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 across Saturday 27, Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August, and there’s plenty to keep you occupied, whatever the weather. With a bit of luck, the recent run of clement weather will continue to bless Manchester and the North, 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, or pack your tent and head to Geronimo Festival, where the music, entertainment and activities are laid on for the whole family to enjoy. 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.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Festa Italiana at Cathedral Gardens

    Festa Italiana
    Festa Italia

    Festa Italiana, 26–28 August 2022, 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!

  • 2. Barbara Nicholls’ watercolours and ‘Dovetailing’ at Windermere Jetty Museum

    'Subsidence' by Barbara Nicholls. Image courtesy Turnpike CIC_Photo Livia Lazar

    Barbara Nicholls' watercolours and 'Dovetailing' at Windermere Jetty Museum at Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories, Cumbria, Until 4 September 2022, from £4.50 - Book now

    As if you needed an excuse for a weekend trip to Windermere, Cumbria’s Windermere Jetty Museum is currently showing two great displays: Barbara Nicholls’ enormous watercolours and Dovetailing, an immersive, collaborative installation produced by sculptor Juliet Gutch, filmmaker Claire Dearnaley and composer Sally Beamish.

  • 3. The National and Dry Cleaning at Depot Mayfield

    The National

    The National and Dry Cleaning at Mayfield Depot, Manchester, 27 August 2022, from £43.45 - Book now

    It was way back before the pandemic that indie rock stalwarts The National set foot on these shores; their show at Depot Mayfield this August Bank Holiday Weekend will feel a long time coming for a lot of fans. And there’s a big old bonus in the form of South London’s, Dry Cleaning, whose second album is one of the most anticipated of the year in indie circles.

  • 4. Fairy Tales at Z-Arts

    Fairy Tales at Z-Arts

    Fairy Tales at Z-arts, Manchester, Until 26 February 2023, from £3.00 - Book now

    The Bank Holiday is as good a time as any to check out Z-arts’ Fairy Tales, an innovative and enchanting exhibition that takes children aged 0-8 and their grownups to an interactive wonderland, jam-packed with storytelling and immersive play.

  • 5. High on Hope at Cross Lane Projects

    ‘I Told You Not To’ by Gerard Hemsworth.

    High on Hope at Cross Lane Projects, Cumbria, Until 24 September 2022, free entry - Visit now

    An exciting exhibition of paintings is taking place at Cross Lane Projects in Kendal this summer, paying homage to artist Gerard Hemsworth (1945-2021) and bringing with it some of the biggest names on the contemporary art stage.

  • 6. The Great Northern Sandpit

    Great Northern Sandpit
    The Great Northern

    Great Northern Sandpit, Until 31 August 2022, 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 the Great Northern Playhouse and you’ll find a family-friendly space providing a safe environment for young people to enjoy, complete with 50 tonnes of soft sand, wooden logs, buckets and spades for digging and building.

  • 7. Beer Gardens in Manchester & Salford

    The New Oxford

    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.

  • 8. Bubu Ogisi: I am not myself at The Tetley

    Bubu Ogisi, I am not myself, 2022. Photo: Holly Marie Cato

    Bubu Ogisi at The Tetley, Until 29 August 2022, free entry - Visit now

    August Bank Holiday Weekend is your last chance to catch this great exhibition by Bubu Ogisi at The Tetley in Leeds. Using her expertise as a textile artist and creative director, as well as mix of organic and recycled materials, Bubu Ogisi concentrates on the spirituality of masquerading.

  • 9. Geronimo Festival at Arley Hall

    Geronimo Festival 2022
    Adrian Myers

    Geronimo Festival at Arley Hall and Gardens, Cheshire, 27–29 August 2022, from £20.00 - Book now

    Air off your tent, grab your sunscreen and hotfoot it to Geronimo Festival 2022 for all kinds of entertainment, activities and music for all the family, plus plenty of food stalls to keep your rabble fed and watered.

  • 10. Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield

    Installation of Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield, 2022. Art works L-R: Peace Barrier, 2018; Ripe Rip, 2019; Nowhere To Go, 2022. Photo: Tom Bird / Courtesy: The Hepworth Wakefield
    Installation of Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield, 2022. Art works L-R: Peace Barrier, 2018; Ripe Rip, 2019; Nowhere To Go, 2022. Photo: Tom Bird / Courtesy: The Hepworth Wakefield

    Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, Until 25 September 2022 - Book now

    Take a trip to Wakefield for a super furry major exhibition of work from the master of textile art Sheila Hicks. Be sure to also check out The Hepworth Wakefield Garden – open daily, it’s free to enjoy, and beautiful!

  • 11. 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.

  • 12. Afternoon Tea in Manchester

    Afternoon Tea in Manchester
    Image courtesy of Ian Jones

    We’ve just updated our guide to 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. Now, shall we be mother?

  • 13. Romeo and Juliet at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

    Romeo and Juliet at Grosvenor Open Air Theatre
    Image courtesy of Mark McNulty.

    Romeo and Juliet at Grosvenor Park, Chester, Until 28 August 2022, from £28.00 - Book now

    Catch a classic in the great outdoors as William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet plays out beneath the stars in the fabulous open-air theatre at Chester’s Grosvenor Park. Pack a picnic (or pre-order a pizza at the venue) and get that Prosecco on ice.

  • 14. Adventure Activities in the North

    Treetop Adventure Manchester
    Treetop Adventure Manchester.

    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.

  • 15. reDiscover/ Wim Wenders at Picturehouse at FACT

    Axiom Films

    reDiscover/ Wim Wenders at Picturehouse at FACT at FACT, City Centre, Until 28 August 2022, from £8.00 - Book now

    Paris, Texas is showing on 28 August to round off the Wim Wenders season at FACT – an almost quintessentially American picture from 1984, it stars Harry Dean Stanton and Nastassja Kinski.

  • 16. Are You Messin’? at the Bluecoat

    Katie Schwab, Knots, Family Day at BALTIC, Gateshead, 2018. Photo: Colin Davison

    Are You Messin'?: Exhibition for children and families at Bluecoat, City Centre, Until 18 September 2022, free entry - Visit now

    Immersive and colourful, Are You Messin’? is designed for young visitors to explore, touch and discover the works created by an impressive list of artists including Katie Schwab, whose work can also be found in the British Art Show 9 exhibition at Manchester’s Whitworth until 4 September.

  • 17. 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.

Things to do right now

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The Gruffalo at The lowry
Families Until 21 August 2022, from £10.00

The Gruffalo at The Lowry

The Jungle Book at Williamson Park
Families Until 28 August 2022, from £15.00

The Jungle Book at Williamson Park

Open Air Theatre in Manchester and the North
Childrens Until 29 August 2022, from £28.00

Stig of the Dump at Grosvenor Open Air Theatre

Activity Until 30 August 2022, Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members) £1.50 for trail

The Lost Words at Quarry Bank

Festivals Until 31 August 2022, from £9.95

Flying Fighters of Taiwan at HOME

Great Northern Sandpit
Families Until 31 August 2022, FREE

The Great Northern Sandpit

Activity Until 31 August 2022, from £40

Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks

Activity Until 31 August 2022, from £0.00

Tours in Chester