Tours and Activities in Manchester and the North

Carmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor

In this month’s Tours and Activities guide we’re highlighting some literary activities and independent shops to keep your minds and homes filled with the good stuff.

Chapter One Books in the Northern quarter has long been established as an excellent spot to dive into your current read while enjoying a coffee and cake. They are now encouraging people to go one step further and embark on their own text-based projects with a creative writing group. The sessions run every Tuesday evening and are open to all levels of writers. Join them to embrace your own literary creativity in a supportive and welcoming environment.

For something more international, Instituto Cervantes are hosting a Latin American Book Club, which will have you exploring the stylistic breadth of Spanish language literature with expert Dr Mariana Casale. The centre also hosts Spanish language classes and cultural activities including performance, music, cinema and art all year round, and you get to sample it all for free at the Summer Open Day this July.

We’ve dedicated a small part of our guide to the independent shops of Altrincham. It’s all too easy to get stuck within the confines of the city centre or your particular suburb but there is a lot to be gained from venturing further afield and spending a day exploring somewhere new that isn’t necessarily far away. Get the train, tram, cycle or drive over to Altrincham and discover hidden gems of shops such as IDAHO and Dot. These warm and community focused retailers come across as shrines to good taste and striking yet practical design. And coming back to that literary theme, Dot also runs book clubs for both adults and kids.

Why not carry on the shopping trip back in the Northern Quarter with a trip to Bags of Flavour. This high end expertly curated vintage shop is the place to go for rare and high quality garments of former eras.

Scroll down to find out more, alongside some other top picks of tours and activities, and stay well folks.

Our top picks

Summer Open Day at Instituto Cervantes

Summer Open Day at Instituto Cervantes Manchester, Deansgate, 1 July 2023, free entry - Find Out More

Fancy a taste of Spain without stepping foot out of the city? Head down to Instituto Cervantes Manchester for their Summer Open Day.

Summer Open Day at Instituto Cervantes
Image courtesy of Kike Garpe.


IDAHO, 56 Greenwood Street, Altrincham, WA14 1RZ - Visit now

Every piece in IDAHO has something special and will guarantee to make your homes, offices and wardrobes feel a little more inspiring.


Bags of Flavour

Bags of Flavour, 33 Tib St, Manchester , M4 1LX - Visit now

Bags of Flavour is the Northern Quarter’s answer to high end vintage with high quality exclusive garments and accessories.

Brain Egerton

Latin American Reading Club at Instituto Cervantes

Latin American Literature Workshop, online, Until 19 July 2023, from £12.50 - Book now

Instituto Cervantes in Manchester has launched a new edition of its Latin American Literature Reading Club led by Dr Mariana Casale.

instituto cervantes
Kike Garpe

Dot Goods Altrincham

Dot Goods Altrincham, 103 Manchester Rd, Altrincham , WA14 4RL - Visit now

Dot Goods is an ethical gift shop with great coffee and a keen interest in providing space for community to grow.

Karen Herman Wright

Volunteer Insights at Imperial War Museum North

Volunteer Insights at Imperial War Museum North at Imperial War Museum North (IWM North), Manchester, Until 30 August 2023, free entry - Visit now

Join experts and individuals with lived experience of war for ten minute talks about their specialist subjects at IWM North.

The Imperial War Museum at the Quays, Manchester

Drink and Draw at the Carlton Club

Drink and Draw at the Carlton Club at The Carlton Club, Manchester, Until 26 July 2023, from £13.00 - Book now

Put down your worries and pick up a creative utensil with the relaxed and welcoming drink and draw sessions at the Carlton Club.

drink and draw

Partisan Political Reading Group

Partisan Political Reading Group at Partisan, Manchester, Until 10 September 2023, free entry - Visit now

An open political reading group, held at Partisan (and online) every second and fourth Sunday of the month.

Photo by helloiamtugce

Derbyshire Bird Tours

Derbyshire Bird Tours, Until 31 December 2023, from £20.00 - Book now

Join Stewart and Derbyshire Bird Tours for a calm, friendly and relaxing experience that’ll have you getting close to nature.

