things to do in october
Everything that happened and would happen at Mayfield © Killa Schuetze


Creative Tourist

There’s plenty of things to do this October in Manchester and the North as the galleries and auditoriums step up and start knocking out some of the year’s best work.

We say goodbye to Liverpool Biennial this month, if you’ve still not been you’ll be after our weekend guide. But as we say goodbye to the Biennial, we say hello, hello to great new seasons from Contact, RNCM, The Stoller Hall, BBC Philharmonic, Everyman & Playhouse and many more.

Elsewhere there’s literature festivals in Manchester and Rochdale, Art Fairs, Craft Fairs and Folk Festivals.

Really, there’s just absolutely loads on this month and you owe it to yourself to get involved.

The October Longlist

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English National Ballet: Swan Lake at the Palace Theatre
Dance 5–8 October 2022, from £13.00

English National Ballet: Swan Lake at the Palace Theatre

The world’s most famous ballet returns to Manchester. Don’t miss this stunning production from the English National Ballet.

Cinema 6–9 October 2022, from £110

Grimmfest at Odeon Great Northern

Grimmfest, Manchester’s annual festival of horror, cult and fantastic film returns to Odeon Great Northern this October.

Poet Zaffar Kunial.
Literature 7–23 October 2022, from £5

Manchester Literature Festival 2022

MLF22 runs from 7 to 23 October and presents inspiring live literature and spoken word from international writers and home-grown talent.

Demon Dentist at the Manchester Opera House
Families 13–15 October 2022, from £13.00

Demon Dentist at the Manchester Opera House

Demon Dentist Live on Stage is coming to the Opera House, Manchester on Thursday 13 October.- Saturday 15 October 2022

Music 13–15 October 2022, from £13.20

Manchester Folk Festival 2022

Manchester Folk Festival grows from strength to strength with a soul-melting lineup and the addition of a new venue.

David Gibb's Family Jukebox
Families 15 October 2022 1:30 pm, from £11.00

David Gibb’s Family Jukebox

Experience magical, musical fun for the whole family at the Manchester Folk Festival with David Gibb’s Family Jukebox, coming to the International Anthony Burgess Foundation on 15 October.

Still from a film by artist Sin Wai Kin, A Dream of Wholeness in Parts (still) 2021 © the artist. Courtesy the artist, Chi - Wen Gallery, Taipei and Soft Opening, London. Produced by Chi - Wen Productions, Taipei. Supported by Hayward Gallery Touring for British Art Show 9
Exhibitions 20 October 2022–19 March 2023, FREE

Turner Prize 2022 at Tate Liverpool

This year, Tate Liverpool will have the pleasure of hosting what is possibly the most important event in contemporary art in the UK – the Turner Prize.

Music 20 October 2022 7:00 pm, from £47.30

Pavement at O2 Apollo

After more than a decade apart, the seminal indie rockers Pavement are back, and heading to Manchester this October.

Silhouette of people standing in front of an exhibit at Manchester Science Festival 2018
Activity 21–30 October 2022,

Manchester Science Festival 2022

Expect another action-packed programme of inspiring, entertaining and playful experiences as Manchester Science Festival returns, with interactive online events, thought-provoking talks and eye-opening exhibitions.

Let The Right One In at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 22 October–19 November 2022, from £10.00

Let The Right One In at the Royal Exchange

A deeply moving piece of theatre – as enchanting as it is brutal – Let The Right One In tells a chilling and beautiful coming-of-age vampire love story.

The Lion King at the Palace Theatre
Families 27 October 2022–19 February 2023, from £20.00

The Lion King at the Palace Theatre

The sun may have set over our Manchester theatres during the pandemic – but now “it’s rolling high through the sapphire sky” once again. Hit musical The Lion King has added even more dates to its previously postponed run.

Music 30 October 2022 7:30 pm, from £13.50

Porridge Radio at Leeds Irish Centre

Porridge Radio are one of the most vital new voices in alternative music, having gone from being darlings of the DIY underground to one of the UK’s most thrilling bands in the space of less than a year.

