The weather might be up and down, and there’s only a few weeks of summer left, but there’re plenty of ways to make the most of it with loads happening in the region over the coming days.
We’ve put together a fresh edition of our ‘what’s on’ guide for the city of Manchester and beyond this week – cherry-picking a few of the best bits.
Some of the events we’re going to mention here are completely free, others will set you back a few pounds, and many will need to be booked in advance – with plenty still taking COVID-safety measures to give you peace of mind.
Here are our top picks.
Wonderland: Summer Holiday Activities
RHS Garden Bridgewater
Monday 23 – 31 August
This is your last week to “tumble down the rabbit hole” and be transported to Alice’s Wonderland at RHS Garden Bridgewater.
The Royal Horticultural Society is partnering with Macmillan Publishers to celebrate 150 years of Alice in Wonderland – bringing a series of themed events inspired by Lewis Carroll’s iconic novel to the new £44 million garden attraction in Worsley throughout August.
Visitors can view the new garden through the eyes of Alice, meet their favourite characters, and enjoy performances, storytelling, minibeast hunts, planting and craft workshops, and so much more.
You can find more information about the events on offer here.
Box on the Docks
Monday 23 August – onwards
MediaCityUK’s popular outdoor dining concept Box on the Docks (BOTD) is welcoming customers to its waterside ‘pods’ this week, with the collection of 30 sheds and greenhouses having undergone renovation from local artists.
An exciting range of residents have moved into the neighbourhood for the summer, along with beloved local eateries from across the region such as The Spinn, Grandad’s Sausages, I Knead Pizza, Bada Bing Deli, and Batard Bakery.
You can find more information about Box on the Docks 2021 here.
Monday 23 August – 5 September
An 8,000 sq ft beach, retro fairground rides, entertainment, and independent food and drink brands have all arrived at the Trafford Centre for the summer.
The region’s biggest shopping mall has announced the opening of its new ‘Summer Social’ event space – a vast new outdoor area that brings together all the fun of the fair, alongside a beach, live music, exciting pop-ups, and selfie-ready backdrops.
As well as several covered events spaces where people can safely relax, a number of independent food and drink brands will also be popping up over the summer, kicking off with Boujee Bar – the renowned, all-pink Instagrammer’s dream founded by Real Housewives of Cheshire star Lystra Adams.
Live musicians, street artists, and buskers will also be welcomed across the month at Summer Social.
You can find more information and grab your tickets here.
Bath Bombs Comedy Club
Wednesday 25 August
Seann Walsh, Fern Brady, Felicity Ward and Manchester’s very-own James Meehan are all set to take to the stage for a unique night of live comedy at Victoria Baths.
In the first event of its kind for the iconic Grade II-listed building, Bath Bombs Comedy Club is presenting a night of live comedy this Wednesday, featuring some well-known acts from the international circuit.
The gig will take place inside the historic Gala pool – with seating available both beside the empty pool and the original gala with a “magnificent” backdrop.
You can find more information, and grab tickets for £15 here.
Rochdale Food and Drink Festival
Rochdale Town Centre
Wednesday 25 August – 5 September
Rochdale will play host to its town centre’s first ever food and drink festival this week.
More than 20 local restaurants are gearing up to offer special deals, with the Rochdale Town Centre Food and Drink Festival kicking off on Wednesday and sticking around for 12 whole days.
Organised by the Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID), the event will feature the likes of The Flying Horse Hotel, The Baum, La Mancha, Petit Bistro, Treehouse Bar, Crust, Heavenly Desserts, and so many more.
You can find more information about the vendors ahead of the festival here.
Use Hearing Protection
Science and Industry Museum
Wednesday 25 August – onwards
A special exhibition documenting the formation and early years of the iconic Factory Records has officially opened at Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum.
Use Hearing Protection: The early years of Factory Records shines a light on the formative period for the Manchester label, disclosing lesser-told stories from family members, alternative voices and international collaborators.
The exhibition also examines the period 1978 to 1982, revealing how the label grew and thrived to give the city an authentic voice and distinctive identity, and visitors will be guided through the pre-Haçienda years to uncover the history of the label and how it earned its status as a catalyst for innovation through rarely or never-before-seen objects.
The first 50 artefacts from the official Factory Records catalogue are on display, including creations from Joy Division, New Order, The Durutti Column, and so much more.
You can find more information here.
National Football Museum
Wednesday 25 August – onwards
The summer holidays of 2021 have proven a little more challenging for families than usual thanks to the classic Manchester rain, but it’s at times like these we should consider ourselves fortunate we’ve got the National Football Museum right on our doorstep.
English football’s flagship cultural venue is playing host to a range of interactive exhibitions this month, offering four floors of indoor family-friendly activities all under cover.
Not only is there loads to see and do here away from the unseasonably wet and windy weather for both parents and kids alike, it’s also the perfect way to whet your appetite for the new football season that’s just kicked off.
You can find more information about everything happening at the National Football Museum this summer here.
Lift Up x North Report
Stage & Radio
Thursday 26 August
After a long hiatus, Lift Up x North Report is back in Manchester this Bank Holiday with a stacked lineup of names at Stage & Radio in the heart of the Northern Quarter, including headliners Interplanetary Criminal, and special guests Gemi, Tommy Tickle, and Mas Que Nada.
