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
The Maids at HOME
Theatre 16 November–1 December 2018, from £10.00

The Maids at HOME

Written by Jean Genet and directed by the internationally renowned Lily Sykes, The Maids is a play of masks and mirrors, dreams and fantasies, inspired by the infamous Papin sisters.

Cinema 2–23 November 2018, from £5

Peterloo at HOME

Written and directed by Mike Leigh, Peterloo is an epic portrayal of the events surrounding the infamous 1819 Peterloo Massacre. We speak to the director about how he brought the story to screen and his relationship to Manchester.

A Virus Walks Into a Bar, John Walter: CAPSID at HOME, Manchester
Exhibitions 10 November 2018–6 January 2019, FREE

John Walter: CAPSID at HOME

A virus walks into a bar… and does what? CAPSID, John Walter’s major solo exhibition at HOME Manchester, sets out to update the discussion around HIV, how viruses work and the cultural transmission of ideas.

Chester Literature Festival at Storyhouse
Literature 10 November–1 December 2018, from £10.00

Chester Literature Festival at Storyhouse

Chester Literature Festival returns 10 November to 1 December, promising to be even bigger and better than in previous years with a programme packed full of workshops, performances and talks from famous faces and best-selling writers.

Photo of the festive display outside the Corn Exchange
Families 9 November–23 December 2018, FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets

The Manchester Christmas Markets are one of the biggest and busiest Christmas markets in Europe. Happening across Manchester city centre from 9 November to 20 December. Pick up stocking-fillers stuff yourself with German sausage and wash down with lashings of glühwein.

Theatre 21–23 November 2018, from £10.00

Dirty Work (The Late Shift) at Theatre Deli

In Dirty Work (The Late Shift) two performers conjure an extraordinary performance in a collaborative and competitive act of description.

From theatrical spectacle to historical events, daily life to impossible feats, cabaret to political speeches, and from sublime beauty to vivid terrors, everything is here, in provocative, intimate and comical style.

Visitors view work by Michael Dean in The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. 26 October 2018 - 20 January 2019. Photo, David Lindsay
Exhibitions 26 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture 2018 at The Hepworth Wakefield

The celebrated Hepworth Prize for Sculpture returns for its second edition featuring an exciting range of high-profile artists and offering a compelling look at the state of the age-old discipline today.

DaDaFest International
Exhibitions 1 November–8 December 2018,

DaDaFest International at Bluecoat

DaDaFest International returns to Liverpool City Region venues this autumn showcasing a series of high-quality cutting-edge work which challenges stereotypes and celebrates disability and D/deaf cultures.

HOME at Christmas
Festivals 13 December 2017–20 January 2019,

HOME at Christmas

HOME celebrates the most special time of the year with a chock-full Christmas season of cultural shenanigans – more fun than you can shake a candy cane at.

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
Music 16–25 November 2018, from £9

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2018

Here are our top picks from this year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

Families 23 November–23 December 2018, from £5

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo

Adventure around nine new magical, illuminated worlds after dark including an Ice Kingdom and meet Father Christmas.

manchester international festival
Festivals 4–21 July 2019, from £12.00

MIF19 – Manchester International Festival

Manchester International Festival announces that Yoko Ono, Idris Elba and Skepta are among the artists set to feature in the 2019 programme.

The Producers - A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange
Music 30 November 2018–26 January 2019, from £10.00

The Producers – A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange

Adapted from the cult film by Mel Brooks, The Royal Exchange are set to delight with their Christmas musical – The Producers.

Senga Nengudi – The Henry Moore Institute
Exhibitions 21 September 2018–17 February 2019, FREE

Senga Nengudi at the Henry Moore Institute

The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds presents a major exhibition dedicated to the work of African-American sculptor Senga Nengudi – the pioneering figure who first introduced contemporary art to nylon stockings.

Families 17 November 2018, FREE

Lamplighter Festival 2018

Head to Todmorden for awe-inspiring illumination, music, fire, food and frolics.

Culture Guides


From politically-minded British cinema, to rebooted classics and an animation extravaganza: there are plenty of festivals, film seasons and new releases for you to enjoy this month.

Visitors view work by Michael Dean in The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. 26 October 2018 - 20 January 2019. Photo, David Lindsay


From the dreamy paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites to ‘shonky aesthetics’ and a crisis of visual representation surrounding HIV; this month’s exhibitions highlights are as eclectic as ever.


Luminous adventures, festive fixes, Drag Queen Storytime and New Year’s Eve parties with nippers to book now for … look no further for the best things to do with kids.

Author Luke Kennard.


Even more spoken word nights are joining the old faithfuls, there’s a whole lot of poetry and prose including a rare chance to catch performers from as far afield as Paris and Texas, and showcases such as Chester Literature Festival, Chorlton Book Festival and Poetry Emergency will add to your wider reading pile.


Spanning electronic, rock, classical and jazz, November holds a wealth of exciting northern gigs and concerts.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


Our theatre guide this month features the striking choreography of Matthew Bourne, a theatrical dining experience and our top picks of pantomime fare. There’s plenty to enjoy. Oh yes, there is!

tours and activities guide

Tours and Activities

Indulge in Manchester’s rapidly growing food culture this November with our top picks of edible tours and activities.