The second bank holiday in only a month is finally here, and you’d honestly think we’d been hibernating for years with how excited we are. Whether you plan to hit up the town or fancy something a little more wholesome, here’s our guide to the best things to do this late May bank holiday right here in Manchester.
1. Visit the UK’s first ‘out of water’ immersive shark experience
The world’s most innovative ‘out of water’ shark experience making a splash this May at Chester Zoo. Planet Shark: Predator or Prey, aims to highlight the wonder of sharks and the wide-ranging threats they face, including ocean plastics and illegal shark fin trade. The immersive experience, available to visit from May 25, will feature 360-degree underwater digital display, as well as life-sized shark models along with the jaws of a prehistoric giant, and largest fish ever recorded, the megalodon shark.
2. Listen to Calvin Harris’ greatest hits like never before at this candlelight concert
We’re all used to blasting Calvin Harris‘ hits at parties and hearing them in nightclubs, but this event is giving them the Candlelight treatment transforming the feel-good songs into thrilling, classical pieces of music. On May 27, the Kaleidoscope Orchestra is making its way to Manchester Cathedral to perform three mesmerising tributes inspired by Calvin Harris. Get ready to immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind live music performance at this tribute to Calvin Harris. Simply sit back, relax, and savour Kaleidoscope’s orchestral takes on modern-day hits.
3. Head to a rooftop cabaret show with sword swallowers, aerial performers and comedy
Trailblazing cabaret, La Clique, is coming to Manchester for its very first North of England residency on the rooftop of Depot Mayfield. La Clique will showcase the world’s best circus and cabaret acts from May 25 for an exclusive and limited 6-week run in a beautiful 1920s Spiegeltent venue. Alongside La Clique and the Spiegeltent, entertainment company Underbelly will bring its signature summer pop-up experience with a beautiful outdoor bar and local street food traders, making it the perfect space for outdoor summer drinking and eating for pre and post-show.
4. Be immersed in huge, brightly coloured artwork at Colors Festival
Colors Festival in Manchester is set to display the works of 30 established and local artists on a huge scale. The event will be taking over Regent Retail Park in Salford, with the 800m² space being completely reimagined. Expect artwork that covers entire walls in a venue that’s been completely repurposed for the exhibition. You’ll find yourself strolling through brightly coloured immersive rooms that have the XXL sized art plastered across the spaces creating a unique art experience you can interact with.
5. Explore the remarkable life of world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking
From May 25, visitors to the Science and Industry Museum will be able to view the new Stephen Hawking at Work exhibition, exploring the remarkable life of the world-renowned theoretical physicist through significant objects from his office. This extraordinary display will provide insights into Hawking’s remarkable life as a scientist, science communicator, and person who lived with motor neurone disease. The display will also include details of how Hawking’s work connects to Manchester, as discoveries by scientists in the city cleared the path to develop two of the most important ideas about our universe: quantum theory and general relativity.
6. Explore the colourful floral installations across the city at the Manchester Flower Festival
The Manchester Flower Festival is coming back in full bloom this late May Bank Holiday weekend and bringing a bit of vibrancy to the city. CityCo and Manchester BID will work with their partners and networks to bring colourful flower installations, outdoor dining areas and a ‘citywide green takeover’. Spanning across the entire city between May 26 and 29, visitors will be able to experience a stunning trail of flowers and greenery around every corner – with areas such as Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, St Ann’s Square, King Street and Manchester Arndale getting in the botanical spirit.
7. Switch off from the world at this candlelit sound bath therapy and meditation event
At the Mindful Glow candlelit sound bath experience, you and your inner peace take centre stage. The tranquil, meditation-style sessions will be returning this May, bringing hundreds of candles and a whole lot of zen to Manchester. Mindful Glow is a meditation session that uses sound therapies to centre you. As you sit in the sound bath (not a literal bath, just FYI), illuminated by hundreds of candles, the sound waves from Tibetan and crystal bowls, tuning forks, shamanic drumming, and more will wash over you, and encourage you to completely unwind.
8. Listen to live music at The Oast House with street food and summery cocktails
The Oast House has brought back their spring and summer festival, Mani-Fest, with two dates taking place this May. The free-to-attend music festival will take The Oast House’s terrace on May 28, with a packed roster of musicians lined up for the occasion. Guests can enjoy genres such as rock, pop, soul, R&B, funk, disco and blues, as well as delicious street food and flowing drinks.
9. Enjoy street food and live music at Deansgate Mews Festival
Hosted by Manchester’s ultimate dining and leisure destination, Great Northern Warehouse, the free-to-attend Deansgate Mews street festival offers live music, family-friendly activities, independent market traders and plenty of space for al fresco dining and sunshine sippin’! Returning from May 26 to May 28, attendees can expect an outdoor pop-up stage at popular neighbourhood bar Lions Den, which will host 30+ live local acts across the three days. Plus, there will be plenty of food and drinks offers from the restaurants and bars situated on Deansgate Mews including The Mews Bar, Another Hand, Acai & the Tribe and Low Four.
10. Watch the iconic soul singer Heather Small perform at Manchester Cathedral
Imagine the uplifting sounds of 1,000 Mancunians singing the lyrics “what have you done today to make you feel proud?” in the middle of a cathedral. Well, you don’t need to just imagine it; you can be part of this crowd this May bank holiday as the distinct vocals of Heather Small fill Manchester Cathedral. Just over 23 years to the day since the release of Proud, Heather Small – one of the most successful British soul singers, and former lead singer in the band M People – will be performing live on May 26.
11. Have a paw-fect day of yoga and cuddling puppies
Have a paw-some time during the May bank holiday weekend. On May 29, Paw Yoga is inviting you and your mates or family members to unwind at their puppy yoga event. The classes, which take place at a Manchester city centre location, include 30 minutes of gentle yoga and 30 minutes of puppy playtime and roaming the room with a calming playlist in the background. Two sessions are taking place this bank holiday Monday at 2.30pm and 3.30pm.
12. Potter around one of these lovely villages near Manchester
If you fancy a bit of a leg stretch this weekend, look no further than the North West itself. You don’t have to travel far to enjoy some more picturesque sights outside of the city, with a number of beautiful villages just a tram or train ride away. From canal walks in beautiful Worsley to the quiet and quaint Marple Bridge, there are plenty of the pretty villages near Manchester to explore.