With the biggest range of luxury, high street and independent stores outside of London, Manchester city centre has Christmas all wrapped up this winter.
Alongside a fantastic array of shops there’s a whole host of enchanting, festive activities available both in-store and across the city centre. Combine Christmas shopping with a spin on the ice, a visit to one of the city’s magical Santa’s grottos, or a mulled wine at the biggest Christmas markets in the UK.
Take advantage of late night shopping as hundreds of retailers across the city throw their doors open for extended hours and enjoy festive activities and entertainment at the city’s various department stores.
Manchester’s business improvement district, The Heart of Manchester BID, has pulled together twelve of the city centre’s top attractions and in-store events during December. So wrap up warm, raid your piggy bank and go for it!
House of Fraser Manchester will open its doors to a magical Christmas Grotto from Saturday 5th December to bring shoppers and families a truly enchanting experience once again this festive season. Children enter via a secret door on the 6th floor of the department store into a fairy themed Christmas world where they’ll find a make believe ice rink, a traditional elves workshop and finally find Santa in his house. As well as meeting Santa, the £8 entry fee includes a toy for every child. Breakfast with Santa can also be booked for £15. Open from 10am-6pm Monday to Saturday and 12-4pm on Sunday until Christmas Eve. All profits from ticket sales are being donated to Francis House children’s charity.
Looking for a special present for sports fans or aspiring chefs? Head to Waterstones on Deansgate and meet Bradley Wiggins, cricketer Joe Root or Nigel Slater to get a signed copy of their latest books. Bradley is appearing at midday on Saturday 5th December, Joe Root will be in-store at midday on Monday 7th December and Nigel at 5.30 on Tuesday 8th December. Books will be signed on a first come, first served basis.
Discover the most whimsical Christmas trinkets, a delicious selection of the finest foods, luxury wines, specialist spirits and cocktail components, plus a comprehensive collection of iconic hampers to set the scene for a sensational Christmas feast. Visit the Harvey Nichols Christmas Pop Up at Manchester Arndale, Upper Mall.
Get crafty this Christmas at a Paperchase workshop on St Mary’s Gate. Adults can create a centrepiece for Christmas Day on Saturday 12th December from 3-5pm while from 11am-1pm, children can make Mini Christmas stockings. On Saturday 19th December from 11am-1pm children can mix up some reindeer food ready for Rudolph. Tickets cost £10, which is redeemable on items in-store. Book via eventbrite.
With personalisation available across an unparalleled array of products from accessory monogramming to fragrance engraving and bespoke jars of Nutella, Selfridges Exchange Square’s range of truly one-of-a-kind gifts are sure to wow this Christmas. There’s complimentary engraving on fragrance purchases over 50ml, complimentary embossing of selected leather goods across accessories, a Moët & Chandon champagne printing station for personalised mini Moët champagne bottles and engraving on Wine Shop purchases over £75. Foodie lovers will adore a Selfridges hamper available from the store’s dedicated food pop-up station on 1, ranging from decadent festive banquets to specialist wine and cheese hampers. And if you’re struggling to find a gift or the perfect party outfit, look out for the Elfridges – Selfridges’ talented team of in-store shopping helpers. Consultations are complimentary for lists both big and small and they can be found in their hub on 3!
If you’re looking for joyous celebrations involving the finest food and drink, look no further than Christmas dining at Harvey Nichols Manchester. Enjoy three courses for £30 per person from 12 midday to 5pm, or three courses and a cocktail from 5pm to 10pm at the Second Floor Bar and Brasserie. Or make the most of the afternoon and enjoy a scrumptious Festive Afternoon Tea from £20 per person at the Second Floor Brasserie. Served in idyllic surroundings with expansive views over Manchester, indulge with this traditional Christmas treat of mince pie Viennese whirl, coronation turkey wrap, mini Christmas cake and many more marvellous miniatures. Top it off with a glass of Harvey Nichols Brut champagne to celebrate an afternoon well spent. Or give 2015 a stylish salute and see in the New Year a little differently with an unlimited selection of small plates including classic dishes, desserts and cheese with a choice of bottomless drinks packages from £110 per person*. Plus, live entertainment throughout the evening provided by Six15 events. All this and champagne to toast at midnight for the tastiest of starts to 2016. *Terms and conditions apply. To book, call 0161 828 8898 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Manchester Arndale has got Christmas all wrapped up with its dedicated gift wrapping team on-hand in Halle Square right up until Christmas Eve. With all proceeds going to Home-StartGreater Manchester, the region’s leading family support charity, prices range from £1.50 for a small gift, £2.50 for a large gift and £5 for an extra-large or unusual shaped gift. Manchester Arndale’s Christmas Tree Grotto also makes a welcome return to Halle Square again this year with the main man on hand until the 24th of December before he heads off to deliver all those presents! Pre-book tickets now for just £4.50 per child (plus booking fee) during off-peak times and £5.50 (plus booking fee) during peak a time, which includes a gorgeous free gift. Throughout the month of December there will also be a series of charity choir performances on the mall in the centre to raise funds for excellent local causes and entertain festive shoppers.
Love Christmas? Love karaoke? Then head to Bar Hutte in Spinningfields – the city’s only pop-up festive karaoke bar. Hire one of the ten cosy cabins complete with karaoke equipment, disco lights and blankets and enjoy table service from Bar Hutte’s fully licenced bar.Reservations can be made for two-hour slots for groups of six to ten people, with a non-refundable deposit of £20. Bigger parties can reserve more than one hütte, with drinks bills settled on the night. Open until open January 3rd, Bar Hutte is open from 3pm – 11pm Monday to Wednesday, 11am – 11pm Thursday to Saturday, and 11am – 8pm on Sundays.
The Manchester Ice Rink has a new home this year at New Bailey, just a pirouette, spin and axel jump away from its former home at Spinningfields. The ice rink is open daily from 10am – 9pm and prices start from £9 with discounts for student nights and family tickets. To book online, visit: www.manchestericerink.co.uk.
Famous for its incredible range of stalls, why not head to the UK’s largest Christmas Markets where you can enjoy a warming glass of mulled wine while you browse the hundreds of food, gift and craft stalls the markets have to offer. The markets are situated in numerous districts across the city including King Street, Exchange Square, St Ann’s Square and Albert Square. The markets are open daily until Sunday 21st December.
Combine culture with a spot of Christmas shopping and head to the Royal Exchange Theatre where Tony Award-winning Broadway musical ‘Into The Woods’ is running until 16th January. An enchanting musical masterpiece, ‘Into The Woods’ explores the relationship between parents and children; desire; greed and how a community reacts to catastrophe. Standard tickets from £16. www.royalexchange.co.uk
Pamper yourself at Boots on Market Street on Thursday 10th December where from 3pm, you can enjoy a glass of fizz, enjoy offers aplenty, a free prize draw with prizes including an overnight stay at Champneys and a Lancome hamper worth over £300 and £10 worth of Boots Advantage card points all day.