Unmissable things to do in Manchester and the North

Discover acclaimed music and stand-out exhibitions, groundbreaking theatre, family, cinema and literary events in Manchester and the North.

Our top picks
Manchester Folk Festival
Music 18–21 October 2018, from £6.00

Manchester Folk Festival 2018

Indulge in a long weekend packed with amazing gigs in great venues. Get involved in singing, songwriting and craft workshops. Grab your friends and dance a ceilidh. This festival is a chance to discover new bands, create something you’re proud of, relax with friends and make new connections.

Autumn at the Science and Industry Museum - Distortions in Spacetime by Marshmallow Laser Feast
Exhibitions 18–28 October 2018, FREE

Manchester Science Festival 2018

Meet a real-life cyborg, immerse yourself in a black hole or one of 120 other events in 11 days … yes Manchester Science Festival is back.

Everything that happened and would happen at Mayfield Manchester International Festival Thanasis Deligiannis
Theatre 10–21 October 2018, from £25.00

Everything that happened and would happen at Mayfield

Heiner Goebbels new large-scale work, presented with Manchester International Festival, has received its world premiere and is now showing at Mayfield Depot.

Death of a Salesman at Royal Exchange
Theatre 11 October–17 November 2018, from £10.00

Death of a Salesman at the Royal Exchange

Don Warrington returns to the Royal Exchange to play Willy Loman in Sarah Frankcom’s version of Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

Asia Triennial Manchester 2018
Exhibitions 5–21 October 2018, FREE

Asia Triennial Manchester 2018

Asia Triennial Manchester returns for its fourth edition, filling the city with work by artists from across South Korea, Japan, Thailand, China, Sri Lanka and the UK, grouped around the central provocation: Who do you think you are?

Cinema 26–31 October 2018, from £5.00

FilmFear at HOME

FilmFear is back as HOME team up with Film4 for another season of new and classic scary movies, premieres and director Q&As.

Music 23 October 2018, from £6

The Music of the Primes at RNCM

PRiSM presents ‘The Music of the Primes’, a truly illuminating event from which you will gain an insight into the fascinating and often surprising links between music and maths. Don’t fear if it’s been a while since you’ve practiced your equations – you don’t need to be Pythagoras to take something interesting away from the evening!

Exhibitions 2–3 November 2018, FREE

Light Up Lancaster 2018

Festival of light and art Light Up Lancaster returns to the city with installations, projections, performance and fireworks illuminating the city’s historic buildings, charming streets and hidden squares.

Winter Droving Penrith
Families 26–27 October 2018, FREE

The Winter Droving in Penrith

An incredible wonderland of outdoor arts, masquerade and pint carrying competitions in Penrith.

The Unreturning
Theatre 16–20 October 2018, from £10.00

The Unreturning at Liverpool Everyman

Written by Bruntwood Prize-winner Anna Jordan, The Unreturning tells the interwoven stories of three men coming home from war.

Windows of Displacement at HOME
Theatre 22 October–3 November 2018, from £12.50

Orbit Festival 2018 at HOME

Orbit Festival 2018 at Manchester’s HOME brings together innovative new work from theatre-makers across the globe.

The Animals and Children Took to the Streets at Liverpool Everyman
Families 17–20 October 2018, from £10.00

The Animals and Children Took to the Streets at Liverpool Playhouse

In The Animals and Children Took to the Streets, 1927 takes their audience on a theatrical journey of startling originality.

Theatre 25 October–11 November 2018, from £5

The Mysteries at the Royal Exchange

Inspired by the mystery plays of the Middle Ages, The Mysteries is a cycle of six new plays, set in six different places in England.

Senga Nengudi – The Henry Moore Institute
Exhibitions 21 September 2018–17 February 2019, FREE

Senga Nengudi at the Henry Moore Institute

The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds presents a major exhibition dedicated to the work of African-American sculptor Senga Nengudi – the pioneering figure who first introduced contemporary art to nylon stockings.

Music 16–25 November 2018, from £9

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2018

Here are our top picks from this year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

Culture Guides

Tours and Activities

In this month’s top picks of Tours and Activities in Manchester, we are featuring the guides who take you into the darker underbelly of the city, as well as some of the more macabre activities.

Exhibitions and art in Manchester


Autumn is festival season in the visual art world. We preview some familiar favourites alongside a brand-new addition to the scene – brainchild of Manchester’s resident prize-winning peace activist, Qaisra Shahraz.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


For this month’s eclectic theatre guide we’ve hunted out exclusive dance events, durational performance and some hair-raising Halloween hijinks.


This month’s music guide features cutting-edge jazz, joyous disco, and singular voices in rock.


It’s October, and the cinemas of Manchester and the North are taking the opportunity to host all manner of spooky screenings.

Liverpool's Dream Giant Spectacular courtesy Culture Liverpool


See giants in Liverpool, spaghettify yourself in a black hole at Manchester Science Festival, experience spectaculars at the Dashehra Diwali Mela in Manchester and Winter Droving in Penrith. There’s a LOT to do folks.

Writer Eley Williams.


More spoken word nights are emerging to join our favourite regulars, there are lots of launches and one-offs and workshops and conferences and even walking tours, and tickets are selling like hot cakes for Manchester Literature Festival, the Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival and Chester Literature Festival.