Manchester’s picturesque Canal Street and its surroundings constitute what is reputedly the oldest gay village in the country. Recent years have seen the area become a favourite destination of big groups on weekend pub crawls, so weeknights are currently a much more laid-back time to visit.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the once squalid area around Canal Street became a major tourist attraction – but there’s no doubt it has changed beyond recognition over the last 20 years. The days of hidden doorways leading to seedy bars where unspeakable things happened in the dark are long gone.
The canal-side tables of the Gay Village are always lively, with bars serving as cafes during the day and filling up after dark. It’s still one of the few places in town you can literally party all night, as some of its clubs are open until 4am.
Band on the Wall celebrates the TUC’s 150th anniversary with a week-long programme of folk concerts at the Mechanics’ Institute, featuring the likes of Kathryn Williams, Oysters 3, Mike Harding and Edward II. The programme also includes a free, relaxed ‘Folk On A Friday Night’ concert where the audience are invited to take part.