James – Castlefield Bowl, Alton Towers 30th Anniversary Show, 2 July 2022

Castlefield Bowl, Manchester

As we all know, this special Sounds of the City show is a 30th Anniversary gig, celebrating the famous Alton Towers show of 4th July 1992, with the complete setlist from the day. Still expect moaning online that they didn’t play songs that hadn’t even been written back in 1992!

Castlefield Bowl is situated on the edge of Manchester City Centre, on Liverpool Road, just off Deansgate, and is served by the Deansgate/Castlefield mainline and tram station (6 min walk), with the next nearest mainline station being Salford Central or Oxford Road (both 15 min walk).

It’s not quite as exciting as a day out at Alton Towers, but the venue is right opposite the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, which is free to enter and will make us all feel old, as stuff from 1992 is on display in their technology section!

There are two main entrances to the Bowl – see map below – the main entrance from Liverpool Road has a lot of steps and leads straight into the arena. There is also a step free entrance on Duke Street, near to the Barca tapas bar, accessible via the road behind the Oxnoble or through the park by the White Lion. On entry, you can sit on the wide concrete steps under the canopy for an elevated view or stand in the bowl itself.

So far, the weather isn’t looking great – make sure you bring a poncho!

Parking – Manchester parking can be really expensive – if you can park a bit further out of the centre, there are less expensive options if you are able to walk 15/20 mins. There are a good number of NCP Car Parks but these will set you back over £20, so have not listed them here.

Water Street Car Park – M3 4JH – https://rcpparking.com/8704# – £7 all day – this is probably the nearest large car park to the Bowl, just at the bottom of Liverpool Road, on the other side of the railway bridge.

Q-Park First Street – M15 4FN prebooking 10 mins walk, close to the Home complex – 10% discount via https://www.q-park.co.uk/en-gb/cities/manchester/poi/castlefield-bowl/ – about £15

Stone Street Car Park – M3 4NE – very small Council Car Park behind Oxnoble pub on Liverpool Road, just a line of off-street spaces.

Collier Street Car Park – M3 4NA is very close by in the railway arches but gets really bad online reviews for break ins, so beware.

Euro Car Parks, Bridgewater St/Deansgate M3 4NH – small car park on the corner of Deansgate and Bridgewater Street, £14 for 12 hours.

Bridgewater Hall Car Park M15 4PS, 8 min walk – Council run surface car park – £13.50 for 12 hours.

Accommodation – if you’ve not yet booked accommodation, there are still a few rooms available within walking distance, otherwise you will need to look further afield – check Booking.com for options. You can get a tram out to most places easily from the nearby Castlefield tram station and trams run til midnight.

Trains and Trams

Trams – check your journey via the online Journey Planner – https://tfgm.com/plan-a-journey and you can get information on tram times, route maps and tickets here too.

If you are arriving at Manchester Piccadilly, first check to see if your train also stops at either Deansgate/Castlefield or Oxford Road too, as these are both closer to the venue. If not, you can walk down from the station, or get the tram to Castlefield from Piccadilly.

Salford Central Station is also a 15 minute walk from the Bowl, and may be an option if you are travelling on Northern trains.

Food and drink – Manchester has a great many pubs and eateries, far more than I can outline here, but closer to the venue, there are lots of cafes, takeaways and pubs serving food within a 10 minute walk of the Bowl. Some of these are:

  • Dukes 92, bar and grill with canalside seating
  • Bar Eight – Irish pub and sports bar serving pub food
  • The Wharf – canalside pub with outdoor terrace and cosy alcoves, serving food
  • Barca – closest bar to the venue, serving beer and tapas.
  • Atlas Bar – specialist gin bar, opposite the Deansgate tram station, food by the canal on the terrace
  • Oxnoble, Liverpool Road – closest pub to the venue, does pub grub
  • White Lion – Liverpool Road – sports bar with outdoor seating
The area around Castlefield, with some of the bars, parking and entrances to the Bowl marked

There will also be food and drink stalls within the Bowl itself, along with merch stalls – Stage Times and support are:

Doors open: 5pm

Surman: 5.30pm

Milo McCabe: 6.30pm

The Snuts: 6.45pm

James: 8pm

Curfew: 10:30pm

There is a strict curfew of 10.30pm for the show, which should allow you to plan your transport home.

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