January

Creative Tourist

Here are our top picks of things to do in January, including; great exhibitions, live music, literature, theatrical adventures and much more. We’ve got everything from cultural experiences to relaxed family activities.

Blow away the January blues and get out and about in Manchester and the North.

If you are getting carried away with the Veganuary phenomenon, check out our guides to Vegan food in Manchester, Vegan Food in Liverpool and Vegan Food in Leeds.

Happy New Year!

Still showing this month

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives – exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 14 December 2021, FREE

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives at Manchester Art Gallery

Trading Station at Manchester Art Gallery charts the history and changing social role of hot drinks in our lives.

2020 Banner Display at People's History Museum, Manchester
Exhibitions Until 3 January 2021, FREE

2020 Banner Display at People’s History Museum

Visit People’s History Museum’s 2020 display of political banners from across the years – including several that will go on public show for the first time.

Literature Until 5 February 2025, FREE

The Little Library in Spinningfields

Take your pick from The Little Library’s carefully curated collection of classics and new releases, adding a recently read book of your own as a replacement.

Cinema Until 31 March 2021, from £9.99

Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Streaming on Mubi

Brittany, France 1770. Portrait painter Marianne (Merlant) is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse (Haenel), a reluctant bride to be who has just left the convent.

Joana Vasconcelos exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions Until 3 January 2021, FREE

Joana Vasconcelos at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park presents the monumental work of celebrated Portuguese sculptor Joana Vasconcelos.

Dogs Don't Wear Pants at HOME Manchester.
Cinema Until 20 March 2021, from £9.99

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants – Streaming on Curzon Home Cinema

Heart surgeon Juha has lived life at an unengaged distance since his wife’s passing. And although it is often debilitating, his grief also throws up some rather surprising sexual urges.

System Crasher at HOME, Manchester - director Nora Fingscheidt's distinctive depiction of dysfunction in an under-resourced care system.
Cinema Until 2 April 2021, from £9.99

System Crasher – Streaming on Curzon Home Cinema

Controversial from the moment it premiered in Competition at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival, documentarian Nora Fingscheidt’s fiction feature debut portrays the life of a chaotic and troubled young girl.

Posters from the civil rights era – an online exhibition
Exhibitions Until 30 June 2021, FREE

Posters from the Irish civil rights era – Online with the Working Class Movement Library

Working Class Movement Library presents an online exhibition of powerful posters made by young activists fighting for civil rights in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

The Living Planet – Online at FACT, Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 31 March 2021, FREE

The Living Planet – Online at FACT, Liverpool

FACT’s year-long programme, The Living Planet, seems even more timely than first imagined – and has been created for people to interact with and enjoy remotely for free online.

What it is to be here: Colonisation and Resistance – Online at The Portico Library
Exhibitions Until 27 July 2021, FREE

What it is to be here: Colonisation and Resistance – Online at The Portico Library

The Portico Library marks 250 years since British explorer James Cook first landed on the shores of what we now call Australia with an online exhibition that explores the history of violence and resistance that followed.

Exhibitions Until 1 May 2021, FREE

The Gardener Digs in Another Time – Online at the Whitworth

the Whitworth in Manchester invites you to step into the garden as subject with an online version of its 2016 exhibition, The Gardener Digs in Another Time.

Hamilton - Streaming on Disney Plus
Theatre Until 15 October 2021, from £5.99

Hamilton – Streaming on Disney Plus

Politically charged with a hip-hop soundtrack, there is no doubt that this filmed performance is one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of 2020.

Use Hearing Protection: The Early Years of Factory Records at the Science and Industry Museum
Exhibitions Until 10 January 2021, from £5

Use Hearing Protection: The Early Years of Factory Records at the Science and Industry Museum – Postponed

Use Hearing Protection tells the story of Factory Records’ formative years from 1978-1982, when the label made waves with its innovative work in music, technology and design.

Swallows and Amazons For Ever! at Windermere Jetty Museum
Exhibitions Until 18 April 2021,

Swallows and Amazons For Ever! at Windermere Jetty Museum

Celebrate the spirit of adventure, learn more about the Cumbrian landscape and uncover the inspiration behind Arthur Ransome’s classic tale.

What is Manchester Art Gallery?
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2023, FREE

What is Manchester Art Gallery? at Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery reopens with a thought-provoking new exhibition that delves into the history of the public institution and its role within the city.

