Summer’s been treating us rather kindly recently, hasn’t it?
A period of soaring temperatures and glorious sunshine conveniently accompanied the country’s so-called ‘Freedom Day’ last week, marking the most significant easing of restrictions since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
With plenty in the calendar now that curbs have lifted, we’ve put together another edition of our ‘what’s on’ guide for the city of Manchester and beyond this week.
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’s a few of our top picks.
Monday 26 July – 8 August
An immersive family experience with a pre-historic twist has arrived at one of Manchester’s most popular parks.
From the team behind the award-winning light and lantern festival Lightopia, which took over Heaton Park this past festive season, comes Dino Kingdom – an epic outdoor, prehistoric exploration that features more than 100 life-like moving and roaring dinosaurs and creatures to uncover, plus state-of-the-art 3D and AR technology.
Dino Kingdom is “bringing dinosaurs back to life” at Wythenshawe Park, with unforgettable interactive experiences and thrilling fairground rides for all the family.
There’s 70 life-sized dinosaurs dotted around the park, as well as some smaller dinosaurs to seek out and other interactive “beastly beings” amongst the woodland, such as crocodiles, frogs, bees, spiders and much more.
Tickets start at £13 – and you can find more information here.
Looney Tunes Street Art Trail
Manchester City Centre
Monday 26 – Saturday 31 July
Have you seen that the playful world of Looney Tunes has taken to the streets of Manchester?
Well, your eyes aren’t deceiving you.
11 of the most-beloved characters from the Looney Tunes series – including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales, Tasmanian Devil and more – have all been spray-painted at various locations across the city centre as part of an exploratory street art trail that’s aiming to welcome people back to the city post lockdown.
There’s also a family-friendly walking tour taking place, too, so you can see all the colourful characters popping up around the city.
You can find more information about the trail and artwork locations here.
HOPE FEST at Hope Mill Theatre
Monday 26 July – 8 August
There’s still time to make the most of the outdoor theatre festival that’s brought a jam-packed programme of arts and cultural events to Ancoats.
Created by Manchester’s iconic Hope Mill Theatre in association with Electric Park, HOPE FEST sees musicals, comedy, live music, family shows, film screenings, one-off special community events and even a dog festival all arrive in the city’s sought-after suburb right through until 8 August.
The festival’s unique programme of community-centric events are taking place inside a large sheltered tent that’s set to accommodate 250 people based beside New Islington Tram Station, just a stone’s throw away from the theatre itself.
To offer a wide range of local beers, spirits and good grub, the new pop-up summer venue will also include an onsite bar and an eating area with a BBQ.
You can find more information about HOPE FEST here.
Platt Fields Park Story Trail
Monday 26 July – onwards
A brand new interactive story trail has arrived at Platt Fields Park for the summer.
The trail – which is based on a story about elves in the Fallowfield park written by children’s author Rebecca Lewis-Oakes and illustrated by Aaron Cushley – is delivered by the National Literacy Trust as one of 12 story trails across the country that are part of the Hungry Little Minds campaign.
The campaign provides children with lots of simple and fun activities to easily slot into their daily routines, all whilst building speech and language skills at home.
As well as the story trail, there will also be an elf garden and elf-making activities to get involved with, and everyone will walk away with a free book thanks to Read Manchester’s Look for a Book partnership.
You can find more information about the Platt Fields Park Story Trail here.
Wonderland: Summer Holiday Activities
RHS Garden Bridgewater
Monday 26 July – 31 August
Families will be able to “tumble down the rabbit hole” and be transported to Alice’s Wonderland at RHS Garden Bridgewater this summer.
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.
The Peter Rabbit Secret Garden
Monday 26 July – 30 August
A new Peter Rabbit-themed ‘Secret Garden’ has arrived at the Trafford Centre, and it’s set to be a “captivating indoor family experience” for the summer.
The Beatrix Potter character has been a mainstay of British literature for nearly 120 years, and now the shopping centre’s newest attraction is giving kids the chance to explore a secret garden that brings to life the world of Peter Rabbit, as well as the chance to meet the beloved bunny and all of his friends.
This “enchanting experience” also includes a wide range of activities for all ages, including flowerpot decorating and seed planting, as well as a Peter Rabbit costume character meet and greet for each family or group.
Merchandise and personalised photographs will also be available to purchase too.
You can find more information here.
Use Hearing Protection
Science and Industry Museum
Wednesday 28 July – 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.
