We’re saying goodbye to May, and giving a big Greater Manchester welcome to June this week.
Summer is (pretty much) here now, and not only does this week start off with yet another bank holiday, but schools are also for half term across the region, so that means we’ve got an events calendar thats jam-packed full of festivals, family-friendly activities, Spring fairs, museum exhibitions, immersive experiences, and so much more.
Once again, we’ve cherry-picked a few of the best bits for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide, so here’s our top picks.
The Manchester Flower Festival 2023
Manchester City Centre
Monday 29 May
Manchester has become one of the most picturesque places in the UK as the city is all dressed up in celebration of the annual Flower Festival.
Back by popular demand for its fifth year, the four-day festival – which is often dubbed the “most Instagramable event of the year” – has seen Manchester bloom to life and draped from head to toe in magnificent floral displays, with plants and flowers are covering landmark buildings, shop windows, doorways, balconies, statues, fountains, and more right across the city centre.
And today is your last day to catch all the colour.
Mancs now now get up close to rare personal items of Stephen Hawking’s in a new exhibition that’s now opened down at the Science and Industry Museum.
Stephen Hawking at Work explores the remarkable life of a world-renowned scientist, who passed away in 2018 – with significant objects from his office giving an insight into his life as a scientist, science communicator, and as a person who lived with motor neurone disease.
Highlights include a rare copy of his PhD thesis, and a wager he made with his peers about whether things that fall into a black hole are lost forever, while there’s also a ‘time traveller’ party invitation that he sent to his peers after the party had taken place, to prove that time travel to the past is impossible.
A new Jurassic-themed trail has opened in Greater Manchester, and you can go back in time to when “dinosaurs ruled Earth”.
Described as being “an immersive dino experience” where families can walk among huge static dinosaur models, all while learning lots of fun facts and snapping photos along the way, Totally Jurassic has now opened in Walkden town centre, and tickets are available from as little as £5 per person.
It’s the latest pop-up family attraction by Totally Roarsome – which is one of the North West’s best-loved immersive events companies.
Keen to escape the usual indoor activities and taking your family on a virtual adventure this half term instead? Fancy saving a few pennies while you’re at it too?
Manchester’s largest virtual reality arcade, DNA VR – which is suitable for thrill-seekers aged seven and over – is offering an extra 10% off all week, and there’s a gaming experience for everyone to get stuck into, with both arcade and longer escape-style challenges across a variety of themes available to choose from.
The critically-acclaimed venue perfect alternative day out in the city, and you can grab yourself 10% off with the code DNAVR10 when you book tickets here.
Half Term at the Science and Industry Museum
Manchester City Centre
Monday 29 May – Sunday 4 June
Curious Mancs can explore brand-new science displays, immersive exhibitions, decades of gaming, and more this May half term and beyond.
The Science and Industry Museum is hosting a half term “packed full of digital discovery” – with the unveiling of hotly-anticipated new display dedicated, an extension to one of its most successful world-first exhibitions, the chance to explore the world of gaming, discover groundbreaking ideas that “change the world”, and so much more.
It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon immersed in science, look forward to the future of tech, or a journey back though Manchester’s industrial past.
The world’s most innovative ‘out of water’ shark experience has now arrived at Cheater Zoo.
Visitors heading to the UK’s largest charity zoo will be some of the first in the country to get to make the most of the brand-new immersive exhibition known as Planet Shark: Predator or Prey – which aims to highlight “the wonder of sharks”.
Working with global creative company, Grande Experiences, the new exhibition at the zoo features an impressive 360-degree underwater digital display, as well as life-sized shark models.
A giant outdoor funfair full of vintage fairground rides and a circus is back at the Trafford Centre.
After several hugely-successful runs in both 2021 and 2022, the UK’s third largest shopping centre’s outdoor space has “sprung to life” once again, and is back with a whole host of thrilling rides, a glittering circus, and lots of delicious treats for the whole family to enjoy.
Spring Escape has popped up outside the Great Hall, and tickets are now available to buy for the wide range of events on offer.
A huge circus tent has been installed onto the roof of Depot Mayfield in Manchester, as the world-leading cabaret La Clique is in town.
The trailblazing show is visiting the city for a limited six-week run, featuring the best circus and cabaret acts in the world.
Presented by live entertainment company Underbelly, La Clique is wowing audiences with its genre-defining cabaret show, and for its Manchester stint, performers will include tension strap artist LJ Marles, singer Chastity Belt, aerial contortion artist Miranda Menzies, comedy and stunt performer Sam Goodburn, and more artists to be announced.
One of the East Lancashire Railway’s (ELR) fan-favourite events is back again this week, and it’s giving families the chance to go on a ‘wizarding adventure’ and ride a Harry Potter-themed train through Greater Manchester.
Aspiring witches and wizards can gather at the ELR for a day of sharing spells and magic-themed fun.
This interactive adventure will see visitors, both young and old, enjoy a range of performances from colourful characters and magical creatures, all before boarding the ‘Wizard Express’ for a two-hour round trip journey through the Irwell Valley of wonders.
