What is the Picnic?

The Manchester Picnic is one of my favourite events of the year. It’s somewhere on the spectrum between Christmas (which I love) and Easter (which I like very much). I love it because it’s a fabulous event to take the family to (this year it’s on the 29th-31st August) with a great, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, and my boys love it.

manc picnic

The event is a giant food festival and takes place in Piccadilly Gardens, in Manchester. The main attraction at the picnic is, as you would probably expect, the wondrous array of food stalls and vendors littered around the gardens, but what adds to the vibrant atmosphere and fun of the day is the variety of entertainment and live music played throughout and, for the kids especially, the games that are organised.

Love Food?

Basically, it feels like I diet and exercise for a year just so I can truly splurge at The Manchester Picnic! For me, food-wise, The Manchester Picnic actually tops Christmas for the sole reason that the variety is incredible, and I love trying a little bit of everything.


Food from around the world is available throughout the event, so there’s plenty of choice, even for the fussy-eaters in any family. Prices vary at the picnic as well, which means food for every budget is available. For example, this year, according to articles I’ve read and the Manchester Picnic Facebook page, Indian-style street food will be available, and dishes start at £4.50 onwards.

I challenge anyone to visit the picnic and not find something they absolutely fall in love with! With pizza, sushi, churros, BBQ food, burgers, hot dogs, puddings, Mexican dishes, Indian food, cakes and pastries, Asian delights and a thousand other dishes I can’t even recall in this moment, it’s an absolute food heaven!

Great Accommodation Choices

Although I live within an hour and a half’s drive from Manchester, this year we’re opting to stay for the whole weekend to make it into a proper city-break before the boys and myself have to start back at school.

One thing you’ll never be short of in Manchester is accommodation, it’s just finding a hotel within your price range, in the area you want with the facilities you need that’s the tricky part!

Staying in the city centre will naturally provide the best access to the city, but it can be pricey – and noisy, which is a consideration when you have kids. The last thing you want on a Friday and Saturday night is hearing drunken idiots wandering the streets and waking your children up.

As with most things, it’s always best to book your accommodation as early as possible, and often booking directly through a hotel’s own site will give you the best deals. Definitely book in advance for The Manchester Picnic because there’ll be tonnes of people visiting the city and the best deals will get snapped up early.


We’ve opted to stay at the Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport this year for several reasons. Firstly, kids under 19 stay for free, which is a major pro! Secondly, it offers a free shuttle to the airport train station, from which we can catch a direct train to Manchester Piccadilly station, right where we want to be. This means we don’t need to worry at all about driving in the chaotic, intense Manchester traffic, which is a nightmare on a good day and hell when there’s a big event on, and we don’t need to worry about parking either.

Finally, because we’re a little out the city centre we’ve been able to get a high quality hotel at a cheaper price than we would have paid had we opted to be right in the city centre. Jack gets his fitness centre (I refuse to exercise on any type of holiday, even a mini-break!) and I get to gorge myself on naught food all weekend!