St Peter's Square is the public square of Manchester located in the Civic Quarter and known for its historic statuary, monuments, museums and historic and ethnic neighbourhoods. It's also a major station for the Metrolink tram system that gets you all around Manchester. The square recently underwent a 7-year renovation and redevelopment that cost £20 million and resulted in a ton of archaeological finds, including an ancient crypt. The square has a long and storied history in the Manchester region. 

The square is surrounded by heritage-listed buildings and offers a place to sit and relax, to learn about the city's history or to head for the shopping and dining options that surround the area. The square is a historic conservation area, and urban explorers and history buffs can learn a great deal about the events that shaped the city and took place right here.

St Peter's Square in Manchester - one of the highlights of 10 Most Popular Streets in Manchester (Read all about Manchester here)

Highlights of St Peter's Square

Many people visit St Peter's Square to check out the iconic, fascinating and interesting architecture of the many heritage-listed buildings here. A major attraction is the Manchester Central Library, a circular building at the west end of the square that recently underwent a major refurbishment. You can also relax at the Peace Garden with its Messenger of Peace sculpture. 

Another site of importance in St Peter's Square is the Manchester Cenotaph, a sculpture by Sir Edwin Lutyens modelled after its sister sculpture in London's Whitehall area. The cenotaph was dedicated in 1924, and ceremonies of remembrance for those who died in the world wars are held here every year. It's located at the northeast side of the square just across the street from the Manchester Town Hall. Also bordering the square are the Manchester Art Gallery, Chinatown and Albert Square.

photo by Rept0n1x (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

History of St Peter's Square

St Peter's Square was originally a set of rolling fields in what was then just a small town with a church. The area became famous when in 1819 troops were sent here to disperse a crowd of more than 60,000 people; over 700 were injured and 18 killed in what became known as the Peterloo Massacre. By the end of the 19th century, the area had changed and become more commercial, and with fewer residents the church was demolished. 

In 1907, St Peter's Square was created and was surrounded by historic hotels, the library and other large buildings. A memorial cross went up at the site, with a formal garden added in 1924 along with the cenotaph to honour the fallen from the First World War. In 1992, the Metrolink tram system was dedicated by the queen at the square station.

photo by Anthony O'Neil (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

Good to know before visiting St Peter's Square

St Peter's Square is a pedestrian-friendly place. You can spend hours walking around exploring the historic plaques, statuary, artwork, surrounding buildings and neighbourhoods, or just sitting and people-watching. Parking can be found at one of the national car park areas nearby. Street parking is available, but it's notoriously difficult to find a space and is quite expensive. Walking and public transport are other ways to approach the park, especially the Metrolink. 

As an open, outdoor public park, most of St Peter's Square is accessible and friendly to those with mobility issues and other disabilities, so you shouldn't have any issues navigating the area. The park is also dog friendly, but keep your pets on a leash and make sure to clean up after them. Some nearby taverns are even pet friendly. There aren't kid-designated areas, but the park is family friendly.

photo by City Suites (CC BY 2.0) modified

St Peter's Square in Manchester

Location: Manchester M2 3LR, UK

Open: 24/7