16 December 2014

Polly Checkland Harding
Photo of media city at night

Our Advent Calendar continues, marking the cultural countdown to Christmas. Today: Memorial art and Media City

Some pretty special paintings are currently in residence at Manchester Art Gallery: on tour away from their usual home, the Sandham Memorial Chapel in Hampshire, Stanley Spencer’s stunning murals of his memories from World War One make up Heaven in a Hell of War. Unlike the gallery’s other, major exhibition A Sensory War, these paintings look away from the worst outcomes of conflict to humbler, domestic scenes away from the front. They are stunning works on large-scale, arched canvases. Don’t miss them. Manchester Art Gallery, 10am-5pm, free.

Do more. For something more festive, head to MediaCityUK. The annual ice rink is up and running at Manchester’s media hub, with food and drink offerings tacked on to the side. We say ice skating is more magical after dark – so don gloves (and possibly a pillow for your bum) and see how long you can stay upright. Good luck! Media City UK, 11am-9pm. Tickets £5 Mon-Fri; £7/£5 children Sat & Sun.

Culture Guides


Northern flicks, sci-fi masterpieces and some brand new film festivals feature in this month’s cinema preview.


Spring weather might be dragging its feet a little, but the world of exhibitions isn’t slowing down with new shows popping up everywhere to greet the new season.


With two weeks off school and the sun finally rearing it’s head, April is the month to have fun with family and friends and make some amazing memories in readiness for summer term!

Jen Calleja


Books are most definitely back, with a whole host of live events by writers local as well as international, from pop-up performances to regular reading series, plus some hybrid festival specials and online launches allowing access wherever you happen to be.


From Father John Misty to The Flaming Lips, The Waeve to Big Thief, here are the gigs on our radar for early spring.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


You’ll find everything from work-in-progress scratch nights to multi-award winning musicals in this month’s theatre guide.

Classical Music

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

Food and Drink

Get ready for spring and summer with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

From indie markets to bit-sized meditation, spoon carving workshops to gallery tours, here are the headlines in the world of tours and activities.