Wednesday 28 July – Sunday 1 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 cinema favourites including Moana, The Greatest Showman, Bridesmaids, Crazy Rich Asians, Get Out and more all on show throughout the week.
Tickets must be booked in advance, and you can grab yours from £35 per car here.
Open Air Theatre
Wednesday 28 July – 11 September
Starting this week, Ordsall Hall is hosting a fantastic three-month programme of outdoor theatre events in the grand setting of the spectacular Grade I Listed manor house in Salford, and will be working with some of the most popular touring companies on the circuit to make sure that visitors get to see some of the greatest theatre shows of 2021 and enjoy a memorable day with friends and family in the stunning gardens.
There’s both adult shows, and shows that are family friendly – starting with The Handlebards Present ‘Macbeth’ on Wednesday 29 July, with tickets from just £16.
The on-site bar will be open, but don’t forget to bring a chair, some nibbles and dress for all weathers.
You can find more information, and grab your tickets here.
(A Kind Of) Summer Beer Thing
Thursday 29 July – Sunday 1 August
Common & Co has brought ‘(A Kind Of) Summer Beer Thing’ pop-up event to Manchester city centre’s newest canalside neighbourhood KAMPUS this month – hosting a wide selection of beers, wines and soft drinks on the waterfront.
Eight rotating taps of the “finest and most sessionable beers” will all be good to go, alongside natural wines, cocktails, softs, and snacks, with support from Salt Beer Factory and Sipsmith Gin.
Numerous pop-up tastings and weekend DJ sets will take place on the canalside throughout July – with Nell’s Ice Cream Sandwiches also up for grabs.
Tables are for walk-ins only.
You can find more information about ‘(A Kind Of) Summer Beer Thing’ here.
At Home With The Pankhurst Family
Thursday 29 July – onwards
A new permanent exhibition is being unveiled at the Pankhurst Centre when the venue finally reopens this week.
Having been temporarily closed since the first lockdown was announced all the way back in March 2020, the museum and birthplace of the Suffragette movement will begin to welcome the Greater Manchester public back through its doors for “a brand new visitor experience”.
Local community groups will be given a four-week preview of the new exhibition – titled At Home With The Pankhurst Family – before it opens to the wider public later in August.
Entry to the museum will be free, with a suggested donation of £5.
You can find more information here.
I’m A Celebrity… Jungle Challenge
Friday 30 July – onwards
The highly-anticipated Salford Quays adventure attraction based on ITV’s popular survival reality show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! is officially opening to visitors this week.
The I’m a Celebrity… Jungle Challenge – which was first announced back in April – will welcome fans into the wilderness from this Saturday, inviting them to “navigate a series of fun-filled physical challenges inspired by the blockbuster ITV show”.
Located at MediaCityUK, the attraction features a variety of familiar vantage points and landmarks – including the Main Camp, the Throne and, of course, the Winner’s Bridge.
You can find more information and book tickets here.
Partial Presents: The Ghost, Youandewan + Partial DJs
Saturday 31 July
Founded by music festival-loving friends, Partial is a brand-new Manchester club night that’s bred from a pure passion for music and the community of people it brings together.
With a clear ethos for the brand and directing their attention into nailing the simple things first, the organisers spent the best part of a year nailing it all down before launching at The Whisky Jar at the back end of 2019 and in doing so, they’ve created something worthy of our attention,
Now, after what’s felt like forever, we can actually contemplate the idea of clubbing again.
The third Partial instalment will take place in the Progress Centre courtyard on Saturday 31 July, with German DJ Youandewan and British Berlin-based duo The Ghost spinning tunes between 2pm until 11pm.
Tickets are still available – and you can grab yours here.
Saturday 31 July
Boutique festival Bohemian Disco is launching this weekend, and will be bringing the biggest names in house and disco to Tatton Park Pop-Up Festival.
Set amongst the stunning backdrop of Tatton Park’s lake, Bohemian Disco will see a host of musical icons – both old and new – descend upon the leafy fields of Cheshire’s most prestigious park to perform at this outdoor extravaganza.
Created by renowned house DJ Jason Herd, this inaugural clubbing concept promises to be a masterful blend of Glitterbox, Coachella, Blue Marlin, and Studio 54 – taking you on a nostalgic musical journey from soulful, funky house through to new-age disco.
You can find more information and grab tickets here.
Featured Image – CityCo & Manchester BID