Greater Manchester is open for business, with venues following strict guidelines and Covid-safe enhanced cleaning regimes. When out and about, please remember to follow Government guidelines around social distancing, wear a face covering where required (unless exempt), wash your hands regularly, and seek open spaces with good ventilation where possible.  


1. Join three-week Hope Fest for arts and entertainment 

Hope Fest from Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats is now in full swing, with a line-up of events running right through until 8 August. This week, events taking place at the festival site on Electric Park / New Islington Green, include a sensational musical experience with Judy & Liza (18 July); an evening of music and interviews with celeb guests and presenters Belinda Scandal and Michelle Eagleton at Your MCR (20 July); the UK’s number one Dolly Parton impersonators with The Dolly Show (21 July); two performances of Murder at The Mill, a brand new interactive murder mystery (22 July), and on 23 July, a screening of Frozen Sing-a-long, plus cult-classic movie Coyote Ugly.  

For the full festival programme and to book tickets, visit the Hope Mill Theatre website

2. Celebrate the final days of MIF by visiting Festival Square 

Experience the final two days of Manchester International Festival (ending on 18 July), by visiting the hub of the biennial event at Festival Square in Cathedral Gardens. The final Festival Saturday nights brings the return of Fabaret! – a flamboyant queer revue featuring four shows for the price of none, followed by four hours of anything-goes, everyone’s-welcome dancefloor action with a Save Our Scene special from High Hoops. But before that, at lunchtime, expect a family-friendly Babyrocksampler, a two-part poetry slam featuring ten spoken-word acts, interspersed with two great acts from the Reform Radio stable.  

On the final day of MIF21, we bid farewell to Festival Square with a line-up of family (and hangover!) friendly Playhouse Project session from the Disco Mums, before Big People Music and Manny Flavahz wind things down with DJ sets and the final live show of the Festival: Misha B and Abnormal Sleepz with the Big People Music Orchestra.  

3. Enjoy Beer, music, and entertainment at a craft beer festival 

Manchester Craft Beer Festival returns over the weekend of 23-24 July, bringing over 50 world-class breweries from local heroes to global icons to Depot at Mayfield. Tickets include all your beer, a free tasting glass, and access to entertainment from DJ’s including Craig Charles, Django Django and Daddy G (from Massive Attack fame). You can also expect a super food line-up in collaboration with KANTINA, bringing together some of Manchester’s top chefs.

4. A new afternoon tea arrives at one of Manchester’s most-loved restaurants 

One of Manchester’s favourite restaurants, The Refuge by Volta, has launched their first-ever afternoon tea, served in the stunning surroundings of their Winter Garden, and set within the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel. From 20 July, guests can expect a classic afternoon tea with a signature Refuge twist, with the new menu available every Tuesday to Thursday. The menu is paired with hot drinks from local specialists, or you can add cocktails and fizz for something extra special. Bookings and the full menu can be found on The Refuge website

5. New pizza restaurant and cocktail bar opens at Manchester Arndale  

A new flagship pizza restaurant and cocktail bar opens its doors on 19 July at Manchester Arndale’s Halle Place, the new £11m food quarter. Pizzaluxe joins existing restaurants including Doner Shack and Archie’s, and will serve up gourmet, handmade thin-crust pizza, alongside a made-to-order cocktail menu. Later in the month, the new restaurant will also launch its coffee kiosk ‘Coffee + Cake’ for passers-by to grab a quick barista coffee and homemade sweet treats for a set price.  

6. Uncover 150 years of retail history at Rochdale Pioneers 

Visit the free Rochdale Pioneers Museum and learn about the Pioneers who started a revolution in retail and widely regarded as the birthplace of the worldwide Co-operative movement. Open Wednesday to Saturdays, visitors will see a recreated shop, showing how life was 150 years ago, learn about the history of retail, find out about the ‘Rochdale Principles’, and view a collection of artefacts from the Co-operative movement including vintage advertisements, vehicles and signage, all set over three floors of the 18th-century warehouse.  

7. Relax with a candlelit piano concert at Stoller Hall 

An exclusive piano concert under the gentle glow of candlelight comes to The Stoller Hall on 17 July with Candlelight: Tribute to Ludovico Einaudi. A talented pianist will perform some of the Italian composer’s best works live in this intimate concert, bringing live concert music back into the venue with socially distanced seating.  

8. Spend the day taking in Bolton’s heritage, walks and attractions 

Our new guide to Bolton is now available to view online, with so much to do across the town and wider area, including the newly reopened Bolton Octagon theatre, and the Bolton Museum, with its famed Egyptology collection and only free public aquarium in Greater Manchester. The town is also becoming known as a foodie hotspot, with Bolton Market named ‘Best Food Market’ by Radio 4. Bolton is also home to some impressive countryside, with incredible views across Greater Manchester from Rivington Pike, or even higher views from neighbouring Winter Hill.  

9. String quartet and poetry comes to Altrincham’s ‘not so secret Garden’  

Altrincham’s recently launched community social hub “Not So Secret Garden” situated in Stamford Square, is hosting a free gig with one of the North’s most powerful poetic voices, Mike Garry and his Cassia String Quartet on 23 July. The combination of classical string quartet against Mike’s critically acclaimed poetry has been a hit at worldwide festivals. The event takes place in Altrincham’s newest outdoor venue, which offers covered and alfresco seating made from sustainable materials and centred around a solar-powered pergola, complete with festoon lighting and a flower wall, plus food served by Stutter and Twitch from their converted caravan.  

10. Book ahead – Alice in Wonderland visits RHS Garden Bridgewater 

Tumble down the rabbit hole as Alice in Wonderland visits Salford’s newest attraction, RHS Garden Bridgewater. From 24 July to 1 August, the garden is celebrating 150 years since the publication of Lewis Carroll’s novels, with a series of events including theatre performances, themed crafts, family yoga, live birds of prey and much more. Find out more and how to book at the RHS Garden Bridgewater website.