A visitor’s guide to Manchester


For such a grubby city, it does look nice from high up.

Manchester, birthplace of the industrial revolution, a city crisscrossed by canals and Victorian architecture, still proudly demonstrating to those who know where to look, the importance of this fair city in the development of the United Kingdom. While not known today for its factories or its mills, it’s still a grand city, and if you find yourself passing through, chances are you might want to check out some of the following establishments, maybe to pick up some modelling supplies, a new comic for the journey home, or that elusive miniature you can’t get in your home town

  • Travelling Man – Nestled in an area known for its trendy night spots where hipsters with curly moustaches and bicycles drink tea from Edwardian china, Travelling Man is an oasis of calm and relative normality. A far cry from the dark dank comic shops of the 1980’s and 90’s, with their hand made wooden racks and shady characters. This is a bright welcoming shop, nicely laid out with an immense selection of RPG books, comics both native, american and further afield, along with a selection of Games Workshop products and other wargaming lines, all discounted from their RRP. With a friendly knowledgeable staff, and a genuinely relaxing atmosphere, it certainly deserves a visit.


    Light, airy, clean, a new breed of comic shop.

  • The ubiquitous Games Workshop, having moved premises several times since its birthplace opposite the now sadly defunct Beatties, GW now resides in the Manchester Arndale, ironically, next to a wedding dress shop. You know the deal here, although it’s the only place you’ll get certain lines as 3rd party stores don’t have access to all their products anymore, the Imperial Guard Basilisk a case in point.

The store front you love to hate.

  • Model Zone, as we used to know it, that 2 floor modelling wonderland on Deansgate has regrettably closed. This place was THE coolest shop as a kid, and it seemed like a herculean task to get there on my little 8 year old legs, literally wall to wall trains, RC cars, paints, tanks, you name it. Having pulled down its shutters for the last time in the summer of 2013, it’s re-opened as a concession at the back of WH Smiths. While Smiths carried its own small line or Hornby kits, there’s not a larger selection in the new Model Zone. While wargaming isn’t catered for specifically, in this futuristic day and age, the products we use when modelling can come from anywhere and so, varnishes, sprays, enammels, glu’s etc are all well stocked with an excellent Humbrol range. There’s also a few RC cars, a lot of trains, and some army kits, for want of a better word, a lot of lines being carried not just the usual Airfix. While it pales in comparison to the old shop, I think it’s great that Model Zone have got the space in Smiths and it’s well worth popping in while you pick up your monthly modelling magazine and stock up on oils and 8b pencils for your weathering projects.

Through the door, right at the back, that’s where you’ll find Model Zone. Like Narnia at the back of your wardrobe.

  • Which brings me on to somewhere not usually thought of in hobby terms, Fred Aldous. This place has been dealing art supplies to the masses since 1886, yeah, 1886. Currently in a beautiful old sandstone building on Lever Street in central Manchester, near to Stephenson Square, this place has gone from strength to strength and is currently over three huge floors with a third floor containing an MDF workshop, and all sorts of other services for Manchester and beyonds artistic community. They sell EVERYTHING, I get all my weird and wonderful stuff from here, like Rub N’ Buff and Windsor & Newton inks, they do brushes, pastels, oils, and a full range of Liquitex products which as many will know, are the go to for sealing those models and obtaining so many effects. This place literally does have everything and is a solid independent business that really deserves your support. 

    Sweet shop, amazing building, 3 floors of hobby and art, plus a workshop in the basement.

    • Fanboy3 is one of those rare hobby stores that actually caters  for the hobby as well as to sell you the stuff you’ll need to play it. Situated directly opposite the Roadhouse music venue, where you’ll likely have seen punk bands play over the years, it featured large playing areas out front, alongside the mind-bogglingly expansive collection of games and expansions on sale. Out back they have specific areas set aside for tourneys, and other events, Magic the Gathering features heavily here I believe. Again, they stock, alongside the RPG and card games, a good selection of wargaming supplies, both models, paints and tools for all the major tabletop systems coupled with knowledgeable friendly staff.

    This place has ALWAYS got people in gaming, it’s a cornerstone in the Manchester scene.

    • Forbidden Planet, is the nation’s staple comic chain, there’s one of these in most cities, selling a ridiculous number of comics and graphic novels, and all manner of related paraphernalia. There’s no real need to go in to much detail here bar confirming that yes, we do have one on Oldham Street.

    Used to be Odyssey 7 this was under the Corn Exchange before the bomb, 2 floors of comics and related paraphernalia.

    There may be more stores, clubs and centres not mentioned here, hidden underground like the Lectitio Divinitatus, these are just some of the main resources the Manchester branch of Corehammer frequent and recommend.


6 thoughts on “A visitor’s guide to Manchester

  1. There’s also Phoenix Models on Bootle street (round the corner from the old Model Zone shop). It literally rose from the ashes of Model Zone. https://www.facebook.com/phoenixmodelsmanchester/timeline

    Ian Allen Book & model shop on Picadilly’s Station approach carry Vallejo Model Colour, have railway modelling supplies upstairs and stock plastic airfix kits.

    Empire exchange on Newton Street (just down from Fanboy 3) carries plenty of comics, books and collectibles

  2. Hate to nit-pick but Ironbridge in Shropshire was the birthplace of The Industrial Revolution. Good guide though, noted for next time I’m in The Manc.

      • Surprised no mention of the music scene. Other than the football it’s got to be the 2nd best thing to come out of that city.
        Unless you’re a socialist.

  3. Cheers for the heads up on Fred Aldous, been meaning to pick up some ruff’n’buff for awhile now!

  4. Pingback: How To Get More Women Into RPGs, And Why We Want Them There | COREHAMMER

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