With Greater Manchester’s visitor economy reopening we have collated some of the most interesting developments that you need to know for Autumn/Winter 2021, as well s a few stories that you might have missed from earlier in the year. We will continue to add to the list over the coming weeks and months so make sure you check back for further updates.
What’s newly opened
ATTRACTION: Europe’s largest garden project in Salford
RHS Garden Bridgewater, a new 154-acre garden in Salford and the biggest hands-on horticultural project undertaken in Europe, is now open. Featuring a Weston Walled Garden (one of the largest in the UK), a visitor centre and café, community teaching allotments, a Kitchen Garden, orchards, a woodland play area, and a Chinese Streamside Garden, alongside Ellesmere Lake, woodland and other garden spaces – the Garden offers must-see world-class horticultural inspiration and expertise. A daily express bus service to RHS Garden Bridgewater has now also launched from Piccadilly and Victoria stations in the city centre, with bus and entry combo tickets available.
ATTRACTION: Ultimate jungle encounter comes to Manchester
An epic new adventure awaits this summer as TV favourite, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! brings the ultimate jungle encounter to Manchester with the £multi-million I’m a Celebrity… Jungle Challenge. Opened on 30 July at Quayside, MediaCityUK (formally known as The Lowry Shopping Centre), the hotly anticipated indoor entertainment attraction takes campmates into the heart of the jungle to navigate a series of fun-filled physical challenges, inspired by the blockbuster ITV show. Featuring Main Camp, the Throne and Winners Bridge, the action-packed experience will put campmates’ nerve and agility to the test as they race against the clock in a bid to collect stars and be crowned King or Queen of the jungle!
ATTRACTION: Extended, more interactive Manchester Jewish Museum
Manchester Jewish Museum has re-opened its doors following an extensive makeover and extension that has been two years in the making. The museum, which is housed inside a former synagogue built in 1873, has doubled in size complete with a brand-new gallery, learning studio and kitchen, shop and café, alongside the majorly renovated synagogue which now also double up as a performance space. The updated building marks the launch of a new programme for the museum, with a commitment to using Jewish stories to connect to the world and to our society. The museum has over 31,000 eclectic objects and personal histories in its collection, telling stories of Jewish Manchester as well as broader stories of migration, communities and identities that are a key part of Greater Manchester’s diverse make-up.
ATTRACTION: New Fire Service museum for Greater Manchester
FIREGROUND is the new name for the former Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum, which has been closed for redevelopment since March 2020 and reopens to the public on 14 August. Based in Rochdale’s magnificent art deco inspired former fire station, the new museum is more than four times the size of its predecessor which has operated in an old workshop building since 1983. The collection boasts over twenty engines (dating from 1741 to the present day), along with uniforms, equipment, medals, paintings and models. Together these tell the story of firefighting from the Great Fire of London in 1666 to modern times.
ATTRACTION: Symbolic home of the UK suffrage movement reopens
The Pankhurst Centre in Manchester has reopened, revealing its new permanent exhibition At Home with the Pankhurst Family and a completely new visitor experience. The exhibition, At Home with the Pankhurst Family, explores the lives of the Pankhurst family in a participatory and immersive way, which includes the chance to visit the parlour where Emmeline Pankhurst called the first meeting of what would come to be known as the suffragette movement.
HOTEL: BrewDog to open England’s first beer hotel in Manchester
Scottish beer brewing giants BrewDog opened their first hotel in England on 13 August, following the success of their DogHouse brand in Scotland and the USA. The 18-bedroom hotel, bar and restaurant is centrally located just off Manchester’s Market Street. Not shy of innovation, the hotel features Punk IPA on tap in every room, beer fridges in the showers, a rooftop terrace with fire pit, and allows guests to bring their pets. At reception, guests receive a welcome beer on arrival from one of the 28 unique beers on tap.
TOUR: Daily professional walking tour goes free
From 1 August, Manchester Guided Tours‘ much celebrated Discover Manchester walk is free. Simply show up at the meeting point in front of Manchester Central Library any day at 11:00 to enjoy a perfectly crafted ninety-minute tour of the city’s best sightseeing, history and culture spots. Guests are welcome to tip what they like at the end of the walk.
