08 Sep Visit Manchester this Autumn

Vibrant, bohemian and arty, there is always plenty to do in Manchester. From landmarks to theatres and museums, all the usual touristic attractions are on offer, but here are our highlights – all the events and sights you just don’t want miss in Manchester this autumn.

*last updated 8th Sep 2017

Autumn Highlights

1. Take a stroll around Salford Quays

The river bays and harbours in Salford offer some of the nicest urban autumn walks in Manchester.

As the trees and shrubs surrounding the docks change into their autumn colours, walking around Erin and Huron Basin will give you a real feel for the season and, being circular, you can end your stroll back at The Quays where you can grab a bite. You can even use the walk as an excuse to try that dessert that caught your eye!

Although Salford is part of Greater Manchester, it’s actually a city in its own right. Home to Media City and some of the UK’s biggest TV studios, it is also the address for Manchester United, The Lowry Theatre, Lowry Outlet shopping mall and an array of eateries, so there is always something going on here. It’s definitely worth checking the calendar and seeing if anything takes your fancy.

Address: The Quays, Salford, Greater Manchester, M50 3AH
How to get there: From central Manchester, MediaCity UK or Harbour City Metrolink tram stops
Opening hours: The harbour is open 24hrs; Lowry Outlet shopping mall from 10am to 6pm; some restaurants will be open until 11pm
More information: http://www.thequays.org.uk/events/

2. Have breakfast at Manchester Town Hall

When visiting Manchester, it would be a sacrilege not to pay this grand building a visit. If you time your visit well, you can even have breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea at the Sculpture Hall Café.

One of Manchester’s most iconic landmarks and located right in the heart of the city at Albert Square, the Town Hall dates back to 1868. The ground floor is open for visitors during the day, but if you wish to enjoy a meal in the café make sure to book a table in advance. Albert Square itself is also an epicentre for many city events, so don’t be surprised if there is a market or event on when you visit.

As the Town Hall is ideally located to explore the rest of the city, we would highly recommend going for breakfast and setting off from there, fuelled up and ready to wander. Alternatively, it’s definitely worth visiting Albert Square in the evening when the Town Hall is closed, but lit up. Cameras at the ready, you will definitely want a photo here!

Address: Albert Square, Manchester, M2 5DB
How to get there: You can walk here from anywhere in central Manchester but if you must, St Peters Square will be your nearest Metrolink tram stop
Opening hours: 9am-4pm
Admission: Free
More information: http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/500323/town_hall
Booking a table: http://www.thetownhallmcr.co.uk/sculpture-hall-cafe

3. Watch a play at the Three Minute Theatre (3MT)

No place in Manchester encapsulates the city’s alternative culture more than Afflecks. 3MT is a little quirky independent theatre inside the arcade.

A stage for local independent plays, 3MT offers and eclectic mix of comedy, drama and thought provoking theatre. The venue itself is quite unique, a place you will not forget visiting. A quick heads up – this little gem is literally tucked away. Once you reach the entrance to the arcade on Oldham Street, you need to walk all the way to the end and look for the entrance (sometimes closed with a heavy curtain) to the left.

Address: Afflecks Arcade, 35-39 Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JG
How to get there: You can walk here from anywhere in central Manchester but if you must, Piccadilly Gardens or Market Street will be your nearest Metrolink tram stops
Opening hours: Box office 12 noon to 5pm, different times for performances
Admission: Depends on performance
More information: http://www.threeminutetheatre.co.uk/


Halloween in Manchester 

You will be spoilt for choice of things to do during Halloween in Manchester, as the whole city gets involved in trick-or-treating.

4. Grimmfest (5th -8th Oct)

The horror film festival will possess the Vue Printworks cinema in Manchester for four days this October, showcasing the best and most gruesome horror and cult films of the genre. Definitely one for fans of horror or psychological thrillers.

Address: Vue Printworks, Manchester
How to get there: It will depend on which event you are attending but they are mostly within Manchester city centre, so walkable distance.
Opening hours: Earliest screening 10.20am and latest 11pm depending on the date you visit
Admission: £20 – £30 for a day pass
More information: http://grimmfest.com/grimmupnorth/2017/09/grimmfest-2017-full-line-up/

5. Halloween in the City (21st – 31st Oct)

Retailers throw a retail Halloweekend and the city backs it up with parties, screenings and family activities. Not to mention seasonal decorations and fancy dress, even the city’s landmarks get a spooky makeover and are lit up in green and purple! Make sure to join in the fun.

