Tours and Activities in Manchester and the North

Carmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor

As winter kicks in and we head indoors, there’s nothing quite like sharing some beverages or a bite to eat with friends. In Manchester, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding new places to eat or hidden gems of bars tucked behind side streets. With so much variety and choice on offer, no wonder there are some brilliant tours and activities to guide you through the culinary maze that is Manchester’s city centre.

We aren’t just focusing on the food though. For those who consider themselves ale connoisseurs, Craft Beer Tour Manchester is a must. Be guided through a celebration of Manchester’s local independent breweries sampling as you go. Or if gin’s more your thing Manchester is now home to what was named the UK’s No.1 tourist attraction In the form of Manchester Three Rivers gin distillery. They offer a totally original and immersive gin experience where you’ll walk away with a bottle of gin made by your own hands.

There is sure to be something to satisfy your appetite for curiosity in this month’s guide.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Eat The City – Scranchester Tours

    Eat The City - Scranchester Tours
    Scranchester tours

    Eat The City - Scranchester Tours at Mackie Mayor, Manchester, 27 October 2018–25 May 2019, from £50 - Book now

    Wander through the city centre immersing yourself in Manchester’s foody histories and culture with some scrumptious stops en route.

  • 2. Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester

    Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester
    The Craft Tour Company

    Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester, 1 November 2018–1 February 2019, from £30 - Book now

    Indulge in Manchester’s local breweries best beers. Roam through craft beer bars and the breweries that supply them sampling ales, lagers and stouts that packed with personality.

  • 3. Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks

    John Ryan

    Northern Quarter Taster Walk at Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, 6 October 2018–6 March 2019, from £40 - Book now

    Lose yourself in the variety and quality of independent places to eat in the Northern Quarter. You may discover a new favourite hidden gem or just learn something fascinated and unexpected about an area you’re already familiar with.

  • 4. Cooking Together at Food Sorcery

    Cooking Together Italian Hake with Salsa verde ingredients

    Cooking Together at Food Sorcery , 31 October 2018–1 June 2019, from £60pp - Book now

    A meal out with a twist. Enjoy cooking your own restaurant standard three course meal with a loved one under the expert guidance of one of Food Sorcery’s resident chefs.

  • 5. Manchester Three Rivers Gin Distillery

    tours and activities guide

    Manchester Three Rivers Gin Distillery, Manchester Three Rivers
    City of Manchester Distillery
    21 Red Bank Parade
    , Manchester , M4 4HF - Visit now

    Experience the No.1 tourist attraction for yourself as you become immersed in the distilling your own bottle of Gin. Learn about the history of gin and the Botanics that make each bottle unique.

  • 6. Flecky Bennett’s Ghost Walks

    Flecky Bennett’s HALLOWEEN 2018 Ghost Walk
    Flecky Bennett Productions

    Flecky Bennett’s Ghost Walks, 13 October 2018–13 May 2019, from £15 - Book now

    If you enjoy a ghoulish tale and a good laugh, Flecky Bennett provides both in his array of Ghost Walks around the city. Part walking tour, part theatre, part paranormal investigation, Flecky exposes the ghosts and demonic presences in the streets we walk down every day.

  • 7. Whistle Punks Axe Throwing

    Whistle Punks Axe Throwing, Unit 20, Atrium level, Great Northern Warehouse, 235 Deansgate, , Manchester , Lancashire, M3 4EN - Visit now

    This Autumn learn how to throw axes at large planks of wood with wild abandon. Whistle Punks have been bringing axe throwing to Manchester’s urban sprawl since February 2017. It’s the perfect way to let off some steam and indulge in some catharsis this Halloween.

  • 8. Explorer Tours at The John Rylands Library

    The University of Manchester Library

    Explorer tours at The John Rylands Library, City Centre, 16 October 2018–19 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    See the John Rylands library from a different perspective in this tour which will take you behind the scenes of one of Manchester’s oldest establishments.

  • 9. The Modern History of the Northern Quarter Tour

    Hayley Flynn

    The Modern History of the Northern Quarter at Shudehill Metrolink Station, Manchester, 16 September–24 November 2018, from £9 - Book now

    Walk through the Northern Quarter and learn about its recent history as well as the potential future of the area through its eclectic street art. Nestled into the heart of the city, the Northern Quarter has long been known as the ‘cooler’ side of town. Whether you are someone who has lived in Manchester for years or just visiting, the tour shows you some of the less obvious artistic features of the Northern Quarter.

  • 10. Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour

    Photo by Clem Onojeghuo from Pexels

    Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour at Manchester Art Gallery, Chinatown, 20 September 2018–19 September 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Manchester Art Gallery is part of the city’s framework from its architecture to the contents of its galleries. This is a perfect opportunity to get to know some of the pieces in a bit more detail.

