Photo: Heather Shuker

May is a month where it starts to feel like summer (even in Manchester), because even though the possibility of good weather can’t be confirmed, what we can be sure of is that there are two Bank Holidays: one on May 7th, the other the 28th.

Here’s our pick of things to do in the city over the first May Bank Holiday weekend – so that’s three days of fun from this Friday night onwards. Expect awesome food and drink offers, fun activities, family days out and immersive experiences.

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Wahaca

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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo this Bank Holiday weekend at Wahaca, the colourful Mexican restaurant inside the Corn Exchange. To celebrate the Mexican fiesta that falls every year on the fifth day of the fifth month, both margaritas and mojitos will be available for £5 on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th May alongside Wahaca’s street food favourites.

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A Kahlúa Espresso Martini masterclasses

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Learn how to make your own coffee flavoured cocktails and enjoy an Instagram-worthy meal at the Kahlúa Brunch Club. Each day of the Bank Holiday weekend at The Loft, Pernod Ricard UK’s new event space on Quay Street, guests will be treated to brunch and an exclusive Kahlúa cocktail masterclass. It costs just £20 (£12 for early bird tickets) for brunch and an exclusive Kahlúa cocktail masterclass. Wonderful!

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Take on the Crystal Maze Live

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Get down to the Old Granada Studios this Bank Holiday weekend and take on the Crystal Maze for yourself. Whether you were a die-hard fan of the iconic 90s show or you want to take a group for an utterly exciting day out, then this is the perfect way to spruce up your bank holiday – as you take on eight activity zones guided by an eccentric maze master. Tickets for May maze madness at the Manchester attraction  are available for dates across the weekend and are already selling fast, so what are you waiting for?

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Family fun day and dog show at City Airport

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Paws for thought! Manchester’s historic City Airport (close to Barton – just 5 miles from the city centre) is hosting a Family Fun Day and Dog Show in partnership with Reach Sled Dog Rescue charity, on Sunday 6 May 2018. Proud dog owners are invited to compete for awards, with categories including Cutest Puppy, Golden Oldie, Best Treat Catcher and Best Rescue, all to help raise vital funds for the charity cause. This event is free to the public and runs 11am-4pm. Dog owners can enter the awards for £2 per dog per class. This family fun day will include a professional children’s entertainer within the airport’s onsite Runway 26 Café Bar along with the free children’s play area, plus viewing and picnic areas, as well as free parking. There will be a RAF Dakota aircraft flying in at 2.45pm on Sunday, too.

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A free warm-up party at Hatch

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To celebrate the homecoming premiere of the short film Manchester Keeps On Dancing, a free warm-up party has been announced at one of the cities newest pop-up venues, Hatch, underneath the Mancunian Way on Saturday May 5th from 2pm-6pm. It’s a special event to celebrate the upcoming film based on Manchester’s famous dance music scene, which will be screened as part of Doc N Roll Film Festival on Saturday May 26th. They are celebrating a few weeks early, and this first Bank Holiday weekend guests are invited to enjoy some free drinks with a specially curated welcome cocktail. Dance the afternoon away with the Red Bull DJ Truck, which will be making a guest appearance at Hatch on the day. Wristbands will be given to all people who attend this party for the film’s free post-premiere afterparty at Gorilla on 26th May, too.

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Treat yourself at King Street Townhouse

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Not just a perfect and historic place to stay, this luxurious hotel is also the ultimate all-day dining destination. Settle down while indulging with homemade flatbreads and a bottle of Montaudon Champagne – £60 for two people. Soak up the views as you sit on their South Terrace for views over the Manchester skyline, complete with two for £15 cocktails. You can take afternoon tea in the beautiful lounge too (starting at £24.50 per person), or tuck into dinner in the King Street Tavern. With room rates starting at just £130 per room, per night, this is a beautiful place to be this Bank Holiday weekend.

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Afternoon tea at Great John Street Hotel

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One night’s stay, a half bottle of Champagne in your room upon arrival and a full cooked breakfast the following morning, starting from £130 per room, per night? Sounds like a Bank Holiday dream come true at this stunning city centre hotel. If you fancy a spot of afternoon tea, it’s available in the Oyster Bar from £24.50 per person. Or why not save a spot near the bar with two for £15 cocktails and celebrate with a traditional Atherton Street Spritz? If you are feeling peckish, tuck into a charcuterie and organic cheese plate, served with a bottle of house wine for £30 – perfect for sharing.

