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
Festivals 7–10 September 2017,

Rapha Rides Manchester

Whether you’re a cycling fanatic with rock-hard quadriceps, or don’t even own a bike (let alone dare mount a Mobike), Rapha Rides Manchester will have something for you.

Festivals 8–17 September 2017, from £3.50

C-Art Festival 2017

Set in the picturesque Lake District town of Penrith, it’s hard to imagine a more lovely location for a festival – and the programme is pretty clever, too.

Dance 14 September–1 November 2017,

The Lowry Autumn Season 2017

The Lowry’s Contemporary season pays scant regard to the traditional genre boundaries of dance, theatre and visual art.

Theatre 20 September–20 December 2017,

Contact Autumn Season 2017

Contact’s new season builds on its position as one of Manchester’s most innovative and experimental theatre centres.

Festivals 22 September 2017–31 March 2018,

HOME Autumn/Winter Season

From revolutionary inspired art to ‘sassy’ Hip Hop Christmas cabaret, check out our guide to HOME’s Autumn/Winter Season.

Festivals 1 August–2 September 2017, FREE

Welcome – The Piece Hall’s reopening season

The Piece Hall is back with a bang. Three weekends of world-class live music, outdoor theatre and arts spectaculars celebrate the restoration and redevelopment of this historic building into an exciting new cultural and social destination.

Exhibitions 10 June–24 September 2017, FREE

Lowry at Home: Salford 1966 – Unseen photographs by Clive Arrowsmith at The Lowry

What can we tell of a man from his kitchen sink or old-fashioned cooker? A great deal it would seem judging by a new exhibition of rare, previously unseen photographs at The Lowry…

Exhibitions 23 June 2017–1 January 2018, from £4.00

Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War at IWM North

IWM North turns its attention to one of the most controversial figures in British art.

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 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.

Music 25 September 2017, from £45.00

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at Manchester Arena

One of the most critically acclaimed acts in the world, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds stop off at Manchester Arena as part of their eight-week-long European tour – promoting their 16th studio album, Skeleton Tree.

Exhibitions 17 November 2017–18 March 2018, from £8.00

Surrealism in Egypt: Art et Liberté 1938-1948 at Tate Liverpool

The first major UK exhibition to address a much underrepresented, yet fascinating chapter in the history of Surrealism.

Exhibitions 30 September 2017–4 February 2018, FREE

Hetain Patel at Manchester Art Gallery

International artist Hetain Patel explores issues of identity, gender, race and class with one big Spidey leap.

Exhibitions 21 October 2017–28 January 2018, FREE

Alina Szapocznikow: Human Landscapes at The Hepworth Wakefield

Until very recently, Alina Szapocznikow remained a relatively overlooked figure outside of Poland. Today she is considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century, and is about to receive her first major UK retrospective at The Hepworth in Wakefield.

Festivals 8–24 September 2017, FREE

New Mills Festival 2017

Featuring music, poetry, film, talks, walks, exhibitions and more, New Mills Festival provides something for everyone in the heart of the Peak District. Highlights this year include concerts by Dutch Uncles and Holy Moly & The Crackers, which book-end this 16-day-long celebration.

Culture Guides

Lemn Sissay.


There’s plenty to see and do this autumn in live literature land – not least because Manchester Literature Festival is back in town, and tickets are selling like hot cakes so you need to get in there quick-sharp!


As the festival season draws to a close, live music returns to the city’s concert halls and venues. Why not check out Manchester Folk Festival – new in 2017 – plus major events like Transformer and Manchester Psych Fest…


Mysteries, taboos and Space Raider crisps abound in our theatre guide this month, with shows large and small on offer.


From the quiet contemplation of the open road, to breakneck genre movie thrills and a Polish art-house classic – we round up the best cinema showing near you this month.


From Miami to Morecambe, and Pop Art to Nail Transphobia – this month’s top picks seem grouped by a shared sense of energy and vibrancy.


Our round up of the best unique experiences for the small folk. Hear colours, book free masterclasses with world class performers and make away on Morecambe Promenaade.

Destination Guides