Festivals and Events

Manchester Food and Drink Festival: eat for free.

Andrew Shanahan

Hairy bikers (they cook too)Gastronomes rejoice: today marks the start of the annual Manchester Food and Drink Festival (until 12 October). Now in its twelfth year, highlights include the much-loved fine food market in St. Ann’s Square (pop by for lip-smacking snacks or a hot lunch), a real ale festival (sup on beers from 30 regional breweries) and, best of all, a star-studded gathering of celebrity chefs – everyone from the Hairy Bikers and Clarissa Dickson-Wright to Michael Caines. Caines, incidentally, runs one of the best eateries in Manchester – read Andrew Shanahan’s review, which we think may be the first ever to include a reference to ‘kittens’ breath’ in a restaurant description, here.

To celebrate the start of the festival, MFDF is offering one very lucky reader a slap up meal at Obsidian. Part of the festival’s Dinner in the City series (specially created, one-evening-only menus in some of Manchester’s finest restaurants), the prize includes a seven-course, Lancashire-themed meal for two. Head chef Bryn Evans has been hard at work selecting the finest local ingredients and has settled on a final menu that includes Fleetwood sea bass and Bury black pudding – with Manchester Tart for afters, naturally.

Please note that this competition has now closed.

Image: The Hairy Bikers hit the road (en route to Manchester, presumably). Courtesy Manchester Food & Drink Festival.

Culture Guides

Penny Arcade at Unity Theatre


You’ll be pleased to hear that this month’s theatre selections serve up a rich slice of everyone’s three favourite things: sex, swearing and scandal.

Victoria - Image courtesy of HOME


As always, October brings with it a surplus of scary films timed to coincide with Halloween.

Cape Farewell presents: Cloud Crash


The very best exhibitions in Manchester and the North include a collaboration with a renowned dance company, the return of Manchester Science Festival (bigger and better than ever), a showcase of exquisite craft at the Old Granada Studios, and much more. All in all, it’s an exciting, boundary transcending time for art in the North.

Dr Dee’s Secret Curiosity Shop


Autumn, half term and Halloween adventures are here. Here are our top tips for outdoor and indoor hot tickets to book and do now.

Image of David Gaffney copyright Kezia Tan.


With Rising Stars and World Literature, nothing says October in the Rainy City like Manchester Literature Festival. As we enter the final furlongs, there are still tickets available for some events, from creative non-fiction to a canalside special commission. And once MLF is over, Manchester Science Festival will be chemically enhancing words with poems about the periodic table.

Field Music


As the days get shorter, Manchester’s music calendar gets busier – with the city’s music venues burst from the seams with live music for you to enjoy. So whether it’s an acclaimed classical ensemble in a world-renowned concert hall or that up-and-coming young artist in a packed, sweaty venue, we’ve got your gig-going plans covered – with occasional musical highlights from around the region thrown in for good measure…

Destination Guides

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Theatre 5 October 2016–29 October 2016, from £9.50

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Dont Wake The Damp
Theatre 26 October 2016–29 October 2016, from £10.00

Dont Wake The Damp

Literature 28 October 2016–29 October 2016, from £5.00


Image courtesy of HOME
Theatre 25 October 2016–29 October 2016, from £10.00

946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips

Science Showdown
Families 24 October 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

Science Showdown

Manchester Megapixel
Families 24 October 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

Manchester Megapixel

Science Showdown
Families 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

Manchester Science Festival free family events

Royal Society Science Exhibition
Exhibitions 24 October 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

Royal Society Science Exhibition

HAND 01.1_1
Exhibitions 8 September 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

HAND CRAFT at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

The Chronarium.
Exhibitions 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

The Chronarium Sleep Lab at Manchester Arndale

Members of Public Service Broadcasting in space
Exhibitions 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, FREE

Manchester Science Festival 2016

Theatre 20 October 2016–30 October 2016, from £2.00

Women in Comedy Festival

Image courtesy of Wild Rumpus
Families 22 October 2016–31 October 2016, from £16.00

The Enchantment of Chester Zoo