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

This May Bank Holiday gives us something to celebrate, at last, after a tough year for everyone. The first May Bank Holiday, on the 3rd, is more a teaser, to get back in the swing of things in a limited manner, but the 17 May is when we can legally go inside venues so we can safely expect Monday 31 May to be an explosion of joy for everyone in Manchester and across the North.

The weather is warming up (no more freezing beer gardens) and the ability of venues to use both their inside and outside capacity means less wandering about desperately trying to find a place with a spare table. This coincides with a host of events from Manchester’s greatest arts venues and cultural spaces, taking in everything from a gripping exploration of data privacy and cybersecurity at The Science and Industry Museum, to an exhibition showcasing the glory days of English football at the National Football Museum – a nice palate cleanser for football fans after the recent activities of ‘the big six’.

And of course, we’ll point you towards some of the best pubs, bars and restaurants for drinking and dining outside, keeping our fingers firmly crossed that we’re granted rays of sunshine rather than clouds of rain.

Now more than ever we need to reconnect with our friends and family and do the things that make us happy, whether that’s engaging with art galleries, cocktails, interactive exhibitions or simply a cup of tea at a cafe. And now finally, after months of lockdown misery, we can head out into the world, blinking like a newborn lamb ready to enjoy Manchester at its best. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive list of what’s on offer to help you organise your weekend into something special.

For more ideas, take a look at our culture guides which feature exhibitions, music, cinema, theatre, literature and family events in more detail, plus our food and drink guide for all those thirst-quenching and stomach-filling suggestions.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Free family things to do in Manchester

    Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth

    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.

  • 2. Parks and Gardens in Manchester

    Blossom on trees in Manchester

    If its nice weather, it’s either in the beer garden, or stomping around a park long enough to justify the time spent in the beer garden.

  • 3. Beer Gardens in Manchester & Salford

    The New Oxford

    If you don’t feel like doing anything too strenuous, there’s always the beer gardens. When the sun is shining, they’re where you want to be; here’s our guide to the best in Manchester. Remember to drink plenty of water between pints, and for goodness sake wear sun cream.

  • 4. Things to do in Liverpool

    Things to Do in Liverpool
    Image courtesy of Visit Britain.

    For more ideas of things to do in Liverpool, check out our latest recommendations and the pick of places to eat, drink, shop and stay.

  • 5. Places To Eat Outside in Manchester

    20 Stories eat outside in Manchester

    If the weather decides to stay sunny, you might be looking for somewhere to eat outside in Manchester. Here’s our guide to the restaurants in Manchester with the best areas for al fresco dining.