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 throughout the North.

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Orbit Festival 2021 at HOME
Theatre Until 4 December 2021,

Orbit Festival 2021 at HOME

Bringing an extraordinary selection of live and digital work from some of the most exciting artists working today, Orbit Festival brings just the sort of theatre we crave.

The Stoller Hall
Music 3–11 December 2021,

The Stoller Hall Christmas Season

The Stoller Hall’s Christmas programme is always a highlight of the festive cultural calendar, and this year is no different.

Cinema Until 30 November 2021, from £7.50

Mike Leigh Retrospective at HOME

This November, HOME takes part in the BFI’s UK-wide celebration of the career of multi-award winning writer-director Mike Leigh.

The Lowry Autumn Winter Season 2021
Dance Until 15 January 2022,

The Lowry Winter Season 2021

With opera, dance, contemporary shows, musical theatre and high-flying circus adventures, it’s all happening in Salford this winter.

Activity 2 December 2021 6:00 pm, from £2.00

Women For Peace: Banners from Greenham Common at People’s History Museum

The People’s History Museum are bringing the events of protest at RAF Greenham to life with an in person and online book launch of Women For Peace.

Music 29 November 2021 7:30 pm, from £10.00

William Doyle at YES

Mercury Prize-nominated artist William Doyle performs at YES in support of his revelatory new album, Great Spans of Muddy Time.

Music 6 December 2021 7:30 pm, from £14.00

Anika at YES

Anika – the project of Berlin-based musician Annika Henderson who is also a founding member of Exploded View – is performing at YES in support of her first new album in over a decade.

Kelly Lee Owens
Music 30 November 2021 7:30 pm, from £21.25

Kelly Lee Owens at The Ritz

Touring her critically acclaimed second album, Inner Song, Kelly Lee Owens will unleash her own dream-pop vocals and body-moving electronics at The Ritz this November.

Exhibitions Until 31 March 2022, FREE

Cancer Revolution: Science, Innovation and Hope

Explore how science is fuelling a revolution in cancer care and offering a hopeful view into the future with Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope.

Manchester Christmas Markets 2021
Families Until 22 December 2021, FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets

The Manchester Christmas Markets are back, with many dozens of stalls in front of the town hall, and hundreds of traders spread across city-centre squares.

Childrens 30 November 2021–9 January 2022, from £19

Stick Man at The Lowry

Stick Man, the much-loved Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler tale of misadventure, is brought to life for small people and their grown ups this festive season by Freckle Productions.

PUSH Festival - HOME
Festivals Until 31 December 2021,

PUSH Festival 2021 at HOME

Thrilling and challenging, HOME’s annual festival is a glimmering reminder that new performance continues to be developed, despite ‘you-know-what’.

Exhibitions Until 3 January 2022, from £6

Use Hearing Protection: The Early Years of Factory Records at the Science and Industry Museum

Use Hearing Protection tells the story of Factory Records’ formative years from 1978-1982, when the label made waves with its innovative work in music, technology and design.

CYC: Everything All of the Time at Contact
Theatre Until 17 May 2022,

Contact Reopening Season

Following the extensive transformation of their iconic Oxford Road venue, Contact has announced a vibrant and progressive reopening programme. Read our preview of the upcoming season.

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! 2021
Dance Until 4 December 2021, from £32.50

Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! 2021 at The Lowry

Packed with Matthew Bourne’s trademark wit and captivating storytelling, this is the perfect ballet to get all of the family ready for the festive season.

Culture Guides


Manchester Animation Festival, classic Japanese cinema and a Mike Leigh retrospective all feature in this month’s cinema guide.


With autumn in full swing, we may be missing the daylight but there are plenty of fantastic exhibitions this month to indulge your senses.

Magical Father Christmas Experience at Wythenshawe Hall


Christmas is just around the corner and we can almost smell those delicious mince pies, as we round up some of the best family activities and fun days out taking place across Manchester and the North throughout the festive season. 

Writer and musician Anthony Joseph. Image: Bunny Bread/@icreatenotdestroy


There are plenty of writerly launches, open mics, literature festivals, pre-Christmas book fairs and festive readings to pop into your diary, some online, some in person – and some both.

BC Camplight


Manchester’s music scene in on glorious form as we head into winter, with artists and audiences reconnecting in ecstatic style. Here are our highlights from the city’s chock-a-block gig calendar.

Theatre in Manchester


Alongside a brilliant selection of ballet, opera and new writing, our theatre guide has a distinctly festive feel about it. Christmas is on its way.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Embankment Kitchen

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

We’re cramming two seasons of festive cheer into one as we present our top Christmas menus and cocktail lists in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

There is plenty to make, see and do in the winter months. This month’s top picks include soul-warming folk clubs, clay workshops and jewellery making.

Welcome Back Manchester. It's Time To Restart.