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

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. Jerry Springer – The Opera at Hope Mill Theatre

    Jerry Springer - The Opera

    Jerry Springer - The Opera at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, 8–31 August 2019, from £20.00 - Book now

    Not for the faint-hearted or easily offended, expect chaos and debauchery to ensue in this smash hit musical based on the infamous talk show.



    Inland Empire at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 25 August 2019, from £5.50 - Book now

    The David Lynch season continues at HOME with this sprawling Hollywood nightmare takes the perspective of an out-of-favour actress (Dern) as a launching pad for a surreal trip through the streets of Tinseltown, the Polish underworld, a rabbit sitcom and back again.

  • 3. 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

    Tate Liverpool presents a 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.

  • 4. Vegan Food in Liverpool

    Vegan Food in Liverpool
    Food From Nowhere

    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.

  • 5. 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

    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.

  • 6. Auto – Destruct at Cross Lane Projects, Cumbria

    Auto - Destruct – a group exhibition at Cross Lane Projects in Cumbria
    Jay Price

    Auto - Destruct at Cross Lane Projects, Cumbria, 29 June–31 August 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Last chance to see another excellent summer exhiition in Cumbria. Cross Lane Projects’ Auto-Destruct is inspired by the ideas of celebrated artist and activist Gustav Metzger.

  • 7. 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.

  • 8. 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.

  • 9. 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.

  • 10. 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.

  • 11. 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.