As lockdown is lifted and more businesses start to open, we’re providing a few suggestions on what you can safely see and do in Greater Manchester from Friday 24th of July as well as ideas for what to start planning for future weeks across the summer. 

All businesses are following the relevant government guidance but please check with them before visiting, particularly to check if pre-booking is required. When you go out, please remember to keep your distance where possible and wash your hands regularly. 

Ten things to do in Greater Manchester this week 

1. Sightseeing Manchester – the city’s hop-on, hop-off bus tour – returns from today (Friday 24 July) operating Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The tour takes in a route that covers most of Manchester city centre, parts of Salford including Salford Cathedral and The Quays, as well as Old Trafford and the Imperial War Museum North. 

2. In Oldham, five mins from the town centre, lies a hidden wilderness waiting to be discovered. Northern Roots is a 160-acre site offering lush urban green space that looks out onto the foothills of the Peak District where you can walk, run, bike or ride. 

3. Bolton Museum was the first cultural attraction in Greater Manchester to reopen on Tuesday 14 July with special precautions in place to keep everyone safe. Take a day trip to explore the museum’s fantastic galleries including the acclaimed Bolton’s Egypt exhibition. The museum is currently open 9am-5pm on Tuesday to Friday and 10am-4pm on Saturdays. Whilst visiting Bolton we also suggest a wander around popular filming location Le Mans Crescent and shopping for some lovely local produce at Bolton Market. 

4. The National Football Museum  threw open its door again yesterday (Thursday 23 July) and is currently open every Thursday to Sunday from 11am-4pm. The reopening will give you a chance to catch the amazing Strip! How Football Got Shirty exhibition which has been extended and features more than 200 football shirts. 

5. Visit one of Greater Manchester’s National Trust properties such as Dunham Massey just outside of Altrincham. Or if you’re happy to travel further afield try Quarry Bank, Lyme Park or Tatton ParkHaigh Woodland Park in Wigan is now also mostly open including the Children’s Woodland Adventure Play Park. 

6. If you’re a fan of old halls, Salford’s Ordsall Hall, which dates back more than 750 years, has now reopened. Visitors need to pre-book a one-hour ‘stewarded’ tour online in order to be shown around and you will be able to roam the gardens. There are three tour slots each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday for a maximum of eight people composed of either your own household or a ‘bubble’ of two households. 

7. The Maker’s Market, which roams various locations across the North West will pops up outside The Lowry at Salford Quays this Saturday and Sunday, offering a chance to support small businesses selling crafts, jewellery and food and drink. If you can’t make it this weekend, make a note of their other dates where you can find them interchangeably outside the Great Northern Warehouse, Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter, Sale, Cheadle, Chorlton and West Didsbury. 

8. Of course, all the big shops and retail centres across the region are also now open and if you visit the Trafford Centre you can make a day of it with a visit to Sea Life Centre, Legoland Discovery Centre, Dino Falls Adventure Golf or Treetop Adventures. 

9. At The Drive In is a fully loaded drive in cinema experience taking place this weekend (Friday 24 – Monday 27 July) at Rochdale Road Car Park, just on the fringe of Manchester city centre. Featuring 80’s classics like Back To The Future and Toy Story as well as newer releases like Joker and A Star Is Born; all films will be preceded by a range of entertainment that includes stand-up comedy, bingo or silent car discos. 

10. There’s never been a better time to explore nearby neighbourhoods and towns across Greater Manchester. You’ve probably already visited the likes of Chorton, Didsbury and Altrincham at some point, so why not make a beeline for somewhere lesser known, spending your money with independent cafes, restaurants and shops in places like Levenshulme, Urmston, Sale, Ramsbottom, Salford’s Chapel Street, Heaton Moor or Saddleworth. 

Ten things to start planning for now 

Several attractions and tours have announced plans to reopen and restart in the coming weeks. Start planning your days out now – remember that some venues will require pre-booking – and check back on this blog for updates each week. 

1. The fantastic East Lancashire Railway is back and running limited services from Saturday 1 August. The heritage railway, which runs along a track through the beautiful Irwell Valley, had a very difficult few months during lockdown so plan a visit and support their reopening. 

2. Imperial War Museum North at The Quays is also due to reopen on Saturday 1 August on a timed ticketing system. Plan your day to coincide with Box on the Docks; a unique outdoor dining experience set to launch at the end of July, featuring dining pods in the form of sheds and greenhouses, decorated by Salford-based artists.   

3. Tour operator Mountain Goat are restarting their daily tour to the Lake District from Manchester from Saturday 1 August. The tour includes the Langdale Valley, Blea Tarn, Hawkshead, Tarn Hows and a cream tea at a traditional Lake District country hotel. A great way to use Manchester as a base to safely explore other areas of the North West of England. 

4. Popular city-centre restaurant, bar and all-day hangout The Refuge will reopen from Wednesday 5 August with two newly created and carefully crafted menus to mark the occasion. 

5. Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum is getting ready to welcome visitors back to their vast site from Friday 14 August, restoring the opportunity to explore 250 years of innovations and ideas that started life in Manchester and went on to change the world. 

6. Manchester Art Gallery will reopen on Thursday 20 August. Until then you can make the most of their online events programme and online collection

7. Although regular Manchester Pride celebrations will no be going ahead this year, the team at Manchester Pride have announced that they are going to deliver three days of celebrations for LGBTQ+ people in Greater Manchester over the August bank holiday weekend. The Alternative Manchester Pride Festival will feature free content that can be enjoyed at home via the United We Stream platform and Youtube.  

8. The People’s History Museum is set to reopen on Tuesday 1 September, welcoming visitors to explore the fascinating stories and enjoy the unique experiences that it offers as the national museum of democracy. 

9. HOME arts centre have announced that they are aiming to reopen their cinemas, bars and restaurant on Friday 4 September. 

10. And finally… walking tours are back and there are loads to choose from. Manchester Guided Tours are running their Discover Manchester tour every Saturday and Sunday at 11am, offering an ideal way to get reacquainted with your city. For alternative views of the city,  Invisible Cities offer tours by people who have experienced homelessness and have trained as guides with tours running every Saturday (starting 11am) and Sunday (starting 2pm), whilst tour guide Hayley Flynn has recommenced her hugely popular Street Art: The Modern History of the Northern Quarter with a selection of tours across the summer. Emma Fox is offering bespoke tours for groups of five people or two households, covering places such as Southern Cemetery and the Bridgewater Canal Trail around Worsley. And Jonathan Schofield has a vast array of tours to choose from, but one of his most popular explores the abandoned majesty of Mayfield Station, running on selected dates throughout July and August. 




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