Unmissable things to do in Manchester and the North

Because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North are a little different. Until it is safe for culture to return in physical spaces, we bring you the very best online theatre, music, cinema, literature, art and activities from organisations in Manchester and the North, as well as the places to enjoy food and drink.


Virtual Factory Your Progress Will Be Saved Manchester International Festival Pre-Factory Event
Activity Until 31 October 2020, FREE

Virtual Factory: Your Progress Will Be Saved

Your Progress Will Be Saved is a Pre-Factory Event from Manchester International Festival which finds avatar artist and curator LaTurbo Avedon working in Fortnite.

Cinema Until 12 August 2020, FREE

Showroom Summer Season

Sheffield’s Showroom presents a series of free weekly film talks from esteemed academics from both Sheffield Hallam and University of Sheffield.

Manchester's Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair
Exhibitions 25–31 July 2020, FREE

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2020 – Online

The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is back for its 13th edition – this year online – with a handpicked selection of over 160 designer-makers from across the UK.

Amazon with HOME
Music Until 31 December 2020,

Amazon with HOME

Created by composer Alex Ho and theatre-maker Elayce Ismail, this stunning fusion of music, text and visuals sees a trip to the Amazon take an unexpected turn.

Nigel Slater's 'Toast' with the Lawrence Batley Theatre
Theatre Until 31 July 2020, from £10.00

Nigel Slater’s ‘Toast’ with the Lawrence Batley Theatre

A truly delicious digital theatre experience. Part radio play, part animated film – and every foodie’s dream – this hugely successful play has been adapted for you to enjoy at home.

Sheffield Doc/Fest
Cinema Until 30 November 2020, FREE

Sheffield Doc/Fest

Having taken place in Sheffield annually in June, this year Sheffield Doc/Fest extends its activities throughout the rest of the year – both in Sheffield and virtually.

Theatre Until 31 December 2020,


The Homemakers series of virtual theatre continues with this interactive, fantasy musical set in and around your own home.

A Manual of Fantastical Zoology with HOME
Theatre 18 July 2020,

A Manual of Fantastical Zoology with HOME

Featuring a live score and delivered via Zoom, A Manual of Fantastical Zoology is a performative exploration into the psychology of isolation.

Music Until 31 August 2020, FREE

Brudenell Social Distancing Club TV

The Brudenell Social Club is running a live stream series of in conversations with acclaimed artists and industry figures.

Posters from the civil rights era – an online exhibition
Exhibitions Until 30 June 2021, FREE

Posters from the Irish civil rights era – Online with the Working Class Movement Library

Working Class Movement Library presents an online exhibition of powerful posters made by young activists fighting for civil rights in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

online events I am falling in love with you and its making me do stupid things
Festivals Until 31 December 2020,


HOME have invited theatre and live art makers to create new works at home, for an audience who are also at home. 

Rockets and Blue Lights with BBC Lockdown Theatre Festival
Theatre Until 12 July 2020, FREE

Rockets and Blue Lights with BBC Lockdown Theatre Festival

The Royal Exchange’s Rockets and Blue Lights will be performed as part of the BBC’s Lockdown Theatre Festival, a radio festival dedicated to those plays that had their runs cut short by the pandemic.

The Degree Show on Mars – Online – Exhibitions in Liverpool, Creative Tourist
Exhibitions Until 31 August 2020, FREE

The Degree Show on Mars – Online

Dust of your space helmets and prepare for take-off. Graduating art students from Liverpool John Moores University present: ‘The Degree Show on Mars’ – a multiverse exhibition responding to the many challenges we are currently facing back on Earth.

Spoken word performer Lisa Luxx.
Literature 13 July 2020 6:00 pm, FREE

Online events at Liverpool Arab Arts Festival

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival goes online from 9 to 18 July, with various events including discussion Writing The Palestinian City, in association with Comma Press, and an evening featuring spoken word artist and performer, and LAAF’s artist-in-residence for 2020, Lisa Luxx.

Literature Until 20 August 2020, FREE

Word Central online

In association with Flapjack Press and Manchester Libraries, Word Central Open Mic Poetry and Spoken Word heads online fortnightly, with a sign-up-in-advance open mic and a guest poet at each event.

Culture Guides

Cinema Online

From our picks of the latest streaming titles, to drive-ins and live digital film events from your favourite venues, we round up the best in lockdown cinema.

Family of Lord Alf Morris, image courtesy of Manchester Histories


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 Online

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 Sasha Dugdale. Photo by Zima Zima


From book launches to readings and open mics to creative writing workshops, Live Literature Land has taken to online activities and events like the proverbial duck to water.


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

Plastica Galactica: Get Involved


We can’t wait to be back in the stalls again…until then our theatre guide brings online theatre festival fun, a live drive-in musical and interactive performances 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

Lockdown is in full effect but that doesn’t mean we can’t support our favourite bars, restaurants, brewers and food suppliers. Here’s our guide to the best takeaway and delivery Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

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

More online inspiration in this month’s tours and activities guide with French lessons, Life drawing and virtual Tours.