Dig the City 2015: Gardens, cocktails and a massive water fight

Susie Stubbs
Teapots filled with flowers

Manchester’s summer garden festival makes a return – with a novel way to water the plants.

What was the best thing about summer when you were a kid? For me it was scrapping about with my brother on long, hot days, eating our tea outside and epic water fights that encompassed half the kids on our street, a couple of cats and a few game parents. I can’t be the only one – this year’s Dig the City is tapping into the childhood vibe with a festival that wraps up with a giant water fight. But more on that later.

There are more show gardens, fashion, pop-up eats and cocktails than ever before

The late July festival has changed tack this year. While all the usual elements are in place (National Trust activities, a fabulous installation from Frog Flowers, TV gardening expert Diarmuid Gavin), this year there are more show gardens than ever before. From hanging baskets to the best of the RHS Tatton Flower Show, via vertical, edible and community gardens, there’ll be a whole lot of floral fun going on in town. There’s more fashion, too (including a shopping weekend and a roving catwalk show) and a Grey Goose bar outside Harvey Nicks. The Bridgewater Hall Bandstand, meanwhile, provides live music throughout the week long event.

The best, however, is surely saved until last. On the final day of the festival (Thu 6 Aug) Run Wild, Child explodes across the city centre. Dreamt up by the very clever folk at Wild Rumpus, it’s a kind of treasure hunt meets family fun day, with secret codes, a musical parade and dressing-up thrown in. Oh, and it ends in the sort of massive water fight that made my 1970s childhood mint – and could make it so for your small people, too. It’s free, but you’ll need to register. Head to the Dig website for more info.

Culture Guides

Cinema

We advise booking early this month as cinemas fill up with brand new award winners and offbeat classics.

Phoebe Davies: Points of Rupture at Site Gallery in Sheffield

Exhibitions

Art and women’s wrestling, Ancient Akkadian gravesites and invented artefacts – check out this month’s pick of exhibitions from across the north.

Half term fun - Young girl sat next to the tiger as part of the The Tiger who came to tea and the adventures of mog the forgetful cat exhibition

Families

Check out our top picks for Families this month. Whether it’s art, music, theatre, science, crafts or insects (!) you’re after, we’ve got you covered…

Poet and performer Kate Tempest.

Literature

From Helen Fielding to Hilary Mantel, the literati hard-hitters are in town as Manchester Literature Festival and UNESCO City of Literature turn up the gas.

Music

Lost in the middle distance between Christmas and spring, this funny old time of year has a saving grace: So. Many. Gigs.

Theatre in Manchester

Theatre

Stage adaptations of cult film classics, award-winning verbatim performance and charming slapstick. You’ll find all this and more in our guide to the best theatre in Manchester and the North.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

It’s time to find the best restaurants for the weeks ahead. Here’s our guide to the best Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Tours and Activities

Expect thrills, informative discussion, politically charged tours and wobbly towns in this month’s guide of Tours and Activities.