August Bank Holiday roundup: The best of the long weekend

Polly Checkland Harding

Ten tip-top events to fill your long weekend with – all hail the August bank holiday!

The August bank holiday is up on – thank goodness for that. For those of you who’ve been surviving the summer holidays, this list of the very best things to do in Manchester over the long weekend will come as a welcome relief. For everybody else, make the most of a break from work and dive into anything from art to a Mardi Gras Carnival party.

Manchester Pride

Sir Ian McKellen in a parade

Manchester Pride celebrates 25 years with a mega line-up including Dannii Minogue, Little Boots, Atomic Kitten and Alesha Dixon, as well as a whole host of other events – including Beyond Brittania, the official after party – the annual Parade (led by Sir Ian McKellen and themed ‘devotion’) and the candlelit vigil in Sackville Gardens. Pride Big Weekend, various venues, 28-31 August

Richard Forster at the Whitworth

Joining a clutch of new exhibitions at the Whitworth (including Bedwyr Williams and the return of Cornelia Parker) is Richard Forster, whose hyper-realistic drawings are based on both his own and found photographs, rather than real life. The Whitworth, 29 Aug – 3 Jan 2016, free

Bank Holiday Party at The Beagle

Photo of burger and beer

Alongside a summer menu of foodie specials, featuring the likes of blackened swordfish nachos and cheeseburger tachos as well as peanut butter and chocolate cream piece, is The Beagle’s bank holiday party, courtesy DJ collective Eighty Six. Wash down their Balearic beats with a carafe of Pimms, or dip your wick into some Back Frizzante Moscato. The Beagle, 30 Aug, 4pm-late

Northern Art Carbooty

Photo of two men screenprinting

Now in its third year, the Northern Art Carbooty returns to Ancoats with new commissions, art, craft, food, drink and music, with prices for what’s on sale starting at £1 and capped at £50. There will be a print marquee, a pop-up shop selling work by illustrators and ceramics by Joe Hartley of Common fame (he did the lampshades). 1 Primrose Street, Ancoats, M4 6AQ, 12noon-6pm. Free entry – £1 donation suggested

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night at Castlefield Gallery

The next in Castlefield Gallery’s Launchpad series is a group project from six artists that takes its inspiration from a storytelling game: start with the sentence ‘It was a dark and stormy night’, and build from there. The exhibition will be forged similarly, as a narrative or story, and opens with a preview evening on Thursday 27 August. Castlefield Gallery, 28 Aug – 6 Sept, free

Drunk at Vogue Mardi Gras Carnival Party at Kraak

For its final party at Kraak, which will close the doors to its events space in September, Drunk at Vogue is hosting a Mardi Gras-themed event, with feathers, confetti, disco and drama galore. Come dressed to the nines and you might just be crowned as the Carnival Queen… Kraak, 29 Aug, 10.30pm-4am. Adv. Tickets currently sold out, more tickets may become available & there will be some on the door – so arrive early

Levy Beer Fête

Shebeen, GRUB and Blackjack Beers have teamed up for three days of celebration in Levenshulme – featuring local beers as well as wine, spirits and cider, street food traders like Honest Crust and Filfil Falafel, and independent musicians including Dr Butler’s Hatstand Medicine Band. The Klondyke Club, 28-31 Aug, tickets from £5

Vintage Fair at Manchester cathedral

Photo of one aisle with stained glass windows at the end

Think around 40 fantastic vintage traders all stuffed into Manchester Cathedral, selling clothing, accessories, furniture, curios and collectibles. Mint vintage – and free entry. Manchester Cathedral, 28 & 29 Aug, 11am-9pm, free entry

Runaway Brewery Tours

The Runaway Brewery is tucked away under a railway arch on the northern edge of Manchester and, for the last Saturday of the month, the team there is opening the tap room to offer people a chance to taste their beer at its freshest, and to tour the brewery itself. You’ll see how the beer’s made, try some malt, smell some hops and taste four different beers. Runaway Brewery, 29 Aug, 1-7pm. Tickets £10

Come to the Beach at Heaton Park

Enjoy deckchairs, seaside rock, a fun fair and the biggest sand pit in the North West at Heaton Park over the weekend – fingers crossed for clement weather. Heaton Park (near the Boating Lake), 18 July – 6 Sept, 12pm-5pm daily, free entry

Culture Guides

Backyard Cinema


It only takes a quick glance at the film listings to realise that Christmas is coming, and quick. We’ve rounded up some of our festive highlights alongside standout seasons and festivals.


Pause in the hustle and bustle of festive prep to take in some inspiration from this month’s top exhibitions.

Manchester Christmas Parade


It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Manchester is bursting with fun, family activities to keep the kids entertained in the run up to Christmas!

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean


There are spooky stories, Christmas crime thrillers and plenty of books for stocking fillers as December unfolds and Manchester and the wider North region switches on the live literature lights.


The festive season is here, and whether you want to escape it or embrace it, we’ve got you covered.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


Contemporary cabaret, powerful monologues and world premiere musicals. Our theatre guide spans the festive season and beyond.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North for autumn.

Tours and Activities

We’re deep into Autumn now but don’t let that stop you from finding a new tour or activity to get stuck into.

Things to do right now

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Aftersun at HOME

Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
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Backyard Cinema