May

Creative Tourist

Summer is just around the corner, festivals are coming into view, and the warmer weather is getting everyone feeling a bit more inclined to get out there and explore what Manchester and the North’s has to offer by way of culture.

Happily there’s a whole lot. Spring Half Term and Spring Bank Holiday are always filled with great exhibitions, theatre shows and gigs, and the region’s many excellent restaurants are rolling out fresh new seasonal menus.

And if the increasing temperatures have got you feeling really brave, why not try some wild swimming? Less brave but culturally curious? Our Outdoor Art guide is well worth a look.

Things to do in May

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Akram Khan's Jungle Book reimagined at The Lowry
Dance 13 May 2023 3:00 pm, from £15.00

Akram Khan’s Jungle Book reimagined at The Lowry

Akram Khan injects urgent choreography, a blistering original score and cutting-edge visuals to reinvent Mowgli as a climate refugee.

Families 16–20 May 2023, from £13.00

The Spongebob Musical at the Manchester Opera House

Dive into a deep-sea adventure this May with Spongebob and friends at The Manchester Opera House.

Geronimo Festival 2022
Families 26–29 May 2023, from £20.00

Geronimo Festival at Arley Hall

Head to the Geronimo Festival 2023 to experience children’s entertainment & activities, music, food stalls, camping, and loads of fun!

Still showing this month

Damien Hirst at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions Until 31 May 2023, FREE

Damien Hirst at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Experience YBA artist Damien Hirst’s towering and provocative outdoor sculptures at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

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.

The Zoom Tours Series
Activity Until 31 July 2023, from £6

Jonathan Schofield Walking Tours

Jonathan Schofield Is well known for his expertly informed, charismatic and intriguing guided tours, join him on one to find out why.

Activity Until 31 December 2023, from £60

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.

Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds
Exhibitions Until 5 June 2023,

Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Stop and spend an hour or two with this special creation, nestled within a stand of birch trees beside Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Upper Lake.

At Home with the Pankhurst Family at the Pankhurst Centre
Exhibitions Until 29 August 2024, FREE

At Home with the Pankhurst Family at the Pankhurst Centre

The Pankhurst Centre’s new permanent exhibition offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of the people behind the iconic Pankhurst name.

Activity Until 31 December 2023, from £269

DJ Gym at Hatch

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

life drawing
Activity Until 31 July 2023, from £10

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.

Exhibitions Until 3 September 2023, FREE

Sahej Rahal: Mythmachine at BALTIC Gateshead

Sahej Rahal and his new exhibition ‘Mythmachine’ continues BALTIC’s season of exhibitions with the leading theme of ‘play’.

Activity Until 25 December 2023, 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.

Exhibitions Until 4 June 2023, from £5.00

JMW Turner with Lamin Fofana: Dark Waters at Tate Liverpool

See JWM Turner’s work like never before paired with Lamin Fofana’s immersive exhsound environment in ‘Dark Waters’, a very special exhibition at Tate Liverpool opening this September.

Exhibitions Until 30 September 2023, FREE

Daniel Arsham: Relics in the Landscape at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Daniel Arsham’s large-scale sculptures are making an appearance at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in his outdoor show ‘Relics in the Landscape’.

Exhibitions Until 1 May 2023, FREE

Dandy Style at Manchester Art Gallery

Set in the brand new dedicated Fashion Gallery, ‘Dandy Style’ celebrates all the is most elegant, dramatic and fascinating in menswear.

Exhibitions Until 1 May 2023, from £1.00

Hannah Starkey: In Real Life at The Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield presents a major survey of work by Hannah Starkey, tracing the development of two decades of her photographic practice.

Exhibitions Until 21 May 2023, from £6.00

Turn It Up: The Power of Music at the Science and Industry Museum

Prepare to get hands-on, with your ears and hearts open, at a new major exhibition exploring the science of music’s mysterious hold over us and how it drives us to create, perform, feel and share.