TOUR: Suite of new tours launched for 2021
Working with tourism businesses and individuals throughout lockdown, Marketing Manchester has helped to develop tours that offer new ways to discover and explore Greater Manchester, as well as a convenient way to visit one of Greater Manchester’s most exciting new attractions for 2021, RHS Garden Bridgewater. From foodie walks in Ancoats and taxi tours with a difference to in-depth exploration of the Bridgewater Canal and Chinese-language romps around Manchester city centre, there are lots of new ways to explore Greater Manchester. Read the full press release here.
FOOD AND DRINK: Salford’s historic Black Friar pub reopens
A local favourite for well over a century, Salford’s historic Black Friar Pub has reopened its doors after 15 years, with a new interior, a new team – led by Head Chef Ben Chaplin, who was previously at 20 Stories – and a new menu. With ambitions to become both the new local and a destination pub for residents and visitors alike, The Black Friar has created an offering to suit everyone’s tastes. Both traditional pub and modern restaurant, customers can enjoy a pint and a quick bite in the pub with no pre-booking required, or opt for more of a gastronomic experience in the modern glass restaurant surrounded by greenery, created as part of the restoration, featuring an open kitchen and 70 covers.
THEATRE: Contact launches autumn season after £6 million building transformation
Contact, the UK’s leading theatre and arts venue with young people at its heart, reopens its doors to the public in September 2021 for the first time since December 2017 following a major building redevelopment and the challenges of a global pandemic. This next stage in the building’s evolution sees Contact return with new and improved performance spaces; a purpose-built recording studio for young people’s music projects; a unique health and science development space created in partnership with Wellcome Trust; new offices for artists and cultural organisations to hire and work alongside Contact staff; a new and improved public bar; free work and social spaces; a new partnership with Manchester’s Indian street food heroes, Chaat Cart, and many other exciting new features.
MUSIC: Manchester’s oldest music venue expands
Band on the Wall has been entertaining Manchester for generations with a history stretching far back to the 19th Century and beyond; then a small corner pub called the George & Dragon, it has borne witness to more of Manchester’s musical history than arguably anywhere else in the city. Fast forward to Winter 2021/22 and the venue will have expanded into the Victorian Cocozza building that has been derelict to the rear of the venue for decades, taking the venue’s total gig capacity from 340 to 540 people. The expansion project will also see a new learning suite for the next generation of musicians created, as well as an enhanced archive and visual exhibition documenting the rich social and musical history of the building and the surrounding Northern Quarter neighbourhood.
HOTEL: Introducing LEVEN Manchester
Housed in a landmark early 20th century warehouse on the corner of Chorlton Street and Canal Street, LEVEN Manchester is a new hotel designed to be enjoyed on a guest’s own terms. LEVEN’s red brick walls and Crittall windows hold a rich history dating back to Manchester’s industrial past, including former uses first as a cotton warehouse, and more recently a brewery and comedy club. Following an extensive interior and exterior reimagining, the 33,000 sq ft property will open for soft launch in October 2021 as a design-led, 42-key hotel.
HOTEL: CitySuites Two set to open in October
CitySuites will unveil its second aparthotel, CitySuites Two, in Manchester City Centre this October, occupying a prime location in Embankment West. Complete with 142 luxurious apartments, from studios (33.5 SQM) up to three-bedroom apartments (105.8 SQM), each has been mindfully designed to combine the luxury touches of a hotel with the space, privacy and comfort of home.
HOTEL: Clayton Hotel arrives in Manchester city centre
Opening November 2021, Clayton Hotel Manchester City Centre will be perfectly located in the heart of the city on Portland Street, just 5 minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Gardens. An ideal destination for both business and leisure, the newly built hotel will have 329 air-conditioned bedrooms with all amenities such as transport links, shopping, art galleries and bars & restaurants are all just a short stroll away. The hotel will also have a dedicated meeting room floor with five state-of-the-art meeting rooms able to host up to 153 delegates.