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.

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.

What is Manchester Art Gallery?
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2023, FREE

What is Manchester Art Gallery? at Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery reopens with a thought-provoking new exhibition that delves into the history of the public institution and its role within the city.

families at the national history museum
Families Until 1 December 2022,

Families at the National Football Museum

Bring your football-loving family for a visit to England’s one and only national museum for football, with activities for families available throughout the museum.

Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
Literature Until 11 December 2022, from £4.50

Book sale at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and award-winning garden is a must-see, with the famous book sale every second Sunday of the month throughout 2022.

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.

Visual Arts Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Graffiti at Zap Graffiti

Liverpool’s Zap Graffiti teaches all the basic skills and techniques you need to make a street-style creation you’ll be proud of.

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.

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.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £60

Glass fusing at Glassmonkey Studio

Come and experience the magic of fused glass at Glass Monkey Studio in Burnley, where workshops cater for all levels and abilities.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £59

Making silver stacker rings at The Old Granary

One of many workshops hosted by local jeweller Helen Drye, here you’ll learn the technical skills required to make a chic stacker ring.

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £3.50

Knittaz with Attitude: Yarnbombing at Upside Down Coffee

Knitting, crochet, yarnbombing and contemporary needlecraft. Not a workshop as such but a ‘learning’ social with Knittaz with Attitude.

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.

Albert Potrony: EQUAL PLAY at BALTIC, Gateshead
Exhibitions Until 31 October 2022, FREE

Albert Potrony: EQUAL PLAY at BALTIC, Gateshead

Artist and educator Albert Potrony sets out to explore non-gendered and non-prescriptive modes of childhood play in a major new exhibition at BALTIC.

Electric Gamebox at the arndale
Childrens Until 22 October 2022, from £5.00

Electric Gamebox at The Arndale

Get ready for an immersive, digital, gaming adventure at the Arndale Centre in Manchester.

Exhibitions Until 8 January 2023, FREE

2022 Banner Exhibition at People’s History Museum

The 2022 Banner Exhibition 2022 at the People’s History Museum will take you on a journey through the history of rights and equality via its dazzling collection.

Music Until 5 October 2022, from £5.50

Sounds of Nature at The Stoller Hall

The Stoller Hall has taken Sound of Nature as its new programming strand for 2022, with the aim of connecting audiences with nature through music.

Exhibitions Until 8 January 2023, from £0.00

Robert Indiana: Sculpture 1958-2018 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

A major exhibition of Robert Indiana’s sculptures and two-dimensional work will adorn the rolling hills and Underground Gallery of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

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

Victoria Baths Guided Tour

Victoria Baths Guided Tours are back again after a winter break. Uncover the history of one of Manchester’s iconic treasures through the stories of bathers who once flocked there.

Exhibitions Until 16 October 2022, FREE

Jill McKnight: Desire Lines at Leeds Art Gallery

Leeds-based artist Jill McKnight presents a new body of work: Desire Lines, exploring the physical and metaphorical paths Leeds residents have taken across generations.

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

Fairy Tales at Z-Arts

Z-Arts presents Fairy Tales, an enchanting exhibition that takes children aged 0-8 to an interactive Fairy Tale wonderland.

Embroidered tent by Mounira Al Solh
Exhibitions Until 2 October 2022, FREE

Mounira Al Solh: A Day Is As Long As A Year at BALTIC, Gateshead

‘Mounra Al Solh: A Day Is As Long As A Year’ will explore migration, memory and storytelling in Al Solh’s upcoming show at the BALTIC, opening the gallery’s 20th anniversary programme.

Laleh Khorromian, Egg Rig
Exhibitions Until 2 October 2022, FREE

The Vasseur BALTIC Artists Award 2022 at BALTIC, Gateshead

The Vasseur BALTIC Artists’ Award 2022, in its third edition, will gather the work of some of the most exciting international artists working today, exploring themes of ancient mythologies, contemporary politics and ecology.

