2012 has been the wettest summer on record but finally the sun has come out and Manchester’s summer events have kicked-off in style. We choose our favourite must-see events, from live football to ground-breaking theatre;
27th July – 12th August, 2012
2012 is the biggest year for British sport in decades and you can watch everything live on the large outdoor screen at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays. “DockBar” is an all-weather outside pop-up bar where you can order Pimms and sit back to watch 3-weeks of Olympic action. It’s also host to Radcliffe and Maconie’s Radio 6 Music Roadshow and live CBeebies events for the kids. The summer events at Salford Quays end with USwim, a multi-length open swimming competition. Get those wetsuits ready!
NATIONAL FOOTBALL MUSEUM
6th July 2012 – onwards
After a 2-year struggle the National Football Museum has finally transferred from Preston to central Manchester, opening its doors on July 6th and promising to be this summer’s most exciting new venue. It has one of the world’s best collections of football memorabilia including the Airtex shirt Bobby Moore swapped with Pele at the 1970 World Cup.
MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT DREAM
The Royal Exchange
5th July – 4th August, 2012
Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy comes to Manchester’s favourite theatre from 5th July to 4th August. The Royal Exchange has superb acoustics and a wonderful “theatre in the round” so it’s the ideal place to watch this classic comedy with a contemporary twist. Directed by Lyric Hammersmith’s Sean Holmes this fantastic production is Manchester’s must-see theatre piece for 2012.
GREATER MANCHESTER FRINGE FESTIVAL
Venues across the City Centre
1st – 31st July, 2012
The city’s greatest collection of independent art, music, dance and theatre productions returns to Manchester and its even bigger and better than last time. With over 50 diverse productions across eight City Centre venues there’s something for everyone.
THE MANCHESTER PICNIC
3rd – 5th August, 2012
At the beginning of August Piccadilly Gardens will be transformed into the City Centre’s largest food arcade with street delicacies from around the world including Kebabs from Brazil, Dumplings from Tibet and Peri Peri chicken from South America. There will be activities for children on Sunday 5th August and vintage DJs for adults on Friday 3rd.
Affleck’s Palace, Oldham Street
9th July – 29th September, 2012
This is one of the city’s most exciting summer events; an innovative collection of 1-hour shows designed for the whole family. With a mixture of music, comedy and puppetry you won’t want to miss Manchester’s only purpose-built pop-up theatre.
17th – 27th August, 2012
The City Centre’s largest annual festival returns with Steps as its headline act. With over 500,000 international visitors this popular festival starts on 17th August and ends with the ‘Big Weekend’ on August Bank Holiday. Tickets are priced from £12.50 for adults and £5.50 for children.
MANCHESTER OPEN TOP BUS TOURS
Manchester City Centre
14th April – 14th December, 2012
If the sun finally comes out, why not take a tour of the City Centre in one of Manchester’s ever-popular Open Top Buses? Or if the rain persists just buy a rainproof jacket and disposable camera and pretend to be a tourist!
1st June, 2012 – onwards
Pop-up bars are all the rage and ‘Summerhouse’ is arguably the finest one in Manchester City Centre. Located in front of Selfridges, this wooden Swiss Chalet-style bar makes Exchange Square the perfect place to enjoy a cool beer and watch the summer of sport on the Corn Exchange’s large TV screen.
DIG THE CITY
Manchester Cathedal Gardens
24th – 29th July, 2012
If you missed this year’s biennial flower show at Tatton Park, take a stroll over to Manchester’s ‘Dig The City’ 2012 Festival. With horticultural activities, pop-up allotments and stunning flower markets, this is a must-see event for green-fingered Mancunians.
25th July – 11th August, 2012
Old Trafford is at the centre of the North West’s Olympic and Paralympic Games with nine matches taking place at the home of Manchester United. The first game sees Team GB taking on Senegal and tickets start at just £20.
TEAM GB CYCLING
26th July – 12th August
Come and support Great Britain’s Olympic Cycling Team as they battle for medals at Manchester’s award-winning stadium in Eastlands. All cycling events will be shown free on the outdoor screen and there will be competitions, quiz nights and BMX circuits where you to try out your cycling skills.
POP-UP, DRIVE-IN MOVIE
22nd – 23rd August, 2012
Manchester’s first ever drive-in / walk-in / float-in outdoor movie screen arrives in Ducie Street to celebrate the Manchester 2012 Canal Festival. The three water-themed movies on show will be The Life Aquatic, Jaws and Finding Nemo. Why not bring some Fish ‘n Chips to get in the mood?!
SHINE MIDNIGHT WALK
8th September, 2012
To celebrate the end of a wonderful summer in Manchester City Centre, the annual Shine night-time charity walk kicks off at Old Trafford and raises funds for vital Cancer research. Entry fee is £30 and you can choose to walk either a half-marathon or a full-marathon.