‘Tis the season of eating as much as humanly possible, self-reflection and dodgy knitwear.
Looking for some festive fun over the Christmas period? Need some after-work escapes to get yourself in the mood?
Manchester is awash with Christmas cheer – and no, not just the Christmas Markets. Here’s some of the best of the festive fun our city has to offer.
Urban Narnia at Hatch
A winter wonderland with an urban hipster twist inspired by the fictional land of Narnia can be found at the popular Hatch foodie hub under the Mancunian Way. Indulge in some alternative Christmas shopping, browse the Christmas tree shop or take part in a mini-masterclass of wreath making. Dogs are also welcome to visit Santa Paws. Open now until December 20th 2018.
Christmas Karaoke at Bar Hutte
Manchester Carol-Oke cabins are taking over Spinningfields this Christmas as the popular Bar Hutte returns. Bar Hutte are ramping up the apres-ski sessions with live entertainment every day. Hire your own super-snug hutte and sing Christmas carols till your ears can’t take it anymore. Enjoy classic cocktails, delicious food offerings and shots off a ski! Prices start from £45 for a hut (fits groups of 6-10 people). Until December 22nd.
Ice Skating at First Street
Make your way down to First Street and get your ice skates on with fun to be had for all the family. Don’t worry if you’re no Torvill or Dean – there are penguin glides for beginners with prices starting from £10. The worker bee markets will also be here every Saturday in the run-up to Christmas to pick up some festive goodies. Until January 6th.
Winter Funland at Event City
A huge indoor theme park featuring classic fairground attractions is taking shape inside Event City as a magical Winter Funland for all the family. Boasting a 1000 seater auditorium, CBBC star Andy Day and his fantastic Odd Socks band will be performing live four times a day and there will be performances from Frozen and a spectacular festival circus, as well as an indoor ice rink. Tickets are £22.50 per person. Under 3s free. From December 7th to January 1st.
Lightwaves at Media City
The interactive Lightwaves festival returns for ten days in December packed full of impressive light displays and playful art installations. Highlights include an interactive illumination that floats on the water, two stunning new art commissions that respond to audience voice and movement, and a fun interactive wall that invites you to paint with light. All this and it’s absolutely free! From December 7th – December 16th.
Food Sorcery Christmas Cooking Classes
Didsbury cookery and barista school is hosting a series of special Christmas-themed cooking classes for all the family to enjoy. There are lots of options to choose from – from a class on how to prepare the perfect Christmas brunch to three-course Christmas lunches and dinner sessions, and even an adorable big and little cooks class where you and your child can cook together. Big & Little Cooks – £95 for for 3 hours; Ultimate Christmas Bunch – £60pp for 2.5hours; Cooking together Christmas Lunch (3 courses) – £50pp for 3 hours.
Cheer on Manchester Storm
Probably the most exciting thing you’ll see on ice is watching Manchester Storm play at the home of ice hockey, Planet Ice in Altrincham. Get some great seats and lap up the atmosphere watching some of your favourite hockey stars perform. £17.50 adult; £8.50 kids.
Cheese and Wine Tasting at King Street Townhouse
‘Tis the season to gather around the private dining table in the cosy, alluring and incredibly unique listed wine cellar at King Street Townhouse for this delicious and totally festive occasion! Be welcomed by a fantastic, passionate, knowledgeable sommelier team and enjoy a tasting selection of wines and cheeses. Discover an unrivalled range of rich red and crisp white wines, each perfectly paired with a selection of artisanal cheeses from around the world. £35 per person. Saturday 1st December & Saturday 15th December.
Mayfield Magical Christmas Cinema
Three railway arches within the cavernous Mayfield Depot in Manchester city centre have been converted in to the city’s largest experiential cinema this Christmas. Entering archway eight through a Narnia-inspired wardrobe, you will emerge into a magical enchanted forest which will transport you into a fairytale cinema and street food venue. Among the Christmas classics being shown are Love Actually, with a live choir and band (audience participation is expected), Will Ferrell’s Elf, Home Alone 1 & 2, kids’ classic Polar Express and the timeless 1985 favourite Santa Claus: The Movie starring Dudley Moore. Prices start from £14.99. Until December 16th on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with matinee screenings at weekends.
Why not check out some of the fabulous pop-up bars across the city? There are tipis and igloos a-plenty dotted about Manchester including an Alpine wonderland at Impossible, a festive tipi at Castlefield’s Dukes 92, magical snow globes at 20 Stories’ Winter Terrace, or igloos you can book for a splendid party with pals at The Refinery. For our full list of festive pop-ups, click here.
Home Sweet Home Winter-land
Holidays are coming and the nights are drawing in. Why not get yourself down to the Great Northern and visit the Bavarian chalet serving up this year’s must have Christmas dish – the Miracle Sandwich, a slow-cooked turkey loaded with all the Christmas trimmings. Partner it with a steaming mug of mulled wine or a loaded hot chocolate. Yum. Open every day throughout December. Thursday to Sunday 12pm-late through November. Everyday through December.
Wreath making and festive afternoon tea at Great John Street Hotel
Join Great John Street Hotel for an exclusive lesson in wreath-making with a workshop hosted by the wonderful Flower Lounge. Then reward yourself for all your hard work with a warm spiced mulled wine and a festive afternoon tea. Wreath making – 1 hour. Afternoon tea – 2 hours. £65pp. December 2nd 11am, 12.30pm or 2pm.
Giant Ice Christmas Tree – Great Northern Warehouse
A 3.5 meter-tall solid ice Christmas tree is being created in the Great Northern Warehouse’s outdoor square this December and everyone is invited to come down to bring gifts and place them under the impressive sculpture. All the gifts will be collected at the end of the day and distributed to the homeless people of Manchester. An icy cool event with a heart-warming outcome. Wednesday 5th December from 1pm to 7pm.
The Frost Fair at Whitworth Art Gallery
This two day frosty fair celebrates 250 years of the circus in Britain and guests should prepare to be amazed and astounded by ringmaster Baron Bazaar and his group of performers. The full weekend of free activities begins with a host of live performances outside the gallery’s Sculpture Terrace. Expect fire and LED performers from Manchester’s-Travelling Light Circus performing mesmerising routines blending dance and performance skills with music provided by Mr Wilson’s Second Liners. Lots more going on over the weekend which ends with a huge firework display at 6.40pm on Sunday.
Vegan Christmas Fair
The Vegan Christmas Fair is taking over Victoria Baths on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December offers guests a weekend full of vegan Christmas fun with tonnes of vegan street food, a bar offering wines and cocktails all suitable for vegans and an array of festive stalls selling beautiful Christmas gifts. Festive live music performances will take place throughout the weekend, with a Santa’s Grotto perfect for the little ones and a vegan winery offering wine tasting for the bigger ones. You are advised to dress warm for the fair as Victoria Baths doesn’t have any heating!