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
wonder women 2018
Festivals 1–31 March 2018,

Wonder Women 2018

Wonder Women 2018 is a special edition of Manchester’s annual radical feminist festival, marking 100-years since some women first won the right to vote in Britain with a city-wide programme of art, culture and debate.

Theatre 27 January–24 February 2018,

Queer Contact Festival 2018

Queer Contact Festival returns for its tenth year, celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender arts and culture in Greater Manchester.

Music 26 January 2018, from £18

Manchester Collective: The Edge of Fantasy at The Stoller Hall

Four gifted local musicians combined to perform music on the edge: featuring string quartets by Purcell, Beethoven, Janáček and Górecki. Now The Stoller Hall’s Ensemble in Residence, Manchester Collective hosts this and three other concerts at the venue in this season alone.

Exhibitions 21 October 2017–28 January 2018, FREE

Alina Szapocznikow: Human Landscapes at The Hepworth Wakefield

LAST CHANCE. 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.

Exhibitions 19 October 2017–15 April 2018, from £5

Robots at the Museum of Science and Industry

A once-in-a-lifetime look at one of the largest collections of robots together. A mind-bending, 500 year journey to being human in a robotic world.

Music 27 January 2018, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic Elgar | Rachmaninov | Sibelius at The Bridgewater Hall

Pianist Kathryn Stott – a resident of Manchester and a longstanding friend of the BBC Philharmonic – performs Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1 under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis.

Theatre 12–27 January 2018, from £3.00

PUSH Festival 2018 at HOME

Shake off those January blues, get wrapped up and check out the North West’s best-emerging theatre-makers.

Families 21 January 2018, from £12

RNCM Young Explorer’s Concert – An Arabian Adventure at the RNCM

THIS WEEKEND. Live classical music and art combine to demonstrate how music can be one of the most incredible ways of telling a story. One of the best introductions to the joys of live music we can think of.

Theatre 19–20 January 2018, from £11.50

Airplay at The Lowry

Laugh, gasp in awe, “ride the wind and dream” in this modern spectacle that aims to bring to life the very air we breathe. Flying umbrellas, larger-than-life balloons, giant kites floating over the audience, and the biggest snow globe you’ve ever seen.

Dance 31 January–3 February 2018, from £10.00

Hofesh Shechter Company: Grand Finale at HOME

Anarchic, alien and awesome, Grand Finale is a dance piece more monumental than anything else around.

Exhibitions 8 December 2017–4 February 2018, FREE

Making, A Life: The Peter Hodgson Retrospective at Castlefield Gallery

‘Outsider’ artist Peter Hodgson receives his first gallery retrospective with a show that speaks to a society in search of more ‘holistic’ ways of living and sustainable routes forward.

Music 1 February 2018, from £28.50

Jeff Tweedy at Albert Hall

Two-time Grammy Award winner Jeff Tweedy performs ‘re-imaginings’ of songs through throughout his career, with Wilco, Golden Smog and Loose Fur, to mark the beginning of his retrospective series, the Loft Acoustic Sessions.

Exhibitions 6 January–15 April 2018, FREE

Revolt & Revolutions at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Revolt & Revolutions at Yorkshire Sculpture Park looks set to offer an inspiring start to 2018.

Exhibitions 23 February 2018–6 January 2019, FREE

Annie Swynnerton: Painting Light and Hope at Manchester Art Gallery

The first major retrospective of work by the radical Manchester artist and feminist campaigner, Annie Swynnerton, opens in nearly 100 years at Manchester Art Gallery.

Cinema 21 January 2018, from £7.75

Bigger Than Life Presents: Blow-Up at Stockport Plaza

When a hip, egocentric fashion photographer discovers he might have unwittingly captured a murder whilst taking pictures in the park, his obsessive investigations lead him into a web of intrigue and conspiracy that runs through swinging London.

Culture Guides

Black Men Walking at the Royal Exchange


Vibrant and celebratory – you may be having a dry January but the Northern theatre scene is sure to satisfy your creative thirst.


Featuring live scores, forgotten curiosities and cutting edge indie gems – we take a look at the best cinema coming to a screen near you.


2018 kicks off to an exciting start culture-wise, with a number of major anniversaries to be marked and must-see exhibitions in store.


Think January can’t be a magical month? Think again with our guide to the best things to do right now with kids and book ahead for.

Poet Jazmine Linklater.


There’s splendid spoken wordage a-go-go as we sashay forth into the first half of 2018: award-winning authors and emerging writers, book-buying opportunities, experimental and avantgarde wordage, and plenty of festival fun.


Already thinking ahead to 2018, Manchester’s music venues have been busy filling their diaries for 2018 – with highlights include Iron and Wine, Jeff Tweedy, Mogwai and Joan as Police Woman, plus whole seasons by the likes of The Stoller Hall and the RNCM.

Things to do right now

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Families 25 November 2017–20 January 2018, from £10.00 to 30.00

The Rock ‘n’ Roll panto The Little Mermaid at The Everyman

Exhibitions 29 September 2017–27 January 2018, FREE

Echo at Pyramid Arts Centre

Theatre 12–27 January 2018, from £3.00

PUSH Festival 2018 at HOME

Theatre 2 December 2017–3 February 2018, from £22.00

Guys and Dolls at the Royal Exchange Theatre

Exhibitions 30 September 2017–4 February 2018, FREE

Hetain Patel at Manchester Art Gallery

Exhibitions 30 September 2017–4 February 2018, FREE

Maeve Brennan: The Drift at the Whitworth