Creative Tourist

With the big school holiday approaching, use the free time you now have to find interesting things to do in July in Manchester and the North. We have options of activities for both families and adults without kids.

Things to do in July

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manchester international festival
Festivals 4–21 July 2019, from £12.00

MIF19 – Manchester International Festival

Manchester International Festival announces that Yoko Ono, Idris Elba and Skepta are among the artists set to feature in the 2019 programme.

Bells For Peace at Cathedral Gardens
4 July 2019, FREE

MIF19: Bells For Peace at Cathedral Gardens

The opening event of MIF19, Bells for Peace will see Yoko Ono invite the people of Manchester to gather together in Cathedral Gardens to send a message of peace to the world.

Families 5–7 July 2019, from £70

Timber Festival 2019

An extraordinary new festival where music, art, philosophy and sustainability weave together into an exhilarating weekend in the heart of the National Forest, one of Britain’s boldest environmental projects.

Annie Pootoogook at Touchstones Rochdale, Liverpool Biennial Strategic Touring Programme 2019
Exhibitions 13 July–15 September 2019, FREE

Annie Pootoogook at Touchstones Rochdale

Presented as part of the Liverpool Biennial touring programme, this selection of drawings by Annie Pootoogook at Touchstones Rochdale challenges conventional expectations of Inuit art.

Music 17–19 July 2019, from £35


Skepta invites you to enter another world in this series of intimate and immersive experiences. Held in a secret Manchester location, DYSTOPIA987 is a waking dream that presents Skepta’s singular vision of the future: deep, dark, radical and riveting.

Lovell telescope in cloudy sky
Music 19–21 July 2019, from £59.75

Bluedot 2019 at Jodrell Bank

Entering its fourth year in 2019, bluedot celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landings with a special weekend of music, science, arts, technology, culture, food and film beneath the iconic Lovell Telescope.

Festivals 25–28 July 2019, from £20.00

Kendal Calling Festival 2019

So good that 2019’s edition sold out before the line-up was announced, snap up your tickets for 2018 fast.

Still showing this month

And Breathe... at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 16 March 2018–15 October 2019, FREE

And Breathe… at Manchester Art Gallery

Exploring the relationship between art and mindfulness And Breathe… is an exhibition of artworks from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection that explores the relationship between art, positive mental health and wellbeing.

Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 6 July 2018–10 November 2019, FREE

Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery

Showcasing furniture, fashion, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery, Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery highlights the superb quality and creativity inherent in design from the region and features pieces from 1930 to the present day.

Music 6 July 2018–31 December 2019, from £6

The Stoller Hall Autumn/Winter season

Manchester’s newest concert hall continues to push boundaries with its upcoming Autumn/Winter season – from a brand new audiovisual work to celebrate 100 years of votes for women to a one-off staging of a dark adaptation of A Christmas Carol, via a visit by the world-renowned Gould Trio and a year-long series celebrating outstanding pianists who studied at Chetham’s.

Activity 3 September 2018–2 September 2019, FREE

Whitworth Art Gallery Daily Tour

Take a closer look at some of the Whitworth Art Gallery’s collection while gaining a better understanding of the context in which the pieces were created. The free tours run daily from 2 pm.

Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall
Exhibitions 8 September 2018–28 July 2019, FREE

Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall

The Bell Tree by award winning contemporary artist Serena Korda responds to England’s alternative history of fairy-tale folklore, the ancient forest at Speke Hall and the legacy of hidden rebellion that surrounds the historic Tudor home.

Visual Arts 20 September 2018–19 September 2019, FREE

Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour

Take a tour around select artworks from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection. Lead by different guides every day, each tour is personal to their taste. Tours start at 2 pm from Thursday to Sunday.

Activity 22 September 2018–31 December 2019, FREE

Sí Manchester Daily Tour

Sí Manchester’s daily tour is a brilliant way to get an overview of the city with tours running in both English and Spanish.

Activity 20 October 2018–31 December 2019, FREE

Documentary Challenge at IWM North

Make and feature in your own mini-documentary at IWM North.

31 October 2018–31 October 2019, FREE

Free Manchester Walking Tours

Free Manchester Tours offer a friendly introduction to the city. Setting off every day at 11am without fail.

Manchester Museum
Activity 10 January–1 July 2019, FREE

Multilingual Tours at Manchester Museum

Explore the Museum’s fascinating collection in more than just English with one of their general tours running in Spanish, Italian or Mandarin.

Music 30 January–31 December 2019, from £19.62

Striking Gold Piano Series at The Stoller Hall

This year-long celebration of outstanding pianists marks Chetham’s School of Music’s golden jubilee year. With almost all of the performers having previously studied at the school – and the likes of Paul Lewis, Boris Berman and Murray McLachlan already announced – it promises to be a comprehensive celebration.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool
Exhibitions 15 March–26 August 2019, from £2

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool will span the lifetime of  Mackintosh (1868–1928) and his contemporaries, exploring the movement that became known as The Glasgow Style.

Kimsooja: To Breathe at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions 30 March–29 September 2019, FREE

Kimsooja: To Breathe at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Kimsooja transforms Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s historic chapel with ‘To Breathe’, an enthralling installation using light and mirrors and the latest in a series of projects exploring meditative qualities of space.

Li Yuan Chia: His Late Photographs at Whitworth Art Gallery
Exhibitions 18 May–15 December 2019, FREE

Li Yuan Chia: Unique Photographs at the Whitworth

Li Yuan Chia’s art encompasses sculpture, painting and poetry but the focus of this exhibition is photography. A group of Li’s lyrical hand coloured photographs of himself, his sculpture and garden at Banks is shown alongside the artist’s own collection of film cameras as part of Li Yuan Chia: His Late Photographs at Whitworth Art Gallery.

Music 29 June–10 July 2019, from £30

MIF19: Tree at Upper Campfield Market Hall

Created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, Tree will take its audience on a wondrous journey in search of the soul and spirit of present-day South Africa.

Things to do right now

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Cinema 2 November–13 December 2018, from £5

Peterloo at HOME

Cinema 9 November–13 December 2018, from £5

Widows at HOME

Families 6–15 December 2018, from £6

Black Beauty at Z-arts

Activity 24 November–15 December 2018, from £4

World of Music at Band on the Wall

PAPER Gallery in Manchester presents Tim Ellis - Cypher
Exhibitions 10 November–15 December 2018, FREE

Tim Ellis: Cypher at PAPER Gallery

A Christmas Carol at Theatre Deli
Theatre 30 November–16 December 2018, from £35.00

A Christmas Carol at Theatre Deli

Red Squirrel at Lightwaves
Festivals 7–16 December 2018, FREE

Lightwaves 2018 at The Quays

Cinema 3 November–18 December 2018, from £6.8

Comedy Genius at Showroom, Sheffield

Re: work at The Holden Gallery
Exhibitions 5 November–19 December 2018, FREE

Re: work at The Holden Gallery

RNCM Autumn Season Creative Tourist
Music 6 September–19 December 2018, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

Cinema 7–20 December 2018, from £5.50

The Old Man & the Gun at HOME

MONITOR exhibition, AIR Gallery, Altrincham
Exhibitions 6–22 December 2018, FREE

MONITOR at AIR Gallery