May

Creative Tourist

Containing 2 bank holidays, sunny weather, great exhibitions and live shows accompanied by some great food- this May could be a month packed with unforgettable experiences. Here are some of the best things to do in May in Manchester and the North.

Things to do in May

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Cinema 1 May 2020 7:30 pm, from £9.25

The Adventures of Robin Hood at Stockport Plaza

The Adventures of Robin Hood remains a perfect introduction to classic cinema.

Goat Girl at SFTOC 2018 PHOTO CREDIT Jody Hartley
Music 2 May 2020 3:00 pm, from £27.75

Sounds From The Other City 2020

One of the country’s foremost festivals showcasing new and emerging talent, Sounds From The Other City will soon be back for its 16th edition.

Music 6 May 2020 8:00 pm, from £30.50

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at Manchester Arena

One of the world’s great live acts, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are returning to Manchester in support of their extraordinary album, Ghosteen.

Cinema 7–10 May 2020, FREE

Pilot Light TV Festival Season 5 at HOME

Manchester’s TV festival is dedicated to producing an inclusive, communal TV experience where fans and industry can come together to celebrate the past, present and future of television.

Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival 2020
Exhibitions 14–17 May 2020, Tickets Not Currently On Sale

Abandon Normal Devices Festival 2020

Abandon Normal Devices Festival takes to the water in 2020 for its 9th edition, resurfacing along the global trade gateway of the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey.

Hinterlands Film Festival
Cinema 14–17 May 2020, from £6.5

Hinterlands Film Festival, Skipton

Hinterlands International Rural Film Festival celebrates rural film in dramatic ways across the landscapes of the Lakes and Dales.

Classical Music 14 May 2020 8:00 pm, from £20

Sam Sweeney Band at The Stoller Hall

Veteran of the mighty Bellowhead, Sam Sweeney is carving out a remarkable solo career as a world-class fiddler. Don’t miss him at The Stoller Hall.

Music 15 May 2020 6:30 pm, from £5

Anthony Marwood (violin) with Northern Chamber Orchestra at The Stoller Hall

World-class violinist Anthony Marwood leads the Northern Chamber Orchestra in Beethoven’s Olympian Violin Concerto in D major.

Classical Music 16 May 2020 7:30 pm, from £12.50

BBC Philharmonic: Beethoven – A Hallé Collaboration at The Bridgewater Hall

The BBC Philharmonic is joined by the Hallé in a joint celebration of Beethoven, which sees Sir Mark Elder take to the podium for one night only.

Music 23–24 May 2020, from £64.25

Neighbourhood Weekender 2020

Featuring a solid line-up, the Neighbourhood Weekender returns to Victoria Park, Warrington for its third outing this May bank holiday.

Gobefest at Albert Square
Families 26–28 May 2020, FREE

Góbéfest at Albert Square

The much-loved Góbéfest returns this June with a joyous showcase of the arts, culture, food and drink of the fabled-region of Transylvania.

Music 28–30 May 2020, from £14.50

The Hallé – Puccini’s Tragic Geisha at The Bridgewater Hall

A climactic moment in the Hallé’s 2019-20 season, Puccini’s richly celebrated opera, Madama Butterfly, will be performed by a star-studded cast.

Sculpture and Portrait Photography Workshop
Activity 30 May 2020 10:00 am, from £50

Sculpture and Portrait Photography Workshop at Dean Clough in Halifax

Join photographer Peter Defty for a sculpture and portrait photography workshop at Dean Clough in Halifax. 

Still showing this month

Holly Hendry, Cenotaph, 2018. Liverpool Biennial Touring Programme 2019
Exhibitions Until 3 May 2020, FREE

Liverpool Biennial Northern England Tour

Whether Liverpool Biennial 2018 passed you by or you diligently ticked-off every last one of its multiple offerings (if so; bravo), the Liverpool Biennial Northern England Tour seems unlikely to disappoint.

Exhibitions Until 15 May 2020, FREE

Poulsen Arc Dream Radio at Storyhouse in Chester

What does it mean to be transported into another person’s memories? Step into a new digital art commission at Storyhouse in Chester to find out.

Holly Hendry / Taus Makhacheva at The Tetley, Liverpool Biennial 2019 touring programme
Exhibitions Until 3 May 2020, FREE

Holly Hendry / Taus Makhacheva at The Tetley

As part of the Liverpool Biennial touring programme, The Tetley is hosting works by artists Holly Hendry and Taus Makhacheva.

Maddi Nicholson: a place lived at Hardman Square in Spinningfields
Exhibitions Until 20 July 2020, FREE

Maddi Nicholson: a place lived at Hardman Square in Spinningfields

‘a place lived’ by Maddi Nicholson is a new public artwork that delves into the near-forgotten history of Manchester’s thriving financial district.

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth
Exhibitions Until 5 July 2020, FREE

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth examines the powerful the voices of the Design Reform movement.

Hallé
Classical Music Until 30 May 2020,

The Hallé 2019-20 Season

From a brilliant range of symphonies, concertos, vocal works, operas and more, we select our five top picks from the Hallé’s 2019-20 season.

