Tucked away behind bland office blocks, a short stroll from the elaborate Manchester Town Hall, a small but unique church comes as a welcome surprise to those lucky enough to discover it. This is St. Mary’s, built in 1794 and known locally as ‘The Hidden Gem’ – a name it has proudly adopted and which sums it up perfectly. Regardless of your beliefs, St. Mary’s is a beautiful oasis of calm right in the heart of the busy city, a place to escape to when the noise gets too much, a place of contemplation and peace.
The interior is stunning, particularly the main altar piece and the stained glass dome high above. But the real masterstroke is the series of contemporary art works by Norman Adams that line the walls and depict the Stations of the Cross. The fusion between modern art and 16th century religious architecture is brilliantly balanced and really enhances the whole Hidden Gem experience.
Be sure to be respectful to the church and its congregation if you plan a visit. Photography and video are prohibited inside, no matter how tempting it may be to capture the gorgeous architecture, and the peaceful atmosphere is something to treasure rather than disturb. But if you are tired of the busy roads and bustling streets, St. Mary’s is a beautiful and welcoming refuge.