Filling five enormous listed buildings – including the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station – the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) brings Manchester’s industrial and scientific heritage to life with a vast collection of eclectic and compelling exhibits.
The early days of the industrial era in the north of England are vividly evoked by the ear-splitting cotton machinery demonstrations, where you can watch cotton being processed and find out about the working conditions of the thousands of adults and children who worked the region’s mills. Check out the huge collection of working steam engines, and don’t miss the chance to take a ride (£2) on the accessible replica of Robert Stephenson’s Planet locomotive. You can head underground, as well, to explore the sewers and cellars of the Station Building with its fascinating displays on sanitation through the ages. Finally, be sure to leave time for a few hands-on science experiments in the interactive science gallery, the planetarium and a 4D theatre show (adults £4, concessions £3) accompanied by moving seats, water spray and air blasts. Special events here have included Dr Who, Dinosaurs and the famous Bodyworks – check the website for future exhibitions.
Despite being spread over five nineteenth-century buildings, almost the whole MOSI site (even the sewer system) is wheelchair accessible, with smooth-surfaced paths connecting the different buildings, allowing you to avoid the Victorian cobbles. Wheelchairs, portable collapsible seats and magnifying equipment can all be borrowed (deposits required), and the staff are very willing to help. All multi-level buildings are served by lifts, and most buildings have disabled toilets. Visually impaired visitors will find staff on hand to help with sensory handling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Food & drink: MOSI’s stylish ground-floor coffee shop serves drinks, snacks and cakes in a spacious, contemporary dining room, while the licensed first-floor restaurant has a full menu of hot and cold meals and snacks, as well as kids’ options. Alternatively, there are plenty of excellent restaurants nearby, including many in the picturesque canal basin.