Due to the library sharing the site with Chetham’s School of Music, all visitors will need to book in advance before visiting the library.
Library Tours must be booked in advance and may be purchased online, or by telephone. Children under 12 years of age and accompanied by an adult visit free of charge.
What can I expect to see?
Chetham’s has been in continuous use as a public library for over 350 years. It is housed in a beautiful sandstone building, dating from 1421, which was built to accommodate the priests of Manchester’s Collegiate Church. Join our expert volunteers on a tour packed with historical fact and fascinating stories: amongst the highlights are the gated book presses with thousands of books dating from as early as the 16th century, the historic furniture and paintings, a remarkable chained library, the desk where Marx and Engels studied, and medieval cat flaps!
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 our location, just opposite the National Football Museum. Entry to the Library is through the main gate on Long Millgate, M3 1SB, just off Cathedral Gardens.
Visitor parking is not available on site, but we are pleased to partner with Q-Park Deansgate North (postcode M3 7WJ) and offer discounted parking for all our visitors, allowing you to park for up to 8 hours for just £5. Collect a voucher from the Library during your visit and scan it when returning to the car park to pay. There is a fairly level journey of less than 400 m from the car park to the entrance to Chetham’s on Long Millgate.
Other public car parking managed by Manchester City Council is available at within easy reach of Chetham’s.
How will my ticket work?
Tickets for all events will need to be booked in advance via our website. We operate a paperless ticketing system; please print out your tickets in advance or have them ready to scan on a mobile device.
How accessible is Chetham’s site?
Chetham’s Library is located within a 600-year-old building, therefore all visitors must be aware that there will be uneven flooring, cobblestones and occasionally low lighting. The Library is across a cobbled yard and via a flight of eighteen steps, with seating provided in all areas of our tours. Unfortunately, we have no lift and no disabled toilet facilities. Wheelchair users and others unable to manage the stairs can still enjoy full access to the collections as readers, but may be unable to join our regular tours.
We have no public toilets (the building is shared by Chetham’s School of Music), therefore we advise visitors to be prepared to begin the tour as soon as the guide arrives. However, our staff facilities will be available for those who require access for medical reasons.
Please contact us if you require further details or assistance.
What time can I arrive?
Please arrive at the gates a few minutes before the tour start time. Due to safeguarding regulations, the group will need to wait outside the gates for the guide to come to collect them. As there is no shelter outside the site, we would advise coming dressed appropriately for the weather.
Please keep your belongings to a minimum and with you at all times. All visitors should arrive in good time to allow security at the gate to check the contents of any essential baggage. For security reasons, large bags and suitcases are not permitted on site (bags larger than 35 cm x 40 cm x 19 cm). The nearest luggage storage is located at Shude Hill Luggage Storage.
Can I take photographs?
Yes! However, in consideration for the guide and fellow visitors, we ask that you avoid using flash photography and wait for the guide to finish talking first. Please turn any sound effects off your camera, that would also be much appreciated. Our aim is to provide a quality guided tour for our visitors, therefore we advise those wanting to take professional photographs to make an appointment.