The National Festival of Making

Alex Zawadzki
The National Festival of Making
The National Festival of Making

The National Festival of Making at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Blackburn 8 — 9 July 2023 Entrance is free

For two days a year, The National Festival of Making fills the streets of Blackburn with the joyous activity of making, taking over 20 venues and outdoor spaces. It’s free to attend and a significant proportion of the programme is free to participate in. In recognition of the continuing place Blackburn has at the heart of making and manufacturing, the festival ‘celebrates making from the kitchen table to the factory floor’ through an ambitious programme. In 2022 this took in 50 exhibitions, performances, workshops, talks and markets across 22 locations in the town centre.

There really is something for everyone as you navigate the festival map and find activities that allow you to sit, watch, listen or participate and are aimed at different ages and abilities. Hands-on making workshops could see you make a bicycle bell, a Bauhaus costume, a leather purse or a screen-printed poster.

This vibrant event is a happy occasion, with unexpected things to do. You might find yourself in a Virtual Reality experience, on a unique walking tour wearing a flying cap, in a cinema made from cardboard or in an intimate Northern Soul performance. There’s a real sense of the town coming alive over the weekend.

If artisan shopping’s your thing then you’ll be pleased as punch with the selection of artisan stalls selling handmade goods at the Makers Market. In years gone by there’s also been a dedicated Teenage Entrepreneur Market and a Food Producers Market featuring over 20 businesses who create produce across Lancashire.

The festival is usually complimented by an annual commissioning programme, Art in Manufacturing, which has placed many artists into residencies with manufacturers across Pennine Lancashire.

Right now, details are still a little sparse with regards to what specifically the 2023 instalment of the festival holds, but no doubt it’ll be another packed programme. Keep an eye on The National Festival of Making’s website for the latest information.

The National Festival of Making at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Blackburn 8 — 9 July 2023

Book Now

What's on: Families

Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth

Enjoy fun and creative activities designed to encourage your little ones to play freely in the fresh air, while exploring nature and the outdoors with family and friends.

free entry
To The Lakes! at Wordsworth Grasmere
To The Lakes! at Wordsworth Grasmere

Find out how the first tourists to the Lake District (a time before mobile phones, specialist clothing and TripAdvisor reviews) experienced the area, in this fascinating new exhibition.

from £6.00
Culture in South Lakes
Culture in South Lakes

Not only one of Britain’s most picturesque national parks, the Lake District is also brimming with culture. Here’s what’s on over the next few months.

free entry

Culture Guides


There's no rest for the art lover - this month brings outdoor sculpture, musings on water, political drawings and Liverpool Biennial 2023!


We look towards a summer filled with quality festivals, from cultural behemoths to grassroots gems.

Winnie the Pooh at Manchester Opera House

The sun has finally got his hat on! Enjoy our top picks of family-friendly events and activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Classical Music

Summer's classical music calendar is filling up nicely! Read our top picks of concerts happening in Manchester and the North.

Gerry Potter (credit Lee Baxter)

Books are big this summer, with festival readings, poetry slams, creative writing activities and famous faces all putting in an appearance.

Food and Drink

All signs point toward June being a scorcher of a month, so let’s take a look at all things summery food and drink.

Tours and Activities

From literary activities to brilliant independent shops, keep your minds and homes filled with the good stuff this month.

Theatre in Manchester

Check out our updated guide for lively theatre festivals, rip-roaring rooftop circus and dreamy outdoor shows.