Greater Manchester is open for business, with venues following strict guidelines and Covid-safe enhanced cleaning regimes. When out and about, please remember to follow Government guidelines around social distancing, wearing a face covering where required (unless exempt), wash your hands regularly, and seek open spaces with good ventilation where possible. 


1. Manchester International Festival returns this Friday 

The biannual Manchester International Festival returns on 2 July, running until 18 July with a mix of virtual and in-person events taking place across the city. The much-loved Festival Square is back, this time taking place in Cathedral Gardens, with food and drink, and free live music, DJ sets and chats throughout MIF21.  

Free and ticketed events this week include; All of This Unreal Time, a film fronted by Cillian Murphy; a large art installation in Piccadilly Gardens taking the form of a fallen Big Ben covered in political books; an extraordinary new dance piece stretching along Deansgate in Sea Change, plus so much more taking place in the form of talks, art exhibitions, tours, music and film, with a full calendar of events across the festival can be found on the MIF website

2. Manchester Jewish Museum reopens after a major refurbishment 

Manchester Jewish Museum opens the doors to its spectacular Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue on Cheetham Hill following an extensive makeover, complete with a new extension housing a brand-new gallery, learning studio and kitchen, shop and café.  

Officially reopening on 2 July, the museum houses over 31,000 eclectic objects and personal histories telling stories of Jewish Manchester and will also be collaborating with Manchester International Festival with an immersive experience from Turner Prize-winning artist Laure Prouvost, whose work transports visitors back through the synagogue’s history. Tickets are now available for both entry to the museum, and the MIF event here

3. Theatre returns to the Royal Exchange with a world premiere 

The Royal Exchange Theatre’s first socially distanced performance has started, with a run of Bloody Elle – A Gig Musical on until 17 July. A world premiere, this one-woman show is an uplifting performance about falling in love for the very first time, with an original score written and performed by Lauryn Redding. Tickets are now on sale here

4. The John Rylands Library reopens its historic doors 

The beautifully neo-Gothic John Rylands Library has reopened its doors to the public, with free pre-bookable timed entry slots every Thursday to Saturday. The magnificent Grade I listed building, has an impressive reading room with high vaulted ceilings and has the quirky title of being Manchester’s first public building to have electricity back in 1900! The library is also currently showing an exhibition on the history of Manchester’s Guardian newspaper, which runs until 10 October.

5. Visit the Cranford exhibition at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House 

Visit the home of the beloved Victorian author Elizabeth Gaskell, where the writer entertained many famous guests including Charlotte Brontë and Charles Dickens. The Grade II* listed neoclassical Elizabeth Gaskell’s House on the outskirts of the city has recently opened a newly renovated bedroom, showing visitors a replica of Gaskell’s bedroom at the time, and is currently running A Love Affair with Cranford, an exhibition celebrating the author’s most popular novel. Visitors should pre-book a visit online, which includes access to the house, as well as the traditional Tea Room and Victorian-style gardens.  

6. Play retro games at a new grownups-only arcade bar  

The Northern Quarter’s retro gaming arcade NQ64, have now opened their second site on Peter Street, bringing arcade gaming to the South side of the city. The over 18’s only bar includes throwback games such as Pac-man and Space Invaders, alongside pinball machines, Nintendo 64’s, and favourites like Guitar Hero and so much more. The underground neon-splashed gamers paradise also serves up a gaming-inspired cocktail menu, plus local craft beer and wine.  

7. Spend the day exploring Bolton Museum and Art Gallery 

Take a day trip to explore Bolton Museum’s fantastic galleries including the acclaimed Bolton’s Egypt exhibition, plus Greater Manchester’s only free public aquarium. Whilst visiting Bolton we also suggest a wander around popular filming location Le Mans Crescent and shopping for some lovely local produce at Bolton Markets

8. Take a scenic railway tour through Bury

On 1 and 2 July, heritage lines at East Lancashire Railway will host a Summer Diesel Spectacular with 15 different types of diesel locomotive taking passengers on journeys across the Bury countryside with destinations including Heywood, Bury, Ramsbottom, Burrs Country Park, and Rawtenstall. Visitors can also enjoy craft ale at The Trackside pub or visit the nearby Bury Transport Museum.  

If you’re in the area on 27 June, you can also take one of the heritage railway lines to the Bury Agricultural Show, celebrating all things farming with attractions, competitions and exhibitions raising money for local charities.  

9. Bury’s Fusilier Museum opens its doors for the first time in 15 months 

The Fusilier Museum in Bury will reopen its doors on 26 June to co-inside with National Armed Forces Day, celebrating the women and men that make up the Armed Forces community. The award-winning military museum is offering free admission to all current serving soldiers and veterans on 26 June, plus a special drumhead service will take place with the RRF Band Lancashire. As a former Barracks, the museum has over 300 years of history and heritage and welcomes visitors to experience its collections, shop and café.   

10. Enjoy a cocktail night or burger fair at Grub 

Manchester’s biggest street food event, Grub at The Redbank Project, famous for their Friday and Saturday Food Fair’s and Plant Powered Sundays, is hosting a Rockstar Cocktail Night on 1 July, with a make your own cocktail session. Plus, on 2 July Grub is promising 100% wall to wall burgers, with five local independent traders serving up different burger options across the weekend.


Manchester International Festival
Festival Square at MIF19

A major highlight in Manchester's cultural calendar, Manchester International Festival (MIF) will return from 1-18 July with a vibrant programme of original new work from across the spectrum of visual and performing arts and music by artists from over 20 countries.

Manchester Jewish Museum
Manchester Jewish Museum

Manchester Jewish Museum is common ground; a hospitable place that makes connections by showing and sharing universal experiences through the stories of one culture.

Royal Exchange Theatre
Royal Exchange Theatre

Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre Company transforms the way people see theatre, each other and the world around them.  Its historic building, was taken over by artists in 1976. Today it is an award-winning cultural charity that produces new theatre in-the-round, in communities, on the road and online.

The John Rylands Research Institute and Library
The John Rylands Research Institute and Library

A late-Victorian, neo-Gothic masterpiece

Elizabeth Gaskell's House
Historic House / Palace
Elizabeth Gaskell's House

Visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s House to find out about Elizabeth and William’s work, explore the lives of their daughters and servants and discover the Manchester that the Gaskells knew.

Bolton Museum, Aquarium and Archive
Bolton Museum

This hub of activity in the heart of Bolton has enough variety for repeat visits.

Summer Diesel Spectacular
Family Friendly
Diesel train in summer fields background

Diesel fans looking to enjoy the (hopefully) sunny summer weather won’t want to miss this sizzling Diesel Spectacular featuring home fleet and guest locomotives.

Fusilier Museum
Fusilier Museum

The Fusilier Museum is home to the collections of the XX Lancashire Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Outdoor Dining

Manchester's longest running street food event GRUB is located in the vibrant Green Quarter just 5 minutes’ walk from Manchester Victoria rail station. The converted textile warehouse is home to a 22 line craft beer bar, 100 seater cinema space Chapeltown Picture House, kids play room, dining hall & most importantly one the area's biggest beer gardens.



  1. Nickie
    Ate at Grub today … delicious food, lovely atmosphere and quirky surroundings, perfect for a sunny afternoon.
    Relaxing and a lovely way to while away a couple of hours .

Leave a Reply