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


As we say bye to the summer holidays and begin to welcome in the cooler months, Manchester’s events and activities continue to bring joy and fun to families.

Kamila Shamsie. Photo Alex von Tunzelman


There are plenty of online readings and live launches as Manchester and the North welcomes some great writers with book festival season getting underway, and there are loads of new spoken word nights and open mics to check out…


Autumn’s a fine old time for gigs in Manchester and the North. From otherworldly folk to life-affirming soul, here are our top picks for October onwards.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


Punchy new writing, anarchic Shakespeare and a chilling vampire love story feature in this month’s eclectic pick of live theatre.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North as we head into autumn.


It’s all about Halloween this month as screens fill up with iconic monsters, brand new scary movies and all sorts of esoteric terrors.


Welcome the autumnal season with all of the art goodness that it brings – there are so many brand new exhibitions to see!

Tours and Activities

Every season change is an excuse to try something new, and when it comes to tours and activities, autumn delivers!