Unmissable things to do in Manchester and the North

Discover fantastic things to do in Manchester and the North – from cinema, concerts, art exhibitions and theatre to outdoor family events and sizzling spoken word.

Our top picks
Humanities in Public Festival
Exhibitions 7 October 2016–24 June 2017,

Humanities in Public Festival

The annual Humanities in Public Festival enjoys a strong reputation for its city-wide programme of events – and over 7,000 regular attendees.

Tracey Emin and William Blake in Focus
Exhibitions 16 September 2016–3 September 2017, FREE

Tracey Emin and William Blake in Focus

An exhibition focusing on the work of Tracey Emin and William Blake to reveal surprising links between the two artists.

Theatre 27 September 2016–2 October 2016, from £12.00

Akram Khan’s Giselle

in Khan we’ve got a real master of the craft. Pair him up with the immaculate dancers of the English National Ballet and it is hard to see what could go wrong

Lemn Sissay at the 8th Black and Asian Writers Conference
Literature 8 October 2016, from £7.00

Lemn Sissay at Contact

Join poet, author and MBE Lemn Sissay as he closes this year’s Black & Asian Writers Conference.

Charlie Adlard
Literature 14 October 2016–16 October 2016, from £4.00

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2016

Aimed at both fans and creators of comic art, young and old, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival is the only one of its kind in the UK and, for a fourth year, takes over the Cumbrian town of Kendal for a weekend.

Bad Language at the Castle with Neil Campbell
Literature 28 September 2016, FREE

Bad Language at the Castle with Neil Campbell

This month the Bad Language team welcome Neil Campbell. Neil features in Best British Short Stories 2015 and 2016, and his debut novel, Sky Hooks, is out late October, with exclusive advance copies available at the event.

Image courtesy of Wild Rumpus
Families 22 October 2016–31 October 2016, from £16.00

The Enchantment of Chester Zoo

A major new outdoor arts spectacular for one week only this autumn is set to reveal the incredible natural super powers of some of the Zoo’s mysterious and endangered nocturnal animals.

Families 24 October 2016, from £12.00

The Philosopher’s Scone: magic tricks at Harvey Nicks

Enter the world of Harry Potter and experience a family afternoon tea like with Roger Highfield, author of The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works followed by a screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The Other Room: Charles Berstein, Susan Bee, and Maggie O’Sullivan
Literature 3 October 2016, FREE

The Other Room: Charles Bernstein, Susan Bee and Maggie O’Sullivan

The Other Room introduce poet, essayist, editor and critic Charles Bernstein, artist Susan Bee, and Maggie O’Sullivan.

Midnight Matinee Screening: The Blob
Cinema 8 October 2016, from £6.75

Midnight Matinee Screening: The Blob

Join us for a moment of Plaza history in the making when we screen our first ever midnight matinee.

Culture Guides

Darling – Image courtesy of Grimmfest


Summer might be on its last legs, but as the temperatures start to dip, the cinemas of the North are on hand to provide audiences with exciting films and a dry place to hide out.

Tim Etchells, Lets Pretend (Large) (2014), installation view, Grundy Art Gallery. Photo: Phill Heywood, courtesy Grundy Art Gallery.


An overview of the current best exhibitions in Manchester and the North might be summed up in the following directive: think differently.

Image courtesy of Wild Rumpus


Autumn is drawing in and half term adventures are on the horizon. Here are our top tips for outdoor and indoor hot tickets to book and do now.

Lemn Sissay at the 8th Black and Asian Writers Conference


From Rising Stars to World Literature, nothing says October in the Rainy City like Manchester Literature Festival. And the region is abuzz with words this month – and, in the case of the South Lakes, words and pictures.

Ramsbottom Festival - Image by Andrew Allcock


As the festival season draws to a rainy close – with the odd Indian summer exception like Festival No 6 and Ramsbottom Festival – now is the time to enjoy your live music experience in more intimate surroundings.

The poster image for Giselle


I don’t think there’s a more enticing time of year to visit the theatre than autumn – when the nights draw in it just feels more exciting to be sat in a theatre seat.

Destination Guides

Discover the BBC Philharmonic’s

2016/17 concert season