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Explore the Library

We can’t wait to welcome you to Chetham’s Library. We’ve put together some information to help ensure your visit is as easy as possible.

All funds raised from ticket sales will help us invest back into the Library, conservation projects, research projects, and a programme of events and workshops for all of our visitors.

Don’t forget by choosing Gift Aid Admission this allows the Library to reclaim tax on the whole amount paid on your ticket – that’s an extra 25 per cent – a very significant boost to our Library funds.

Opening Times

We operate a timed entry for visitors to the Library.

For the remainder of August* tour times take place every weekday at 10am, 11am, 2pm and 3pm. Please gather at the Long Millgate entrance, and a guide will bring you over to the Library.

*The Library will be closed to visitors for the whole of the week commencing Monday 12 August and for the whole of Monday 19 August.

From Monday 2 September, we will be inviting visitors to book a Library Tour in advance. Tours will take place every weekday at 11.30am, 2.30pm and 3.30pm, with numbers limited to protect these delicate ancient buildings.

Please note: the Library is closed on public holidays, and between Christmas and New Year.

What can I expect to see?

The Grade I listed Library contains over 100,000 books of which 60,000 were published before 1851. Our guided tours, which last approximately 45 minutes will give an overview of the Library, its history and allow you to get up close to some of the items from the collection.

Other highlights include a chance to sit in the alcove at the same desk where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels met to discuss Manchester’s sufferings in the summer of 1845.

Please note: the medieval buildings are not available to view as part of the Library tour. For a closer look at the Library and a full tour of the medieval buildings, we offer guided tours through our partner Jonathan Schofield which can be booked through this website.

Getting here

Located in the heart of Manchester’s Medieval Quarter, Chetham’s Library is easily accessible by road, tram, train and foot.

This map of the city centre shows the location of Chetham’s, which is located opposite the National Football Museum. Entry to the Library is through the main gate on Long Millgate, M3 1SB, just off Cathedral Gardens.


Access to the library is via a flight of eighteen stairs, and regrettably no lift can be installed in this listed building.

Wheelchair users and others unable to manage the stairs can still enjoy full access to the collection by the use of our ground floor rooms. Please contact us in advance with details of your requirements and we’ll do our best to help.


If you wish to consult the collection, Chetham’s Library is open to readers Monday to Friday 9am-12.30pm and 1.30-4.30pm by prior appointment.

Appointments should be made at least one working day in advance in order to consult Library material.

Please email us or call 0161 834 7961 to make an appointment.

Please note: regrettably, we are not able to offer desk space to readers who are not consulting Library material. New readers may be asked to provide ID or a letter of reference.

Group study visits

Large study groups who want to access the Library to read, research, or work on any aspect of the Library’s collection, will need to contact the Library at least 30 days (one month) in advance.

Other languages

A history of Chetham’s Library, written by Member – Gill Williamson, is available here in a number of languages.


We regret that visitor parking is not available. Public car parking is available at various locations within easy reach. You can use this list of car parks, nearby, which are managed by Manchester City Council.