Paloma Varga Weisz: Bumped Body at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds
Exhibitions Until 3 January 2021, FREE

Paloma Varga Weisz: Bumped Body at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds

Paloma Varga Weisz: Bumped Body continues the Henry Moore Institute’s programme of exhibitions dedicated to contemporary sculptors yet to receive full exposure in the UK.

User Not Found: A Video Podcast with HOME
Theatre Until 10 March 2021,

User Not Found: A Video Podcast with HOME

Exploring digital legacy and online identity, acclaimed theatre-makers Dante or Die are back with a video podcast version of their hugely successful show.

Don McCullin at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 9 May 2021, from £11

Don McCullin at Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool presents a major retrospective of work by Don McCullin, widely considered to be one of the greatest photojournalists of our time.

Huma Bhabha: Against Time at Baltic, Gateshead
Exhibitions Until 21 February 2021, FREE

Huma Bhabha: Against Time at BALTIC, Gateshead

Huma Bhabha’s strange cast of both ancient and futuristic seeming characters are due to arrive at BALTIC in Gateshead for an exhibition alluringly titled, Against Time.

The Making of Husbands: Christina Ramberg in Dialogue at BALTIC in Gateshead
Exhibitions Until 21 February 2021, FREE

The Making of Husbands: Christina Ramberg in Dialogue at BALTIC in Gateshead

The Making of Husbands: Christina Ramberg in Dialogue at BALTIC shines a light on a greatly under-recognised artist, whose work engages with questions of gender and identity.

A Christmas Carol with Storyhouse. Image courtesy of Peter Cook.
Families 7 November 2020–17 January 2021, from £23.00

A Christmas Carol at Storyhouse

You will go to a Christmas show this year…packed with song, laughter and festive joy, head to Chester for a cracking adaptation of Dickens’ timeless tale.

Vision & Reality: 100 Years of Contemporary Art in Wakefield at The Hepworth Wakefield
Exhibitions 20 November 2020–25 April 2021, FREE

Vision & Reality: 100 Years of Contemporary Art in Wakefield at The Hepworth Wakefield

Wakefield’s art collection was established in the 1920s to nurture a public understanding of contemporary art and its relation to modern life – a collecting principle still followed by The Hepworth Wakefield today.

This exhibition will demonstrate how the collection has been strategically developed over nearly 10 years since The Hepworth Wakefield opened.

Vision & Reality features works of art selected in order to address historic imbalances in the collection or to enrich narratives explored by artists in shifting contexts over the decades. A number of previously unseen new acquisitions will go on display for the first time, enabling new stories to be told and showing how contemporary narratives and ideas can cast new light on historical works of art.

The exhibition will also showcase major gifts to Wakefield’s collection, from the War Artists Advisory Committee works gifted in the 1940s, to the first public display of a very significant bequest of ceramics and paintings by Yorkshire collectors Terence Bacon and John Oldham in 2020.

This is a fascinating opportunity to see the ambition and depth embodied in Wakefield’s significant public art collection and how it continues to be a vital and growing resource.

This exhibition is kindly supported by The Hepworth Wakefield Collection Circle.

Lightopia at Heaton Park
Families 20 November 2020–3 January 2021, from £13.00

Lightopia at Heaton Park

The award-winning and visually sensational lantern and light festival returns to illuminate Manchester this winter.

Aliza Nisenbaum at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions 15 December 2020–27 June 2021, FREE

Aliza Nisenbaum at Tate Liverpool

International portrait artist Aliza Nisenbaum will present a new painting at Tate Liverpool this winter, depicting members of the city’s key workers.

Things to do right now

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skyliner
Activity Until 27 September 2020, from £9

Skyliner: Alternative Tours of Manchester

Puffin Box
Music Until 27 September 2020, from £110

Puffin Box at Hilton House

gassing with the galdem
Activity Until 28 September 2020, FREE

Girl Gang: Gassing with the Galdem

Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank
Activity Until 30 September 2020, FREE

Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank

HOME Reopening Programme
Cinema Until 30 September 2020, from £5.5

HOME Reopening Film Programme

Visual Arts Until 30 September 2020, FREE

Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour

eat the archive
Activity Until 30 September 2020, FREE

Eat The Archive at Manchester Jewish Museum

MAD walkers
Activity Until 30 September 2020, £36.60 for annual membership

Manchester and District Walkers (MAD Walkers)

Activity Until 30 September 2020, from £20

Circus House: Circus Online

Cinema Until 30 September 2020, FREE

Above The Line – September at YES

Manchester Museum Online
Activity Until 30 September 2020, FREE

Manchester Museum Online