august bank holiday
John Ruskin, View from my Window at Mornex, 1862 © Lakeland Arts

August Bank Holiday in Manchester and the North

Ben Williams, Managing Editor

August bank holiday is a sort of bookend to the summer, and, for some, there’s a faint whiff of melancholy in the air. Tesco and ASDA have launched their back to school advertising arms race and those idyllic days of whittling away the hours in front of the smug kids from Why Don’t You? are numbered.

But wait, this isn’t the early 90’s, I’ve not been a student for a long time and Mr Bronson’s Grange Hill bastardry never inspired me to become a teacher. Like most adults, my summers are pretty much just like my autumns and winters, so let’s break the monotony and approach this August bank holiday weekend in the only sensible way possible… Let’s grasp this free day away from the rat race and make a sustained assault on the citadel of good times.

It’s Pride Weekend in Manchester, the weather is threatening to, well, not rain and there’s cultural adventures to be had. So, why don’t you just switch off your television set and go out and do something less boring instead?

Here are our picks

  • 1. Erst

    erst.

    Erst, 9 Murray St, Manchester, M4 5BN - Visit now

    Erst is something special. This can’t be stressed enough. Of course, Ancoats is the new hot spot in the UK, let alone in Manchester – open any airline magazine and you’ll no doubt see a guide to the go-to haunts in this former gangland slum, now gentrified up the eyeballs.

  • 2. Beer Gardens in Manchester

    For those who can’t be bothered going to Chrolton, here’s some more beer gardens to enjoy. Now, admittedly, we’re not talking about the behemoth biergartens of Bavaria, so don’t get your lederhosen in a twist. These are some of our favorite places to drink outdoors in Manchester. Some big, some small and all better with a belly full of beer and safe in the knowledge that Monday is all yours to spend in bed.

  • 3. Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

    If you’re going to be drinking, don’t forget to eat! Some people say ‘eating’s cheating’, but those people are most probably younger than you and can still handle it. Here’s what our Food & Drink Editor has been tucking into recently.

  • 4. Umezushi

    Umezushi, Unit 4, Mirabel Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 1PJ - Visit now

    If you’re in Manchester and love food, you’ll be aware of Umezushi. Despite being tucked away under an old railway arch behind Victoria Station on the edge of the city centre, it has a reputation across the city that money can’t buy.

  • 5. Wild Swimming

    For those not gorging themselves on food and drink, it’s likely to be one of your last chances to (comfortably) swim outdoors in the North. There’s always time for eating and drinking afterward.

  • 6. Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool

    Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool
    Sol Calero, Interiores 2017 Installation view, Dortmunder Kunstverein. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Simon Vogel

    Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool, Waterfront, 14 June–10 November 2019, free entry - Visit now

    It’s been another fantastic summer for blockbuster exhibitions in Liverpool. Check out Tate Liverpool’s new commission by Venezuelan-born, Berlin-based artist Sol Calero, whose brightly coloured, large-scale immersive installations offer a sharply satirical critique of the surreal set of stereotypes and clichés attached to different cultures. Still not sure? Well don’t forget that they’ve got Keith Haring on show here too.

  • 7. Vegan Food in Liverpool

    Vegan Food in Liverpool
    Food From Nowhere

    All that art on an empty stomach? No chance. Liverpool is one of the better cities when it comes to high-quality vegan cuisine – here’s our guide to the best vegan food in the city. Also there’s plenty of places to drink in Liverpool too.

  • 8. Ruskin, Turner and The Storm Cloud at Abbot Hall Art Gallery

    Ruskin, Turner and The Storm Cloud at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Cumbria
    John Ruskin, View from my Window at Mornex, 1862 © Lakeland Arts

    Ruskin, Turner and The Storm Cloud at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Cumbria, 12 July–5 October 2019, from £7 - Visit now

    A trip to Cumbria a safe bank holiday bet. This summer, Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Cumbria marks the 200-year-anniversary of the great Victorian art critic and watercolourist, John Ruskin’s birth, with an exhibition dedicated to the turbulent skies above.

  • 9. Families

    Digital Dimensions at Eureka! Children playing in digital dimensions with light pillars
    Credit: Jonathan Pow/jp@jonathanpow.com

    As ever, we’ve a comprehensive list of the best family things for you to pick from.

  • 10. Top places to go rural (without leaving Manchester)

    Disley, home to Lyme Park. Image by Dave Dunford via Wikimedia Commons

    A bank holiday weekend wouldn’t be a bank holiday weekend without at least thinking about going outside and doing something wholesome. I mean, you’re not really a parent unless you drag a resentful child away from Fortnight and march them around a country estate with a face like a wet weekend.

    Anyway, you’ve thought about it, that’s probably enough. Here’s another link to the beer gardens. You’re welcome.