BBC Philharmonic 2019 2020 season bridgewater hall manchester
Classical Music Until 13 June 2020,

BBC Philharmonic 2019/20 Concert Season

An outstanding orchestra live in a world-class concert hall – read about the BBC Philharmonic’s 2019-20 season at The Bridgewater Hall.

Activity Until 2 July 2020, FREE

Technical Tours at the National Coal Mining Museum

Get into the the heart of the machinery with technical tours of the mines at the National Coal Mining Museum.

Eat The City - Scranchester Tours
Activity Until 19 November 2022, 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.

Northern Chamber Orchestra
Music Until 15 May 2020,

Northern Chamber Orchestra 2019/20 Season

Northern Chamber Orchestra’s 2019/20 Season features the likes of violinists Chloe Hanslip and Anthony Marwood; pianist Martin James Bartlett; percussionist Colin Currie; and their President, cellist, Raphael Wallfisch.

Theaster Gates: Amalgam at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 4 May 2020, from £8.5

Theaster Gates: Amalgam at Tate Liverpool

Marking his UK debut, Theaster Gates responds to the little-known history of Malaga – a small island off the north east state of Maine, USA.

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.

Rock and Goal
Activity Until 1 June 2020, from £4.5

Rock and Goal Tour

Join Joe Feeley a Mancunian through and through, who guides you into Manchester’s two pillars of cultural excellence with his Rock and Goal tour.

sunday night waves
Activity Until 14 July 2020, from £7

Sunday Night Waves 5Rhythms Drop In

Embrace the effervescent energy of Sunday Night Waves, a 5Rhythms dance class where you can move with the flow of your own body and explore.

Young girl playing with a tea set at Toddler Tuesdays
Families Until 30 June 2020, FREE

Toddler Tuesdays at Castleford Museum

These lively mornings of crafts and singing are fun, creative sessions for toddlers.

Activity Until 19 December 2020, from £55

Local Leeds Food Tour

Fresh local produce is always on the menu of the Local Leeds food tour. Visit six pubs and restaurants serving up some of Yorkshire’s finest cuisine.

Leeds Street Food Tour
Activity Until 19 December 2020, from £55

Leeds Street Food Tour

Eat your way through some of the best street food Leeds has to offer, with insights into the people and stories behind each bite. Try something new with the Leeds Street Food tour.

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.

Classical Music Until 9 May 2020, from £3

The Stoller Hall Spring Season

Spanning a plethora of genres, from classical to folk to Americana, The Stoller Hall’s Spring season is an eclectic delight. Read about it here.

THE PEOPLE’S CITY EXHIBITION at The Refuge – Photo © Rob Bremner
Exhibitions Until 31 May 2020, FREE

The People’s City at The Refuge, Manchester

Organised by the British Culture Archive, The Refuge in Manchester presents a remarkable selection of images that capture Britain from the 1960s onwards.

Utopias exhibition at the Whitworth
Exhibitions Until 31 October 2020, FREE

Utopias at the Whitworth

How have visions of utopia and the visual culture that helped form it impacted upon the Brexit debate? A new exhibition at the Whitworth explores.

skyliner
Activity Until 12 July 2020, from £9

Skyliner: Modern History of the Northern Quarter Tour

Join Skyliner for an alternative view of the Norther Quarter, learn about the area’s political happenings through it’s stunning public art.

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.

Bill Brandt / Henry Moore at The Hepworth Wakefield
Exhibitions Until 31 May 2020,

Bill Brandt / Henry Moore at The Hepworth Wakefield

This major exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield brings together over 200 works by Bill Brandt and Henry Moore highlighting their shared interests.

Emii Alrai: The High Dam at The Tetley in Leeds
Exhibitions Until 10 May 2020, FREE

Emii Alrai: The High Dam at The Tetley in Leeds

Combining demon lures and invented artefacts, ancient mythology and family lore, The High Dam at The Tetley in Leeds is the latest new work by upcoming artist Emii Alrai.

Taus Makhacheva: Hold Your Horses at The Tetley in Leeds
Exhibitions Until 10 May 2020, FREE

Taus Makhacheva: Hold Your Horses at The Tetley in Leeds

Taus Makhacheva’s new solo exhibition at The Tetley in Leeds explores the traditions of history-making and its encounters with experiences of everyday life.

Mark Making at Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre
Exhibitions Until 2 May 2020, FREE

Mark Making at Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre

Mark Making at Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre opens up fascinating new perspectives on humanity’s innate drive to leave its mark.

July Days at Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre
Exhibitions Until 2 May 2020, FREE

July Days at Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre

July Days by Aron Rossman-Kiss at Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre revolves around a single, blurry image taken around 1917.

Beatles
Activity Until 1 December 2020, from £75

Liverpool Beatles Walk and Ticket to Ride Tour

Immerse yourself in the world of John, Paul, George and Ringo as you walk in their footsteps through The Beatles’ home city in this six-hour extravaganza of a walking tour.

