August Bank Holiday in Manchester and the North

Creative Tourist

Looking for things to do over the August bank holiday weekend? You’ve come to the right place – check out our handpicked list of things to do in Manchester and the North for a fun-filled three days.

It’s the last bank holiday of the summer, so let’s get the party started. The bank holiday weekend stretches from Saturday 26 to Monday 28 August, and there’s plenty to keep you occupied, whatever the weather. With a bit of luck, the sun might shine, in which case grab a book and head to one of our parks and gardens, or take a trip to a sculpture park or even a sunny beer garden.

There’s foodie fun to be had at Festa Italiana and Madre – and Kampus has plenty going on. If the great outdoors beckons, we’ve rounded up the best wild swimming spots, outdoor art and adventure activities for you, and we’ve found the perfect place to experience some open air theatre. Film-wise we also have you covered, and there’s plenty to see on the art front not to mention workshops to get involved with if crafts are your bag.

Our top picks


Kampus, Aytoun St, Manchester, M1 3DA - Visit now

Bank holiday weekend is big all over Kampus – and you’re all invited! Red Light will start cranking up the disco beats and queer anthems on Thursday and the Red Light x Little David Street Party will be in full swing by Sunday, with Gaydio beaming out of Nell’s Garden from 12.30pm and House of Blaque dancers podium-ing from 4pm. There’s also LOVE PARTY with its legendary Pride blow-out party – spreading the love by raising thousands for LGBTQIA+ charities – and also BarkPride, in association with Kampus’ one-stop-dog-shop The Barkside, and a family-friendly four-legged-friend fashion show.



Canto, Fairbairn Unit A, Fairbairn Building, Henry Street, Manchester, M4 5DH - Visit now

On Pride weekend, Sunday 27th August from 12.30 to 5pm , Canto hosts Drag Brunch Tipsy Tapas with the legendary queen, MissieJayCockshort. Choose from three tapas dishes per person, including spicy chorizo, roasted new potatoes and traditional Jamón croquetas then wash it down with unlimited prosecco, bellinis, sangria, house lager or house wine for 90 minutes, for a mere £38 per person. Make sure to book in advance!

Ian Jones

Unpicking Couture at Manchester Art Gallery

Unpicking Couture at Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, Until 12 July 2025, free entry - Visit now

Just opened, Unpicking Couture premieres spectacular high-end threads new to MAG’s collection and promotes breathing new life into old clothes over fast fashion. Once you’re done with the gallery’s garments, head to the gallery’s garden – volunteers and artists will be in the urban oasis out front 12-4pm on Sunday for a series of free creative activities to celebrate Manchester Pride this August bank holiday.

Unpicking Couture
Image: Dress, Pierre Cardin, 1994

The Ruins Of Earth: A walking tour written by AI

The Ruins Of Earth: A walking tour written by AI at Aviva Studios, Manchester, Until 1 October 2023, from £8.83 - Book now

Be a part of the world premiere of a new theatrical experience by AI, curated by Mancunian theatremakers and tech-enthusiasts leo&hyde. Following on from their AI-themed Coffee Shop Musical, this sci-fi theatrical walking tour will make you laugh out loud, cry inside – and look at your doomed existence from a whole new perspective.

ruins of earth

Madre Manchester

Madre Manchester, The Churchill, 41 Chorlton Street, Kampus, Manchester , M1 3HN - Visit now

Join Madre in their suntrap garden teetering on the Chorlton Street edge of Kampus – the burrito van is fully stocked (think chicken tinga, beef birria and mushroom asada burritos) and the frozen margs are ready to go. Pull up a deckchair, or bring your dancing shoes – top-level bank holiday fun, food and drinks are go from 3pm on Friday and 11m on Saturday and Sunday.

Ian Jones

Castlefield Viaduct

Castlefield Viaduct, Castlefield Viaduct, Manchester, M3 4PU - Visit now

Manchester’s first ‘sky park’ Castlefield Viaduct garden has been designed to provide interest throughout the year, and the gardening team change the planting on a regular basis to make sure there’s plenty to see. During the summer months, the focus falls on densely planted ferns, grasses and herbaceous perennials, with plenty of colour through flower and foliage.

Castlefield Viaduct by JJ.

Wild Swimming in the North of England

Make a splash this bank holiday weekend – but be sure to read our guide to the best and safest spots to take to the waters, and don’t forget your towel.

Adventure Activities in the North

The North of England is home to the longest high wire bridge in Europe, over 1,000ft above the Honister Pass in Keswick, and one of the UK’s largest outdoor inflatable water assault courses near Sheffield. This part of the world, then, has no shortage of incredible adventure activities. Here are our favourites.

Treetop Adventure Manchester
Treetop Adventure Manchester.

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. It also makes for a really good excuse to go and explore a new place. Take a look at our guide to the best outdoor installations in the North and get planning your trip out.

Beer Gardens in Manchester & Salford

There might well be sunshine this bank holiday weekend, so grab a bev and head into the great outdoors with our suggestions for places where you can enjoy an alfresco tipple or two in Manchester and Salford.

The New Oxford

Afternoon Tea in Manchester

From high tea with a view at Harvey Nichols to the Alice in Wonderland-inspired Richmond Tea Rooms, our team of trusty tea tasters has set sail to find the finest places to sip Darjeeling, eat dainty finger sandwiches and slap extra clotted cream on a freshly baked scone. This is our guide to the best afternoon tea, updated.

Afternoon Tea in Manchester
Image courtesy of Ian Jones
Father John Misty and Friends at The Piece Hall
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Things to do in West Yorkshire

Our guide to the best things to do in culture-packed West Yorkshire, including Hebden Bridge, Wakefield, Halifax and Huddersfield.

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Music in Manchester and the North

From post punk legends to the leading lights of modern shoegaze, read about the most exciting artists playing in Manchester and the North this autumn.