All proceeds from ticket sales will go towards Manchester Central Foodbank.
Grab yours here.
Thursday 26 – Sunday 29 August
Park N Party – the team that delivered both the sell-out successes of ScareCity, ChristmasCity and a number of other outdoor live events throughout 2020 – has launched a new venture titled SecretCity, and there’s a whole host of immersive drive-in entertainment events happening this week.
There’s screenings of scary cinema favourites including The Woman In Black, Hostel, Let Me In, The Descent and more all on show throughout the week.
Tickets must be booked in advance, and you can grab yours from £35 per car here.
Friday 27 – Sunday 29 August
Rap royalty Naughty By Nature will headline Moovin Festival at Etherow Country Park this August Bank Holiday weekend, with the hip-hop trio confirmed for a rare UK appearance.
Dance titans Basement Jaxx, rap pioneer Eek A Mouse, UK favourites Asian Dub Foundation, and disco don Todd Terje are also confirmed, alongside other big names such as Sugar Hill Gang, Mr Scruff, Krafty Kuts, Graeme Park, DJ Woody, Craig Charles, Stanton Warriors, K Klass and The Mouse Outfit.
An eclectic mix of support acts have also been confirmed, including Afrobeat collectives, beatboxing violinists, and the Elvis fronted Nirvana tribute band Elvana.
You can find more information, and grab tickets here.
Manchester City Centre
Friday 27 – Sunday 29 August
The UK’s biggest Italian food festival Festa Italiana is returning to Manchester, with Cathedral Gardens turning green, white and red over the Bank Holiday weekend.
First launched in 2017 and featuring delicious pizzas, fresh pasta, sweet crepes, and deli meats as far as the eye can see, Festa Italiana is known for bringing amazing street food into Manchester city centre and showcasing top Italian chefs from across the region.
Top-class chefs like Aldo Zilli, Giancarlo Caldesi, Gennaro Cantaldo, specialist pasta maker and author Carmela Sereno Hayes, and Festa founder Maurizio Cecco are all confirmed to attend.
The festival is promising some exciting new additions for its fourth edition too, including a massive outdoor cinema.
You can find more information about what’s on at Festa Italiana 2021 here.
Burrs Country Park
Friday 27 August – 5 September
Burrs Live by The Met will feature a packed programme of live performers including Beatles tribute The Bootleg Beatles, folk supergroup Show of Hands, and one of the biggest success stories in British theatre history, The Magic of Motown. The park will also play host to Head For The Hills festival – starring multi-instrumentalist Badly Drawn Boy, electronic afro-funk band Ibibio Sound Machine, and psychedelic trail-blazers, Heavy Salad.
Brightside Brewery will be providing the drinks throughout, with a selection of local food vendors also on site.
You can find more information, and grab tickets from £11 here.
Bolton Food & Drink Festival
Bolton Town Centre
Friday 27 – Monday 30 August
The hugely-popular Bolton Food & Drink Festival is finally returning this Bank Holiday weekend after a year of postponement.
After COVID-19 restrictions sadly meant that the annual festival had to move online in 2020, the support of local businesses of all shapes and sizes is helping the North West’s biggest food and drink event to return in person for its 16th year this summer.
They’ll serve up some of the best food and drink the region has to offer.
World-renowned chefs will share their secrets during free cookery demonstrations, and a collection of outdoor bars, live music and street entertainment is set to create the usual festival atmosphere that draws visitors from far and wide.
You can find more information here.
Manchester Pride 2021
Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 August
40+ big-name UK and international acts are on the lineup at this year’s Manchester Pride.
The iconic LGBTQ+ festival – which historically takes over the city each August Bank Holiday weekend – may have sadly had its 2020 edition cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and this year’s Pride Parade has also been cancelled following similar safety concerns, but it’s back once again, with Zara Larsson, Sigala, Annie Mac, Gabrielle, Katy B, Example, and Eve all leading a stellar lineup.
The popular Gay Village Party also has an impressive lineup of acts performing too.
Several other events have been announced to take place instead of the Parade, including five ‘Equality Marches’ on Saturday 28 August, limited to just 400 people per march, with 2,000 participating overall.
The festival is this year to feature six key strands – Activism, Equality, Arts and Culture, Youth and Family, Community and Party.
You can find more information about Manchester Pride 2021 here.
Manchester Pride Festival Special
Friday 27 – Sunday 29 August
South American neighbourhood dining concept Peru Perdu has a glittering array of activity taking place over this August Bank Holiday weekend to coincide with Manchester Pride Festival.
The bright pink restaurant will throw open its doors open to host a variety of events over the extended weekend, with a whole host of new menu additions, resident DJs, the return of the iconic PISCO DISCO, a raucous Veuve Clicquot Champagne Brunch PRIDE SPECIAL, bottomless Sunday Roasts, and more all on the cards.
There’s also the ‘Peru Perdu Doggo Pride’ catwalk, and complementary dog roasts for your four-legged friends to enjoy too.
You can find out more about what’s on, and book a table here.
StreamGM and The Manc have teamed up to show some serious love and support to the region’s renowned theatres, nightclubs, and live-music venues with the launch of SeeGM – a digital campaign to shine a bright spotlight on many of the amazing events, club nights, gigs and shows in our region.
You can find out more here.
Featured Image – Manchester Pride | Bolton Council