Address: All over the city, especially at the Arndale Centre, St Anns Square and Albert Square
How to get there: Head to Manchester city centre by train or car
Opening hours: Activity times vary, but majority from 11am – 7pm
Admission: Most activities are free
More information: https://www.visitmanchester.com/ideas-and-inspiration/halloween-in-the-city


 Foodie things to do in Manchester

For the foodies out there… You are in for a treat! As well as being home to great restaurants, Manchester hosts some amazing food festivals every year.

6. Manchester Food and Drink Festival – MFDF (28th Sep – 9th Oct)

MANCHESTER FOOD & DRINK FESTIVAL from keith on Vimeo.

The famous food and drink festival returns to Manchester and celebrates it’s 20th anniversary, bringing great produce and raising awareness for issues that affect the food and drink industry in the region.

Rather than taking place at one single location, the festival has its hub at Albert Square with a gorgeous food village, but then it spreads throughout the city with a full programme of events indoors and outdoors. Our advice? Come hungry and try everything!

Address: Albert Square, Manchester, M2 5DB
How to get there: You can walk here from anywhere in central Manchester but if you must, St Peters Square will be your nearest Metrolink tram stop
Opening hours: From 12 noon to late
Admission: Free (not including all the goodness you will taste!)
More information: http://foodanddrinkfestival.com/

7. Manchester Oktoberfest (18th – 22nd Oct)

Germany comes to Manchester for the legendary beer festival and you should definitely dress up for the occasion!

Once again Albert Square becomes the hub of the action and is transformed into a Bavarian experience. Live music, tasty treats and, of course, plenty of beer. A must for any beer and food lover. On Sunday, the festival offers a family event where children are welcomed for lunch, but any other day this event is for 18+ guests only for obvious reasons. Don’t forget to hire your German costume at the venue or elsewhere and come dressed to impress.

Address: Albert Square, Manchester, M2 5DB
How to get there: You can walk here from anywhere in central Manchester but St Peters Square will be your nearest Metrolink tram stop
Opening hours: Slightly different hours every day, but generally from 4pm to 11pm.
Admission: £0-60 depending on what package you go for
More information: http://manchester-oktoberfest.co.uk/


What to do in Manchester with Kids

As well as museums and children’s activities all over the city, Manchester hosts an array of events especially designed for kids. The Digital Kids Show and the Manchester Literature Festival (see entry further down) both offer amazing activities for small and big kids alike.

8. Digital Kids Show (18th – 20th Nov)

Millennial children now grow up with digital devices at their fingertips. While there are great benefits to having access to so much technology, Digital Kids Show aims to empower children and teens by using fun activities to educate them (and their parents and carers!) about using technology safely. Games, shows, activities and a lot of fun for the whole family.

Address: EventCity, Phoenix Way, Manchester M41 7TB
How to get there: There are no Metrolink connections to EventCity, but you can take the X50 or 250 bus from Piccadilly Gardens Bus Station. Check here for more details.
Opening hours: 11am-5pm (10am for pre-booked ticket holders)
Admission: £25 per person or £85 for a family of 4
More information: https://www.digitalkidsshow.co.uk/


What’s On in Manchester for Culture Lovers

Manchester is famous for its music, art and fashion scenes. You just have to pick your poison.

History & Art 

9. Dunham Massey

When George Harry, 7th Earl of Stamford & Warrington, married the beautiful Catharine Cox, he broke Victorian society’s conventions. She was working class and an ex-circus performer. It was a scandal! And Cheshire high society made sure to make their feelings heard. The result changed the history of Altrincham forever. A little out of central Manchester, but a great exhibition to visit and beautiful gardens in which to soak up the autumn colours.

