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Things to do in Manchester this weekend

Check out this weekend's events and find great things to do this weekend in Manchester

Rob Martin
Written by
Rob Martin

We've rounded up some of the best things to do in Manchester this weekend, so there's no excuse to let your downtime go to waste. Whether theatre is your bag, you're mad for music or you'd rather stroll around an art exhibition, you'll find it all in our list, plus much, much more.

If you're looking for things to do in Manchester beyond this weekend, take a look at The Best Things To Do In Manchester.


This weekend's best things to do

Ahead of the release of the new Guillermo del Toro feature film, retelling the story of Pinocchio, original puppets and maquettes designed by the award-winning animation and model-making company Mackinnon and Saunders from their studio in Altrincham, will go on display at the Waterside in Sale as part of a brand new exhibition celebrating their 30-year career. As well as ‘Pinocchio’, there will be puppets and models paying homage to their longstanding working relationship with Hollywood director, Tim Burton, including from ‘Corpse Bride’ and ‘Frankenweenie’ as well as work from their contribution to Wes Anderson’s acclaimed ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’.

From Saturday November 19

It may still be mild out there but Winter is coming and a welcome part of that is a cosy pub or restaurant where you can relax on a Sunday afternoon with some excellent quality food and wine. Salford's Black Friar, named after a Benedictine Monk who promoted the healing power of people getting together for food and a drink, has had several incarnations. It's been around for a while - it was re-built in 1886, and fire damage left it derelict for over a decade until it was refurbished and became a gastro pub. The mix of old and new - the old pub is extended with a modern glass restaurant and there's a garden too - informs the menus, with traditional fayre with a modern twist being the order of the day. Treat yourself to a leisurely Sunday roast and you'll be thanking Monk Benedict Farcire all the way home...


HOME Mcr heads to Media City to present an exhibition of the world's most elusive artist, Banksy (although a little desk research will help you our enormously). It's hard to imagine how someone worth over £50million can remain so far out of the public eye when the work is so very public, but this collection, ranging from prints, canvases, limited-edition pieces, unique works and ephemera, provides some insight into the mind of the graffiti king. 

From Friday October 21

The astonishing images captured by photojournalist Anastasia Taylor-Lind over almost a decade come together at Imperial War Museum North for an exhibition which reveals a conflict much longer-standing than the one we are currently all aware of. From as far back as 2014, she has documented protests, conflict, invasion and, movingly, people. And whilst many of the images stun in their documentation of destruction, it's the portraits that haunt. Sometimes taken in a makeshift studio, they reveal at once a stoicism and exhaustion from people who simply want to live in freedom. Catch this vital exhibition before it heads to London next year.

Friday October 14 2022 - Monday January 2 2023


A new collection of paintings by Jean Hobson takes to the walls of Manchester Central Library accompanied by contemporary photographs. Hobsom spent years painting and sketching the warehpouses of Manchester and the city skyline and recently revisited the sites which are now the homes of city dwellers. Noting the vast changes she says,
‘I decided to highlight this by putting contemporary photographs next to the drawings or paintings of the buildings which have vanished. New versus old.’

Now until December (date TBC)

Featuring creatures from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series, lights will transform the landscape into an outdoor trail at Arley Hall from the weekend. Visitors will encounter mystical creatures such as Hippogriffs, centaurs, unicorns, Nifflers, and practice casting their own spells. There's food and drink too and you can expect to leave through the gift shop so take those pennies along if you want a wand of your very own.

From Saturday October 15.



The award-winning Lightopia returns to Manchester for the fourth year, to present a brand-new immersive light trail, ‘A Christmas Story’ at Heaton Park. This year’s trail follows the story of new beginnings and the circle of life and makes for a genuinely lovely family evening out. 

Thursday November 24 - Monday January 2

This ten-week residency brings Backyard Cinema on its first outing outside London where it'll be screening to an audience of over 300 at Depot Mayfield. Visitors can expect to watch classic films and new releases within an interactive, movie-grade set, accompanied by food and drink with massive bean bag seating. Screenings include ‘Elvis’, ‘Nope’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

From Friday October 21


Get ready for Winter as Tattu spruces up its menu for a seasonal twist and gives the space a makeover. The icey new look is inspired by the Chinese lunar calendar, reflecting the Chinese proverb ‘a fall of snow gives promise to a fruitful year’ so expect a light covering of white to greet you. Tattu's food and cocktails remain as wonderful as ever, with the new wintery variations adding a whole new layer to what is already one of Manchester's finest dining experiences.

If you feel the need to escape on Sunday afternoons there's nowhere better in the city than Freight Island. With a host of different restaurants under the same roof, or even outside in some cases, plus as many bars as you could wish for, you're well-catered for in every way. And if you fancy, you could even indulge in a bit of a spin with Good Life Skates whilst you're there! 


Suzanne Lacy's stunning work, ‘The Circle and the Square’ is a multi-screen video installation but please don't let that description put you off. In a darkened room you are immersed by images and singing, as Lacy's project has the power to move you to tears. She spent two years with communities in Pendle, former workers at the now derelict Brierfield Mill. Where once people of different ethnicities and religions came together to work, there's now division and conflict. Watch and listen in awe as Lacy brings them back together through traditions of Sufi chanting and Shape Note singing. Astonishing.

Now until January 2023

A photography exhibition born out of an ongoing relationship between Greater Manchester and Sweden, with artists tasked to respond to the phrase ‘think global, act local’. The resulting show, at Astley Cheetham Art Gallery in Stalybridge, considers how a dual outlook can help to find local solutions to the issues that affect us all as seen through the lenses of artists working and living in Sweden and Greater Manchester to see how the word ‘local’ is interpreted by differing cultures, people, artists and places.

From Saturday September 24 - Wednesday December 21

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