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
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Contact at STUN Studio, Z-Arts
Theatre 16–27 October 2018, from £6.00

CONTACT at STUN Studio, Z-Arts

Contact will be taking over STUN Studio at Z-Arts for two weeks of established and new commissions.

Families 18–28 October 2018, FREE

Manchester Science Festival family events

Play, investigate and be surprised at some of the most exciting family science events around.

Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival
Festivals 15–22 October 2018, from £3.00

Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival

Not just literature – and ideas! – the sixth festival offers an awe-inspiring feast of drama, comedy, music, theatre, poetry, visual arts and children’s shows to get you reading and thinking.

Exhibitions 25–27 October 2018, FREE

Lightpool Festival

Taking place during Blackpool’s annual Illuminations display, Lightpool is a celebration of spectacular art works and live, illuminated performance across the iconic town.

Writer Eley Williams.
Literature 2 November 2018, from £40.00

National Creative Writing Graduate Fair 2018 at Manchester Metropolitan University

Are you a creative writer with aspirations to be published? Come and pitch your ideas to literary agents and editors; learn about the writing life through panels, workshops and networking opportunities, and hear a keynote speech from poet and author Eley Williams.

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.


Spaghettify yourself in a black hole at Manchester Science Festival, experience spectaculars at the Winter Droving in Penrith, Lightpool Festival in Blackpool and Light Up Lancaster. 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.


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.