From free music festivals and fascinating museum exhibitions to all-day parties and even a 1940s railway experience, Manchester and its surrounding areas offers something for everyone throughout the May bank holiday weekend.

Here’s our pick of the best.

Manifest | The Oast House | Sun 26 May | 1pm-late | FREE

On Sunday, The Oast House takes over the heart of Spinningfields with another edition of its bank holiday groove festival, Manifest.

Featuring free-flowing drinks, live music performances and regular floor-filling DJ sets spanning funk, R’n’B, soul and hip hop, Manifest kicks off the Mancunian summer with yet another unmissable day party which lasts until the early hours of Monday.

The Avenue, Courtyard, Manchester M3 3AY
The Manchester Flower Festival | Fri 24-Mon 27 May | FREE

Located at various spots around the city centre, The Manchester Flower Festival brings a carnival of colourful flora to town with a weekend of professionally designed plant displays each themed around local legends, from the sandy landscapes of Boddingtons Blooms and botanical recreations of the Afflecks mosaics to a monochromatic Hacienda Garden and a touching tribute to Caroline Aherne, created by Liv Woodward in partnership with iconic Mancunian artist Stanley Chow.

Check out the full Manchester Flower Festival programme below.

Various locations
Science and Industry Museum | Sat 25 May-Sun 2 Jun | £Various (Free general admission)

From Sat 25 May-Sun 2 Jun, the Science and Industry Museum hosts a fascinating programme of family fun and educational entertainment inspired by the blockbuster world-premiere exhibition, Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You, alongside its mesmerising galleries and ongoing installations.

Book your visit below and marvel at the museum’s year-round galleries, grab a controller and enjoy 50 years of video games at Power Up, learn about our amazing anatomy at the Teddy Hospital and venture through the human digestive system as a poo in the delightfully disgusting super-sized exhibition Operation Ouch!, which closes on Sun 9 Jun.

The Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Rd, Manchester, M3 4FP
WOW Festival | Aviva Studios | Fri 24-Sun 26 May | FREE-£Various

Taking over the internationally renowned Aviva Studios from Fri 24-Sun 26 May, Women of the World Festival stages a triumphant weekend of inclusive workshops, insightful panel conversations, live music and more for the first time in celebration of world-changing women and the ongoing fight for gender equity.

Hosted by Factory International, Manchester’s inaugural WOW Festival welcomes a cohort of esteemed speakers, activists, and performers to share their stories and insights across a series of transformative conversations, with guests including Mel B, Jordan Stephens, Julia Gillard, Maxine Peake, Zawe Ashton, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and others, alongside a programme of unique workshops including music and mindfulness with Katumba, anti-algorithm pole-dancing, drag DIY and more.

Aviva Studios, Water Street, Manchester M3 4JQ
Deansgate Mews Festival | Great Northern | Fri 24-Sun 26 May | FREE

Running from Fri 24 May – Sun 26 May, Deansgate Mews Festival returns to Great Northern Warehouse with a vibrant weekend of food, drink, entertainment, live music and shopping from a variety of stalls offering products from talented traders and local artisans.

With no ticket required, visitors are invited to stop by and enjoy live performances at Lions Den and Low Four, dance the day away with irresistible DJ sets, bring the kids for a silent disco at Mini Mews, try out a variety of creative crafts with GRIT studio and sample the diverse cuisine from a variety of bars and restaurants including Alex’s Bakery, Suki Suki and more.

Check out our breakdown of the festival here and find out more below.

Great Northern Warehouse, Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN
Manchester 10k | City Centre | Sun 26 May | FREE

This Sunday, thousands of runners take to the city streets for the 2024 Great Manchester Run, a joyous summertime marathon of various lengths in which runners of all abilities wind through town in a celebration of fun, fitness and countless charity initiatives.

Head down to Portland Street in the morning and take your place on the sidelines alongside 100,000 other spectators to cheer on this year’s runners and enjoy a lively, family–friendly atmosphere in the city.

Check out start times and the full marathon route below.

Various locations
Jodrell Bank | Fri 24 May-Sun 2 Jun | £10-£14

Kicking off on bank holiday Friday and running throughout the half term week, Jodrell Bank transports visitors on an intergalactic odyssey across the cosmos with an action-packed schedule of space-faring events and activities for cosmic kids and adult astronauts alike.

The brand new science show Curious Kids: Solar System Spectacular takes aspiring astronauts beyond the Milky Way with illuminating experiments, interactive quizzes and more, while the Space Pavilion hosts a series of craft workshops in which guests can design their own rockets.

Throughout the programme, new temporary exhibition Time is Running Out tackles the biggest questions faced by climate scientists and engineers, as our brightest minds seek to plot a sustainable course into the future with a range of groundbreaking solutions.

Check out the full programme and book your visit below.

Jodrell Bank, Bomish Ln, Macclesfield SK11 9DW
Vintage 1940s Weekend | East Lancashire Railway | Sat 25-Mon 27 May | From £25

Throughout the weekend, East Lancs Railway invites guests on a journey back in time with its wildly popular 1940s extravaganza, recreating the sights and sounds of wartime Britain with a fun-filled programme packed with fashion, music, dancing, memorabilia, food and breathtakingly scenic train trips with cream tea services onboard.

Find out more and book your visit below.

23A Bolton St, Bury BL9 0EY
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Thu 23 May 2024