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 8 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. 



On Thursday 30 July, the UK Government announced new local restrictions that apply across the whole of Greater Manchester which aim to minimise the spread of Covid-19. These local restrictions will be in place until at least Wednesday 19 August when they will be reviewed.  

Official guidance confirms that households should not mix indoors. This includes a rule prohibiting the mixing of households in hospitality venues such as museums and galleries, hotels, pubs, bars and restaurants such as pubs, bars and restaurants as well as attractions.  

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

Ten things to do in Greater Manchester this week 

1. One of the most highly-anticipated reopenings of the summer, Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum will welcome back visitors to their vast site from Friday 14 August. Initially, the museum will focus 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

2. After a delayed reopening last week, the fantastic East Lancashire Railway is back up and running with limited services from Saturday 8 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, 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. 

3. Elsewhere in the north part of Greater Manchester, Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre will reopen to the public on Thursday 13 August. 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. 

4. Elizabeth Gaskell’s House will reopen its doors on Wednesday 12 August, with visitors invited to enjoy exploring the Grade II* listed Regency-style villa where Elizabeth wrote some of her most famous novels. Tickets can be pre-booked up to two weeks in advance via the website.  

5. Imperial War Museum North at The Quays is now open on a timed ticketing system. Plan your day to coincide with Box on the Docks; a unique outdoor dining experience featuring dining pods in the form of sheds and greenhouses, decorated by Salford-based artists.  

6. A phased reopening of museum sites in Stockport saw both the superb Tudor manor house Bramall Hall and the eerie and poignant Stockport Air Raid Shelters reopen last week Thursday to Sunday. Tickets for both attractions need to be booked in advance

7. Another great venue that reopened in a phased capacity last week was Salford Museum and Art Gallery. Visitors are now able to call into the shop and café, have a 30-minute visit to Lark Hill Place – the museum’s excellent Victorian Street recreation – or book an appointment in the Local History Library. Open Tuesday to Sunday each week, advanced bookings are highly recommended via the website

8. The wonderful people at Food Sorcery Cookery School in Didsbury we’re busy during lockdown making meals for vulnerable people, delivering prepared meals to the local community and hosting online cookery events. They’re now back open and running face-to-face cookery classes with reduced numbers and new social guidelines. They are also taking part in the Eat Out To Help Out scheme whereby you can get a discount on classes Monday to Wednesday throughout August. 

9. Speaking of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, if there’s one thing that you must do this week and throughout August, it’s to take advantage of this great offer and support eligible businesses. You can find your nearest participating venues by popping your postcode into the Eat Out To Help Out search tool or by looking out for posters in windows. If you’re planning a weekday visit into Manchester city centre some of our favourite restaurant taking part in the scheme include Albert Square Chop HouseDishoomFazendaHawksmoorThree Little WordsWood, and Yang Sing – just remember to book in advance to avoid disappointment! 

10. Sightseeing Manchester – the city’s hop-on, hop-off bus tour – has returned 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. 

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. Manchester Art Gallery will reopen on Thursday 20 August for four days a week, Thursday to Sunday. 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. Until then you can make the most of their online events programme and online collection

2. The amazing Chill Factore, which houses the UK’s longest indoor sky slope is planning to reopen to visitors on Monday 17 August, subject to no further changes to local restrictions. In the meantime, the team are busy making snow!   

3. 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. 

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

5. The Maker’s Market roams various locations across the North West offering a chance to support small businesses selling crafts, jewellery and food and drink. Check the site and make a note of their calendar where you can find them interchangeably outside the Great Northern Warehouse in the city centre, outside The Lowry at Salford Quays, in Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter, as well as in Sale, Cheadle, Chorlton and West Didsbury. 

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. 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. 

8. The National Football Museum has thrown open its door again 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. 

9. If you fancy a no-fuss day out of Greater Manchester 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. 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). 

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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