metrolink stop.

Map with blue line showing route from Manchester Piccadilly to Deansgate Manchester

Walk out of the main exit from Piccadilly rail station (A) you will see a pedestrian bridge (B) on your left a short distance down Station Approach. 

Pedestrian suspension bridge with white arches water side
Pedestrian bridge (B) with Crown Court in distance

Walk over the bridge. In the distance you can see a gothic building. This is one of the two Crown Courts in Manchester. Walk down the ramp at the other side of the bridge. At the end of the ramp cross over the road and tram tracks (C) and walk to the left alongside the gothic Crown Court building. When you reach the corner of this building cross over the canal bridge (D) and down Canal Street into the heart of the Gay Village. This is a pedestrianised area full of bars and cafes.
As you walk down Canal Street you will cross Chorlton Street. At this point look left and you can see Sheena Simon college on the right and the terra cotta tiled University of Manchester Sackville Building at the bottom of this road.
Walk further along Canal Street and when you reach the junction of Sackville Street (E) turn left. Enter the park on your left which has a statue of Alan Turing sat on a bench (F). 

Statue of Alan Turing holding an apple and surrounded by flowers
Alan Turing statue, Sackville Gardens

For a background on Alan Turing's life check https://www.bbc.co.uk From the park walk back onto Canal Street and carry on walking down the canal in the same direction. 

Rainbow wings pained on a wall
Angel Wings at the New Union Hotel

Canal Street ends at Princess Street but we can still follow the towpath. Walk over the canal bridge and loop back under it to walk along the towpath.
When you reach Lock 89 (G) turn left and you'll be able to see a sign for First Street with the entrance under a railway bridge.
This is a small area which includes the arts centre Home. There are several cafes and bars.
Walk across the road in front of you and under the arch. Follow Jack Rosenthal Street which swings right under the arch. Walk down the side of Home and you reach a statue of Friedrich Engels on Tony Wilson Place.

Curved glass fronted building with sign for Home on front
Home arts centre and statue of Engels

Walk past the statue and take the next right (H) on to First Street, a tree lined avenue, and walk down it to the end. Go through another railway arch in front of hotel Innside. The old arches and modern building make this a great area to photograph at twilight. For what's on at Home check the website homemcr.org  For more information on the area check firststreetmanchester.com

Glass fronted building at night with light reflected in rain covered pavements
Innside hotel

Through the arch you will see a street sign for Deansgate Metrolink and Castlefield. Go in the direction of the sign along Whitworth Street West and will be able to see the Metrolink stop on your right above a series of arches.

If you have time why not add the circular Castlefield Walk from this website which starts from Deansgate Castlefield Metrolink station Castlefield Urban Heritage Site

The Manchester Pride Festival runs over a long weekend at the end of August. Check this website for details  manchesterpride.com 
It includes a massive parade round the city.

Performer on stilts with balloons
Pride Parade in front of the Manchester Free Trade Hall

You can continue a circular walk around Manchester in three legs. A 2km walk through Spinningfields starts at Deansgate Castlefield Metrolink Station and takes you through Spinningfields to Manchester Victoria Metrolink Station.


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