Exhibitions Until 16 October 2023, FREE

Nothing About Us Without Us at PHM

‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ at PHM explores the history of disabled people’s activism and their ongoing fight for inclusion with a wonderful collection of exhibits brought together for the first time, 

Activity Until 31 January 2025, £8.50 with concessions

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.

Exhibitions Until 3 September 2023, FREE

Lindsey Mendick at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

This spring, Yorkshire Sculpture Park welcomes Lindsey Mendick, a rising star of the contemporary art world, in an immersive solo exhibition.

Exhibitions Until 31 January 2024, £10, with concessions

Magic in this Country: Hepworth, Moore and the Land at the Hepworth Wakefield

Discover the organic inspiration behind the work of Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and others in the new show at the Hepworth Wakefield. 

Elizabeth Gaskell's House
Literature Until 13 December 2023, from £5.00

Mary Barton season at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House online

The team at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House on Plymouth Grove has already celebrated the author’s famous novels Cranford and North And South, and in 2023 it’s the turn of Mary Barton: A Tale Of Manchester Life.

Exhibitions Until 20 January 2024, from £0.00

The Art of the Potter: Ceramics and Sculpture from 1930 to Now

‘The Art of the Potter: Ceramics and Sculpture from 1930 to Now’ at the Hepworth Wakefield celebrates the gallery’s growing collection of ceramics and sculpture.

Exhibitions Until 14 May 2023, FREE

Andrew Black: On Clogger Lane at The Tetley

Andrew Black: On Clogger Lane is an experimental documentary about a rural Yorkshire valley and its inhabitants, on display at The Tetley.

Exhibitions Until 11 May 2023, from £8.95

Private Parts at the Thackray Museum of Medicine

Thackray Museum of Medicine brings talk of private parts to the fore in a new exhibition that challenges taboos and social expectations.

Exhibitions Until 3 December 2023, FREE

(Un)Defining Queer at The Whitworth

Through a fantastic collection of classical and contemporary artists’ work, ‘(Un)Defining Queer’ examines the use of language, histories and narratives to explore what ‘queer’ really means today.

Music Until 25 February 2024, FREE

Interactive Music Tours at Old Chapel Music CIC

Old Chapel Music studio in Holdback, Leeds is offering an interactive historical music tour that opens its doors and ears to the public.

Samra Mayanja: The Living and the Stale at The Tetley
Exhibitions 10 February–4 June 2023, FREE

Samra Mayanja: The Living and the Stale at The Tetley

The Tetley presents artist and poet Samra Mayanja’s first institutional exhibition ‘The Living and the Stale’.

Exhibitions 18 February–11 June 2023, FREE

Hew Locke: The Procession at Baltic

Baltic presents a brand new exhibition ‘Hew Locke: The Procession’, taking inspiration from real-life figures and events, and into an imagined future.

Sarah Autumn
Literature 22 February–1 November 2023, FREE

Radical Reading Book Group at Left Bank Leeds

Join the Radical Reading Book Group every six weeks to discuss a book from The Reading Room Library – which you can find at Left Bank Leeds in collaboration with London-based independent radical publishers Pluto Press.

Things to do right now

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Activity Until 8 February 2023, from £170.00

Drawing course with Nina Hunter

Music Until 16 February 2023, from £9.50

Donna Candy at SOUP

vegan super club
Activity Until 17 February 2023, from £50

Supper Club at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School

Exhibitions Until 18 February 2023, FREE

The Confessional at HOME

Queer Contact 2023
Comedy Until 18 February 2023,

Queer Contact Festival 2023

PUSH Festival 2023 at HOME
Festivals Until 18 February 2023,

PUSH Festival 2023 at HOME

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside
Families Until 19 February 2023, from £14.00

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside CANCELLED

Activity Until 23 February 2023, from £59.99

Write Like A Grrrl: Ignite

Activity Until 25 February 2023, from £13

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Tour

Fairy Tales at Z-Arts
Families Until 26 February 2023, from £3.00

Fairy Tales at Z-arts