August Bank Holiday Weekend things to do chiharu-shiota-photo-sunhi-mang-copyright-vg-bild-kunst-bonn-2017-and-the-artist
Chiharu Shiota. Photo by Sunhi Mang. Copyright vg bild kunst bonn 2017 and the artist

August Bank Holiday in Manchester and the North

Ben Williams

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.

Thanks to our devil-may-care approach to the environment, this brief interlude of cloud seems a mere blip in an otherwise endless summer. It’s Pride Weekend in Manchester, there’s bees in the city and 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. Wild Swimming

    Last call for the summer? Let’s hope not, but if the weather holds, it’s likely to be one of your last chances to (comfortably) swim outdoors in the North.

  • 2. Oi Polloi

    Oi Polloi

    Oi Polloi, 63 Thomas Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1LQ - Visit now

    What do savvy shoppers who want sharp threads with an urban edge do on a bank holiday weekend? Get themselves to Oi Polloi of course. That autumn wardrobe isn’t going to buy itself.

  • 3. Lest We Forget? at Imperial War Museum North

    War Horse at the New London Theatre. Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenburg. Courtesy of IWM North. Lest We Forget
    War Horse at the New London Theatre. Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenburg. Courtesy of IWM North

    Lest We Forget? at Imperial War Museum North (IWM North), Manchester, 27 July 2018–24 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Head over to The Quays for Lest We Forget, the first instalment of a major new season of exhibitions, music, dance, talks and events at IWM London and IWM North exploring how the First World War has shaped society today. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat when you’re there, we highly recommend Pier Eight at The Lowry.

  • 4. Beer Gardens in Manchester

    Now, when we say beer gardens, 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.

  • 5. 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.

  • 6. Yorkshire Sculpture Park 2018 Guide

    Chiharu Shiota –Uncertain Journey, 2016, Blainsouthern Berlin, Germany. Installation metal frames red wool. Photo Christian Gglaaser. Copyright Vgbildkunstbonn 2017 and the artist. Yorkshire Sculpture Park
    © VG Bild Kunst and the artist

    Yorkshire Sculpture Park 2018, 1 January 2018–24 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s 2018 programme of international contemporary art has left us itching to get out of the city and back to one of our all-time-favourite places. We recommend this every bank holiday, do you know why? Because it’s fantastic and you’ll love it.  While you’re there, it would be criminal not jump in the car and check out Viviane Sassen: Hot Mirror at The Hepworth too.

  • 7. 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.

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