Unmissable things to do in Manchester and the North

Because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North are a little different. Until it is safe for culture to return in physical spaces, we bring you the very best online theatre, music, cinema, literature, art and activities from organisations in Manchester and the North, as well as the places to enjoy food and drink.


BENGAL: The Four Elements at Grizedale Forest Gallery – Gerry Judah
Exhibitions Until 9 September 2020, FREE

BENGAL: The Four Elements at Grizedale Forest Gallery

Internationally-renowned sculptor Gerry Judah presents a new body of work examining the impact of climate change upon his pace of birth.

Fokion Xenos - Heatwave
Cinema Until 7 August 2020,

Here & Now Contemporary British Animation + Q&A

Manchester Animation Festival moves online to present a stylish selection of contemporary British Animated Shorts films.

Literature 6 August 2020 7:30 pm, FREE

A Lovely Word at St James Gardens and online

A Lovely Word is relocating outdoors for a one-off socially distanced special at St James Gardens and streamed live online.

Electric Dreams Online
Theatre Until 16 August 2020,

Electric Dreams Online

An innovative digital festival showcasing performance and interactive experiences from some of the most visionary artists working in the world today.

Mikhail Karikis: Ferocious Love at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 22 November 2020, FREE

Mikhail Karikis: Ferocious Love at Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool reopens this July with a new immersive installation by Mikhail Karikis imagining the possible future of our planet.

Moments of Connection with the Royal Exchange
Theatre Until 31 August 2020, FREE

Moments of Connection with the Royal Exchange

Written, directed and filmed during lockdown, the Royal Exchange Young Company have been busy creating nine brand-new monologues inspired by the themes of human connection.

MAD walkers
Activity Until 30 September 2020, £36.60 for annual membership

Manchester and District Walkers (MAD Walkers)

MAD Walkers (Manchester and District Walkers) are a walking group for people in their 20s and 30s looking to get out of the city and back into nature.

Double with Darkfield Radio
Theatre Until 15 August 2020, from £3.50

Double with Darkfield Radio

Darkland Radio bring an immersive and unsettling audio experience. Find a willing companion, take a seat at the kitchen table, put on your headphones and close your eyes…

Cinema Until 31 August 2020, from £9.99

Make Up – Streaming on Curzon Home Cinema

Cornwall has seldom seemed eerier than in Make-Up, the vivid first feature from director Claire Oakley.

Cinema Until 12 August 2020, FREE

Showroom Summer Season

Sheffield’s Showroom presents a series of free weekly film talks from esteemed academics from both Sheffield Hallam and University of Sheffield.

Cinema Until 30 August 2020, from £9.99

Clemency – Streaming on Bohemia Media

Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden, Bernadine Williams.

Cinema Until 31 August 2020, FREE

Isolated Canvas

In this new short fashion film, originally conceived for their final presentation as part of a BA in Filmmaking at Manchester Metropolitan University, drag queen/model/performer Banksie explores gender binaries during lockdown.

Amazon with HOME
Music Until 31 December 2020,

Amazon with HOME

Created by composer Alex Ho and theatre-maker Elayce Ismail, this stunning fusion of music, text and visuals sees a trip to the Amazon take an unexpected turn.

Sheffield Doc/Fest
Cinema Until 30 November 2020, FREE

Sheffield Doc/Fest

Having taken place in Sheffield annually in June, this year Sheffield Doc/Fest extends its activities throughout the rest of the year – both in Sheffield and virtually.

My Darling Christopher with HOME
Theatre Until 31 December 2020,

My Darling Christopher with HOME

Innovative, visual and inclusive, this short film uses unique theatrical language to shine a light on a Deaf person’s experience of war.

Culture Guides

Cinema Online

We look at the outdoor screenings and digital releases you can enjoy as cinemas prepare to reopen safely.

Family of Lord Alf Morris, image courtesy of Manchester Histories


Art and women’s wrestling, Ancient Akkadian gravesites and invented artefacts – check out this month’s pick of exhibitions from across the north.

Makefest At Home

Families Online

Need some inspiration for online activities and creative family fun? Look no further than our top picks online for families across Manchester and the North.

Writer Olivia Laing. Photo by Manuel Vazquez


From book launches to poetry and prose readings and from open mics to creative writing workshops and masterclasses, Live Literature Land has online activities and events nailed.


Discover the best live-streamed concerts, broadcasts, musical activities and exhibitions on offer during the lockdown.

Plastica Galactica: Get Involved


We can’t wait to be back in the stalls again…until then our theatre guide brings the best of online theatre and interactive performance to enjoy at home.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester.

Higher Ground

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

For the August guide, we’ve dug out the best Food and Drink in Manchester and the North to explore now that lockdown has thankfully eased.

Isolation Broadcast

Online events

Discover the best things to do online from the organisations we love in Manchester and the North.

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Socially distant walks and virtual tours are among the offerings in this month’s guide of Tours and Activities.