Things to do in Manchester this weekend (11-13 November) including Escape to Winter Island and film festival

Here’s what’s happening in Manchester this weekend.

The Christmas Markets are not the only reason to visit Manchester this weekend.

It’s the time of year when many of the city’s venues are kicking off their winter season, including Victoria Baths and Escape to Freight Island. And if you’re not ready to dust of your Christmas jumpers and get into the festive spirit just yet, there are also events like the Manchester Animation Festival to explore, as well as Manchester Coffee Festival.

Here are some of the highlights for this weekend.

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    Festive Winter Fair

    Victoria Baths, 12-13 November

    Manchester’s historic Victoria Baths is hosting a Winter Fair this weekend – the perfect opportunity to pick up some unique, handmade Christmas presents, including artworks, prints, jewellery, ceramics, candles and edibles. The bath’s tearoom and gift shop will also be open. Entry to the fair is £5 per person and under 16s get in for free.

    At the same time, Victoria Baths are inviting guests to take part in guided tours of the building, which includes places that are not normally open to the public. These tickets are £8 and can be purchased together with Winter Fair tickets for £13. All tickets are available via Eventbrite.

    Manchester Coffee Festival

    Bowler’s Exhibition Centre, 12-13  November

    A celebration of all things coffee is coming to Bowler’s Exhibition Centre this weekend. There is a full program of panels, talks and workshops, where you can learn all about coffee, how it’s made and latest innovations in the world of coffee. A full weekend ticket is £25 and day tickets are £14. All tickets can be purchased on the festival website, where you will find a full list of speakers and events.

    Manchester Animation Festival

    HOME, 13-18

    Manchester Animation festival kicks off this weekend with a packed schedule of animated short competitions, feature films, retrospective screenings, workshops, networking events, panel discussions, masterclasses and screen talks from the industry. The event is for both industry professionals and fans of animation.

    The first day of the festival is a dedicated family day, where kids and parents can come along to enjoy everything from the CBBC and Cbeebies boxset to a short films for children competition screening and special festival preview screening of The Amazing Maurice.

    Some of the events are free and some are ticketed, but all the events require booking in advance. More information can be found on the festival website.

    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

    Lowry Theatre, 8-11 November

    Fans of the hit 2011 film will be pleased to know that a stage adaptation of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is coming to the Lowry Theatre this week. It tells the story of a group of British retirees who travel to India for holiday that turns into a trip of a lifetime. There are plenty of recognisable names among the cast, including BAFTA and Golden Globe-Award winner Hayley Mills, Paul Nicholas (Jesus Christ Superstar, Just Good Friends, Eastenders), Rula Lenska (Rock Follies, Coronation Street, Eastenders), Andy de la Tour (Notting Hill, Star Wars, The Young Ones), Rekha John-Cheriyan (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Marlene Sidaway (Coronation Street, Pride and Prejudice).

    Tickets start at £16 and can be found on the theatre’s website.

    Escape to Winter Island

    Depot Mayfield

    The roller rink at Escape to Freight Island Credit: Escape to Freight Island

    One of Manchester’s hottest entertainment venues Escape to Freight Island is kicking off its winter season on Saturday 12 November. In addition to its vast variety of food and drink vendors, there will also be an outdoor winter market, pop-up pantomimes, karaoke, craft workshops, family events a roller rink and plenty of night-time events for you dance the night away.

    You can book your visit on the venue’s website.

    Bury Beer Festival

    The Met, 11-12 November

    After a two-year break due to the pandemic, Bury Beer Festival is back this weekend. There will be a selection of local brewers participating, including Brewsmith, Brightside, Deeply Vale, Northern Monkey, Rivington, Strange Times, Red Rose and Kwoff. There will be food available to buy and music and DJs to entertain you. There’s also a chase to vote for Bury’s “Beer of the Year”.

    Tickets are £7 and £6 for members of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). More information can be found on the event’s website.