An updated list of museums, galleries, cinemas, libraries and performance venues

As we outlined in our enjoying Manchester arts from home article, COVID-19 is one of the greatest challenges the arts and culture scene has ever faced; prompting Cllr Luthfur Rahman to write an impassioned open letter to culture secretary Oliver Dowden calling for more support.

After months of closure - and the loss of vital income for many - cultural venues are amongst those allowed to reopen from Saturday 4th July, following the likes of shops and markets from 15th June. Despite being given the green light, however, relatively few have announced opening dates: the logistics of adhering to COVID-19 measures - from sanitation to social distancing  - is a challenge, while reduced capacities necessitate a further blow to budgets already severely under strain. 

With live shows still not permitted, meanwhile, most performance venues remain closed and a lack of clear reopening dates has proven fatal to some; the Royal Exchange Theatre announced on 1st July that it has entered redundancy talks, with up to 65% of jobs at risk. 

Royal Exchange 2
With live performance still not allowed, many theatres like the Royal Exchange are in dire straits

Here are the venues that have confirmed when they are reopening (with suitable measures in place) so far. This list is subject to change and will be regularly updated… 


HOME - phased from 4th September

170628 Home
HOME plans to open its cinemas and dining spaces first, followed by its theatres and galleries


The below galleries have a primarily non-retail focus; retail galleries were able to open from 15th June  

AIR Gallery - 8th July

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House - 12th August

The Whitworth - September (date TBA)

People's History Museum - 1st September 

The Weavers Factory - March 2021

The Whitworth 1 Oxford Rd Photo By Alan Williams Press
While Whitworth Park is open, the gallery remains closed until September Alan Williams Press


Cineworld (all branches) - 10th July

ODEON Trafford Centre - 4th July

ODEON Rochdale - 13th July

ODEON Great Northern - 16th July


Manchester Libraries - phased from 4th July (other GM boroughs may be different)

Manchester Skysline Beetham Central Library Midland Hotel Peter Street 456


With live performance still not permitted, these are arguably the hardest hit. Many have condemned culture secretary Oliver Dowden’s ‘useless’ ‘five-step roadmap’ due to its lack of dates while The Lowry CEO is amongst those calling for urgent government action

Music institution Band on the Wall, meanwhile, is amongst a clutch of venues to reopen in a (limited) food and drink capacity from 4th July - but it’s still far from enough. Head of marketing Simon Webbon said: “While being able to safely open up for limited food and drink sales is a welcome move and will bring much-needed income to Band on the Wall, the reality remains that live music is our core business; as long as gigs are not possible, our organisation and the people in it are at immediate risk. 

“We urge people to support independent venues nationwide by buying a t-shirt, a poster, gift vouchers or a pint. With everyone’s support during these strange and worrying times, we’ll still have an independent music scene to return to once the COVID crisis is over.”

2020 06 25 Band On The Wall Credit J P Brown
Band on the Wall is launching with a ‘socially distanced weekender’ from 4th - 5th July J P Brown

Band on the Wall is one of several at-risk grassroots music venues represented by the Music Venue Trust which - despite saving 140 from immediate closure in May via its #saveourvenues campaign - is now calling for £50 million and VAT cuts to prevent the sector collapsing. This joins similar campaigns across performing arts, from PLASA’s We Make Events to Public Campaign for the Arts; the latter which local actor Julie Hesmondhalgh supported with a poignant ode to the theatre industry on 24th June (followed somewhat tellingly by the Royal Exchange's redundancy announcement a week later). 

What can open from 4th July?

July is set to be a major month for many industries; from hotels (some of which have housed frontline workers, others the homeless) to travel (Manchester Airport will again be operating three terminals and has introduced a range of new measures as holiday demand increases) and hospitality (see our Eating Out and Drink pages for updates). Here is the full list of reopenings…

  • Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses
  • Places of worship
  • Libraries
  • Community centres
  • Restaurants, cafes and workplace canteens
  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Cinemas
  • Bingo halls
  • Theatres and concert halls, but no live music
  • Museums and galleries
  • Hair salons and barbers
  • Outdoor playgrounds
  • Outdoor gyms
  • Funfairs, theme parks and adventure parks and activities
  • Amusement arcades
  • Outdoor skating rinks
  • Other indoor leisure centres or facilities, including indoor games, recreation and entertainment venues
  • Social clubs
  • Model villages
  • Indoor attractions at aquariums, zoos, safari parks, farms, wildlife centres and any place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction

Read more: COVID-19 - Manchester events cancelled or postponed