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Soul Vibes at The Printworks

Making an exciting return to The Printworks this May is the ever-popular event Soul on Sunday – a day full of music for your enjoyment. DJ Dave Starr from KFM Radio will kick off the proceedings at 4.30pm warming up the crowd for the main event, Stax of Soul at 5pm. The Soul On Sunday event is set to gear up soul music fans for the Manchester Soul Festival 2018, which takes place on Sunday 26th August at The Printworks. Back for its fourth year, the event brings all the fun and nostalgia of Northern soul music and dancing whilst raising money for the Christie. Though the full line up is yet to be announced, attendees can purchase wristbands for the Manchester Soul Festival now with tickets priced at £5.

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The Electric Weekender at The Refuge

Check out the best things to do in Manchester this May Bank Holiday I Love Manchester

Taking place from 3rd to 6th May at The Refuge, this specially curated gathering is not to be missed. The Refuge public bar, basement club and the magnificent courtyard space will all be in use over the weekend, kicking off on Thursday 3 May with Dr Sid’s Honey Cooler from 5pm. On Friday there will be a special one off Electric Chair soiree with the Unabomber’s taking on Nightmares On Wax in the basement.  Fancy something with a street party feel? Saturday will see a coalition-of-love direct from the coast of the Adriatic Sea, with Return To The Adriatic Boat Party, whilst in the basement from 10pm the party will continue with Return To Barbarella’s Discotheque. The Public Bar will be in the hands of Moodymanc aka Danny Wards and Will Tramp from 3pm. Closing off the weekend on Sunday will be Aficionado Recordings Classics in the courtyard from 4pm, whilst the Sunday basement session will be ‘one for the heads’.

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Leftfield pop at Anointed

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Fancy a clubnight with a difference this Bank Holiday weekend? Anointed is an alternative celebration for Manchester, playing a deliciously dark selection of leftfield pop, indie, alternative and electronic music. Come to the Nothern Quarter’s AATMA on 5th May from 11pm to join the dancing, featuring DJs Deany Sevigny (Anointed, Bollox) and Adrian Brian Thompson (Anointed, AnalogueTrash). There’s also special guest DJ Gillywoo. With a playlist including the likes of Goldfrapp, ionnalee, Ladytron, The Knife, Depeche Mode and many more, you’re in for a treat, right up until 4am. Donation entry. And remember, there’s a gig on at AATMA the night after, featuring 1919 and The Society as well as Salford’s own dark electro duo Factory Acts.

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Discover new talent at the Below the Bridge all-dayer

Three stages. Over 30 acts. Some of the most diverse sounds you will hear, from across the city – all super-close to Oxford Road Station. Below The Bridge fuelled by Fireball UK brings some of the most groundbreaking new talent the city has to offer. Zombie Shack, The Thirsty Scholar and an outdoor stage under the bridge will play host to some of the best indie, rock and roll, alt and ska in town. Ace! Bands playing include Good Foxy, Louie Louie,  Ruff Trade, Rivet City, Babylon and many more. There will also be Muziki DJs as well as Martin The Mod plus plenty to eat and entertain including a BBQ, ice cream, alcoholic ice pops, fire-breathers, magic and more. Tickets will be available on the door  for £10 and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis – so don’t miss out!

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Accept the Octonauts Shark Mission at Sea Life Manchester

Let the little ones take on an underwater mission at Sea Life Manchester, the awesome aquarium and immersive experience inside the Intu Trafford Centre. Plus, beginning on the Saturday of the Bank Holiday they’ll be able to try a new challenge: Octonauts Shark Mission. Here kids can join in the underwater and encounter creatures of the deep such as a family of sharks and plenty of fish, plus characters including Captain Barnacles and Professor Inkling. All children will receive a certificate and badge to remember their adventure – with the Octonauts event beginning on 5th May and on until 3rd June, part of the usual admission price which starts at £11.95 per child.

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May the fourth be with you at Legoland Discovery Centre

The weekend that follows 4th May (May the fourth be with you etc) is an ideal opportunity for the whole family to feel the force – just get down to the Legoland Discovery Centre at the Trafford Centre this weekend. There will be Lego Star Wars activities, including build competitions, animation opportunities and the opportunity to build a giant Darth Vader too. Fancy dress is encouraged, and kids dressed as their favourite Star Wars character go free with a paying adult.

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