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 29 August. 

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. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE 

On Thursday 30 July, the UK Government announced special local restrictions that apply within Greater Manchester which aim to minimise the spread of Covid-19.  

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

Stricter rules are now in place for Oldham where people are asked not to meet anyone outside of their own household in any place, including parks, outdoor bars or restaurants. Whereas in Wigan, due to a steep decline in cases, from Wednesday 26 August it has been excluded from the Greater Manchester lockdown and rules have been relaxed, bringing the borough in line with the rest of England.  

This week’s blog covers the August Bank Holiday Weekend, which is traditionally very busy, especially in Manchester city centre where Manchester Pride celebrations would usually take place. All Manchester Pride celebrations are virtual this year and local leaders have asked that people avoid visiting Manchester city centre wherever possible.   

Residents and those who do choose to visit Manchester city centre are politely asked to abide by the local restrictions outlined above and to take extra precautions to minimise social contact with anyone outside of their household wherever they go, washing hands regularly and wear a face covering whenever possible and asked to do so.  


Ten things to do in Greater Manchester this week 

1. Over what would have been Manchester Pride this weekend, the team at Manchester Pride are delivering three days of celebrations for LGBTQ+ people in Greater Manchester from Saturday to Monday over the Bank Holiday weekend: The Alternative Manchester Pride Festival. All available to enjoy at home for free via the United We Stream platform and YouTube, Saturday highlights include new performances by Pixie Lott and Bright Light Bright Light as well as a look back at performances from Years & Years, Rita Ora and Mel C. On Sunday you can enjoy free queer film, in conversation sessions with the likes of Russell T. Davies and Grace Oni Smith as well as bake-a-longs, drag queen story time and morning Yoga. The festivities then wrap up on Monday with the beautiful Candlelit Vigil which will be broadcast live.  

2. Also taking on a virtual format this year, the ever-popular Bolton Food & Drink Festival returns this weekend with the usual favourites of cooking demonstrations, music, and special online offers from traders. Follow the festival on Twitter for the full line-up of celebrity chefs and restaurants taking part as they are announced – so far we’ve spotted Masterchef’s Simon Wood and the larger-than-life Andrew Nutter are involved! 

3. Closing off the August Bank Holiday weekend’s 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. 

4. Back in the real world, 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 be open every Wednesday to Friday throughout September. Visitors are asked to pre-book a free slot. 

5. There are two major, and highly anticipated reopenings coming up this week. The first is the People’s History Museum, the national museum of democracy, which will 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. 

6. The second important reopening is HOME arts centre which reopens 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 for socially distanced relaxing with a newspaper or good book.  

7. 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. 

8. 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 BankLyme Park or Tatton ParkHaigh Woodland Park in Wigan is now open including the Children’s Woodland Adventure Play Park. 

 9. The beautiful Edwardian Manchester, A Radisson Collection Hotel is 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 and the spa – arguable one of the best in the city – is now open for residents. Why not book in for an overnight stay, dinner and spa package? 

10. And finally, our top pick last week, Manchester Art Gallery threw open its doors on Thursday 20 August and is now open four days a week, Thursday to Sunday. Visitors are 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. See the gallery’s website to pre-book a slot. 

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