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
Alfredo Jaar - The Garden of Good and Evil
Exhibitions 14 October 2017–8 April 2018, FREE

Alfredo Jaar: The Garden of Good and Evil at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

From magician, to architect, to one of the world’s most politically engaging artists today, Alfredo Jaar’s major new solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park provides a striking encounter.

Theatre 3–25 November 2017, from £10

Uncle Vanya at HOME

NOW OPEN. This Chekhov classic is yet another example of how HOME has added a cosmopolitan quality to Manchester’s theatre scene

Exhibitions 18 November 2017–25 February 2018, FREE

humansbeingdigital at The Lowry

An exhibition that encourages us to question the given, as well as conquering the complex.

Exhibitions 21 October 2017–7 January 2018, FREE

The Return of Memory at HOME

A major new exhibition at HOME sets out to re-examine the legacy of the Russian Revolution through the lens of the ‘New East’ today.

Cinema 30 November 2017, from £14

The Phantom Of The Opera: Film Screening with Live Organ Accompaniment at the RNCM

Following on from the RNCM’s screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis in 2016, catch the 1925 film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera – widely regarded as a masterpiece of silent horror – with a live organ accompaniment.

Delia Derbyshire
5 December 2017, from £0.00

Artists in Archives: For Interest Only at Burgess Foundation

Watch, listen to and participate in artists’ presentations, displays, creative responses, performances and workshop activities, and view some of composer Delia Derbyshire’s archive.

Childrens 16 November–20 December 2017, FREE

Chester Christmas Market 2017

Chester, with its cosy pubs and winding cobbled streets, is not only the perfect chocolate-box town, but also, perhaps one of the most festive places you could possibly head in the run up to Christmas (except maybe Lapland).

Music 17–26 November 2017, from £9

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2017

The UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music returns for its 40th edition. Featuring the music of Kraftwerk and Lou Reed, as well as countless exclusives and premieres from composers and ensembles from throughout the world, 2017 promises to be the festival’s biggest and most adventurous outing to date.

Exhibitions 2 December 2017, from £3

Winter Arts Market 2017, Liverpool

It simply wouldn’t be Christmas without Liverpool’s annual Winter Arts Market, set in the city’s iconic Anglican Cathedral.

Theatre 28–29 November 2017, from £10.00 - 15.00

Re-member Me at Contact

Re-member Me brings the ghosts of Hamlets-past back to life through Dickie Beaus lip-syncing master class.

Families 7 October 2017–2 January 2018, from £21.25

Dinosaurs in the Wild at EventCity

A live-action, high tech theatre experience which will transport you back 67 million years to see living dinosaurs with your very own eyes.

Music 9 September 2017–31 May 2018, from £15.00

Manchester Camerata 2017/18 Season

Featuring Snoop Dogg’s producer, a live video artist, plus a gospel choir and re-interpretations of Muse and Metallica, the 2017/18 season by ‘probably Britain’s most adventurous orchestra’ is as diverse and inspiring as ever. Discover our highlights and picks for the weeks and months ahead.

Music 25 November 2017,

BBC Philharmonic: Arlene Sierra | Bartók | Dvořák at The Bridgewater Hall

Arlene Sierra’s Nature Symphony, a BBC Philharmonic commission, receives its world premiere and two longtime favourites from France cross the Channel to join the orchestra: conductor Ludovic Morlot and piano dynamo Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.

Music 24 September 2017–9 June 2018,

BBC Philharmonic 2017/18 Concert Season

Millions of listeners enjoy BBC Philharmonic concerts on Radio 3, recorded or broadcast live from the outstanding acoustic of The Bridgewater Hall, making this orchestra one of the most widely heard in the country.

Cinema 12 November–19 December 2017, from £5.00

The Enchanted Screen at FACT

Explore a magical world of folklore and fairy tales as Picturehouse at FACT present a fantastic array of classic and modern films from around the world.

Culture Guides


With a diverse offering of shows, we’ve got the guide to Manchester and the North’s festive theatre scene all wrapped up.


Featuring animation, fairy tales and festive cheer. Cosy up with some first-class cinema this winter.


Can you imagine what Armageddon smells like? Want to learn how to grow your own hormones? Read on for this month’s top pick of exhibitions.


Adventure and light are where it’s at. Chester Zoo is transformed into a magical sorting office, there’s detective heaven at the Secret Seven and we preview some alternative things to do and see this winter holiday.

Nicholas Royle. Credit Zoe McLean


Some fantastic live lit offerings, including the 13th Chorlton Book Festival, avant-garde regular Peter Barlow’s Cigarette showcasing some Forward Prize-winning work, Bad Language v Lit Up, Verbose and Evidently, and the annual glittering Manchester Prize Gala.


Manchester’s concert halls and former Wesleyan chapels serve up folky treats in the form of Lau, Jesca Hoop, The Unthanks and more over the coming months. We also explore all things classical from Manchester Camerata and the BBC Philharmonic – and start looking ahead to next year’s festival season.

Destination Guides

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