It’s not long now. You can almost smell it – that combination of freshly cut grass and sun cream announcing that, finally, summer is here.Until then, there’s still time to think about a nice sunny getaway somewhere exotic. No, I’m not talking about Southport, or the ever-popular destination of Spain at the top of many summer holiday wish lists. But while you’re longing for a taste of tapas in Torremolinos, the Musées of Madrid, a ramble down the Ramblas or a stroll along the sand of the Costa del Sol, the good news is that you don’t have to wait if you fancy a taste of Spain right now.In both Manchester and Leeds, the Cervantes Institute has centres where Spanish language classes and cultural activities including performance, literature, music, cinema and art happen all year round. Based in Madrid, Cervantes has offices all over the world, its aim being to promote Spanish language and Spanish/Latin American culture. And you get the chance to sample it all for free when Instituto Cervantes Manchester on Deansgate has its Summer Open Day this July.There’ll be Spanish food and wine (yes, all for free), live demonstrations of traditional flamenco, salsa and tango, activities for children if you fancy taking the little ones along, plus prizes including a free language course. The day offers a taster of some of the cultural activities happening over the next few months – the dance demonstration heralds the start of its World Flamenco Congress, also happening in July, and there’ll be major film directors coming to screen their work, writers doing readings, and much more. At the same time, if you fancy brushing up on your holiday Spanish, or even taking what know already know to the next level, they offer in-person and online classes for beginners and those with a more developed knowledge of Spanish. Anyone attending the open day gets a 10 per cent discount on all classes, too. They even do them for kids.So, while you’re deciding on whether to head for the bars of Barcelona, the grandeur of Granada or the magic of Malaga, Deansgate will have to do for now.

By Rob Martin

Main image courtesy of Javier Fergó


Instituto Cervantes Manchester Summer Open Day, from 11.30am to 3.30pm, July 1, 2023 at 326-330 Deansgate Campfield Avenue Arcade, Manchester.

You can register for free here: