Bank hol inflatables, pug-themed tea parties, and Steve Coogan on stage

It's almost May, there's a slight whiff of factor 30 and Aperol in the air, and light evenings mean a few extra hours to cram in loads of fun things to do and see across Greater Manchester. 

We've already covered SICK Festival, which starts on Sunday 1 May, the BBC exhibition at the Science and Industry Museum is yours for the taking, and foodand music festivals have been rounded-up into handy lists by the Confidentials gang earlier in the year.

Never short of Manc-based things to fill the mad month of May though, we've got an eclectic mix of markets, workshops, and pug-themed tea parties to jog your brains 'til June. There's another Brucey bonus bank hol next week too, which we're sure will be welcomed with open arms and hectic itineraries. 

Read on for the best things to see and do in Greater Manchester in May 2022. 

Manchester Cathedral Exterior Shot For Things To Do In Manchester In May
Manchester Cathedral always has some cool shit going on Image: Rept0n1x via Wikimedia Commons

Funtopia | Woodbank Memorial Park, Stockport | Monday 2 May

When we think of bank holiday Mondays the words “hangover” and “regret” spring to mind, but the kids are also off school and will undoubtedly need something to distract them whilst you hide behind your giant sunglasses. Packed with loads of bouncy things, inflatable slides, giant games and handmade crafting stations, Funtopia is set to grace the fields of Woodbank Park on the first Monday in May. There's a great under 5s area for very little ones and artisan trade stalls that will keep the adults occupied too. Ticket prices vary depending on the age of your kiddies, but a family of four ticket is just over 20 quid. The event runs from 11am til 5pm. 

Vintage Kilo Sale | Manchester Cathedral | Monday 2 May

There are kilo sales all the time in town, but this one's a biggie, the biggest in the UK actually. Run by vintage clothing kings Worth The Weight, the sale allows you to fill a bag pick 'n' mix style for £20 a kilo. The shelves are re-stocked all day so it's not one of those TK Maxx-style affairs where you're fighting over some D&G jeans, and the bags are all bio-degradable for that extra earth-loving hit. Because the early bird usually does catch the worm, or the floor-length fur jacket in this case, early-bird admission is £3 each, but general admission from 12pm is £2 and there will still be loads of cracking finds come lunchtime. 

Women Among the Artists | The Portico Library | Thursday 5 May

If you haven't read Toto Among the Murderers by Sally Morgan then you should. If you have, then Art Historian Sara Riccardi is taking the main themes and ideas from the book and linking them to British art and women artists from the 1970s and 80s. Exploring everything from stereotypes to sexual identity, the discussion takes passages and ideas from the book and pairs them with artistic movements and creations, exploring how the concepts are still relevant and visible today. It all sounds very arty farty, but if you're interested in art, feminism, gender politics, or you just love supporting a local library, the tickets are six quid and the event runs from 6:30pm 'til 7:45. 

Form Lifestyle Store Spring Flower Arranging Workshop Things To Do In Manchester May 2022
Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking Image: Eventbrite

Vocal Workshops with Emmanuela Yogolelo | Sacred Trinity Church, Salford | Friday 6 May and Friday 13 May

OPEN CALL ALERT. Congolese singer and songwriter Emmanuela Yogolelo is looking for 20 aspiring singers from Greater Manchester to feature on her forthcoming new album, and the opportunity is all funded by the Arts Council. Initially, Emmanuela is interested in using her experience as a vocal coach to host two free vocal workshops and rehearsals at Sacred Trinity Church in Salford, and refreshments and transport will be provided for the rehearsals. The places go on a first-come, first-served basis, so you can reserve a spot by emailing, and opportunities to perform with the singer-songwriter live on stage will come later down the line. 

Tits, Gits and Little Shits: An Evening with Gill Sims| The Lowry | Saturday 7 May

Gill Sims is the unsung hero of literature for mamas, and chatting about everything from FML moments to the realities of being a child bearer, Gill is going on tour across the whole of the UK. After the massive success of her Why Mummy book series, Gill will be interviewed by fellow author Jo Middleton with the result being "a hilarious look at the changing face of motherhood as your children grow from toddlers to teenagers". The show is on for one night and one night only, but tickets are still available for the Manchester showing at The Lowry on Saturday 7 May. 

Garden-inspired floristry - Spring bouquet workshop | Form Lifestyle Store | Saturday 7 May

If your green fingers are tingling for something Spring-themed and creative to do, Form Lifestyle Store is hosting two workshops on garden-inspired floristry. With both a morning and an afternoon slot to choose from, the workshops use seasonal British flowers that you'd find in your garden, and the expert, Leanne from Barb Studio, guides you through the process of creating a hand-tied bouquet. If you've attended this kind of thing before, this could be a good chance to practice, but the sessions are designed for beginners too. You finish off by wrapping your bouquet in some sustainable materials and all the tools, flowers, wrapping etc are included in the workshop price. 

