As lockdown is eased and more businesses start to open, we’re providing suggestions on what you can safely see and do in Greater Manchester from Saturday 12 September.

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, wear a face covering in required places and wash your hands regularly. 

Hawksmoor Manchester Dining Area


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.

Official guidance requests that different households across seven of Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs 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 Bolton and Oldham where people are asked not to meet anyone outside of their own household in any place, including parks, outdoor bars or restaurants and visitors are actively discouraged from travelling to the area – furthermore, in Bolton hospitality businesses have been asked to close. In contrast, due to lower case numbers in Wigan and Stockport, those two boroughs have been excluded from the local restrictions, bringing them in line with rules that apply across the rest of England.

Ten things to do in Greater Manchester this week

1) Our top pick this week is the long-awaited reopening of Manchester Museum, which will welcome visitors again on 16 September, with access to its popular Living Worlds, Nature’s Library and Vivarium exhibitions, with some parts of the museum closed due to exciting ongoing expansion plans! New opening times are 11am to 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday, and visitors are asked to pre-book a timed ticket, available on the website.

2) The world-famous Dippy the dinosaur, on tour from the Natural History Museum, is back on display again in Rochdale after his previous visit was cut short in March. The exhibition proved popular when it opened in February, with over 115,000 visitors coming to see Dippy at Number One Riverside, and the accompanying exhibition at Touchstones Rochdale. Visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of Dippy will be able to do so until 12 December 2020, Monday to Saturday, but are asked to book for free in advance using this link.

3) Just moments from the picturesque canalside, lesser-known gem Castlefield Gallery will reopen to visitors from 16 September, with a continuation of its exhibition Soft Bodies, which features 3D digital works, photography, prints and drawings. The gallery has been part of Manchester’s contemporary visual art landscape for over 35 years, supporting local and emerging artists.

4) At Salford Quays, you can now visit the Imperial War Museum North, which is operating on a timed ticketing system, that you can book for free at this link. The museum has opened its main exhibition space, featuring objects and stories from both World Wars, alongside its popular 360-degree Big Picture Show, and the exhibition on the Changing Faces of Wartime Britain.

5) Museums in Stockport are now welcoming back visitors – with the impressive Tudor manor house Bramall Hall and its gardens now open to the public, alongside the poignant and eerie Stockport Air Raid Shelters. Both attractions require visitors to pre-purchase a ticket online.

6) A new cool experience from Manchester Arndale has just opened in the centres Halle Place – The Electric Playbox – an interactive digital quest providing a different adventure to tackle! Teams can book the Playbox for 60 minutes, where they’ll enjoy a fully immersive four-wall, surround sound, visual experience using the latest technology, an entertaining teambuilding game for family and friends. Afterwards, why not grab a burger or burrito at one of Halle Place’s eateries.

7) Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre is now open Thursday to Sunday. 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. 

8) East Lancashire Railway is chugging along with its steam and diesel services now back up and running every weekend. The heritage railway runs along a track through the beautiful Irwell Valley, stopping in places of interest like Burrs Country Park, Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall. After your relaxing journey, enjoy a few pints of local brew at its Trackside pub or Buffer Stops bar.

9) Manchester Craft and Design Centre is welcoming arts lovers to explore its maker studios, opening Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm. The unique former fish market houses independent artisans, crafting one-off items available to purchase. You can now safely chat with the crafters thanks to new Covid secure screens and procedures. Visitors can also continue to see the #MagicCarpet tapestry exhibition which is open every Friday and Saturday.

10) Eat out to Help out may have ended, but Hawksmoor continue to offer discounts, with an express 2/3 course menu at a reduced price (£20/23) – including its famous 35-day aged Rump steak and chips (which you can also get as a lunchtime special on Saturdays for £15.50). For wine lovers, the restaurant has a Monday Wine Club, bring your own bottle and corkage is only £5.




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