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 5 September as well as a handful of things to start planning for now. 

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 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 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. In contrast, due to steep declines in cases 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 for this week is the return of Dippy, the world-famous dinosaur cast from the Natural History Museum, who will be back on display in Rochdale after his previous visit was cut short in March. The exhibit proved to be a huge hit when it opened in February 2020, with over 115,000 visitors seeing Dippy at Number One Riverside and attending the accompanying exhibition at Touchstones Rochdale. Dippy returns from Monday 7 September and can be visited Monday to Saturday until Saturday 12 December, allowing plenty of time to plan a visit; however, all visits must be booked in advance using this link

2. While in Rochdale, why not visit the Rochdale Pioneers Museum, which charts the history of the Co-operative movement that had a hugely significant impact on improving the lives of many in poverty with social reform. The museum is open every Wednesday to Friday throughout September and visitors are asked to pre-book a free slot using this link

3. In case you missed it, there were recently two major, and highly anticipated reopenings in Manchester city centre. The first was the People’s History Museum, the national museum of democracy, which reopened on Tuesday 1 September, welcoming visitors to explore the past, present, and future of ideas worth fighting for. Opening hours are now Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm and to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience the team have introduced an online registration system where you can select a date and time up to two weeks in advance to visit the museum. 

4. The second important reopening was HOME arts centre which reopened on Friday 4 September with a diverse and exciting film programme that 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 Friday 11 September, with daily screenings. And HOME’s restaurant, bar and café have also reopened for socially distanced relaxing with a newspaper or good book.  

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 until 12 September. Furthermore, with local restrictions lifted in the borough, now is a great time to visit and to explore everything the town centre has to offer. Tickets for both attractions need to be booked in advance

6. 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. 

7. The small but perfectly formed Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art reopened on Wednesday 2 September and can now be visited Wednesday to Sunday 11am-4pm. The galley will be opening with an exhibition by Ho Tzu Nyen called The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia Volume 10: N for Nameless which focuses on Southeast Asia’s colonial histories and national identities and uses historical texts and artefacts to create unique films, video pieces, installations and theatre works. Advanced booking is advised via the website; however, walk-ins are welcome. 

8. Imperial War Museum North at The Quays is now open on a timed ticketing system and you can book your ticket using this link. 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.  

9. Tour guide Ed Glinert who runs New Manchester Walks has several varied tours planned throughout September with highlights this upcoming week including ‘Wonders in Worsley’, ‘Engels and Marx in Manchester’, ‘Southern Cemetery’. Check out the full calendar of tours here

10. And finally, now is a great time to plan a day out around a visit one of the Greater Manchester’s many traditional markets such as Bury, Bolton or Ashton as well as some new style markets that include street food such as Levenshulme, Altrincham and Manchester city centre’s GRUB. Make sure to check websites before you travel as opening days and times vary. 

Five things to start planning for now 

1. One of the UK’s most inclusive museums, Manchester Museum, is currently undergoing a series of transformation works to create a new special exhibitions space, the North of England’s first large-scale South Asian gallery, and a brand-new China Gallery. The museum has also just announced that they will be reopening the existing Natural History galleries from Wednesday 16 September with a new one-way route. The museum will be open Wednesday to Sunday 11am-4pm and tickets will need to be booked in advance via the website here

2. 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, will reopen for pre-booked research visits from Tuesday 8 September and will begin takeout service from its café on Tuesday 15 September. 

3. Castlefield Gallery is set to reopen on Wednesday 16 September with the exhibition Soft Bodies, which features 3D digital works, photography, prints and drawings. The gallery is a lesser-known gem and has been part of Manchester’s contemporary visual art landscape for over 35 years, welcoming diverse audiences from local residential areas as well as artists and gallery visitors from further afield. 

4. A brand new opening comes to Manchester on Thursday 24 September when Napoleons Casino & Restaurant opens on Portland Street. The 24-hour Manchester casino, situated next door to the recently opened Hotel Brooklyn, will present a range of gaming tables, including American Roulette, Blackjack, Three Card Poker and Punto Banco, plus the latest market-leading Slot Machines and Electronic Roulette, both of which will be available on the heated, covered outdoor Smoking Terrace. A luxurious restaurant overlooking the buzzing gaming floor will offer delicious gourmet grills, creative vegan and vegetarian dishes and a variety of world cuisines, served with the unrivalled high standards for which Napoleons are renowned. 

5. 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 Thursday 24 September to Monday 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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