John Rylands Library in Manchester, England |Built in the 1890s, the John Rylands Library is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world; both the building and its collections are of outstanding international significance.

Is Manchester’s John Rylands Library Actually Hogwarts?

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After I had done my share of handstands at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Lina and I caught a cab and had the driver drop us off at the edge of Castlefield. By this, our last day, we were on a tight schedule so we didn’t spend much time at the Museum of Science and Industry, but seeing as my companion is an engineer, I humored her with a quick walk-through. I mean, I feel it’s only fair given she willingly indulged my photo shoots all around town!

Castlefield in Manchester, England |The birthplace of the industrial revolution, Manchester is now one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the UK, yet it retains its own unique character. Set in a region that offers great value for money, Manchester welcomes visitors with its fine traditions of culture, music, sport and top class events. Its vitality is expressed through its fascinating history, interactive attractions, magnificent architecture and most of all, the spirit of its people.
Castlefield in Manchester, England |The birthplace of the industrial revolution, Manchester is now one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the UK, yet it retains its own unique character. Set in a region that offers great value for money, Manchester welcomes visitors with its fine traditions of culture, music, sport and top class events. Its vitality is expressed through its fascinating history, interactive attractions, magnificent architecture and most of all, the spirit of its people.

Exploring Manchester, from Castlefield to Spinningfields

From Castlefield, we continued on to Spinningfields, where Lina had gone out the night before. She tells me it was a very different place at night, all lit up and alive, but I liked it just fine in the daylight hours where we had the place relatively to ourselves.

Castlefield in Manchester, England |The birthplace of the industrial revolution, Manchester is now one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the UK, yet it retains its own unique character. Set in a region that offers great value for money, Manchester welcomes visitors with its fine traditions of culture, music, sport and top class events. Its vitality is expressed through its fascinating history, interactive attractions, magnificent architecture and most of all, the spirit of its people.

Spinningfields is in the city center and a £1.5 billion commercial, residential and retail project that’s been slowly built up over the past two decades. There were plenty of places to grab a bite, but we arrived at a weird time between meals so we were on the lookout for a cozy cafe. It had gotten chillier as the week progressed, but we found a nice corner for a spot of tea al fresco nevertheless.

Spinningfields in Manchester, England | The birthplace of the industrial revolution, Manchester is now one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the UK, yet it retains its own unique character. Set in a region that offers great value for money, Manchester welcomes visitors with its fine traditions of culture, music, sport and top class events. Its vitality is expressed through its fascinating history, interactive attractions, magnificent architecture and most of all, the spirit of its people.
Spinningfields in Manchester, England | The birthplace of the industrial revolution, Manchester is now one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the UK, yet it retains its own unique character. Set in a region that offers great value for money, Manchester welcomes visitors with its fine traditions of culture, music, sport and top class events. Its vitality is expressed through its fascinating history, interactive attractions, magnificent architecture and most of all, the spirit of its people.
Spinningfields in Manchester, England | The birthplace of the industrial revolution, Manchester is now one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the UK, yet it retains its own unique character. Set in a region that offers great value for money, Manchester welcomes visitors with its fine traditions of culture, music, sport and top class events. Its vitality is expressed through its fascinating history, interactive attractions, magnificent architecture and most of all, the spirit of its people.

Spinningfields in Manchester, England | The birthplace of the industrial revolution, Manchester is now one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the UK, yet it retains its own unique character. Set in a region that offers great value for money, Manchester welcomes visitors with its fine traditions of culture, music, sport and top class events. Its vitality is expressed through its fascinating history, interactive attractions, magnificent architecture and most of all, the spirit of its people.

Visiting John Rylands Library

I had strategically plotted our route for the day with the sole intention of spending some time in our next destination, John Rylands Library, a striking contrast between the glitzy new construction and the Manchester of old. I knew I couldn’t leave the cosmopolitan city without exploring one of its most popular attractions or risk being banned next time I tried to come back!

John Rylands Library in Manchester, England | Built in the 1890s, the John Rylands Library is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world; both the building and its collections are of outstanding international significance.

I had been told that many equate John Rylands to “real life Hogwarts,” and I won’t disagree with that lofty claim. From the moment, Lina and I stepped foot into the entryway, our mouths were agape. This type of British grandeur no doubt inspired J.K. Rowling as she wrote away in a cafe in Edinburgh.