You’ll get to discover on-trend seasonal essentials, like designer sunglasses, the latest summer dresses, and your go-to holiday essentials, or treat yourself to a timeless investment piece from the latest designer fashion lines at Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and more.
And if you can’t wait or want to get ahead of the line, McArthurGlen members will actually get 24 hour early access.
Keen to watch the Manchester derby FA Cup final in Manchester city centre this weekend?
The first-ever Manchester derby FA Cup final in the history of the competition is happening this weekend, and while not everyone is able to be there at Wembley for the momentous occasion, it’s still a massive day for the city.
Fans will be out in full force to watch the big fixture as Manchester United face Manchester City on Saturday 3 June at 3pm.
Town is going to be absolutely buzzing with big game atmosphere, not to mention everyone else out enjoying a weekend full of sun, so if you are wanting to go out and watch it in the pub, it’s worth having an idea of where you’re going rather than just rocking up half an hour before kick-off.
Read our round-up of where to watch the FA Cup final in Manchester city centre here.
We Invented The Weekend 2023
MediaCity & Salford Quays
Saturday 3 – Sunday 4 June
We Invented the Weekend is back for 2023.
After a successful first outing last year, the two-day bold and imaginative culture-led festival is back by popular demand, and is set to take over both MediaCity and Salford Quays this Saturday 3 & Sunday 4 June Salford with a jam-packed lineup of events so festivalgoers of all ages can get involved in a wide range of activities for FREE.
Situated where the weekend was originally invented in Greater Manchester back in 1843, the festival celebrates the differences in how people spend their leisure time, free time, quality time, and me-time.
Some of the UK’s “most exciting” comedians are bringing their shows to a new mini comedy festival in Manchester city centre this week.
Taking over Manchester’s home of cult cinema, video games, and “cool nerdy events”, Cultplex – which is tucked away within the award-winning venue GRUB in Cheetham Hill – for one-day only this Saturday, A Lovely Day is a brand-new mini comedy festival that’s set to bring all the laughs.
A handful of the funniest and upcoming names on the comedy circuit will take to the stage to perform their new work-in-progress shows.
Featured Image – CityCo | We Invented The Weekend | ELR
Icelandic airline offering incredible Northern Lights holiday experience including hotel, breakfast and tours
Icelandair, the nation’s principal airline and proud flag carrier is offering an incredible package to holiday-goers this winter by giving them a chance to book their flights, hotel, breakfast, multiple unique tours and the opportunity to see the Northern Lights all in one affordable deal.
With the Northern Lights being one of the most magical tourist attractions in the world, its popularity only increases by the year and, as a result, so does the cost of going to see it.
That’s where Icelandair come in: the flight operator is offering Brits an amazing new package centred around the legendary natural light display at a discount. Trust us, you seriously want to consider snapping up this one whilst you can.
From this week, Icelandair is offering UK travellers a special package deal which includes a three-night holiday with return flights, a hotel room with breakfast and three unique and unforgettable Icelandic tours for just £459 per person.
This deal will see holidaymakers board an Icelandair economy flight from either London, Glasgow or Manchester Airport to the nation’s beautiful capital of Reykjavik, with a complimentary 23kg checked bag allowance, plus a 10kg in hand luggage allowance, your choice when it comes to where you want to seat, seat, on-board refreshments and a personal in-flight entertainment system.
For your accommodation, you’ll be staying at the four-star Hotel Island Spa and Wellness Resort, located right near the centre of Reykjavik and treated to breakfast every morning for two adults sharing a room. And then you get to make the most of what the country’s incredible landscape.
Onto the main event of your holiday: Icelandair’s Northern Lights experience is a breathtaking three-to-four-hour tour that allows you to see the glory of the incredible natural phenomenon with your own eyes.
As for the FlyOver Iceland tour, this unique experience is the ultimate flying ride which utilizes state-of-the-art technology to give you the exhilarating feeling of flight. During this virtual journey, you’ll experience the more remote but no less spectacular areas of Iceland through motion, wind, sound and even scents.
Last but not certainly least, you have the lava show, which is one of the top-rated attractions anywhere in Scandinavia, receiving numerous awards for innovation and educational value. You literally get to watch as they recreate a volcanic eruption and allow you to safely experience hot lava in close proximity.
Once again, all this is yours to enjoy from just £459 per person. We believe the phrase you’re looking for is ‘value for money’.
Available right now until 4 October 2023, you can book to travel to see Iceland and the Northern Lights from November 2023 right up until March 2024.
You book your flights HERE and find out more information about this incredible package via the Icelandair website.
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 25 September – 1 October
Autumn is here now that it’s time to wave goodbye to September and welcome October with open arms this week.
While summer may have passed us by in the blink of an eye, nothing can dampen the region’s spirit now that autumn’s here, and a new season doesn’t mean the fun’s stopped either, as there’s still loads of events happening in Greater Manchester to make the most of.
If you’re finding it a bit tricky to choose, we’ve cherry-picked a few of the best bits for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide this week.
