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 13–18 November 2017, FREE

New Music North West 2017

Since 2013, New Music North West has grown to become the largest, most exciting festival of new British music. Featuring Mark-Anthony Turnage, the BBC Philharmonic, Psappha, Ebonit Saxophone Quartet, the Vonnegut Collective and Animikii Theatre, this year continues to celebrate the region’s creative talent.

Dance 17–18 November 2017, from £7.00

Black Gold Arts Festival at Contact

Black Gold Arts Festival showcases the BAME talent that so far has been left inexcusably under-the-radar.

Exhibitions 14 October 2017–8 April 2018, FREE

Alfredo Jaar: The Garden of Good and Evil at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

From magician, to architect, to one of the world’s most politically engaging artists today, Alfredo Jaar’s major new solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park provides a striking encounter.

Theatre 3–25 November 2017, from £10

Uncle Vanya at HOME

NOW OPEN. This Chekhov classic is yet another example of how HOME has added a cosmopolitan quality to Manchester’s theatre scene

Theatre 2–18 November 2017, from £10.00

Jubilee at the Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange are bringing a pure punk classic back to life. Expect strong language, spitting and riotous riffs.

Exhibitions 18 November 2017–25 February 2018, FREE

humansbeingdigital at The Lowry

An exhibition that encourages us to question the given, as well as conquering the complex.

Exhibitions 21 October 2017–7 January 2018, FREE

The Return of Memory at HOME

A major new exhibition at HOME sets out to re-examine the legacy of the Russian Revolution through the lens of the ‘New East’ today.

Cinema 30 November 2017, from £14

The Phantom Of The Opera: Film Screening with Live Organ Accompaniment at the RNCM

Following on from the RNCM’s screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis in 2016, catch the 1925 film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera – widely regarded as a masterpiece of silent horror – with a live organ accompaniment.

Exhibitions 23 September–19 November 2017, FREE

Arts and Wonder season at Quarry Bank

Quarry Bank’s new season of contemporary art exploring themes of work, leisure and the legacies of industrialisation, seems particularly prescient in today’s world of rapidly advancing technology.

Delia Derbyshire
5 December 2017, from £0.00

Artists in Archives: For Interest Only at Burgess Foundation

Watch, listen to and participate in artists’ presentations, displays, creative responses, performances and workshop activities, and view some of composer Delia Derbyshire’s archive.

Childrens 16 November–20 December 2017, FREE

Chester Christmas Market 2017

Chester, with its cosy pubs and winding cobbled streets, is not only the perfect chocolate-box town, but also, perhaps one of the most festive places you could possibly head in the run up to Christmas (except maybe Lapland).

Music 17–26 November 2017, from £9

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2017

The UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music returns for its 40th edition. Featuring the music of Kraftwerk and Lou Reed, as well as countless exclusives and premieres from composers and ensembles from throughout the world, 2017 promises to be the festival’s biggest and most adventurous outing to date.

Exhibitions 2 December 2017, from £3

Winter Arts Market 2017, Liverpool

It simply wouldn’t be Christmas without Liverpool’s annual Winter Arts Market, set in the city’s iconic Anglican Cathedral.

Theatre 28–29 November 2017, from £10.00 - 15.00

Re-member Me at Contact

Re-member Me brings the ghosts of Hamlets-past back to life through Dickie Beaus lip-syncing master class.

Families 7 October 2017–2 January 2018, from £21.25

Dinosaurs in the Wild at EventCity

A live-action, high tech theatre experience which will transport you back 67 million years to see living dinosaurs with your very own eyes.

Culture Guides


Politics both personal and global make this month’s theatre guide, all backed up by the reassuring presence of Sherlock Holmes.


Featuring animation, fairy tales and festive cheer. Cosy up with some first-class cinema this winter.


Can you imagine what Armageddon smells like? Want to learn how to grow your own hormones? Read on for this month’s top pick of exhibitions.


Adventure and light are where it’s at. Chester Zoo is transformed into a magical sorting office, there’s detective heaven at the Secret Seven and we preview some alternative things to do and see this winter holiday.

Nicholas Royle. Credit Zoe McLean


Some fantastic live lit offerings, including the 13th Chorlton Book Festival, avant-garde regular Peter Barlow’s Cigarette showcasing some Forward Prize-winning work, Bad Language v Lit Up, Verbose and Evidently, and the annual glittering Manchester Prize Gala.


Manchester continues to serve up musical delights throughout its concert halls, dance halls, pub function rooms and former Wesleyan chapels. Highlights over the coming months include Thundercat, British Sea Power, Jesca Hoop and The Unthanks.

Destination Guides

Things to do right now

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Dance 18 November 2017, from £6.00 - 10.00

Nuclear at Contact

Dance 17–18 November 2017, from £7.00

Black Gold Arts Festival at Contact

Festivals 13–18 November 2017, FREE

New Music North West 2017

Theatre 2–18 November 2017, from £10.00

Jubilee at the Royal Exchange

Exhibitions 23 September–19 November 2017, FREE

Arts and Wonder season at Quarry Bank

23 September–19 November 2017, FREE

Broadside Ballads at Quarry Bank Mill

Exhibitions 23 September–19 November 2017, FREE

Changing Places at Quarry Bank

Festivals 16–19 November 2017,

Kendal Mountain Festival 2017

Cinema 17–23 November 2017, from £5.00

Thelma at HOME