Tours and Activities in Manchester and the North

Carmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor

It is May! The month where we get not one, but two bank holidays. What better time to push the boat out and try something new than this most carefree and liberated of moon cycles. Begin your transition to summer with a new hobby or experience that will keep you inspired to get creative in the coming months. We’ve rounded up some of our top recommendations of Tours and Activities to try below, should you need a bit of guidance in this pursuit.

Manchester Music Tours are back. They originally started as the legacy of Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill, who devoted his life to Manchester’s music scene. Join them for an insightful look into the city that helped form bands such as The Smiths, Oasis and Joy Division.

Get creative this month with Pop-up painting. Their relaxed and informal art nights will have you creating familiar masterpieces with a paintbrush in one hand and an artisanal beverage in the other. They’re a great way to shake up your usual drinks with mates. For something more calming, why not check out Laura from Chunkynfunky’s polymer clay jewellery workshop in Leeds. Have fun mixing colours, shapes and patterns to design your own bespoke items of Jewellery.

If you’re looking to escape the routine of visiting the same places to eat and want to branch away from the familiar, we recommend Manchester Food Walks. This sumptuous exploration of the Northern Quarter will have your bellies full and your minds opened to new culinary possibilities.

Finally, Alliance Française Manchester, the francophile hub of culture and learning in the heart of the city, are keeping their film club going strong with online and in person screenings. After watching each film (in French with English subtitles) they’ll be a short presentation as well as a discussion of some of the themes. It is worth noting that discussions will be held in French.

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

Here are our picks

  • 1. Manchester Music Tours

    Manchester music tours

    Manchester Music Tours at Vinyl Revival, Manchester, Until 25 June 2022, from £32.10 - Book now

    Dive into the cultural cornucopia of Manchester’s musical past with Manchester Music Tours. 

  • 2. Polymer Clay Jewellery Workshop

    via Leeds Inspired

    Polymer Clay Jewellery Workshop, 11 June 2022, from £25.00 - Book now

    Get hands on with making your own polymer clay jewellery at Open Source Arts with Laura from Chunkynfunky. 

  • 3. French Film Club at Alliance Française

    Thomas Demol

    Cine-club, 10 June–27 May 2022, free entry - Find Out More

    Alliance Française host free film screenings of French speaking cinema with English subtitles both online and onsite in French Film Club. 

  • 4. Mindgames Arcade at The Green

    Mindgames Arcade
    Image courtesy of iStock.

    Mindgames Arcade at The Green, Until 22 May 2022, free entry - Visit now

    Manchester’s SICK! Festival explores wellbeing and mental health via a free interactive games arcade housed in shipping containers.

  • 5. Paint Street Art at Seven Bro7hers Beerhouse with PopUp Painting

    Image courtesy of PopUp painting.

    Paint Pop Art at Common with PopUp Painting at Seven Bro7hers Beerhouse, Manchester, 29 May 2022, from £32.99 - Book now

    PopUp Painting invites you to unleash your creativity with a beverage in one hand and a paintbrush in the other. 

  • 6. Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks

    John Ryan

    Northern Quarter Taster Walk at Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, Until 31 August 2022, from £40 - Book now

    Join John Ryan for a mouth watering taster walk as you eat your way through the back streets of the Northern Quarter learning about the local history and culture as you go.

  • 7. Hull Lido

    Hodson Architects

    Hull Lido, 94 Albert Ave, Anlaby Rd, Hull, HU3 6QE - Visit now

    Coming soon, Hull Lido plans to open in the near future, bringing yet another great opportunity for outdoor swimming to the North

  • 8. Cloud Aerial

    Pexels

    Cloud Aerial, UNIT A ALDOW ENTERPRISE PARK, BLACKETT STREET , MANCHESTER , M12 6AE - Visit now

    Get upside down with Cloud Aerial. Their beginner classes are the perfect introduction to the addictively fun world of aerial arts. 

  • 9. Floating Art Workshops

    Floating Art

    Floating Art Workshops at Chapter 1 Books, Manchester, Until 31 May 2022, from £24.30 - Book now

    Join expert teacher Ula for relaxed painting workshops that will have you creating work you can be proud of, no matter your level of artistic experience.

  • 10. Leeds Craft Cider Tour

    via Leeds Inspired

    Leeds Craft Cider Tour, Until 17 September 2022, from £40.00 - Book now

    Sample the best artisanal ciders, (and an intriguing Perry) Leeds has to offer in this new Craft Cider Tour. 

  • 11. Gin School with Manchester Gin

    Spirit of Manchester Gin

    Gin School with Manchester Gin at The Spirit of Manchester Distillery, City Centre, Until 31 July 2022, from £95.00 - Book now

    Learn about the different styles of gin and distil your very own bottle with Gin School at the Spirit of Manchester Distillery. 

  • 12. Behind the Scenes Tour of Central Library

    Matt Cocker

    Behind the Scenes Tour at Manchester Central Library, Manchester, 26 May–28 July 2022, from £12.50 - Book now

    Get an access all areas view of Central Library in Manchester, with a brand new behind the scenes tour.

  • 13. Eden Project North

    Eden Project North

    Eden Project North, Morecambe Bay, Morecambe, Lancaster - Visit now

    Opening in 2024, Morecambe bay will become a centre for eco tourism with the exciting arrival of the Eden Project North. 

  • 14. Manchester Museum

    Manchester Museum Tours at Manchester Museum

    Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9PL - Visit now

    Having gone through a physical and cultural transformation, Manchester Museum will be reopening this year with a new inclusive, caring and creative approach to museum curation.

