The Alchemist

May Bank Holiday 2022: Things to Do

Creative Tourist

While you can’t always rely on the weather to provide the perfect Bank Holiday conditions, you can certainly count on us for lots of ideas for activities, rain or shine. We’ve gathered a list of options to suit everyone’s taste, from urban dwellers looking for a night out in style to cold water swimming enthusiasts. Looking for an inspirational long weekend of culture? Look no further. Fancy a cocktail? We’ve got you covered.

With spring programmes of art venues and cultural spaces in full swing, now’s the time to plan your perfect long weekend. There are music festivals, art exhibitions, film screenings, family fun and, of course, some fantastic food and drink all around Manchester and further afield. All you have to do is choose what you’d like to do!

For more ideas,  take a look at our culture guides: exhibitions, music, cinema, theatre, literature, tours and activities and family events.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield

    Installation of Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield, 2022. Art works L-R: Peace Barrier, 2018; Ripe Rip, 2019; Nowhere To Go, 2022. Photo: Tom Bird / Courtesy: The Hepworth Wakefield
    Installation of Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield, 2022. Art works L-R: Peace Barrier, 2018; Ripe Rip, 2019; Nowhere To Go, 2022. Photo: Tom Bird / Courtesy: The Hepworth Wakefield

    Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, Until 25 September 2022 - Book now

    The wonderfully colourful work of Sheila Hicks has landed up north! The Hepworth Wakefield presents a collection of 70 pieces from international and private collections. If you’re planning a trip this exhibition is perfect for the whole family too, with soft, eye catching creations that are sure to inspire younger and older visitors alike.

  • 2. Ducie Street Warehouse

    Ducie Street Warehouse
    Ducie Street Warehouse

    Ducie Street Warehouse, Ground Floor, Warehouse, Ducie St,, Manchester, M1 2TP - Visit now

    Manchester’s favourite creative hub and destination in the Northern Quarter, Ducie Street Warehouse, has announced a full curation this Early May Bank Holiday, dubbed “The May Weekender” – the FREE event will run all weekend from Friday 29th April until Monday 2nd May.

  • 3. Wild Swimming in the North of England

    If you’re looking for outdoor activity ideas, wild swimming might just be the one. Whether you prefer picturesque lakes or local lidos, there are lots of lovely spots to choose from. And, if you’re after something even more energetic, why not combine a hike with a refreshing dip at the end?

  • 4. Le Social Wine Bar

    Le Social

    Le Social Wine Bar, Pollar Yard, Contain 88 & 147, 15 Pollard Street East, Manchester, M40 7SL - Visit now

    A stylish wine bar and tasting room, Le Social is currently home to Caroline Dowsett and Ben Vulliamy’s debut collaborative exhibition MOTHER – an ode to Mother Earth through a series of original pieces and limited edition prints in the form of risographs, print and textiles. 29 April will also see Le Social takeover of Northern Quarter favourite Common for a Bank Holiday special party – entry is free, just turn up as you are!

  • 5. Robert Indiana: Sculpture 1958-2018 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

    © Jonty Wilde, courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, artwork: © 2022 Morgan Art Foundation Ltd./ Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY/DACS, London

    Robert Indiana: Sculpture 1958-2018 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, Until 8 January 2023, from £0.00 - Book now

    Early May weather may be unpredictable, but fear not as this exhibition of Robert Indiana’s works takes place both outdoors and inside the light-filled Underground Gallery. Featuring 56 pieces by the famous American Pop artist, the show is a brilliant survey of Indiana’s oeuvre, whether you’re a life-long fan or just starting to explore his work. Don’t miss the iconic work LOVE (Red Blue Green) (1966–1998) – at Yorkshire Sculpture Park you have the chance to admire it against the backdrop of woodland and green hills of the park.

  • 6. UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the North

    World Heritage Sites tell the story of this country’s unique contribution to the world. More than playing its part in that story, the North is home to many sites of international interest, and they’re right on your doorstep! Taking a trip to one or more of them would be an especially wholesome way to spend the Bank Holiday Weekend!
  • 7. FINT Leeds

    Ian Jones

    FINT Leeds, 73 Great George St, Leeds, LS1 3BR - Visit now

    A relaxed atmosphere with delicious Nordic-inspired food – what more could you want? FINT serves a selection of plant-based, as well as meat and fish dishes in a charming interior. If you’re looking for good food in Leeds, you’ve just found it.

  • 8. Fairy Tales at Z-Arts

    Fairy Tales at Z-Arts

    Fairy Tales at Z-arts, Manchester, Until 26 February 2023, from £3.00 - Book now

    Head to Fairy Tales at Z-Arts, an enchanting exhibition that takes children aged 0-8 and their grownups to an interactive wonderland. Discover a world of giants and gingerbread houses, climb up the beanstalk and you can even grab a bite at Hansel and Gretel’s café. An interactive world of play and storytelling awaits!

  • 9. Outdoor Art in the North

    Often free and publicly accessible, outdoor art has a special relationship to community, cultural heritage and the landscape it’s situated in. Why not take the opportunity to discover the iconic outdoor artworks the North has to offer over Bank Holiday Weekend.

  • 10. Parks and Gardens in Manchester

    Blossom on trees in Manchester

    You can’t go wrong with a visit to the park, weather permitting. Take a break from the city noise, bring a friend, bring your dog, breathe in the spring air and have an ice-cream en plein air.

  • 11. The Alchemist

    The Alchemist

    The Alchemist, 3 Hardman Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3HF - Visit now

    It’s a long weekend so if you’re having a drink, you might as well pick the most stylish place for it. How about the recently refurbished Alchemist cocktail bar and restaurant? With a new cocktail menu longer than you could get through in one sitting, you won’t be disappointed with the selection of experimental flavours and surprising combinations.

  • 12. Kunichika: Japanese Prints at Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight

    © National Museums Liverpool, courtesy of Frank Milner

    Kunichika: Japanese Prints at Lady Lever Art Gallery, Until 4 September 2022, free entry - Visit now

    Showcasing the work of one of the most important printmakers of 19th century Japan, Toyohara Kunichika, the exhibition tracks the artist’s journey from student to developing his own, mature style. Kunichika depicted thoroughly modern subjects and his work provides a fascinating insight into a time of great social and political change in Japan.

Things to do right now

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The Gruffalo at The lowry
Families Until 21 August 2022, from £10.00

The Gruffalo at The Lowry

The Jungle Book at Williamson Park
Families Until 28 August 2022, from £15.00

The Jungle Book at Williamson Park

Open Air Theatre in Manchester and the North
Childrens Until 29 August 2022, from £28.00

Stig of the Dump at Grosvenor Open Air Theatre

Activity Until 30 August 2022, Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members) £1.50 for trail

The Lost Words at Quarry Bank

Festivals Until 31 August 2022, from £9.95

Flying Fighters of Taiwan at HOME

Great Northern Sandpit
Families Until 31 August 2022, FREE

The Great Northern Sandpit

Activity Until 31 August 2022, from £40

Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks

Activity Until 31 August 2022, from £0.00

Tours in Chester