John Rylands Library in Manchester, England | Built in the 1890s, the John Rylands Library is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world; both the building and its collections are of outstanding international significance.
John Rylands Library in Manchester, England | Built in the 1890s, the John Rylands Library is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world; both the building and its collections are of outstanding international significance.

The further we went into the hollowed space, the more evident it was that the piece of architectural brilliance could have easily concealed Harry, Hermione, Ron and their fellow Gryffindors among its soaring neo-Gothic arches and dense stacks of old books. I tried an accio charm, just to be sure, but it didn’t produce Luna Lovegood or any of my other favorite Hogwarts students.

John Rylands Library in Manchester, England

John Rylands Library in Manchester, England | Built in the 1890s, the John Rylands Library is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world; both the building and its collections are of outstanding international significance.
John Rylands Library in Manchester, England | Built in the 1890s, the John Rylands Library is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world; both the building and its collections are of outstanding international significance.

Part of the University of Manchester, John Rylands was built in the 1890s and is free to visit. Sadly, because it is a working research library, you can’t actually visit the second floor, though believe me, Lina tried her hardest to find a way up there!

John Rylands Library in Manchester, England | Built in the 1890s, the John Rylands Library is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world; both the building and its collections are of outstanding international significance.

There’s also an adorable gift shop full of whimsical colorful merchandise and literary collectors’ items. I didn’t actually leave with this umbrella, but I’m still regretting that decision.

John Rylands Library in Manchester, England | Built in the 1890s, the John Rylands Library is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world; both the building and its collections are of outstanding international significance.

From Spinningfields, we caught a cab back up to the Northern Quarter for the third time. I’m telling you, friends, I could have spent my entire three days there just exploring everything this artsy neighborhood had to offer!
Manchester's Northern Quarter | Exploring England's Most Underrated Neighborhood — Camels & Chocolate

Back to the Northern Quarter for a final afternoon

We did have one meal left to accomplish before leaving Manchester, and that was an authentic curry dish. My friend Andy, suggested This & That, and Lina and I were more than pleased to have an excuse to return to the Northern Quarter.

Manchester, England| Skip the Curry Mile and head to This & That in the Northern Quarter instead.
Manchester, England| Skip the Curry Mile and head to This & That in the Northern Quarter instead.

For six pounds each, we got “rice and three” (three kinds of curry), plus a side of naan. And I will agree, it was top notch!

Manchester, England| Skip the Curry Mile and head to This & That in the Northern Quarter instead.

While there, we were so close to Ziferblat—bless you! doesn’t it sound like a sneeze?—that we couldn’t not stop. Andy had told me about this concept the night before: It’s a pay-per-minute cafe and meeting space with unlimited coffee, cake and tea, not to mention free WiFi (well, you’re technically paying for it, but just pretend you’re paying for the coffee and tea and the wireless is free!). Totally speaking my language!

Ziferblat in Manchester, England | A pay-per-minute cafe with unlimited coffee, tea and cake and ample meeting space.

At six pence a minute, it’s far cheaper than visiting a traditional coffee shop where you’d easily pay 3 pounds and 60 pence for a coffee alone. And did I mention? There’s unlimited cake! Lina and I tried our hand at chess while we caffeinated up and checked our Instagrams, before hitting the pavement once more for our final night in town.

Ziferblat in Manchester, England | A pay-per-minute cafe with unlimited coffee, tea and cake and ample meeting space.

For more England travel tips, see these posts:

COMMENTS
  • November 20, 2015

    Gorgeous library! The covers of those books complete the picture, could you imagine if they would only have paperbacks? 🙂

  • November 20, 2015

    I love the photos of Rylands library! It looks a lot like Hogwarts indeed.

    • November 22, 2015

      I couldn’t find the Potions room, but other than that, dead ringer 😉

  • November 21, 2015

    Oh my lanta! How did I not know about this? I only got to see Manchester Train Station last time I was in UK. Looks like I need to go back.. Thank you for this! Your photos are amazing as usual 🙂

    • November 22, 2015

      I’d actually never heard of it either until I got there and pretty much every local said, “you HAVE to see Hogwarts!” It’s free, and it’s gorgeous, and it’s right in the middle of town. Definitely go!

  • November 28, 2015

    Wow, how did I grow up in England and loving libraries/Harry Potter and never hear about this place until now. When I’m back I’ll definitely have to go and check it out! Really enjoying reading your blog!

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