Exhibitions Until 8 January 2023, FREE

Refractive Pool: Contemporary Painting in Liverpool at Walker Art Gallery

‘Refractive Pool: Contemporary Painting in Liverpool’ at Walker Art Gallery celebrates local talent with an exhibition of paintings by 21 Merseyside artists alongside a publication.

Exhibitions Until 25 November 2022, FREE

Gathering Downstream at Quarry Bank

The former cotton mill of Quarry Bank is currently home to ‘Gathering Downstream’, an exhibition exploring the site’s legacy of the industrial revolution alongside environmental change and disruption.

Image: Sumuyya Khader, Changing Winds, 2020 (detail). ©The Artist
Exhibitions Until 30 October 2022, FREE

Shifting Perspectives at Leeds Art Gallery

Leeds Art Gallery’s exhibition ‘Shifting Perspectives’ invites viewers to examine their own perspectives around identity and representation of African, Caribbean and Asian communities, via the medium of art.

Patron Mono by Carolina Caycedo, image depicts a figure standing in a room with a three channel video emitting a yellow light
Exhibitions Until 20 November 2022, FREE

Carolina Caycedo: Land of Friends at BALTIC Gateshead

‘Land of Friends’, Carolina Caycedo’s first major survey in Europe, gathers work from the artist’s 20 years of making, and focuses on environmental justice, energy transition and cultural biodiversity, with the addition of a brand new commission.

Exhibitions Until 23 October 2022, FREE

Janine Burrows: Table to Tide: A Yorkshire Conversation at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Table to Tide: A Yorkshire Conversation is Janine Burrows’ very intimate exhibition created especially for Yorkshire Sculpture park.

Photograph entitled 'A Tangled Mind' by artist Louisa Hammond, depicts a man wrapped in string and what looks like balloons
Exhibitions Until 9 December 2022, FREE

Recollections May Vary at the Mental Health Museum, Wakefield

Inspired by the museum collection of objects and documents related to mental health, ‘Recollections May Vary’ gathers the work of 12 artists, resulting in a powerful display of very personal responses.

Exhibitions Until 9 October 2022, from £4.50

James Fox: Something in Common at Blackwell, the Arts & Crafts House

Gentle protest with the use of crafts and questioning public land access rights will be the focus on James Fox’s new exhibition ‘Something in Common’ at Blackwell, the Arts & Crafts House in Cumbria.

Exhibitions Until 30 October 2022, FREE

Jaume Plensa: In small places, close to home at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The much-loved sculptor Jaume Plensa’s drawings are on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Weston Gallery and 18th century chapel, revealing his preoccupation with the human condition, and community.

Cream shoes which belonged to Lady Lever, on display in the new exhibition 'Inspired by Lady Lever'
Exhibitions Until 29 January 2023, FREE

Inspired by Lady Lever at Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight

Port Sunlight’s exhibition ‘Inspired by Lady Lever’ aims to reveal a little more about the lady herself, with the help of valuable artefacts, while celebrating 100 years of history at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, and the life of the woman it is named after.

Exhibitions Until 2 October 2022, FREE

Creative Connections Sheffield at the Millennium Gallery

Teaming up with the National Portrait Gallery, Creative Connections Sheffield showcases the fame that the city has to offer through a set of powerful portraits.

Installation view of 'Tending to the harvest of dreams' by Lungiswa Gqunta, displaying barbed wire wrapped in green fabric alongside metal tables in a purple room.
Exhibitions Until 30 October 2022, FREE

Lungiswa Gqunta: Sleep in Witness at The Henry Moore Institute

Don’t miss the work of multimedia artist Lungiswa Gqunta at The Henry Moore Institute, in ‘Sleep in Witness’, her largest show to date. Using an established set of powerful, personal motifs, Gqunta’s work focuses on colonialism, its violence and legacy, while also leaning into themes of resistance and collective healing.

A still from the animation 'Hole' by Rachel Goodyear, depicting two hand-drawn female figures wearing pink dresses on a black background.
Exhibitions Until 26 February 2023, FREE

Rachel Goodyear: Stirrings at Salford Museum & Art Gallery

Salford Museum & Art Gallery presents a ‘homecoming’ exhibition – the first major solo show in the North by the Salford-based, internationally renowned artist Rachel Goodyear.

