As lockdown is lifted and more businesses start to open, we’re providing suggestions on what you can safely see and do in Greater Manchester from Saturday 22 August as well as ideas for places to visit in future weeks across the summer. 

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

View of St. Peter's Square


On Thursday 30 July, the UK Government announced special local restrictions that apply across Greater Manchester which aim to minimise the spread of Covid-19. These local restrictions remain in place for the time being.

The official guidance reiterates the main point that different households should not mix indoors, including at venues such as museums and galleries, hotels, pubs, bars and restaurants. Additionally, face coverings should now be used at a range of tourism, hospitality and leisure businesses and attractions – a full list can be found here.

Venues have adapted to account for these rules in line with the Covid-19 Secure guidance that they followed when planning their reopening; however, please take extra precautions to minimise social contact with anyone outside of your household wherever you go and please wear a mask.

Ten things to do in Greater Manchester this week 

1. One of two major reopening’s on St Peter’s Square in Manchester city centre took place this week when Manchester Art Gallery threw open its doors on Thursday 20 August. It will be open four days a week, Thursday to Sunday for the time being so is a perfect distraction as part of a weekend trip into the city. Visitors will be able to see the gallery’s much-loved displays of British and European art and design, including the world famous Pre-Raphaelite paintings by Millais, Holman Hunt and Rossetti, and other highlights including works by Stubbs, Turner, Landseer, Lord Leighton, and Wagner’s The Chariot Race. 

2. The second landmark opening this week was the iconic Manchester Central Library. It was the most visited public library in the country in 2019/20 with 2,022,641 visits recorded so has undoubtably been sorely missed during lockdown. New opening hours will see the library open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Thursday as well as Saturday; however, it will be closed on Fridays and in the evenings to allow for regular deep cleaning. A maximum of 250 visitors will be allowed in at any one time so do prepare for a short queue and to follow directions from staff and signage. 

3. Take a day trip to explore Bolton 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. Elsewhere in the north part of Greater Manchester, Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre is now open. The museum – something of a hidden gem that helps visitors to discover more about Bury’s rich history – comprises an art gallery that houses the Wrigley Collection that contains over 200 oil paintings, watercolours, prints and ceramics whilst the Sculpture Centre features some of the most prominent sculptors in contemporary art. 

5. A phased reopening of museum sites in Stockport means that both the superb Tudor manor house Bramall Hall and the eerie and poignant Stockport Air Raid Shelters are now open Thursday to Sunday. Tickets for both attractions need to be booked in advance

6. Another great venue that has reopened in a phased capacity is Salford Museum and Art Gallery. Visitors are now able to book a 30-minute visit to Lark Hill Place – the museum’s excellent Victorian Street recreation – Tuesday to Sunday each week. Afterwards, be sure to take a walk around Peel Park to admire the last remnants of this summer’s wildflower flush, or if you fancy a good stretch of the legs take a wander up to Kersal Wetlands

7. One of the most highly-anticipated reopening’s of the summer, Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum is now welcoming visitors back to their vast site. Initially, the museum is focused on bringing the galleries in its New Warehouse building back to life. This includes the Revolution Manchester Gallery, where the city’s rich legacy of world-changing innovations, discoveries and ideas are on display. Advanced booking is essential via the museum’s website

8. There’s never been a better time to explore nearby neighbourhoods and towns across Greater Manchester. You’ve probably already visited the likes of Chorlton, 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, or Heaton Moor. 

9. 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. If you fancy more of an indie vibe, Northern Quarter icon the Manchester Craft and Design Centre is now open each Friday and Saturday throughout August and is the perfect place to pick up gifts or treats from a range of fantastic independent makers. 

10. And if you just fancy a no-fuss day out of Greater Manchester, tour operator Mountain Goat have restarted their daily tour to the Lake District from Manchester. The tour includes the Langdale Valley, Blea Tarn, Hawkshead, Tarn Hows and a cream tea at a traditional Lake District country hotel. Competitor operator BusyBus also offers a regular day tour to the Lake District (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun) as well as day tours to North Wales (Tue, Thurs, Sat) and Yorkshire (Sat, Sun). 

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 beautiful Edwardian Manchester, A Radisson Collection Hotel will be the latest luxury hotel in Manchester city centre to begin welcoming guests again from Thursday 3 September – following in the footsteps of the likes of The Lowry Hotel which opened on 1 August and Stock Exchange Hotel on 28 August. Peter Street Kitchen, the hotel’s Japanese and Mexican inspired restaurant will also reopen with reduced capacity as well as The Library curated by Assouline bar space for luxe drinks and nibbles. 

2. Rochdale Pioneers Museum, which charts the history of the Co-operative movement that had a significant impact on improving the lives of many in poverty with social reform, will reopen on August Bank Holiday weekend and will be open Wednesday to Friday throughout September. Visitors are asked to pre-book a free slot. 

3. After a delayed reopening, the fantastic East Lancashire Railway is back up and running with limited services. 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, buy a ticket or just have a few pints in the excellent Trackside pub or Buffer Stops Bar in order to support their reopening and help to secure their future. 

4. Although regular Manchester Pride celebrations will not 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. 

5. Also taking on a virtual format this year, the ever-popular Bolton Food & Drink Festival returns again over the August Bank Holiday weekend. The event will feature the usual favourites of cooking demonstrations, music, and special online offers from traders. The full line-up of celebrity chefs and restaurants taking part will be released soon, so keep checking back if you’re hungry for more news! 

6. And closing off the August Bank Holiday Weekend virtual events is Radical Sounds from Salford’s Working Class Movement Library. Taking place on Monday 31 August, actress Maxine Peake has curated a celebration of working-class talent with music and readings which will be streamed live online. 

7. Back in the real world, The People’s History Museum, the national museum of democracy, is set to reopen on Tuesday 1 September, welcoming visitors to explore the past, present, and future of ideas worth fighting for. Opening hours will be Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm and to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience the team have introduced an online registration system to select a date and time up to two weeks in advance to visit the museum. 

8. HOME arts centre have announced full details of their reopening that will commence on Friday 4 September. Things kick off with a diverse and exciting film programme which combines new releases, key titles that had theatrical releases denied to them due to lockdown and new 4k restorations. ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Festival – which was cut short by the lockdown – will return from the second week in September, with daily screenings. And there will also be collaborations with Sheffield Doc/Fest to screen twice-monthly documentaries and BFI London Film Festival. HOME’s restaurant, bar and café will also reopen on 4 September. 

9. The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, which contains an extensive collection of works from one of Manchester’s most prolific cultural figures and author of novels such as A Clockwork Orange, has announced that it will reopen for pre-booked research visits from the 8 September and will begin takeout service from its café on 15 September. 

10. And a great in-person event to start planning for now, the Manchester Food and Drink Festival has confirmed it will return this year under strict Covid-safe guidelines, featuring 12 days of hospitality from some of Greater Manchester’s top restaurants, bars and chefs. Running 24 September to 5 October, the Festival Hub will be in Cathedral Gardens, and will be free to attend with limited capacity, whilst an app will be used to improve ordering and reduce queues. Keep a look out for further announcements about what to expect in the coming weeks. 




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