Derbyshire bird tour

Jazz Workshops at Band on the Wall

Jazz Workshop at Band on the Wall, Manchester, Until 29 June 2023, from £95 - Book now

Directed by renowned saxophonist Munch Manship, Band on The Wall’s well established jazz workshop provides hands on experience in performing jazz.

Band on the Wall

Gin Tasting Experience at Four Sis4ers Distillery

Gin Tasting Experience at Four Sis4ers Distillery, Until 28 October 2023, from £30.00 - Book now

Let Four Sis4ers guide you through the process of gin making, history of the beverage and family distillery in an immersive Gin Tasting Experience.


Half an Hour of Calm with Mindful Manchester

Half and Hour of Calm with Mindful Manchester, online, Until 31 July 2023, from £5 - Book now

Join Breathworks teacher Bridget Fitzpatrick on a Wednesday morning or evening for half an hour of calm, where you can focus on just being rather than doing.

Bridget Fitzpatrick

Paradise Skate World

Paradise Skate World, Unit 5, First Floor, Great Northern Warehouse, 235 Deansgate , Manchester, M3 4EN - Visit now

Tucked into the first floor of Great Northern is Paradise Skate World, an intergalactic realm of quad skating and cosmically themed cocktails.

Paradise skate world

Whitworth Art Gallery Tours

Whitworth Art Gallery Daily Tour at The Whitworth, Manchester, Until 31 July 2023, free entry - Visit now

Experience the artworks at the Whitworth in greater detail with their daily free guided tours.

Free Daily Tours, the Whitworth.

Manchester Food Tour From Canals to Canapés

Manchester Food Tour From Canals to Canapés at Cask Ancoats, Ancoats, Until 1 August 2023, from £45.00 - Book now

Experience a food tour that will show you the remnants of Manchester’s industrial past in Canals and Canapés with Manchester Bites.

canals to canapés

More activity events

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.

free entry
Eat The City – Scranchester Tours

Satisfy your hunger for knowledge as well as lunch with Scranchester’s food tours of the city centre. You may discover a new favourite hidden gem or learn a bit more about the cultural or historical significance of the food you eat all the time.

from £60
life drawing
Life Drawing Manchester

Whether you have never put pencil to paper or have been honing your artistic skills for years, Bee Creative studio runs life drawing sessions for people of all abilities.

from £10
DJ Gym at Hatch

Learn some DJ and production skills with DJ Gym Manchester, based in the culturally infused surrounds of Hatch.

from £269
Old Dock Tours, Liverpool

The Old Dock tour is a treat for younger and older visitors alike, fans of Liverpool’s maritime past, and anybody curious about local history.

£8.50 with concessions
MIF23: We Cut Through Dust

We Cut Through Dust is a walk into the future, guided by a series of phone calls. Over the course of an hour, you’ll be taken on a journey through the city.

free entry
ActivityCity Centre
Derbyshire Bird Tours

Join Stewart and Derbyshire Bird Tours for a calm, friendly and relaxing experience getting close to nature.

from £20.00
Whitworth Art Gallery Tours

Running daily from 2pm, 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.

free entry
Things to Do in Liverpool
Spotlight on

Things to Do in Liverpool

Our guide to the thriving city of Liverpool, where new creative futures are written against the backdrop of a unique history.

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Tours and Activities in Manchester and the North

HOME Manchester
HOME Manchester

Now back open with a packed schedule of events and things to do, HOME Manchester is one of the city’s leading hubs for arts and culture.

Odeon Great Northern
Odeon Great Northern

Located within the historic Grade 2 former railway goods distribution warehouse, the Odeon Great Northern is a 16 screen multiplex cinema.

Curzon Sheffield
Curzon Sheffield

Curzon’s Sheffield branch is a comfortable three screen cinema specialising in independent, foreign and art-house films, with the odd blockbuster thrown in for good measure.

Event venue
Fuse Art Space

Fuse is a new and exciting venue where multidisciplinary art forms meet a full spectrum of live performance, this dynamic space is broadening the artistic minds of Bradford and beyond.

Showroom Workstation
City Centre
Showroom Workstation

Sheffield’s premier arts centre houses an established independent cinema along with an entrepreneurial hub for creative and digital industries.

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