Here’s our top picks.
Monday 25 September – Tuesday 3 October
It’s that time of year again… Oktoberfest is back in Manchester for 2023.
This celebration of German heritage translates across the globe, and Albert’s Schloss in the heart of the city centre is at the helm in Manchester for the seventh year running, with the fun having well and truly kicked off in style with the tapping of the first keg, and the festival now well underway.
Expert biers, bratwurts, the sound of Albert’s Oompah band, and plenty of the usual Albert’s Schloss debauchery.
A brand-new exhibition is currently having its world premiere at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, and it’s giving families the chance to “dive headfirst into the digestive system” and “travel like a poo”.
The new blockbuster exhibition, Operation Ouch!, is based on and will see the award-winning CBBC children’s TV series brought to life.
Visitors can expect interactive experiences, amazing objects from the Science Museum Group’s collection, and appearances from world-renowned doctors who will be on hand to guide audiences through this “lively, interactive, and playful adventure to better understand our brilliant bodies”.
Did you know you can get a pass to visit loads of National Trust sites across the UK for FREE this autumn?
Autumn in Greater Manchester is a wonderful thing, and and our region is filled with places to appreciate the beauty of this much-loved season – but if you were looking for a reason to travel a little further afield to experience everything nature has to offer and see the leaves change colour, then it doesn’t get much better than this.
This is why the National Trust wants to give people the chance to “experience the awe of the season” at no extra cost.
The pass allows free entry for two adults and up to three children, one adult and up to four children, or just two adults on their own.
Find out more about how to claim the limited-time offer here.
Richard Kelly: A Time and Place
Kimpton Clocktower Hotel
Monday 25 September – late October
Some rarely-seen photos of Amy Winehouse have just gone on display in Manchester to mark the late singer’s 40th birthday this month.
The exclusive images of the legendary vocalist are forming part of an exhibition showcasing work by critically-acclaimed music photographer Richard Kelly that’s currently happening down at the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel in the city centre.
Following its unprecedented popularity, the exhibition‘s stay in our city has been extended, and will now be running until the end of October.
If you’ve somehow not had the chance to watch Barbie yet, then how does seeing the movie of the summer in IMAX sound?
Manchester’s largest city centre cinema inside Printworks is screening Greta Gerwig’s masterpiece in limited-edition IMAX for just one week only.
That’s not all either, as on top of enjoying Barbie in all its ultra-high-definition glory, and seeing Margot Robbie steal the show as she stars in the titular role, alongside Ryan Gosling as Ken, and a massive ensemble cast of some of Hollywood’s biggest names, fans will also be treated to some bonus post-credit footage during their screening too.
Glitzy Japanese and Brazilian fusion restaurant Sakku Samba in Spinningfields is hosting a dining experience with a difference this weekend.
Back by popular demand, the ‘dine in the dark’ experience sees guests blindfolded for the duration of their meal, and gives them the chance to suspend one of their senses for an evening as they tuck into a wide range of delicacies from a three-course secret menu.
With offerings available for meat eaters, pescetarians, and vegans, there’s something for everyone.
MCR Student Social is back once again this week with unmissable offers to celebrate.
Taking place on Thursday 28 September, there’ll be discounts of up to 30% off in more than 120 stores for students within the Manchester Arndale, including Levi’s, Harvey Nichols, River Island, Monki, JD, Mango, Superdry, Kick Game, Jack & Jones, Office and Schuh.
Fancy trying out some new bars, and restaurants that have opened in Greater Manchester this month?
Now autumn is technically here, we’re ready for lots of cheese, red wine, gravy, roasts and all the good things that come out of the kitchen once the weather gets a little bit cooler.
September has also brought a host of new bar and restaurant openings.
Some of the year’s most hotly-anticipated new venues are throwing open their doors this month – with MediaCity’s giant new food hall Kargo MKT, Manchester’s only 2D Japanese cartoon cafe, Waku Waku, and new station-side craft beer bar Victoria Taps being just a few of the highlights.
As we do every month, we’ve rounded up the best new bars and restaurants opening in Greater Manchester this month, and there’s some really good ones to look forward to.
Trafford Centre is turning 25 years old this month.
The UK’s third-largest shopping centre has been a one-stop-shop for Greater Manchester residents, and people visiting the region alike for well over two decades now, so what better way to mark this major milestone birthday than with a proper fashion and musical celebration?
How does an hour-long gig full of feel-good throwback tunes sound? Even better if we said it’ll headlined by iconic 90s pop girlband B*Witched?
What about if we said it’s completely FREE too? Well now it’s unmissable, if you ask us.
The Dachshund Pup Up Cafe is back in Manchester this weekend.
After what can only be described as a smash-hit success when it first visited our city back in 2018, the dachshund pop up cafe – or we should say ‘pup up cafe’ – is returning this Saturday, and is set to fill popular venue Lola Lo with hundreds of sausage dogs.
The whole venue has been secured so the dogs are able to roam free and enjoy some wholesome fun in a safe space.