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Autumn 2021 events in Manchester

A photo of a street sign in front of Manchester Town Hall pointing in different directions to important venues in the city

As summer draws to a close, students looking for things to do in Manchester move away from attending outdoor concerts and picnicking in parks.

Autumn in the UK brings colder and rainier weather so you will need to find different types of events and activities to take part in. Here are just a few happening in Manchester this autumn.


11th - 12th September 2021

The UK’s largest metropolitan music festival is finally back after a year off in 2020. Parklife is considered by many to be a must-do event whilst you are a student in Manchester, with the chance to see world-class acts across two days from the genres of pop, rock, hip hop, grime, dance and more.

The festival takes place each year in Heaton Park, which is accessible via public transport. Alternatively, you can buy an official Parklife coach pass travelling from the city centre. Get your tickets quick!

Manchester Food and Drink Festival

16th - 27th September 2021

Manchester has a mesmerising range of food and drinks venues, from global restaurants to independent breweries. Experience them all at once at Manchester Food and Drink Festival this September!

Taking place across various venues in the city, with a main ‘Festival Hub’ in Cathedral Gardens, the event lets you taste and try the best of local eateries over 12 days.

Medieval Manchester Festival

25th - 26th September 2021

Immerse yourself in history at an all-new festival. Popping up at Chetham’s School of Music, the UK’s leading music school and home to the oldest public library in the country, the festival will celebrate Manchester’s past through a series of activities.

Enjoy storytelling, medieval games, music, food and drink, comedy and even falconry, as Manchester celebrates exactly 600 years since its famous cathedral was established.

Van Gogh Alive at Media City

22nd October 2021 - 23rd January 2022

The works of the legendary artist Van Gogh are honoured at this exciting exhibition. Van Gogh Alive comes to Salford’s Media City from October, having already toured 70 other cities worldwide.

State-of-the-art gallery technology allows visitors to become part of a sea of sounds, noises and scents replicating Gogh’s art, bringing his beloved paintings to life hundreds of years after they were made.

Halloween in the City

26th October - 1st November 2021

Each year, giant spooky and kooky monsters climb up the buildings of Manchester city centre as Halloween approaches.

These inflatable, colourful creatures are a must-see, and you can challenge yourself to try and spot them all!

Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window at Imperial War Museum North

1st November - 31st December 2021

Having toured the Imperial War Museums in both London and Manchester, Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window will now become a permanent exhibit at Imperial War Museum North.

Featured are sculptures of poppies, a flower associated with remembering those who fought in the First World War, and it makes for a memorable and moving display.

Glow at RHS Garden Bridgewater

17th November - 30th December 2021

In 2021, the Royal Horticultural Society opened a new garden in Salford named Bridgewater. The flowers may be in bloom in summer, but that doesn’t mean it is not worth a visit later on in the year.

Glow will see the grounds transformed at nighttime into a trail of light displays. Team this thrilling visual experience with the warming winter drinks and festive food available.

Want to experience the best of this vibrant, cultural city? Study in Manchester with Think English!

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