Jeremiah At Sale Waterside Rap Battle Show Things To Do In Manchester In May
An orchestrated rap battle about the Luddite rebellion isn't even the maddest thing on this May Image: Matt Austin

Jeremiah | Sale Waterside | Sunday 8 May

"A raucous, rebellious theatre gig show about a forgotten part of British history", and if that line hasn't sold you, you're a mug. Jeremiah is a stage show that tells the story of the real-life Luddite rebellion that affected the entirety of northern England - but it's staged as an orchestrated rap battle. We would tell you all about the rebellion, but that'd ruin the show. Written and performed by Jack Dean, whose work has spanned venues from the South Bank Centre to Bowery Poetry Club in NYC, Jeremiah is an unusual feat of creativity that's well worth seeing for under £15. Sale Waterside is pretty sick too. 

Alan Partridge Live | The AO Arena | Friday 13 May - Saturday 14 May

They've added an extra night on and tickets are already selling out mega fast. Whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit that you've giggled at something Steve Coogan's most famous alter-ego Alan Partridge has cocked up at least once, and with a live stage show that promises to "inform, educate and entertain in approximately equal measure", it's worth reserving a Saturday night for. Written by Steve himself alongside Neil and Rob Gibbons, the show is billed as "a manifesto for the way we can move forward, a roadmap to a better tomorrow". 

Mad Hattie’s Tea Party | Jackson’s Boat, Sale | Sunday 15 May

It’s a tea party full of pugs at a riverside pub in Sale. That’s it. That’s the event. Tickets are a fiver for dogs, which includes an afternoon tea for your four-legged friend and the admission for two adults, or it's £1.50 if you love grunting doggos and scones but don’t have a furry sidekick of your own. As well as all the mad pug-based fun, there’s a live performance by Rock Choir, stalls, food and drink options, and photo opportunities just about everywhere. It’s as odd as it sounds, but we’re kind of into this pug party project, and it's run by the Manchester Pug Thing & Welfare charity, so it's all for a good cause. 

Saul Hay Gallery Exhibition Space Castlefield Things To Do In Manchester May 2022
Watch this space at the Saul Hay Gallery Image: Saul Hay Gallery

The Locationist Tour| Meet outside Almost Famous in Great Northern | Sunday 15 May

We love recommending a good tour or two every month, and this one takes you around all the famous film and tv locations in and around Manchester city centre. Including locations used in Peaky Blinders, Captain America, It's a Sin and the recent Jared Leto film Morbius, tourists should meet outside Almost Famous on Peter St at 2pm with comfy shoes and a camera at the ready. The tour includes interactive quizzes to test your film buff knowledge and it lasts two hours. Most of the tour guides have worked in tv and film themselves so you get the proper inside scoop, and if you miss the first Sunday tour, they happen every Thursday and Sunday from then onwards.

Manchester Guitar Festival | The Stoller Hall | Friday 20 May - Sunday 22 May

If you're pretty big into your guitars, then a guitar-based festival is probably already on your radar, but with a programme that includes everything from Flamenco to Bach, even the average Joe might fancy a trip down to The Stoller Hall this May. Headliners for the festival include Craig Ogden, Sean Shibe and Daniel Martinez, and the late-night slots are filled by lockdown legends "Duo" who did the series Gigs in Your Garden when we were all stuck at home. Not just about the tunes, Manchester Guitar Fest also has Spanish themed food and drink offerings, workshops about storytelling, music and art, and some talks by leading guitarists and tutors from Chetham's School of Music. The full itinerary of events and artist profiles should help you decide which gigs and chats to go. 

Spring 2022 Exhibition | Saul Hay Gallery | Now - Sunday 29 May

Currently showing at the Saul Hay Gallery on Castle Street, the Spring 2022 exhibition features a varied and exciting selection of paintings, sculptures, printmaking and photography. With artists ranging from the Manc-based contemporary painter Jen Orpin to Lancashire-based photographer Alyson J Barton, a lot of the work champions artist from the North and covers loads of different subjects and perspectives. All the artworks on show at Saul Hey Gallery are for sale, so if you're looking for a piece to add to your personal collection, it's a good spot to scout out some talent. 

Read next: The North West festival guide 2022: March to September

Read again: Natural high: fitness and wellness festivals near Manchester

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