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.

Author Okechukwu Nzelu.
Literature Until 25 September 2020, FREE

Virtual Chorlton Book Festival 2020

The 16th Chorlton Book Festival offers a mix of free online webinars, performance poetry, readings by award-winning authors, specially commissioned video, and a strong line-up for children and young adults.

Silhouette of people standing in front of an exhibit at Manchester Science Festival 2018
Activity 12–21 February 2021, Tickets TBC

Manchester Science Festival

Expect another action-packed programme of inspiring, entertaining and playful experiences for all ages as Manchester Science Festival returns.

Writer Neil Campbell. Photo by Gwen Riley Jones
Literature 1–29 October 2020, FREE

Altrincham Word Fest online

A twist on the usual literature festival, the third Altrincham Word Fest aims to kindle your own creativity by inviting some of the North West’s most talented writers to share their secrets to success in a series of online workshops and events.

Jonathan Baldock Facecrime
Exhibitions Until 1 November 2020, FREE

Jonathan Baldock: Facecrime at Bluecoat in Liverpool

Inspired by ancient forms of written communication, encounter Jonathan Baldock’s towering ceramic sculptures that stand whispering among themselves in Bluecoat’s main gallery.

Black Gold Arts Festival 2020
Dance 23–25 October 2020, from £5.00

Black Gold Arts Festival 2020 with Contact

This October Contact presents an all-digital version of the Black Gold Arts Festival featuring workshops, discussions, talks and performances.

Soft Bodies at Castlefield Gallery
Exhibitions Until 1 November 2020, FREE

Soft Bodies at Castlefield Gallery

Soft Bodies at Castlefield Gallery will reference the body in relation to technology, politics, gender, race and sexuality.

Jerwood Makers Open at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 4 October 2020, FREE

Jerwood Makers Open at Manchester Art Gallery

The seventh edition of Jerwood Makers Open, presented at Manchester Art Gallery, demonstrates that craft and artisanship are by no means dead.

Cinema Until 18 October 2020, from £7

Sheffield Showroom Cinema Reopening

Sheffield’s Showroom cinema reopens its doors for the first time in six months, with social distancing procedures and a whole new film programme set to tempt movie buffs.

Journeys Festival International 2020 – Online
Exhibitions 28 September–18 October 2020, FREE

Journeys Festival International 2020 – Online

This year’s Journeys Festival International takes place online, exploring the experiences of refugees from around the world through art, comedy, film, music, food, sci-fi adventure and politically charged conversation.

Exhibitions Until 29 November 2020, FREE

The Sun at the Science and Industry Museum

This blockbuster exhibition was due to close at the end of March, but has been extended until 29 November as part of the Science and Industry Museum’s reopening programme.

Aerial Festival
Festivals 26 September–2 October 2020, FREE

Aerial Festival (online)

Cumbria’s Aerial Festival has commissioned musicians, writers and filmmakers to create new work, for online release this September.

Images of protest: Black Lives Matter at People's History Museum
Exhibitions Until 31 December 2020, FREE

Images of protest: Black Lives Matter at People’s History Museum

People’s History Museum presents a powerful selection of images documenting one of the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests that took place in central Manchester during May 2020.

Gold Maria Akanbi at OUTPUT in Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 27 September 2020, FREE

Gold Maria Akanbi at OUTPUT in Liverpool

LAST CHANCE. OUPUT presents a solo exhibition of work by Gold Maria Akanbi – an artist whose practice is shaped by her interest in Afro-futurism and her perception of reality as a neurodiverse person, among other things.

Botanic at Hulme Community Garden Centre
Theatre 27 September 2020 12:00 pm, FREE

Botanic at Hulme Community Garden Centre

Take a stroll through this urban oasis and experience a series of performances inspired by the healing power of nature.

Dance 24–26 September 2020, from £10.00

Rambert: Draw From Within with The Lowry

This autumn the phenomenal Rambert are set to perform their first real-time, live stream work from their state-of-the-art studios on London’s Southbank.

Culture Guides

Cinema in Manchester and the North

We look at the socially distant screenings and digital releases you can enjoy as cinemas begin to reopen safely.

Images of protest: Black Lives Matter at People's History Museum

Exhibitions

Art and women’s wrestling, Ancient Akkadian gravesites and invented artefacts – check out this month’s pick of exhibitions from across the north.

Makefest At Home

Families

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.

Poet Dean Atta. Photo by Hussina Raja.

Literature

Festival fever takes hold of Live Literature Land as it does every October, just this year it’s in the ether. Grab a glass and settle down in the Zoom room for some online readings.

Bicep

Music

Discover the best live-streamed concerts, broadcasts, musical activities and exhibitions on offer during lockdown Mk II.

Theatre in Manchester. Image courtesy of RashDash.

Theatre

We can’t wait to be back in the stalls again…until then our theatre guide brings the best of online theatre and interactive performance to enjoy at home.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Higher Ground

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

For the August guide, we’ve dug out the best Food and Drink in Manchester and the North to explore now that lockdown has thankfully eased.

Isolation Broadcast

Online events

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

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Socially distant walks and virtual tours are among the offerings in this month’s guide of Tours and Activities.