Family things to do in Manchester and the North

Gemma Gibb, Families Editor

We’re all about adventure and light this month as we round up the top things to do with kids in the heady weeks leading up to the winter holidays. For things to do right now, head to Kendal Mountain Festival this weekend or dip your toe into the world of opera at The Lowry. Top illuminated, epic experiences are to be had as Chester Zoo is transformed into a magical theatrical sorting office, at Todmorden’s legendary Lamplighter Festival and Mossley’s Manchester legend-inspired Light Festival too.

Book now for some alternative Christmas shenanigans (check back for our updated list each week). Top picks include detective heaven with the Secret Seven, Siege of Christmas at Contact, The Bear at Waterside Arts Centre, and a Red Riding Hood like no other at HOME.


Here are our picks

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Politics both personal and global make this month’s theatre guide, all backed up by the reassuring presence of Sherlock Holmes.


Featuring animation, fairy tales and festive cheer. Cosy up with some first-class cinema this winter.


Can you imagine what Armageddon smells like? Want to learn how to grow your own hormones? Read on for this month’s top pick of exhibitions.

Nicholas Royle. Credit Zoe McLean


Some fantastic live lit offerings, including the 13th Chorlton Book Festival, avant-garde regular Peter Barlow’s Cigarette showcasing some Forward Prize-winning work, Bad Language v Lit Up, Verbose and Evidently, and the annual glittering Manchester Prize Gala.


Manchester continues to serve up musical delights throughout its concert halls, dance halls, pub function rooms and former Wesleyan chapels. Highlights over the coming months include Thundercat, British Sea Power, Jesca Hoop and The Unthanks.

Destination Guides

Things to do right now

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