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.

We are so grateful to National Lottery players, The National Lottery, DCMS and Arts Council England for supporting our freelance writers during this crisis.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North
Exhibitions Until 6 June 2021,

Soul Journey to Truth at HOME Manchester

Soul Journey to Truth at HOME Manchester highlights the experiences and creativity of people in prisons, secure settings and on probation in the North West.

The Met Reopening Season
Music Until 10 June 2021, from £13

The Met Reopening Season

Now we’re on the sweet road to reopening, our friends at The Met have announced a brand new season of Covid-safe live performance and gigs.

Compass Festival : One in, One Out: Leeds' Smallest Gay Bar
Festivals 24 May–27 June 2021, FREE

Compass Festival 2021

With live art installations and performances, Compass Festival is set to animate the city of Leeds this summer.

Classical Music 3 June–22 July 2021, from £18.50

The Hallé Summer Season 2021 at The Bridgewater Hall

The Hallé returns to The Bridgewater Hall in glorious style this summer, with six thrilling concerts for audiences to experience in person.

Exhibitions 19 May–31 August 2021,

Top Secret: From ciphers to cyber security at the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester

TOP SECRET: the Science and Industry Museum digs into the history of British national security over the last 100 years.

Festivals Until 30 June 2021, from £5.50

HOME Reopening Programme May 2021

The big screen is back, and Manchester’s HOME have sorted a blistering reopening programme that combines new releases with rare films from cinema’s past.

Percy the Park Keeper - The Secret Path in the Gardens, Tatton Park
Activity Until 13 June 2021, from £6

Percy the Park Keeper – The Secret Path in the Gardens

There’s nowhere quite like Tatton Park on a warm sunny day and Percy the Park Keeper – The Secret Path in the Gardens is the perfect way to explore the stunning parkland and all it has to offer. This family-friendly walking trail combines the sights, sounds and scents of nature in a maze of ‘secret’ gardens.

ComedySportz, Waterside Arts
Families 11 September 2021 6:30 pm, from £6


Head to Waterside Arts for a comedy show with a difference! Suitable for children aged 7 and up, ComedySportz combines football, tennis, and theatre in a performance packed with plenty of gags.

The Little Mermaid at Waterside Arts
Dance 30 September 2021 7:30 pm, from £13

The Little Mermaid

Head to Waterside Arts to experience Chantry Dance’s breathtaking contemporary ballet adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale The Little Mermaid.

Literature 26 May 2021 8:00 pm, FREE

Andrew McMillan online book launch with Malika Booker

Andrew McMillan’s third collection, pandemonium, is out with Jonathan Cape on 20 May, and this online event will see him reading from it and having an in-depth chat about it with his colleague in the Manchester Writing School, Forward Prize-winning Malika Booker.

Literature 31 May 2021 7:00 pm, FREE

An online evening with Arachne Press featuring Laura Besley, David Hartley and Rob Walton

Join independent publishers Arachne Press as three of their writers read new work and discuss the differences between short stories and flash fiction and flash fiction and poetry.

Cinema 7–30 June 2021,

The Reverse Gaze: Filmmaking on Screen at HOME

New at HOME, The Reverse Gaze: Filmmaking on Screen is a season of films about filmmaking, exploring the act of creating images and the industry which surrounds them.

Geronimo Family Festival
Families 26–27 June 2021, from £15

Geronimo Family Festival

Geronimo is a fun packed family festival combining stage performances, activities for children, and live music from the likes of Bez and Craig Charles – all in the stunning surrounds of Manchester’s Heaton Park.

Zog Live onstage at The Lowry theatre
Families 2–4 July 2021, from £16


Enjoy Zog live at The Lowry in an incredible new adaptation which is packed with lively songs from Joe Stilgie and lots of fire-breathing fun.

Kantina Weekender
Food and Drink 28–31 May 2021, from £35

Kantina Weekender

Kantina Weekender runs on May Bank Holiday, from 28 May to 31 May. Celebrating the joy of food and drink, the in-house vendors at Escape to Freight Island will be paired with some of the UK’s most prestigious chefs, cocktail makers, brewers and local restaurant heroes.

Culture Guides

Cinema in Manchester and the North

We look at online festivals, new streaming releases and some newly announced outdoor cinema screenings.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North


Galleries and museums across the country are busily preparing to reopen from 17 May onwards and the incredible range of exhibitions we have to look forward to reflects how keenly these spaces have missed their visitors.

Family Things to do in Manchester


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 and translator Jhumpa Lahiri.


As the land of live literature tentatively opens the door a crack, we have some talks and walks IRL to flag up and a whole host of online dates for your diary this May, a jam-packed month of festival readings, digital book launches and spoken word showcases…


We look ahead to the return of socially distanced gigs and the re-opening of venues in Manchester and the north.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


You’ll find all the best live-streamed shows, online festivals and live outdoor performance in our theatre guide this month.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Delhi House Cafe

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

It’s the March edition of the Food and Drink Guide to Manchester and the North and things are slowly starting to feel more promising. Spring is here, the weather is mostly warming up and in just a few weeks we’ll be allowed to eat and drink outside at venues with outside space.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Online events

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

Tours and Activities

The days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter and the flowers of spring have truly sprung. We’re welcoming in the new season with a guide of Tours and Activities that will inspire you to make, learn and move.