Address: Dunham Massey, Charcoal Lane, Altrincham, Greater Manchester WA14 4SJ
How to get there: From central Manchester, take the Metrolink tram to Altrincham, then a bus to Dunham Massey. Check here for more details.
Opening hours: 11am-5pm
Admission: £15 per adult, children and family tickets available
More information: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunham-massey/features/dunhams-lost-years–spring-2017

10. Don’t Look at The Finger by Hetain Patel (30th Sep 17 – 4th Feb 18)

Imagine if everyone had super powers… Manchester Art Gallery screens two films by Bolton born artist and director Hetain Patel, The Jump (2015) and Don’t Look at the Finger (2017). Both films bring a pinch of Hollywood action to everyday life scenes. A very interesting project, definitely worth a look.

Address: Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL
How to get there: You can walk here from anywhere in central Manchester but St Peters Square will be your nearest Metrolink tram stop
Opening hours: 10am-5pm (late opening on Thursdays until 9pm)
Admission: Free
More information: http://manchesterartgallery.org/exhibitions-and-events/exhibition/hetain-patel/

Literature & Film

11. Manchester Literature Festival (6th – 22nd Oct)

The Lit Fest returns to Manchester bringing all you would expect from a Literature Festival.

Taking place across different venues in Manchester, the festival will feature events at theatres, libraries, pubs, concert halls and even the famous Midland Hotel and Manchester Cathedral! Have afternoon tea with one of your favourite authors, attend a workshop, get your book signed or have fun with the kids. An absolute must for any book lover or wordsmith.

Address: Various venues, check full programme here.
How to get there: It will depend on which event you are attending but they are mostly within Manchester city centre, so walkable distance.
Opening hours: Events throughout the day and some in the evening
Admission: Free and ticketed events (average price £10)
More information: http://www.manchesterliteraturefestival.co.uk/

12. Manchester Animation Festival (14th – 16th Nov)

Shaun-the-Sheep-photo-Purple-Kyloe-1-300x300

Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep. Image courtesy of Purple Kyloe and Manchester Animation Festival

Animation is part of everyday life more than you would think, from smart phone screens to cinema blockbusters. If you love animated films, this is a festival you just shouldn’t miss!

Bringing animation pros, aficionados and fans together under one roof, MAF aims to spark imagination, showcase talent and inspire as well as educate new talent and curious minds. Take part in workshops, competitions, classes and talks or simply watch a screening. A must if you are an art or film lover or simply want something different.

Address: HOME Centre, 2 Tony Wilson Place, First Street, Manchester M15 4FN
How to get there: Close to Deansgate and Manchester Oxford Road train stations or Deansgate Castlefield Metrolink tram stop
Opening hours: Events throughout the day and some in the evening
Admission: Prices still to be confirmed
More information: http://www.manchesteranimationfestival.co.uk/

Music Scene

As well as the mainstream arenas – MEN, Manchester Academy, O2 Apollo and Ritz, Bridgewater Hall and the Albert Hall – Manchester also has a thriving indie and live music scene. You can catch it at its best in places like Band on the Wall, Soup Kitchen, The Deaf Institute, Night & Day Café or Victoria Warehouse, but there are also many events you can tap into. Here are our highlights for autumn.

13. Neighbourhood Festival (7th Oct)

Over 100 artists from around the world, more than 10 venues in central Manchester, one day of incredible live music.

Need we say more? All the top venues in the city are in on the party. If you are music lover visiting Manchester, you would be crazy to miss it.

Address: Various venues in central Manchester
How to get there: It will depend on which event you are attending but they are mostly within Manchester city centre, so walkable distance.
Opening hours: Events throughout the day and some in the evening
Admission: £30, one ticket/wristband will give you access to all gigs
More information: http://www.neighbourhoodfestival.com/

14. Manchester Folk Festival (Oct)

The best of English folk music hits Manchester for a long weekend of indoor and outdoor events.

Focusing on traditional and contemporary folk, the festival aims to bring the biggest names of the genre to the city as well as create a platform for emerging and upcoming artists. An unmissable event if you love this genre of music or just want to try something different. Well worth a visit.

Address: Five different venues will host the festival
How to get there: It will depend on which event you are attending but they are mostly within Manchester city centre, so walkable distance.
Opening hours: 10am to the end of evening performances
Admission: £6 – £30 for individual events
More information: https://www.manchesterfolkfestival.org.uk

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