What's On

The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 8 – 14 November 2021

The nights are drawing in, bu there's still plenty to be getting up to in the region.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 5th November 2021

Greater Manchester in autumn is a thing of beauty.

The temperatures may be dropping and the nights may be drawing in, but there’s absolutely no shortage of things to be getting up to in our region this month, so we’ve put together a fresh edition of our ‘what’s on’ guide for the city of Manchester and beyond this week to cherry-pick a few of the best bits.

Some of the events we’re going to mention here are completely free, others will set you back a few pounds, and many will need to be booked in advance.

Plenty are still taking COVID-safety measures to give you peace of mind though.

Here’s our top picks.



Van Gogh Alive



Monday 8 November – 23 January 2022

Van Gogh Alive has officially opened at MediaCityUK.

It’s “the world’s most visited immersive, multi-sensory experience” that exhibits the life and work of the seminal Dutch artist and after having welcomed over eight million visitors in 70 cities around the world – including sell-out runs in London and Birmingham – the art and culture experience is now destined for Salford.


Van Gogh Alive takes people on a trip through the periods of Van Gogh’s life that defined him as an artist and showcases 3,000 images, including some of his most iconic works like Starry Night and Sunflowers, and lesser-known paintings inspired by his love of Japanese woodprints. 

The exhibition is home to a life-sized walk-in representation of Van Gogh’s ‘Bedroom in Arles’ painting, a ‘Sunflower selfie room’ – a 360° mirrored space complete with hundreds of sunflowers, and so much more

You can find more information here.


10 Autumn Walks

Greater Manchester


Monday 8 – Sunday 14 November

Credit: Pixabay

Greater Manchester is filled with places to appreciate the beauty and rich colour of this much-loved time of year.

Walking is one of the best ways get out into nature and experience everything it has to offer, and now that autumn is officially here, there couldn’t be a better time to round up some of the best routes to see the colour of the leaves change in each of Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs.

So, let’s get walking then, shall we?

You can find out a more about our picks for the best place to go for a walk in each Greater Manchester borough this autumn here.



Skate Manchester Ice Rink

Cathedral Gardens

Monday 8 November 2021 – 3 January 2022

Credit: Georgie Glass (2010 – 2019)

Scare Skate may be over now, but the Skate Manchester Ice Rink is sticking around in Cathedral Gardens right up until January 2022, so there’s plenty of time to wrap up warm and brush up on your ice skating skills this winter.

Visitors can book ice skating tickets online, as well as skate aids for children needing a little extra help on the ice.


Pre-booking is recommended particularly at weekends and during school holidays.

You can find more, and grab tickets here.


Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation, and hope

Science and Industry Museum

Monday 8 November – onwards


A new world-first free exhibition that’s set to explore the revolution in science that is transforming cancer care has opened to the public at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester.

The Science Museum Group has partnered with expert partner Cancer Research UK for the curation of the new exhibition at what is a key moment in time when one in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime, but more of us than ever before are living longer and better with the disease.

Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation, and hope is the first “major object-rich exhibition” to reveal the past, present and future of how cancer is prevented, detected and treated.  

Through never-before seen objects and stories, cutting edge treatment and research, reflection, new artist commissions and installations, film, photography, interactive exhibits and a breadth of personal stories, the museum says the exhibition will present the stories of people affected by cancer and those who study and treat it.

You can find more information about the new exhibition here.



Open Mic Night


Wednesday 10 November

Credit: GRUB

Manchester’s largest street food fair GRUB – which is currently based at the Red Bank Project just outside of the city centre in Cheetham Hill – is hosting an open mic night this week in collaboration with Buzzin Sounds Recording Studio.

Performance slots are now all full up, but you can still nip down and enjoy an evening of live music from the city’s undiscovered voices.


You can find more information here.


Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window

Imperial War Museum North

Wednesday 10 November – onwards

Hundreds of ceramic poppies commemorating the First World War will go on permanent display in Manchester from this week.


Following the success of Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window – which toured to IWM London and IWM North during the final year of the First World War centenary – 2021 will see the iconic sculptures return to IWM North and permanently displayed for the first time.

Conceived by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper as part of the Tower of London installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the tour of the poppies sculptures around the UK encouraged millions of people across the country to reflect on their own links to the First World War as a shared experience.

You can find out more here.


Manchester Christmas Markets

Manchester City Centre


Friday 12 November – Wednesday 22 December

Credit: Flickr

The time has come – Manchester Christmas Markets 2021 are opening this week.

After Manchester City Council confirmed the return of the iconic event – which spreads festive cheer right across the city centre, and draws in visitors from all across the globe each year – last month, it’s now been revealed that Piccadilly Gardens will take over the reigns from Albert Square as the heart of the markets event as the town hall regeneration project continues.

The area will become the ‘Winter Gardens’.

Iconic market huts will also be set up on nine different sites across the city.


This year’s markets will open to the public from Friday 12 November, and run right through until Wednesday 22 December 2021.

You can find out more about Manchester Christmas Markets here, and about all the Christmas and Winter Markets in Manchester here.


Big in Japan

Great Northern

Friday 12 November – onwards

Credit: Big in Japan

A brand-new “insane and super wacky” live event that’s inspired by popular Japanese game shows has arrived in Manchester.

It’s fair to say that Ginger Vanderpump – known by many as ‘the Duchess of daytime TV’ – and her co-star Mr Leonard Lilypops are giving Manchester an experience like no other, where those who are up to the challenge can expect “mind-blowing entertainment” from a crazy cast of misfits.

There’s some wild games, banging tunes, live DJ’s, Drag Queens, everyone’s favourite drinks, and chaos like you’ve never seen before.

This is Big in Japan.

You can find more information and grab tickets here.



Christmas Lights Sculpture Trail

Manchester City Centre

Friday 12 November – onwards

After captivating visitors in years gone by, 10 twinkly Christmas light sculptures are being brought to life across the city centre again from this week.

Among the festive sculptures to keep your eyes peeled for will be some giant walk-through baubles, star-spangled archways, a 36ft Christmas Tree, and a colour-changing word sculpture that spells out ‘Merry Christmas MCR’, as well as some returning favourites.

This year, the sculptures will all be dotted around Piccadilly Gardens and St Peter’s Square.

You can find out more here.


Tinsel Town

Trafford Centre

Saturday 13 November – 3 January 2022

Credit: Trafford Centre

Now that temperatures are dropping and the festive season is right around the corner, the Trafford Centre has announced the arrival of its next large-scale outdoor event and is inviting visitors to “grab the gang for some festive fun” at ‘Tinsel Town’ from Saturday 13 November.

So wrap up warm and explore a winter wonderland that’s full of rides and festive fayre – including the chance to glide on down the UK’s longest tobbogan slide, take a spin on the big wheel at the festive fairground, hitch a ride on the Santa train, and shimmy and skate around a brand-new magical ice rink.

And of course, no Christmas is complete without a visit to the big man himself, so get ready to share your festive wishes with Santa in his twinkling tipi.

You can find more information here.


Featured Image – Flickr | Geograph (David Dixon)