Spring Bank Holiday Manchester
Li Yuan Chia: Unique Photographs at the Whitworth | Li Yuan Chia, Untitled, c1993. Courtesy the estate of Li Yuan Chia.

Spring bank holiday in Manchester and the North

Creative Tourist

It can be easy to take the long weekends for granted when it seems like there’s another one every few weeks, but Spring bank holiday, also known as late May bank holiday, is the last until the August bank holiday weekend, so you’re going to want to make it count.

Handily, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Manchester and the North over the three-day break. Everything from jazz festivals to botanical art with a whole lot in between.

If you’re looking for culture, the hottest new food and drink spots, or just somewhere to escape and unwind, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Manchester Jazz Festival 2019 – MJF19

    Werkha

    Manchester Jazz Festival 2019 at St Ann’s Square, City Centre, 23–27 May 2019, from £5.00 - Book now

    MJF returns with a fresh new look, a new festival hub location and more venues across the city than ever before.

  • 2. Brian Lobel: BINGE at HOME

    BINGE at HOME Manchester
    Image courtesy of Carys Levin

    Brian Lobel: BINGE at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 24–26 May 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    Happening over the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend: an intimate one-to-one performance installation curated by Brian Lobel based around our favourite box sets.

  • 3. GRUB Manchester

    GRUB Mayfield
    Courtesy of Mayfield Manchester

    GRUB Manchester, Baring Street, Manchester , Manchester, M1 2AD - Visit now

    The Grub Food Fair is back, taking place every Friday and Saturday with the addition of Plant Powered Sundays.

  • 4. The Bay Horse Tavern

    The Bay Horse Tavern

    The Bay Horse Tavern, 35-37 Thomas St, Manchester, M4 1NA - Visit now

    The Bay Horse Tavern is a fantastic Victorian-style pub, with excellent food and drink options. And this Bank Holiday weekend sees it host a Bottomless Gin Brunch, with British gin brand Pinkster. It’s held on Saturday and Sunday, at £30 per person for an endless supply of this delicious raspberry-infused pink gin – you can also gorge yourself on their superb gin jam-soaked pancake stack.

  • 5. Góbéfest at Albert Square

    Gobefest at Albert Square
    Gobefest

    Gobefest at Albert Square, City Centre, 24–26 May 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    Never been to a Transylvanian festival? Here’s your chance. Góbéfest returns to Manchester with an array of acts from Transylvania and the Carpathian Basin.

  • 6. Max Cooper at Gorilla

    Alex Kozobolis

    Max Cooper at Gorilla, Manchester, 25 May 2019, from £16.50 - Book now

    This immersive audio-visual show at Gorilla sees the ever-innovative Max Cooper merge his stunning electronic music with science-inspired visual art.

  • 7. Li Yuan Chia: Unique Photographs at the Whitworth

    Li Yuan Chia: His Late Photographs at Whitworth Art Gallery
    Image: Li Yuan Chia, Untitled, c1993. Courtesy the estate of Li Yuan Chia.

    Li Yuan Chia: Unique Photographs at The Whitworth, Manchester, 18 May–15 December 2019, free entry - Visit now

    The Whitworth presents a quiet, yet arrestingly beautiful series of hand-coloured photographs taken by China’s first conceptual artist, Li Yuan Chia, nearing the end of his life.

  • 8. CFCCA Free Guided Tour – May

    He Xiangyu, Sylvain (2019) film still courtesy of the artist

    CFCCA Free Guided Tour - May at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester, 25 May 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    If you’re planning a Manchester art hop, head to CFCCA and join one of their free monthly tours and hear from artists and curators at the the gallery.

  • 9. Zig Zag Atelier Bebop at Common Bar

    Zig Zag Atelier Bebop at Common Bar, Manchester

    Zig Zag Atelier Bebop at Common Bar, Manchester, 28 February–31 July 2019, free entry - Visit now

    After CFCCA, check out the latest exhibition by Atelier Bebop at Common. It’d be rude to note check out their new menu and sink a pint or two as well.

  • 10. Deadstock General Store

    Deadstock General Store
    Deadstock General Store

    Deadstock General Store, 46 Edge St, Manchester, M4 1HN - Visit now

    Why not add some retail therapy to your Northern Quarter jaunt? Deadstock General Store is just across the road from Common. This small shop has a well curated range of stock that focuses on vintage homeware and gifts. From Japanese hemp socks, to botanical paperweights and HAWS plant misters, each object is beautiful, practical and well made. A great place to browse and buy unusual presents.

  • 11. Independent Shops in Manchester

    OBJECT, Chorlton. Independent Shops Manchester
    Courtesy of OBJECT

    While you’ve got the old credit card out, here’s some more independent spots around Manchester that are well worth your time.

  • 12. Places To Eat Outside in Manchester

    20 Stories eat outside in Manchester

    Looking for somewhere to eat outside in Manchester in these hot summer months? Here’s our guide to the restaurants in Manchester with the best areas for al fresco dining.

  • 13. 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.

  • 14. Kapow! Original Comic Book Art at Cooper Gallery Barnsley

    Kapow! Original Comic Book Art from Dean Ormston & Fiona Stephenson
    Artwork in Kapow!

    Kapow! Original Comic Book Art from Dean Ormston & Fiona Stephenson at The Cooper Gallery, Barnsley, Barnsley, 18 May–28 August 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Award-winning DC Comics artist Dean Ormston and internationally renowned pin-up artist Fiona Stephenson are curating this unique and colourful comic book art exhibition.

  • 15. Pears & Apples – The Botanical Illustrations of Elisabeth Dowle at Cannon Hall Museum Park & Gardens

    Pears & Apples – The Botanical Illustrations of Elisabeth Dowle at Cannon Hall Museum Park & Gardens, Barnsley, 25 May–3 November 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    A 15-minute drive from the Cooper Gallery is Cannon Hall’s historic pear collection. Go and see a new exhibition of work by renowned botanical artist Elisabeth Dowle makes for a perfect – and prescient – pairing.

  • 16. The Storytelling Bus at Square Chapel

    Courtesy IOU

    The Storytelling Bus at Square Chapel Arts Centre, 25 May–7 July 2019, from £5 - Book now

    We love Halifax, The Piece Hall and IOU, so this seems the perfect excuse to hop on board The Storytelling Bus to experience the historic town like never before.

  • 17. 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.

  • 18. 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.