  • 11. Radical Lates at the People’s History Museum

    Radical Lates at People's History Museum

    Radical Lates at the People's History Museum at People’s History Museum, City Centre, 11 October 2018–14 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Revolutionary ideas are often shared best on an evening, in keeping with this spirit the People’s History Museum has launched their new Radical Lates series.

More Tours & Activities

Activity 3 September 2018–2 September 2019, FREE

Whitworth Art Gallery Daily Tour

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. The free tours run daily from 2 pm.

Activity 22 September–31 December 2018, FREE

Free Tour Discover Manchester

Sí Manchester’s free daily tour is a brilliant way to get an overview of the city with tours running in both English and Spanish.

Activity 20 October 2018–31 December 2019, FREE

Documentary Challenge at IWM North

Make and feature in your own mini-documentary at IWM North.

Activity 24 November–15 December 2018, from £4

Guide to the World of Music at Band on the Wall

Taking place at Band on the Wall over four Saturdays, the Guide to the World of Music taster sessions will help young people learn how to sing, play and discover new music.

Screen Printed Silk Scarf / Full Day Workshop at Salford Makers
Activity 24 November 2018, from £70

Screen Printed Silk Scarf / Full Day Workshop at Salford Makers

You will be guided through experimental and expressive design approaches to design and print your own, one of kind large silk scarf.

Activity 24 November 2018, FREE

CFCCA Festive Weekend: Free Guided Tour

Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) as part of their festive weekend will be hosting their monthly free and informal tour of the building as well as their current exhibitions. Ending with some warming winter treats.

Activity 5 December 2018, from £30

Christmas Gin Tasting with Gin Meister

Join Gin Meister for a collection of artisanal gins that epitomise the festive spirit in the fantastic surroundings of Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Activity 13 December 2018, FREE

Festive cinema: It’s A Wonderful Life at the People’s History Museum

Join the People’s History Museum for a festive screening of It’s A Wonderful Life, an iconic story of Christmas cheer and solidarity. Cinema snacks and treats available to buy from The Left Bank cafe bar on the night, including popcorn.

Words and Deeds: Nursing and Poetry
Activity 13 December 2018, FREE

Words and Deeds: Nursing and Poetry at the People’s History Museum

Join Audrey Arden-Jones in the People’s History Museum’s Radical Lates series where she’ll be performing poetry by female authors involved in the campaign for women’s suffrage.

Culture Guides

Cinema

From politically-minded British cinema, to rebooted classics and an animation extravaganza: there are plenty of festivals, film seasons and new releases for you to enjoy this month.

Visitors view work by Michael Dean in The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. 26 October 2018 - 20 January 2019. Photo, David Lindsay

Exhibitions

From the dreamy paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites to ‘shonky aesthetics’ and a crisis of visual representation surrounding HIV; this month’s exhibitions highlights are as eclectic as ever.

Families

Luminous adventures, festive fixes, Drag Queen Storytime and New Year’s Eve parties with nippers to book now for … look no further for the best things to do with kids.

Author Luke Kennard.

Literature

Even more spoken word nights are joining the old faithfuls, there’s a whole lot of poetry and prose including a rare chance to catch performers from as far afield as Paris and Texas, and showcases such as Chester Literature Festival, Chorlton Book Festival and Poetry Emergency will add to your wider reading pile.

Music

Spanning electronic, rock, classical and jazz, November holds a wealth of exciting northern gigs and concerts.

Theatre in Manchester and the North

Theatre

Our theatre guide this month features the striking choreography of Matthew Bourne, a theatrical dining experience and our top picks of pantomime fare. There’s plenty to enjoy. Oh yes, there is!

Things to do right now

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Activity 20 October 2018–31 December 2019, FREE

Documentary Challenge at IWM North

Cooking Together Italian Hake with Salsa verde ingredients
Activity 31 October 2018–1 June 2019, from £60pp

Cooking Together at Food Sorcery

Activity 6 October 2018–6 March 2019, from £40

Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks

Radical Lates at People's History Museum
Activity 11 October 2018–14 February 2019, FREE

Radical Lates at the People’s History Museum

Flecky Bennett’s HALLOWEEN 2018 Ghost Walk
Activity 13 October 2018–13 May 2019, from £15

Flecky Bennett’s Ghost Walks

Activity 22 September–31 December 2018, FREE

Free Tour Discover Manchester

Activity 3 September 2018–2 September 2019, FREE

Whitworth Art Gallery Daily Tour

Activity 16 September–24 November 2018, from £9

The Modern History of the Northern Quarter Tour