  • 15. The People Of

    Kate Daley

    The people of, Until 30 September 2022, free entry - Visit now

    Experience Northmoor Road as you’ve never heard it before, The people of is a sound walk that encourages you to look beyond the surface of a community.

  • 16. Chester Rows

    Courtesy of Visit Cheshire

    Chester Rows, Bridge St, Watergate St, Eastgate Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 1NG - Visit now

    In a city full of historic beauty, the galleries of Chester Rows are a must-visit for their 13th century architecture and charming boutiques.

  • 17. Tours in Chester

    Carmel Smickersgill

    Tours in Chester at Chester Tourist Information Centre, Chester, Until 31 August 2022, from £0.00 - Book now

    Roman Soldiers, blue badge holders and Medieval Longbowman walk the streets of Chester sharing their passion for history with a wide selection of tours.

  • 18. Partisan Film Drawing Club

    Photo by Lum3n from Pexels

    Partisan Film Drawing Club at Partisan, Manchester, Until 20 June 2022, from £0.00 - Book now

    Film Drawing Club is a place to celebrate some of the most visually striking scenes in film while drawing, chatting and experimenting. 

  • 19. Clay Studio Manchester

    Clay Studio Manchester
    CLay Studio Manchester

    Clay Studio Manchester, 61 Old Birley Street, Manchester, M15 5RF - Visit now

    Clay studio was founded in 2016 to provide a dedicated workshop for new graduates, hobby ceramicists and experienced makers. The studio also offers a range of classes for students of all abilities.

  • 20. Goodtime Games

    goodtime games
    Goodtime Games

    Goodtime Games, 212 Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2LW - Visit now

    Goodtime Games is the latest arrival to Burton Road. Serving up delicious vegan and vegetarian food alongside a plethora of table top fun. 

More Tours & Activities

Activity Until 30 June 2022,

Manchester Taxi Tours

Manchester Taxi tours are the most personalised guided glimpse of the city you can find and now you can get to know Manchester better whilst enjoying a delicious afternoon tea.

skyliner
Activity Until 31 December 2022, from £9

Skyliner: Alternative Tours of Manchester

Join Skyliner for the anti-tour of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The route interrogates current developments in the city as well as visiting the area’s most notable pieces of street art.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £15

Embroidery with Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle

Learn embroidery in a fun and relaxed environment with the BBC’s Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle’s famous Witches Tower.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £95

Blacksmithing at Forge Four

This beginners workshop will teach participants the traditional skills associated with blacksmithing, in the ‘Steel City’ of Sheffield.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, FREE

Stone carving at West Riding Stonecarving Association

The West Riding Stonecarving Association is dedicated to keeping the art of hand-carving stone alive and bringing it to the general public.

Textile taxidermy
Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £80

Textile taxidermy with Jaki Bogg at Craven Arts Studios

Head to Skipton’s Craven Arts Studios to create a unique mounted animal head for your home with local textile artist Jaki Bogg.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £13

Candle making at Cheshire Workshops

Try your hand at candle making with the experts at Cheshire Workshops, this fun and creative skill is suitable for all ages.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Pottery at Earth Pig Pottery and Fine Art in Buxton

Try your hand at pottery at Earth Pig Studio in Buxton’s Green Man Gallery; a longstanding community arts hub, shop and gallery.

Activity Until 31 December 2023, from £50

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.

Culture Guides

Cinema

Ennio Morricone, Charlie Chaplin and 80s vampires. There’s something for everybody on the big screen this month.

Hurvin Anderson, Double Grille, 2008 © Hurvin Anderson. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2022

Exhibitions

Whatever the weather, we’ve got tonnes of new art for you to enjoy. This month we bring you lots of choice: from large, all-encompassing displays to smaller and equally as interesting shows to suit all tastes.

Families at Bluedot Festival

Families

With summer just around the corner, here are some of the best family-friendly events taking place in Manchester and the North in the coming months, both indoors and outdoors, so you can enjoy a fun trip out with your family come rain or shine!

Poet Malika Booker.

Literature

Live literature has plenty for readers and writers alike this spring, with emerging names and established authors taking to a mic near you, along with the opportunity to perform or put pen to paper yourself. There’s lots to listen to in real life and there are still opportunities to join in to events online. Read more here…

Music

From the North’s best festival line-ups to the wildest collaboration you’ll catch on a Manchester stage this year, check out our latest music picks.

Theatre in Manchester

Theatre

Check out our updated theatre guide for provocative dance shows, prosecco-popping outdoor performances and site-specific Shakespeare.

Manchester Jazz Festival

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Stuzzi Leeds

Food and Drink

Enjoy spring and summer at some of the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Things to do right now

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Mindgames Arcade
Activity Until 22 May 2022, FREE

Mindgames Arcade at The Green

Activity Until 31 July 2022, from £95.00

Gin School with Manchester Gin

Activity Until 30 September 2022, FREE

The People Of

skyliner
Activity Until 31 December 2022, from £9

Skyliner: Alternative Tours of Manchester

Victoria Baths Guided Tour
Activity Until 26 October 2022, from £6

Victoria Baths Guided Tour

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £95

Blacksmithing at Forge Four

Textile taxidermy
Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £80

Textile taxidermy with Jaki Bogg at Craven Arts Studios

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £60

Glass fusing at Glassmonkey Studio

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £15

Embroidery with Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £13

Candle making at Cheshire Workshops

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Pottery at Earth Pig Pottery and Fine Art in Buxton

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £59

Making silver stacker rings at The Old Granary

Activity Until 25 June 2022, from £32.10

Manchester Music Tours