Manchester doesn’t seem to value its rooftops the way some other cities do, perhaps that’s a legacy of a damper climate than some but back in the industrial age when we had not just rain to contend with but also a thick cloud of billowing smog we realised the value of the space above us and boasted rooftop playgrounds like the school turned hotel at Great John Street, a roof garden on The Midland (you can still see the pretty white fencing from street level) and even a house on top of a commercial building on King Street where the caretaker and his wife resided a sipped sherries high above the street.
Our rooftops might be a little neglected these days but that doesn’t mean our only worthwhile view is from a pricey bar in the Hilton. For a start you could take a tour of the Town Hall clock tower, or maybe try a more unusual take on the skyline…
Peregrine lookout point
Nature fans can visit the RSPB lookout point to view our city centre peregrine falcons up until mid July. Volunteers for the charity are located in Exchange Square daily between 11am and 6pm and will show you to the lookout. Alternatively, if you fancy viewing the wildlife from indoors you can watch them devour pigeons on their webcam and, fittingly, Twitter.
The observatory is one of the finest places in all of Manchester, even just to view from street level. It’s also one of the most quietly kept with many a lifelong resident oblivious to its presence. The beautiful green dome is made from papier-mâché and has survived for over a hundred years. Everything here is original, even the rope that guides the telescope. On a clear Thursday evening visit the astronomical society and take a look at the stars from the centre of the city. The observatory can be found in the Sackville Building. Contact Manchester Astronomical Society, who meet at the observatory, to arrange a viewing.
From Chapel Street
If you want to get a good view of the city skyline, especially the modernist icons such as the CIS Tower and City Tower, then heading to Salford is the best lookout point you’ll find from ground level. Chapel Street approaching Manchester is a great place to start but explore the back streets a little, there’s a car park besides the university where you can get a little elevation from the main street and admire our architecture from afar – which is often much more rewarding
We haven’t included images from any of the above mentioned views, because where would be the fun in that?!