While the days may be getting shorter and the temperature plummeting, there's plenty of things to enjoy about autumn in Greater Manchester - from walks where you can feel the crunch of leaves underfoot, to spectacular light displays and the arrival of the Christmas Markets.

Autumn officially begins on September 1 and ends on November 30 - and there’s already a number of seasonal events on the calendar, including Halloween in the City, Indy Man Beer Conference and the Peter Kay Residency. On top of that there's all the usual autumn activities to get stuck into - from roast dinners in country pubs to gluhwein and German sausages at the markets.

So, as we gently lower ourselves into the season, we've rounded up some of the best events and activities taking place in Greater Manchester for readers to get stuck into over the coming weeks and months.

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Autumn walks

Autumn trees at Derwent Reservoir, Peak District
Autumn trees at Derwent Reservoir, Peak District

With beautiful misty mornings, a chill in the air and crunchy leaves underfoot, nothing beats going on a walk at this time of year. Plus it’s a chance to catch the colourful displays nature puts on as the leaves change from vivid green to an array of yellows, oranges and reds.

Whether you want to make a day of it or just fancy squeezing in a short stroll one morning, there are dozens of places to go for a walk on our doorstep and further afield. Fletcher Moss in Didsbury is a beautiful place to head to at this time of year, while Heaton Park has more than 600 acres to explore.

For more of a day out, Macclesfield Forest has some gorgeous, atmospheric walks and you may even spot some red deer roaming through the trees. The Peak District is packed with places to visit, but for the best view of autumn’s colourful displays venture to Derwent Reservoir.

2:22 A Ghost Story

With Halloween coming up, autumn is the season of all things spooky. And what better way to get yourself into the mood than a good old ghost story?

At the end of October the touring production of 2:22 A Ghost Story will be coming to the Lowry in Salford. The play has been one of the most talked about events in the West End in recent years, and has starred a host of famous faces including singer Lily Allen, Inbetweeners actor James Buckley and Giovanna Fletcher.

It follows Jenny, who believes her new home is haunted. However, her husband Sam doesn’t agree and it causes arguments with their friends Lauren and Ben. What follows is an adrenaline-filled night leaving the audience on the edge of their seats.

Starring Joe Absolom (A Confession, Doc Martin), Charlene Boyd (Mayflies, River City), Nathaniel Curtis (It’s A Sin, The Witcher) and Louisa Lytton (Eastenders, The Bill), the play will run at The Lowry from Tuesday October 31 until Saturday November 4. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

Roast dinners

With the weather expected to get a little bit colder (and windier), a roast dinner always goes down a treat. But, with so many good options available here in Manchester, where do you go? Well, there's the traditional pubs and Toby Carvery if you want to go for the classic, tried-and-tested roast.

But if you're looking for something different, there's the Mexican-style roast at Madre (£24pp). Choose from a whole chicken, pig shoulder or spit grilled cauliflower and you'll get a whole host of trimmings alongside refried beans, corn, crispy Papas Con Creme, tortillas, salsas and pickled veg. If that has whet your appetite, you can book online here.

Freight Island also has recently launched Seconds, a 'modern' take on the classic carvery featuring quality roast dinner - with unlimited access to all the trimmings, such as roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. Prices start at £11 for children and £18 for adults, and you can reserve a spot here.


Manchester's Halloween in the City monsters on buildings

It's the spookiest time of the year, which means it's time to get booking those Halloween activities you keep seeing popping up as ads on Instagram and Facebook. First up, a staple of Manchester’s Halloween celebrations is the hugely popular Scare Skate, which will open in time for October half term, before the attraction is transformed for Christmas.

Then there's Victoria Baths haunting silent disco which will see the swimming baths on Hathersage Road, which first opened in 1906, host The Silence of the Baths on October 28 as part of a takeover by Manchester-based collective Girls on Film. Elsewhere, the biggest horror film season in the north will take place at GUB’s in-house cinema Cultplex, on Red Bank in Cheetham Hill.

And lets not forget the return of the giant inflatable monsters as Halloween in the City, a spooky celebration pooping up across the city as well as a two day family-friendly festival over the weekend of 28-29 October. For all our recommended Halloween events, check out our dedicated page here.

Dunham Massey

The lovely folk at Dunham Massey are going big on their plans for Autumn, with a host of events taking place over the next couple of months. While trying your chances at seeing some deer in the wild, there will also be a Fungi Friends family trail taking place until November 5.

The trail will let you learn more about mushrooms and the variety of colours and shapes they come in. The trail, which is suitable for ages eight and below, is wheelchair and pushchair friendly. Pick up your guide at the Visitor Centre.