EVENT: Festival to celebrate city’s food and drink heroes
The 24th Manchester Food and Drink Festival will take place this year 16-27 September, promising a much needed celebration of the city’s famous food and drink scene. The Festival is back at its Hub in Cathedral Gardens which will be home to an eclectic array of bars and street food vendor. The Hub will be host to a programme of events happening in partnership with the city’s restaurants, bars, cafes and chefs with highlights including: a take over by Tom Kerridge’s The Bull and Bear restaurant, Manchester Biggest Chippy Tea where some of the city’s best chippy’s will battle it out to showcase their own take on the classic Northern staple; and Schlosstoberfest beer festival run in partnership with Albert’s Schloss.
EVENT: Iconic clubbing event returns
The Warehouse Project returns this September for a season unlike any that’s gone before. Between 10 September 2021 and 1 January 2022, Depot Mayfield will become the backdrop as the UK embarks on its long awaited, emotional return to the dancefloor. Marking the beginning of a new chapter with an expanded edition for WHP21, there are four packed months of unmissable moments lined up in Manchester.
EVENT: Manchester Literature Festival reveals autumn line-up
Manchester Literature Festival returns from 9-17 October 2021 with a dazzling live events programme packed with many festival favourites returning to the city, such as Alan Johnson with his debut novel and journalist Anita Sethi with her first book. Elif Shafak and Colm Tóibín will discuss their latest novels while Lemn Sissay will be in conversation with Rachel Holmes about her biography of the natural born rebel, Sylvia Pankhurst. They will join award-winning writers and musicians including Paul Morley in conversation with LoneLady, Bobby Gillespie, Tracey Thorn, Andrew O’Hagan, and Bernardine Evaristo in an inspiring and thought-provoking live events programme.
EVENT: Glow! at RHS Garden Bridgewater
A new event on the calendar for 2021, RHS Garden Bridgewater will get its glow on for the first time this November when the world’s leading gardening charity will illuminate the garden for throughout the festive season for Glow! 2021. Visitors can follow a twinkling trail around the garden and discover RHS Garden Bridgewater transformed as spectacular illuminations light up the night. See a selection of the garden’s best-loved locations, including the Weston Walled Garden, Chinese Streamside Garden and Ellesmere Lake, as you never have before, and be wowed by the sight of sparkling trees, shrubs and water features basking in the glow.
EVENT: Fantasy light festival returns
The award-winning Lightopia will return (19 November 2021 to 3 January 2022) with its flagship event in Manchester, for the third year, with a brand-new enchanting light and lantern festival; presenting a Christmas Fantasy at Heaton Park. The never-before-seen, illuminated trail will feature magical and multi-sensory interactive lights, lanterns and installations, illustrating a story of an imaginative and fantasy festive world.
EXHIBITION: ‘Cancer Revolution: Science, Innovation and Hope’ at the Science and Industry Museum
Opening at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester in October 2021 Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope is the first major object-rich exhibition to reveal the past, present and future of how cancer is prevented, detected and treated. Created by the Science Museum Group with support from expert partner Cancer Research UK, this world-first exhibition, explores how, at a pivotal moment when one in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime, more of us than ever before are living longer, and better with the disease and beyond.
EXHIBITION: First World War poppy tribute to take permanent home at IWM North
Following the success of Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window, which toured Imperial War Museum London and North during the final year of the First World War centenary and encouraged millions of people across the country to reflect on their own links to the First World War as a shared experience, from November 2021 the poppies will be displayed permanently within the Air Shard of the architecturally renowned Imperial War Museum North.
There’s also much more to look forward to in Greater Manchester beyond 2021.
Highlights include a transformation at Manchester Museum to add a South Asia Gallery and a new China Gallery, due to open in August 2022 followed by the highly anticipated opening of The Factory, a world-class cultural space designed by Rem Koolhaas’s architects Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in late 2022. At 13,300 square metres, The Factory will be ultra-flexible, enabling large-scale artistic work of invention and ambition that isn’t made anywhere else in the world. Also in 2022 will be the initial opening of the National Trust’s new urban oasis along the Castlefield Viaduct, bringing a New York Highline-style park to the city centre, and a new fashion gallery at Manchester Art Gallery.
Then in 2023 Manchester’s first new city centre park in over 100 years, Mayfield Park, is set to be open, as well as the UK’s first city-based wellbeing resort Therme, a new large-scale music venue, Co-op Live Arena, and Modern Surf Manchester surf lagoon, from the same company behind Surf Snowdonia.