Two hour Beatles Guided Walk & Cavern Club
Activity Until 1 December 2020, from £20

Two hour Beatles Guided Walk & Cavern Club

This Beatles Guided Walk & Cavern Club is the perfect way to learn more about The Beatles while discovering the city of Liverpool.

Little Lambs Toddler Sessions at The Piece Hall in Halifax
Childrens Until 12 May 2020, from £3

Little Lambs Toddler Sessions at The Piece Hall, Halifax

Visit The Piece Hall in Halifax for a series of People Play inspired early years mornings complete with songs, stories and a craft activity.

New Digital Experiences at People's History Museum, Manchester
Exhibitions Until 23 December 2020, FREE

New Digital Experiences at People’s History Museum

Can cutting-edge tech bring us closer to the events of the past? People’s History Museum unveils a series of new digital artworks and experiences.

Half term fun - Young girl sat next to the tiger as part of the The Tiger who came to tea and the adventures of mog the forgetful cat exhibition
Exhibitions Until 31 December 2020, from £8.00

The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the Adventures of Mog the Forgetful Cat at Z-arts

In this immersive exhibition, children can let their imaginations go wild as they take centre stage alongside some of their favourite characters from beloved children’s author, Judith Kerr.

Other Transmissions: Conversations with Outsider Art at The Whitworth
Exhibitions Until 14 June 2020, FREE

Other Transmissions: Conversations with Outsider Art at The Whitworth

‘Other Transmissions: Conversations with Outsider Art’ is a collaboration between a group of six artists, with and without learning disabilities.

Phoebe Davies: Points of Rupture at Site Gallery in Sheffield
Exhibitions 20 February–17 May 2020, FREE

Phoebe Davies: Points of Rupture at Site Gallery in Sheffield

For her first solo exhibition, Welsh artist Phoebe Davies presents a new body of work inspired by her time spent with a group of teenage female wrestlers training in a local club on the outskirts of Oslo.

Back to the future half term in manchester
Theatre 20 February–17 May 2020, from £19.95

Back To The Future The Musical at Manchester Opera House

Turn your flux capacitor on and set your destination to the Manchester Opera House in the year 2020. Your future depends on it.

People Play by Alice Irwin at The Piece Hall in Halifax
Exhibitions 28 February–1 June 2020, FREE

People Play by Alice Irwin at The Piece Hall in Halifax

Artist Alice Irwin’s Matisse-esque friendly giants at The Piece Hall in Halifax embody an enchanting spirit of play, early innocence and imagination. Yet, they also have a more serious side to them.

Alice Irwin: People Play Trail at The Piece Hall in Halifax
Activity 28 February–1 June 2020, from £1

Alice Irwin: People Play Trail at The Piece Hall in Halifax

Drop into The Piece Hall Welcome Centre and collect a sculpture trail map that will take you on a sketching and symbol spotting journey.

Joana Vasconcelos exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions 7 March 2020–3 January 2021, FREE

Joana Vasconcelos at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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

Frances Disley 'Pattern Buffer' at Bluecoat
Exhibitions 13 March–21 June 2020, FREE

Frances Disley: Pattern Buffer at Bluecoat

Bluecoat prepares to present a new solo show by Frances Disley.

Jonathan Baldock: Facecrime at Bluecoat
Exhibitions 13 March–21 June 2020, FREE

Jonathan Baldock: Facecrime at Bluecoat

Bluecoat in Liverpool presents artist Jonathan Baldock’s first solo exhibition, Facecrime. 

Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism at Gallery Oldham
Exhibitions 14 March–30 May 2020, FREE

Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism at Gallery Oldham

Gallery Oldham presents a nationally touring exhibition of photographs by Yorkshire-born Syd Shelton capturing the legendary Rock Against Racism movement.

Soft Bodies at Castlefield Gallery
Exhibitions 20 March–10 May 2020, FREE

Soft Bodies at Castlefield Gallery

Soft Bodies at Castlefield Gallery will reference the body in relation to technology, politics, gender, race and sexuality.

Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here at Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth
Exhibitions 27 March–23 August 2020, FREE

Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here at Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth

Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here marks the only UK stop of a major touring retrospective dedicated to the American feminist artist.

Derek Jarman PROTEST! exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery
Cinema 2 April–31 August 2020, FREE

Derek Jarman: PROTEST! at Manchester Art Gallery

Derek Jarman: PROTEST! is a major retrospective of one of the most influential figures in 20th century British culture including many works which have never been seen in public before.

West Side Story at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 18 April–23 May 2020, from £10.00

West Side Story at the Royal Exchange

Powerful and fast-paced and heart-breaking, we’re thrilled to hear that West Side Story will return to the Royal Exchange next spring.

Week 53 Festival 2020
Theatre 24 April–3 May 2020,

Week 53 Festival 2020

From interactive poker games, aerial performance and Street Culture, Week 53 celebrates bold and brilliant contemporary performance.

Festivals 30 April–19 May 2020, from £00.00

Leeds International Festival 2020

Leeds International Festival, the UK’s leading metropolitan festival of new ideas and innovation, is back for its third year.