The Whitworth

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 19 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. 


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. Please familiarise yourself with our Know Before You Go page for the latest information.

1) Our top pick this week is the reopening of The Whitworth, which has been closed for six months and welcomed the public back into the gallery on Wednesday 16 September. Alongside the art gallery, The Whitworth Café will remain open during gallery hours, and visitors can also enjoy the surrounding Art Garden and Whitworth Park. The gallery reopens with a brand-new exhibition WHITE PSYCHE, alongside five fascinating ongoing exhibitions. The gallery is open Wednesday – Sunday, 11am-4pm, and visitors should book a free ticket online in advance.

2) Take a trip back in time at Manchester Museum, which also reopened its doors on Wednesday 16 September. The museum is currently undergoing an exciting extension, and some of the exhibitions will be closed – but you can still see its popular Natural History galleries, which includes Stan the T.Rex, and a vivarium full of endangered living frogs. Visitors are asked to book an advance ticket before visiting.

3) The first major COVID-safe outdoor event in the city is Manchester Food and Drink Festival, which kicks off on Thursday 24 September until Monday 5 October. To help keep the festival COVID-compliant, festivalgoers are asked to download a free app, which allows them to view the festival programme and order food to their table. The festival hub in Cathedral Gardens will operate at limited capacity, with a Feasting Quarter offering a range of food, beer and cocktails and a Festival Market, with live music from Manchester legend Clint Boon and more.

4) Get up, close and personal with the world-famous Dippy the dinosaur at Rochdale’s Number One Riverside, where he is on tour from the Natural History Museum until 12 December 2020. Visitors can also see the accompanying exhibition on display at Touchstones Rochdale. To visit Dippy, please book a ticket in advance for free using this link.

5) The Working Class Movement Library – something of a hidden gem, with a unique collection of stories charting the struggles of ordinary people’s efforts to improve society – has reopened its reading room for pre-booked research visits. It hopes to restart its tours soon, but in the meantime, it has an excellent collection of virtual exhibitions and educational resources.

6) Swap your house for HOME – Manchester’s arts centre where you will find a cinema, currently showing the ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Festival, alongside daily screenings of popular and art films. The centre also has an excellent café and bar, with outdoor seating ideal for people watching. Whilst your there, check out the statue of Friedrich Engels, that stands proudly in front of the illuminated HOME sign.

7) Learn all about Manchester’s industrial heritage with a visit to The Science and Industry Museum, where you can explore 250 years of innovations and ideas that changed the world, from textiles machinery to a replica of the world’s first stored-programme computer. The museum is also hosting The Sun, a fascinating free exhibition on the hottest sun in our sky! Please pre-book a free ticket before visiting the museum to help them control visitor numbers.

8) Go back in time and experience a Victorian street at Salford Museum and Art Gallery. Visitors can book a 30-minute slot at Lark Hill Place, the museum’s Victorian street recreation, open Tuesday to Sunday. Afterwards, enjoy the museum’s café and shop, or take a walk around the adjacent Peel Park.

9) Celebrating the life and literature of Manchester’s most famous Victorian writers, Elizabeth Gaskell House is a beautifully restored home with period features, a villa garden, and tearoom, alongside changing exhibitions. The house and garden is open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 11:00am to 4:30pm. Visitors are asked to pre-book tickets online.

10) Manchester Art Gallery’s much-loved displays of British and European art and design are open to view Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm. The gallery is home to world-famous paintings, with highlights including works by Lowry, Turner, Renoir, Gainsborough, and Wagner’s The Chariot Race. Pre-book a free ticket before visiting online.




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