With Greater Manchester’s visitor economy reopening we have collated some of the most interesting developments that you need to know for Summer/Autumn 2021. 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.
EXHIBITION: Use Hearing Protection: the early years of Factory Records at the Science and Industry Museum
Beyond and before ‘Madchester’, Factory Records was the impossible dream of idealists, radicals and aspirational upstarts in a post-war, post-empire Britain where nothing and everything seemed possible, depending on how much you stood to lose. Inspired by Situationist literature and imagery, spiked with Tomorrow’s World technologies and ambitiously internationalist while being rooted, stubbornly in the north, there wasn’t – and isn’t – a record label of compare. Now, the story behind its remarkable beginnings is reborn, expanded and re-evaluated with Use Hearing Protection: the early years of Factory Records – a new exhibition that makes a long-overdue appraisal of the fiercely independent label away from the later glare of the Hacienda. The exhibition will run from June 2021 to January 2022 and can be combined with a visit to the museum’s brand new special exhibitions gallery which opened in May 2021.
EXHIBITION: Grayson’s Art Club at Manchester Art Gallery
Opened on 19 May and now running until 31 October, Manchester Art Gallery presents a rescheduled exhibition of the art works selected by artist Grayson Perry during Grayson’s Art Club, the popular Channel 4 TV series. All the works on show are very personal visual representations of lockdown, made by the public, well-known artists and celebrities. This celebration of creativity in people’s homes chronicled the changing moods of Britain in isolation, providing a unique record of this globally experienced, extraordinary time. Book here.
HOTEL: Environmentally friendly green hotel opening on Deansgate
Climate conscious brand Qbic has brought its fourth European hotel to Manchester, with pre-configured rooms made from largely recycled materials taking home in a former office block. Opened May 2021, the hotel is all about sustainability, rewarding guests with free drinks for choosing green and not having towels or linen changed, using organic mattresses made in the UK, and reducing plastic use by providing filtered water in rooms. The on-site bar and restaurant Motely has a goal to keep all food low-mileage, sourcing from the local area, and offering a large selection of vegetarian and vegan food, paired with local craft beers and signature cocktails. The hotel is also a big fan of pets, allowing guests to bring their four-legged friends on a stay!
HOTEL: BrewDog to open England’s first beer hotel in Manchester
Scottish beer brewing giants BrewDog have just 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.
HOTEL: Staycity adds Manchester’s Northern Quarter to fast-expanding estate
Dublin-based aparthotel specialist Staycity opens its newest location in July, in the heart of Manchester’s historic Northern Quarter. The nine-storey new-build aparthotel has 224 studio and one-bed apartments sleeping up four people, with fully-equipped kitchens or kitchenettes. The property, which forms part of Manchester’s New Cross Neighbourhood Development Framework, offers 24-hour reception, a lounge area, pantry selling a food items and a Staycafé serving breakfast, snacks and drinks. There’s also an exercise room and guest laundry. Northern Quarter is Staycity’s second property in Manchester. The award-winning company opened a 182-apartment facility in Piccadilly’s Gateway House in May 2017. A 256-apartment property is also due to open in St Peter’s Square in October 2021 operating under Staycity’s premium brand Wilde Aparthotels by Staycity.
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 summer
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: New food and entertainment space for Barbirolli Square
A fresh addition for the city’s thriving food and drink scene, Society is a hub for street food, craft beer, wine and cocktails with an impressive line-up of talented independent chefs and a packed programme of events and entertainment. Launched in May, the 8,000 sq ft hub features five independently-owned kitchens, a cocktail bar and specialist taproom by Hebden Bridge-based craft brewery Vocation. Traders include Slap & Pickle diner serving a menu of burgers, vegan burgers and loaded fries; pan-Asian specialists Manzoku Street Food, and a cool Korean concept called Yoki. Completing the line-up, founders of local restaurant Elnecot have launched their new concept Dokes Pizzeria at Society, serving fresh stone-baked pizzas.
FOOD AND DRINK: The Refuge at Kimpton Clocktower unviels its first Afternoon Tea offering
Expect a classic affair with a contemporary twist, featuring savoury treats, scones and three-tiers of sweet treats. The new afternoon tea menu at The Refuge is available every Tuesday to Thursday, served from 1pm to 4pm, from Tuesday 20 July. For savoury treats, there’s a Cheddar cheese custard with flatbread crisps, baby carrots and radishes; a fresh Oak-smoked salmon with beetroot chutney, labneh and pumpernickel; and a punchy Pork and kimchi sausage roll. To follow, there’s buttery Date and sour cherry scones, accompanied by clotted cream and strawberry preserve. But the showstopper is a three-tiered cake stand, featuring Fig Battenberg, Passion fruit and white chocolate opera cake, Spiced carrot cake with cardamom and rose petal, Yoghurt, honey and tahini choux bun, and a Black Forest gateaux.
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.
ATTRACTION: Pankhurst Centre announces reopening plans
The Pankhurst Centre in Manchester has announced that the reopening of its doors will be on Thursday 29 July 2021 when it will also reveal its new permanent exhibition At Home with the Pankhurst Family and a completely new visitor experience. This will mark the beginning of four weeks during which community groups will be able to visit the birthplace of the suffragette movement prior to its opening to the wider public on Sunday 29 August. At Home with the Pankhurst Family will explore 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.
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.
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.
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 award-winning writers and musicians including Bobby Gillespie, Tracey Thorn, Andrew O’Hagan, Paul Morley and Bernardine Evaristo. Many of the events explore the worlds of writing, creativity, identity, friendship and music from very personal viewpoints, taking an in depth look at the characters behind the public facing performers. Further Festival events will be announced in September and following the success of the 2020 online festival, a digital programme of events is also planned for November 2021.
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 hopefully 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.
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.