You could easily mistake Castlefield for a quiet and quaint old town, but its history and architecture are so much more than that. Cobbled streets, brick warehouses, bridges, viaducts, and canal boats; every corner of Castlefield lets you know that you’re in a historical hub. You can live and work on these charming streets with only an occasional train or tram passing over your head to remind you that you’re actually in Manchester’s city centre.
Lit candles and outdoor lamps from long-standing pubs and restaurants light up the water and walkways around Castlefield and, in the summer, the canals attract flocks of sunbathers, wanderers, and dogwalkers. Most of the old buildings in Castlefield have now been converted into flats and the area makes for a unique living experience away from the busy city streets.
Castlefield is located inside the Mancunian Way, at the south west end of the city centre. Keep heading south and you’ll get to Hulme and Old Trafford. Head west and you’ll reach Salford. South west, and you’ll get to Salford Quays.
To the north of Castlefield are Deansgate and Spinningfields, areas which are made up of offices, high end retailers, Manchester Art Gallery, the Town Hall, and Central Library. Head eastwards and you’ll hit Oxford Road, home to Manchester’s universities, along with more shops, restaurants, music venues, Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum.
If you live in Castlefield and you travel by car, you couldn’t be better positioned for the Mancunian Way. This two-mile-long elevated motorway surrounds the city centre and will allow you to head outwards from Manchester in any direction.
You’re also perfectly set for travel to other parts of the city and the rest of the country via the Deansgate Metrolink stop or Deansgate train station. And of course, if you enjoy walking, you can walk to the northern-most part of the city centre in fifteen minutes.
The first canal in Britain was built in Castlefield between 1758 and 1761 to transport coal from Duke’s mines in Worsley to Manchester. Transporting coal via canal was a huge success (halving the price of coal because of reduced costs, talk about savings!) and after Rochdale canal opened in 1804, Castlefield became the hub of Manchester’s canal network.
What’s more, the world’s first railway station opened on Liverpool Road in 1830. The area then became a network of railway lines, crossing through Castlefield on viaducts that are still there to this day.
Castlefield is a favourite amongst young professionals, families, and people who want to be close to the city centre but not in the thick of it. There are also no main roads that run through Castlefield so it’s a relatively peaceful area for anyone sensitive to noise.
Dotted along the canal are canal boats, some populated by residents and others by tourists who are after an authentic experience of old Manchester. Because of its centrality, Castlefield is also home to people who work in the city centre or commute to other cities for work and leisure.
Converted mills, factories, canal boats, and more recent build-to-rent developments make up the majority of Castlefield’s rental properties.
Most of what’s on offer are one- and two-bedroom apartments, and lots of them have scenic outlooks over the canal. Rental prices can vary massively, but the average one-bedroom apartment will set you back roughly £900 per month.
In terms of availability, Castlefield isn’t as exclusive as some other areas of Manchester. There’s often a good selection of one- and two-bedroom places available, and more properties are being developed all the time.
You’ll never be stuck for somewhere to eat in Castlefield. Restaurants on the canals make for excellent romantic meals, or even a light meal on evenings when cooking’s not an option.
Albert’s Shed is a cosy yet stylish modern British restaurant serving up cuisine from around the world. It’s a perfect venue for a wedding reception, but less formally it’s also great for a quick bite, a sneaky drink, or a Sunday dinner.
Albert’s Shed is Castlefield condensed – beautiful and friendly. Its al fresco dining area and smiley service offer something unique to Castlefield residents.
Credit: Manchester's Finest
Akbar’s, the ‘King of Curry’, specialises in South Asian cuisine at very reasonable prices. Although this curry house is always much busier than most restaurants in the area, they’ll always find a spot to squeeze you in and serve up some of their popping curries and enormous naan breads. If you don’t like the idea of being squeezed in, book in plenty of time!
Credit: Restaurants of Manchester
Head to Sapporo Teppanyaki for a theatrical restaurant experience. This interactive restaurant is great for birthdays and special occasions, or even just if you enjoy Japanese and Teppanyaki style food. You can even try making your own sushi with the help of traditional sushi chefs but, be warned, it’s harder than it looks.
Like Albert’s Shed, Sapporo Teppanyaki has the canals and old buildings to thank for its great atmosphere, alongside its skilled chefs of course.
Credit: Dukes 92
It’s hard to think Castlefield without thinking Dukes 92. As one of the oldest bars in Manchester, this institution is a staple for newcomers, visitors and old regulars alike. With an incredible view of the canal, it’s easy to spend a sunny day in their beer garden as the barges go by.
Following a recent refurbishment, they are one of the most experienced and best-looking bars in the area and they know exactly how to cater for drinking guests’ food cravings. With a cheeseboard of course.
Credit: Manchester's Finest
Sitting comfortably under a railway bridge, this cosy bar rattles each time a train passes overhead.
With ales and beers brewed by Manchester breweries and staff that are always happy to talk you through their very large and carefully selected lists of drinks, you’ll be proud to call this boozer your local.
If a local Irish ‘family feel’ pub that shows live sport is what you’re after, you’re in for a treat with Bar Eight. This family-run pub welcomes all its guests warmly, including the dogs that sometimes come along for the ride with their owners.
Situated in Castle Quay, this hidden gem is perfect for a quick stop or a few with your friends. Keep Bar Eight in mind, especially on the sunny days.
If you fancy a change from wandering around the old buildings and beautiful canals, then you have a lot of choices available to you.
Credit: HOME Manchester
If you love watching independent films, seeing exciting new commissions by young theatre producers, or eating a good pizza, you’re going to find yourself at Home more than you expect.
Home has in fact become a second home for most Castlefield residents and its easy to see why. With a bar, restaurants, great coffee, a large outdoor seating area, cinema, theatre, bookshop, and gallery space, you’ll never want to leave.
Credit: Museum of Science and Industry
Otherwise known as MOSI, this is a wonderful place to take the young and curious at heart. It’s full of objects and exhibitions that’ll help to shape the minds of the next generation, and it also hosts enough events to keep older brains occupied too. MOSI promises fun and learning in equal measures. Located right next to the Castlefield Bowl, you’ll have to take a picnic if the weather’s nice.
Credit: Visit Manchester
The Castlefield Bowl is an outdoor music and entertainment venue that plays host to regular packed out gigs. With room for 8000 people, be sure to book ahead for a chance to see the likes of Elbow and Kylie Minogue perform.
If keeping fit is a priority, you’ll benefit from the nearby Y Club gym and swimming pool. More than just a gym, you’ll also be able to get help from personal trainers, take part in martial arts, cardio, and strength and conditioning classes, as well as the Manchester Holistic Clinic.
Moving To Castlefield
If you’re looking for somewhere to live in the city centre without the noise and constant bustle, you’ll love Castlefield. With enough nearby to keep you fit, fed and entertained, not to mention the rest of the city centre and surrounding areas, you won’t be disappointed. Not your place? You can always find our other guides.