There will also be pop-up poetry and autumn craft sessions available on select days, whilst CommuniTree's Forest Holiday Club from October 23 to 27 will equip children aged between 5 and 11 with the tools to be woodland explorers. Taking place in the North Park, the week-long club will offer wide variety of outdoor and nature conscious activities, including fire building, cooking and building dens.

Hamilton comes to Manchester

Hamilton musical is heading to Manchester - the London cast is pictured here

It's less than two months until one of the most eagerly-awaited musical tours ever heads to Manchester for its premiere run. Hamilton, the hit Broadway and West End show, is heading to the city on its first ever UK and Ireland tour this November.

The show will open on Saturday November 11 and the cast will include a host of West End stars as well as a reality show favourite. It will then have an epic four month run in Manchester through to February 24, 2024. Tickets for the Manchester run have already been flying out after the tour announcement was made earlier this year which came as music to the ears of theatre fans.

There is still good availability for mid-week shows and dates throughout January and February. You can find full ticket availability via ATG here.

Festive Light Displays and Pumpkin Patches

With the night drawing in, our attention has now turned to the return of the big festive light events taking place across Greater Manchester. There are a number of huge light spectaculars, lantern parades and family friendly festivities already announced and getting booked up fast. This year, there's the magical light trail at Dunham Massey, animal lanterns at Chester Zoo, and an enchanting Halloween lakeside trail just outside Manchester to book now.

Greater Manchester is also well situated when it comes to pumpkin picking, with a number of farms, fields and garden centres to visit. Cockfields Farm in Ashton Under Lyne (OL6 8AR) is undoubtedly one of the biggest family favourites, with their annual pumpkin festival drawing in a huge crowd, and Haigh Woodland Park in Wigan (WN2 1PE) is another popular ‘haunt’ with their Pumpkin Pickin’ season running from October 26 - 29.

Peter Kay Residency

Peter Kay at AO Arena Manchester on the opening night of his tour

Bolton's favourite comedian Peter Kay is continuing his Better Late Than Never tour with dates across the country from now until 2025.

When announcing the tour, Peter said: "It’s good to get back to what I love doing best, stand-up comedy, and if there’s ever a time people need a laugh it’s now." And after seeing the demand for the shows, he admitted he was "blown away" by the reaction from his fanbase.

Having kicked off the tour at the AO Arena last year, Peter will be back in Manchester for a number of dates this Autumn, with six dates the Arena in October, November and December. He will perform two back to back shows on October 19 and 20, before returning for two more nights on November 5 and 6. He will perform the last of his shows in Manchester for 2023 on December 1 and 2.

There are still some premium options for tickets still available for all dates in Manchester priced at £74.55 for lower tier seats. You can find these at Ticketmaster here and also at See Tickets here.

Christmas Markets

Manchester Christmas Markets will return for 2023

One of the biggest events to take over Manchester this autumn will be the Christmas Markets. Manchester's Christmas Markets are among the biggest in Europe, and last year boasted some 220 stalls.

Returning to the city from Friday, November 10 at 10am and running until Thursday December 21, the markets will once again we spread out across the city centre with a host of festive wooden stalls offering a range of food, drink and gifts.

What we know so far is that Cathedral Gardens will once again host the festive ice rink as well as a range of wooden stalls, and Exchange Square will host the markets' most popular food stall, Porky Pig's Yorkshire pudding wraps. The Christmas Parade, which was a big hit with families last year, will also return for 2023.

Drinks festivals

Fans of beer and Whiskey are in for a treat, with two exciting festivals lined up for autumn.

First up, taking place at the University of Bolton Stadium from October 12 to 14, will be the Bolton Beer Festival. The three-day event will feature more than 200 beers, wines, spirits and is expected to be attended by 5,000 people. Across four different bars, people will be able to sample the likes of craft beer, gin, wine, prosecco, and cider as well as non-alcoholic drinks too. Tickets here.

The Indy Man Beer Conference is also set return this autumn. The much-loved beer festival takes place at Victoria Baths for its four-day run from October 5 to 8 at the Victoria Baths. The opening Thursday night session costs £14.50, along with the Friday morning 11am to 4pm session, with the weekend daytime and evening sessions at £19. Sunday’s afternoon slot is back to £14.50, and a full weekend pass for all sessions is £75. Tickets here.

Then, taking place on October 20 and 21 at the historic Manchester Cathedral, will be the return of the Manchester Whisky Festival. Hosted by The Whisky Lounge, the event will feature a host of masterclasses, sample sessions, and a chance to grill some of the finest in the 'Whisky world'. Tickets can be bought here.