31st May 2023


Manchester Flower Festival brings an extra 100,000 people into the city centre over the bank holiday weekend.

Manchester’s annual floral takeover, The Manchester Flower Festival, attracted an additional 100,000* visitors into the city centre last weekend, according to figures released today by organisers Manchester City Centre Business Improvement District.

The four day event which took place over the late May bank holiday weekend saw a 24% hike in footfall compared to 2022’s event, which coincided with the Queen’s Jubilee weekend. Last Sunday received the biggest boost of all with footfall more than doubling, compared to the Sunday of the event in 2022.

Further demonstrating the event’s impact on footfall, figures for the same calendar dates in 2022 revealed a YoY lift of 44% over the Saturday and Sunday.

Organised annually by Manchester City Centre Business Improvement District, on behalf of more than 600 city centre businesses including retail, hospitality and offices, the free festival once again transformed the city centre into a floral extravaganza for a fifth consecutive year.

Headline activity for 2023 included a ‘Manchester in Flowers’ Floral Trail, celebrating the rich culture and history of the city, which weaved its way through the city’s shopping streets featuring 10 professionally designed pop-up gardens including The Grassienda – a version of the city’s iconic nightclub but made out of grasses, a Rain Garden inspired by the city’s weather reputation, a Town Hall Clock planter, a wildflower takeover of the Cotton Bud Fountain on St Ann’s Square and a giant bee hive as well as gardens in homage to the city’s LGBTQIA+ history, the Suffragettes, Manchester inventions and even Coronation Street icon, Hilda Ogden.

Other installations and green displays included a Vimto mini garden and wheelbarrow gardens taking inspiration from Roman Manchester and the city’s football teams, as well as floral displays blooming from shop windows and doorways.  Gardening greats, The RHS and National Trust both featured at the festival and a Floral Marquee (new for 2023) featuring a gallery of beautiful floral displays from local florists took residence on the city’s New Cathedral Street.

Other activity included the transformation of the city’s Exchange Square into Flower Festival Square in partnership with Selfridges Exchange Square featuring a main stage, home to entertainment, talks and live music, the Manchester Flower Show Cocktail Trail hosted by a selection of the city’s best bars and restaurants, the world’s smallest spritz bar courtesy of Harvey Nichols and Grey Goose, flower, art and craft markets, pop-up restaurants in St Ann’s Square from multi-award-winning chef and restaurateur Simon Shaw and lots of free family-friendly activities.

Outside the festival zone, city venues, public spaces and businesses supported the festival with their own commissioned gardens and displays, making up the Manchester Flower Festival Fringe. These included a floating garden at The Bridgewater Hall, a nature trail at Great Northern Warehouse and new displays at Sadler’s Yard NOMA, First Street, Science and Industry Museum, Lincoln Square, One Piccadilly, Exhibition, Affleck’s, Printworks and more.

Jane Sharrocks, Manchester City Centre Business Improvement District Chair and General Manager of Selfridges Exchange Square said: “This is without doubt our most successful Manchester Flower Festival to date. Attracting more than 100,000 extra visitors into the city centre over a bank holiday weekend is no mean feat and really demonstrates the popularity of this event, which grows year after year.

“The Manchester Flower Festival has gained a lot of traction in recent years with businesses right across the city keen to be a part of it. This has helped grow both its footprint and scale and really does show the power of working collectively as a city.”

Gary Williams, Head of Events at Manchester City Centre Business Improvement District and producer of The Manchester Flower Festival, said: “It’s the thrill of my life to create free, inclusive, fun events in the heart of our great city and The Manchester Flower Festival is turning into an iconic staple for Manchester every summer.

“It’s all about getting outside, being inspired, being creative, learning something and trying new things. It wouldn’t be possible without our amazing team and wonderful contributors, who all bring their passion and creativity to this annual pop of colour.”

*compared to 2022’s event.

For more media information, please contact Anoushka Done or Hannah Curry at ECHO on 07732 846650 or email anoushka@echo-pr.co.uk / hannah@echo-pr.co.uk.

Notes to Editors

The Manchester Flower Festival Producers

Manchester City Centre Business Improvement District is behind The Manchester Flower Festival as part of its annual calendar of public events in Manchester’s central shopping district. Manchester BID previously delivered the popular urban gardening festival Dig the City, which took place in Manchester’s retail heart from 2011-2015, and attracted national attention, event and RHS ‘In Bloom’ awards. Dig the City focused on inner-city gardening techniques and bringing RHS style Show Gardens onto the streets of Manchester to be judged by famous gardeners including Monty Don and Diarmuid Gavin. The event also featured talks, workshops, and garden parties.

Manchester City Centre Business Improvement District

BIDs are defined geographical areas where businesses work together and invest in agreed services, initiatives, and special events, and are financed by a levy made based on rateable value. They operate in most cities and towns across the UK.

Manchester BID, which is managed by The City Centre Management Company, CityCo, was successful in securing a third, five-year term, in December 2022 and began the new term on 1st April 2023.

In its new term, the BID brings together 600 businesses including retail, hospitality, and offices, spanning Deansgate, King Street, Cross Street, St Ann’s Square, Market Street, New Cathedral Street, Manchester Arndale, Spring Gardens, Fountain Street and more.

In recent years, the BID has played an instrumental role in the city’s recovery post-Covid and brings businesses together with key authorities including Manchester City Council, Marketing Manchester, Transport for Greater Manchester, and Greater Manchester Police.

Work is delivered around four themes: Attracting Visitors, Environment, Community, and ESG.

More information at manchesterbid.com.