Christmas is a time for reflecting on the year that is all but over, cherishing our loved ones, friends and family, and embracing the spirit of giving. Self reflection. Peace to all men. Questionable knitwear.
However, it’s also about eating and drinking as much as is humanly possible, ignoring your relatives, hot wine, falling asleep in front of the telly and getting your hands on the really good presents you’ve been dropping hints about for the past three months.
Manchester is awash with Christmas cheer, so you need never be stuck in your living room with just a stale chicken vol au vent and Noel Edmonds for company. Here’s 12 of the best of the festive fun our fair city has to offer.
1. Christmas Markets
Don your proud Xmas jumper and head to the Manchester Christmas Markets. Now boasting over 200 stalls. from 14 Nov 14 to 21 Dec 2014, the extraordinarily popular German markets will sprawl across the city centre, watched over by the enormous, inflatable Santa (that looks a lot like Zippy from Rainbow). Expect mulled wine, expensive sausages and shoppers from all over the UK coming to our city to see how markets are really done. On December 21, the Xmas Markets will pack up and the traders will return home to a swathe of European towns and cities in time for Christmas
2. Christmas Lights Switch-On
Manchester’s spectacular Christmas Lights Switch-On show will once again light up Albert Square this November. On the 7th November, the Christmas light switch on will take place in Albert Square in front of a crowd of wrapped-up, thrilled Christmas-lovers. Join a star-studded line up (last year it was the Vamps, James Arthur and Pudsey the BGT-winning dog) for the official beginning of being allowed to sing Christmas songs without being told off. And best of all, it’s free!
3. El Capo
Forget your traditional ‘butter basted’ roast Turkey and forget vegetables for the sake of vegetables. Instead, El Capo are providing Christmas-themed tacos, tapas and family sized sharers with more than enough meat to go around the table (don’t worry, you won’t be judged for getting your fingers dirty!). The basement cantina are also offering ‘Fiesta Loco’, a bespoke three course menu, packed full of South American delicacies.
Whether you’re looking to snack, share or splurge, El Capo has you covered this Christmas (Egg Nog £3).
Chaophraya offers a great variety of private dining areas for you, your friends, family and colleagues to celebrate the festivities in true style. With inspirational and opulent décor, delicious food served Thai Banquet style and a dedicated team to ensure your event is planned to perfection, you and your guests are sure to enjoy. A completely different offering to the standard bar or hotel function room, Chaophraya offers you and your guests a truly memorable experience.
5. Don Giovanni’s
Throughout December Don Giovanni’s will have live music Wednesday – Saturday every week. An expertly designed Christmas set menu has been created by the Italian restaurant’s award winning chef, which is priced at £27.95 with supplement options if you have a higher budget. DG also have a few dates still available to hire out their function suite, which would be ideal for your private functions and parties.
6. 47 King St West Restaurant
Family run restaurant, located on obligatory King Street West, take great pride in their Christmas offerings. You’re not just another Xmas party, they take every personable effort to ensure you enjoy incredible food in a great atmosphere. And one to remember.
Book on a Monday or Tuesday in December for your Christmas party and receive 20% discount on menu prices. That means 3 course lunch for an amazing £19.95 and a 3 course dinner for only £23.95. What’s more, for parties of 10+, the independent restaurant invites the organiser plus a guest to dine for free in January.
7. The DoubleTree by Hilton
DoubleTree’s team of award winning chefs skilfully and carefully prepare dishes from locally sourced, quality ingredients to give our guests the very best of what’s in season. Whether it’s a succulent, traditional Christmas turkey with all the trimmings we know you’ll love, or a modern twist on the classics, City Café delivers a choice of quality menus at exceptional value. Canapés in the Blue Bar on arrival.
For larger parties you can book their first floor restaurant or in their stunning Sky Lounge that has a fantastic view of the city.
8. Great John Street
If there is one venue that is getting into the festive mood in as many ways as possible, it’s Great John Street with it’s worldwide themes. Take a trip back to Christmas in 1950’s New York for a bite of the Big Apple with a 3 course meal and jazz party, or Last Tango in Paris for an alternative romance-filled 3 course meal and funk & soul evening. Find out more at http://www.eclectichotels.co.uk/great-john-street/special-offer-1.aspx
9. Second Floor Harvey Nichols
Enjoy a showcase of the most refined in seasonal food and drink at the chicest destination in Manchester. Harvey Nichols second floor is offering a special Christmas menu of three courses and mulled wine on arrival for £20 or five courses with a mince pie and mulled wine for £30. Christmas menus available from Monday 24 November until Christmas Eve.
10. Cloud 23 Christmas Afternoon Tea
The highest place to have high tea returns with it’s speciality of afternoon tea – Christmas themed. Expect warm apple and mincemeat crumble tarts, rum and raisin macaroons, classic German stollen, spiced dark chocolate, sachet torte and mixed fruit cinnamon scones. Savoury treats include roast turkey with chestnut stuffing and rosemary mayo wrap and of course, unlimited loose tea. £23 pp.
11. Winter Wonderland
Combine hectic Trafford Centre Christmas shopping with some real Christmas cliches at Event City’s Winter Wonderland. Expect the usual: Santa’s grotto and excessive decorations. However, the giant venue will also be host to over thirty rides, a circus and a Sooty Show. Saturday 13 December – Sunday 4 January. It’s even open on Christmas day itself.
Tickets available at quaytickets.com or on 0843 208 0500.
EventCity next to the Trafford Centre
12. Manchester Cathedral Nativity Play
Something more traditional? Save the date of Christmas Eve for a nativity play that’ll take you back to your primary school years – without the costume traumas and bathroom disasters.