OPAVIVARA! Utupya at Tate Liverpool
Photo by: OPAVIVARÁ!, courtesy of Tate Liverpool

Spring bank holiday in Manchester and the North

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor

Spring bank holiday, or late May bank holiday as you may know it, offers the perfect time to do something a little different.

To help you take full advantage of your three-day weekend, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips – from a packed programme of incredible arts and music on Liverpool’s waterfront and immersive exhibitions at Tate Liverpool to a weekend-long family festival at Arley Hall and Gardens in the heart of the Cheshire countryside.

Closer to home, we’ve gathered a list of free family days out in Manchester – crafty coders should check out MakeFest 2018 at MOSI – and a list of our favourite city parks, secret gardens and patches of outdoor space.

Performance lovers should check out the world premiere of Nigel Slaters Toast at The Lowry’s Week 53 Festival, a new work by the RNCM Young Company and Maxine Peake in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at the Royal Exchange. Why not make a night of it with a pre-theatre supper in the city?

Read on for full details of all of these and more.

Here are our picks

  • 1. The Rivals Bar & Restaurant

    The Rivals Bar & Restaurant, Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann's Square, Manchester, M2 7DH - Visit now

    If you’re there for the show or just fancy some high-quality food and wine, the in-house restaurant at the Royal Exchange is an excellent choice.

  • 2. Art Galleries in Liverpool

    Walker Art Gallery's Banksy. Photo (c) Mark McNulty.

    So you’ve done the Tate, but Liverpool isn’t short of great galleries – here’s our guide to discovering art in the city this bank holiday.

  • 3. Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar

    Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar, 22b, The Corn Exchange, Corporation St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 3TR - Visit now

    Head to this tiny Italian eatery for an authentic slice of Naples. It majors in mozzarella and the stuff here is a revelation: light, flavoursome, with oily, oozing pesto.

  • 4. Craft Beer in Manchester

    Photo of fresh green hops
    Image courtesy of Beermoth.

    It’s a great time to be alive and drinking beer, here’s a few of our favorite purveyors of a quality pint. Hop to it.

  • 5. Pier Eight at The Lowry

    Pier Eight at The Lowry, Pier 8, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, M50 3AZ - Visit now

    Pimp your visit to The Quays with an unabashedly high-end range of dishes based on bold British flavours and fresh seasonal produce.

  • 6. Free family things to do in Manchester

    Young Inventors at the Museum of Science and Industry

    If you’re looking to keep the whole family busy, the world’s at your fingertips with free history, art, science and creative capers for all ages in Manchester.

  • 7. Parks and Gardens in Manchester

    Blossom on trees in Manchester

    Getting out and about is what long weekends are for, unless it’s raining, if it’s raining feel free to watch that James Bond movie on ITV3 (warning, time has not been kind to them). Anyway, turn off the telly and get out and about with our pick of the best parks and gardens in and around Manchester.

Things to do right now

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Everyman Rock 'n' Roll panto The Snow Queen
Families 24 November 2018–19 January 2019, from £15.00

Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto: The Snow Queen at Liverpool Everyman

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA Manchester
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 20 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery

Cinema 7 December 2018–20 January 2019, from £5

Slapstick Film Season at HOME

HOME at Christmas
Festivals 13 December 2017–20 January 2019,

HOME at Christmas

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME
Festivals 11–26 January 2019,

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME

LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery
Exhibitions 29 September 2018–27 January 2019, FREE

LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery

Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester
Food and Drink 1 November 2018–1 February 2019, from £30

Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester

Motion Sickness at STOCK Gallery
Exhibitions 12 January–1 February 2019, FREE

Motion Sickness at STOCK Gallery

The Producers - A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange
Music 30 November 2018–2 February 2019, from £10.00

The Producers – A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange