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

The Great Northern Giant Sandpit

Great Northern Sandpit, Until 31 August 2024, free entry - Visit now

Fancy a trip to the beach, but it’s just a bit too far to travel? Or perhaps you have shopping to do in the city centre and you also want to find an activity to keep the kids happy? Head to the Great Northern Ampitheatre and you’ll find a family-friendly space providing a safe environment for the youngsters to enjoy, complete with 50 tonnes of soft sand, wooden logs, and buckets and spades for digging and building.

Great Northern Sandpit
The Great Northern

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

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.

Festa Italiana at Cathedral Gardens

Festa Italiana at Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, 23–25 August 2024, free entry - Find Out More

Festa Italiana Manchester is the country’s biggest festival dedicated to celebrating Italian food, drink and culture, and takes place in Cathedral Gardens from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 August. Buon appetito!

Festa Italia

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.

Society Manchester

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
Pillock at Contact
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Fringe Theatre in Manchester and the North

Check out our top picks of shows previewing in the North West before heading to Edinburgh Fringe Festival later in the summer.

Take me there

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