Shakespeare North Playhouse Opening Season
Theatre Until 7 January 2023,

Shakespeare North Playhouse Opening Season

Launching with a glorious weekend of free festivities (15-17 July), check out Shakespeare North Playhouse’s spectacular opening season.

Exhibitions Until 1 October 2022, FREE

Emma Rodgers: Wunderkammer at Williamson Art Gallery

‘Emma Rodgers: Wunderkammer’ at Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead takes audiences into the world of the artist’s fantastical creations.

Illustration entitled ‘Because you cannot tame something so happily wild’ by Emily Hughes showing painted animals in a woodland setting
Exhibitions Until 30 October 2022, FREE

Picture This at The Lowry

This summer, the Lowry is celebrating children’s books with a wonderful exhibition of illustrations and an exciting accompanying events programme for the whole family.

The BFG in Pictures
Families Until 2 October 2022, FREE

The BFG in Pictures at Grosvenor Museum

The BFG in Pictures is a new, free exhibition based at Chester’s Grosvenor Museum, opening from 23 July – 2 October.

autumn season at z-arts
Families 1 September–30 December 2022, FREE

Autumn season at Z-arts

Families of Manchester can look forward to an incredible season of events at Z-arts this autumn, in a series of activities and events that holds arts, nature and creativity at its core.

Families 2 September–1 October 2022, from £13.00

Mrs Doubtfire at Manchester Opera House

Mrs Doubtfire, a touching musical comedy about family, love and friendship, is coming to Manchester Opera House, straight from Broadway.

The Glass Menagerie at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 2 September–8 October 2022, from £10.00

The Glass Menagerie at the Royal Exchange

Following the huge success of Hobson’s Choice at the Royal Exchange in 2019, Atri Banerjee returns to direct Tennessee Williams’ semi-autobiographical masterpiece.

Jadé Fadojutimi at The Hepworth Wakefield
Exhibitions 16 September 2022–19 March 2023, from £10

Jadé Fadojutimi at The Hepworth Wakefield

This September, The Hepworth Wakefield is giving audiences the opportunity to experience the wonderfully colourful world of Jadé Fadojutimi.

The Book Thief at Octagon Theatre Bolton
Theatre 17 September–15 October 2022, from £15.00

The Book Thief at Octagon Theatre Bolton

Seen on stage for the very first time and opening the Octagon’s autumn/ winter season, don’t miss this world premiere stage show of Markus Zusak’s best-selling novel.

A Midsummer Night's Dream at Shakespeare North Playhouse
Theatre 22 September–22 October 2022, from £3.00

A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare North Playhouse

Join Not Too Tame for a riotous version of Shakespeare’s best-known comedy. Happening as part of Shakespeare North Playhouse’s Opening Season.

Exhibitions 27 September 2022–4 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.

The Time Traveller's Wife
Theatre 30 September–15 October 2022, from £22.50

The Time Traveller’s Wife: a new musical at Storyhouse

A brand new musical adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s international best-seller is set to receive its world premiere at Storyhouse before moving to the West End.

Things to do right now

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Activity Until 14 August 2022, from £2.00

Heaton Park Pump Track

The Gruffalo at The lowry
Families Until 21 August 2022, from £10.00

The Gruffalo at The Lowry

The Jungle Book at Williamson Park
Families Until 28 August 2022, from £15.00

The Jungle Book at Williamson Park

Open Air Theatre in Manchester and the North
Childrens Until 29 August 2022, from £28.00

Stig of the Dump at Grosvenor Open Air Theatre

Activity Until 30 August 2022, Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members) £1.50 for trail

The Lost Words at Quarry Bank

Festivals Until 31 August 2022, from £9.95

Flying Fighters of Taiwan at HOME

Great Northern Sandpit
Families Until 31 August 2022, FREE

The Great Northern Sandpit

Activity Until 31 August 2022, from £40

Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks