Summer specials on the hoof.

Creative Tourist

Short on time? Only got a couple of hours to spare in Manchester? Here’s a few ideas to fill your time:

Look out in museum shops, tourist information centres and hotels for the brand new Manchester Mini-Explorer bags. Launching in time for the August holidays these are self-guided tours and trails like no other, allowing your kids to lead you on a playful journey of Manchester, museum to museum, learning and doing all the way. You can buy one at participating museums and get exploring – anytime to suit you!

On Sundays in August you can join us on a Mini-Explorer boat trip along Manchester’s canals and waterways which are filled with a thousand stories. Allowing you take in four award-winning museums, sail three historic waterways, navigate a lock and lots more besides, these trips are a novel way to hop between the city centre and the Quays, with special family activities on board. Keep checking the website for more details.

Bring rugs, blankets and picnics to Screenfields, the annual outdoor cinema on the green at Spinningfields. The Family Film Club is on Saturday mornings with a series of children’s screenings including classics such as The Jungle Book and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as well as latest animated blockbusters like Toy Story 3 and Wall-E. For older children check out the Thursday evening programme including screenings of Anchorman, Ghostbusters and The Breakfast Club amongst others. For more information and the full film programme visit

Carrying on the cinema theme is the Family Friendly Film Club Weekender. This summer, arts and cultural venues across the North West will host a fun-filled weekend of events including an exciting range of film screenings and activities providing fun for all the family. Please keep an eye on the Film Club webpage for updates and further information on times and locations.

During the Manchester Picnic, Piccadilly Gardens will be transformed into a foodie family oasis for three days. With delicious food and drink stalls, a large themed picnic area and bags of family entertainment, it’s the perfect picnicky day out. Most importantly, small people and their cuddly friends are invited to a Teddy Bear’s Picnic on Sunday 7th. Enjoy kids’ workshops with Manchester Museum and dance along with Twinkle the Bear. Special goody bags for the first 100 best-dressed teddies are up for grabs.

Screenfields, 23 July – 27 August, Spinningfields, 3 Hardman Boulevard, M3 3AQ. £2 each or season ticket £9.99. Mini-Explorer boat trip, August. Family Friendly Film Club Weekender, 4 – 7 August 2011, venues across the North West. Manchester Picnic, 5 – 7 August, Piccadilly Gardens.

Culture Guides

Image credit: Maryna Makarenko, Sun-Eaters, 2022


Classic pre-Code cinema, the Artist Film Weekender and the music of John Williams are amongst our highlights this month.


Pause in the hustle and bustle of festive prep to take in some inspiration from this month’s top exhibitions.

The Ocean at the End of The Lane at the lowry


It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Manchester is bursting with fun, family activities to keep the kids entertained in the run up to Christmas!

Poet Helen Mort. Photo by Jan Bella


There’s live literature and book-buying opportunities a-plenty as November unfolds and Manchester – celebrating five years as a UNESCO city of Literature – and the wider North region welcomes some great writers, both in real life and online.


The festive season is here, and whether you want to escape it or embrace it, we’ve got you covered.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


Alongside radical sci-fi adaptations and free arts festivals, we take a look at some of the Christmas shows happening in the North.

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 for autumn.

Tours and Activities

We’re deep into Autumn now but don’t let that stop you from finding a new tour or activity to get stuck into.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty at The Lowry
Dance Until 26 November 2022, from £17.00

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty at The Lowry

Compass Festival 2022
Activity Until 27 November 2022, FREE

Compass Festival 2022

sunny bank mills
Activity Until 27 November 2022, from £2.00

Sunny Bank Mills Christmas Art & Makers Market

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Pottery at Earth Pig Pottery and Fine Art in Buxton

Visual Arts Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Graffiti at Zap Graffiti

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £95

Blacksmithing at Forge Four

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £15

Embroidery with Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £59

Making silver stacker rings at The Old Granary

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £13

Candle making at Cheshire Workshops

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £60

Glass fusing at Glassmonkey Studio

Textile taxidermy
Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £80

Textile taxidermy with Jaki Bogg at Craven Arts Studios