Have a merry Manchester Christmas!

From world famous Christmas Markets to ice villages and festive light trails, Manchester is the UK’s capital of Christmas and no mistake. And after a year of cancellations, we’re more than ready to celebrate in style for 2023.

What's on in Manchester this Christmas?

Manchester’s Christmas Markets have been attracting visitors to the city centre since the late ‘90s. They’ve been voted the best in the UK, and with over 300 stalls offering everything from homemade crafts and toys to gifts and garments, not to mention the obligatory whopping bratwurst sausages and mugs of steaming mulled wine, it’s easy to see why. Millions of visitors have enjoyed the markets over the last two decades and they have become one of the UK’s most popular festive events, attracting fans from around the globe.

It’s not just about the markets, of course. The Christmas Lights switch-on has always marked the start of Christmas in the city, attracting a crowd of thousands as well as a host of famous faces. In recent years, the city has been home to a stunning Ice Village with a magical ice cavern full of spectacular sculptures, an ever-popular ice rink, and a raft of bars and food stalls. Or if a festive light trail is more your thing, the Lightopia festival features magical and multi-sensory interactive lights, lanterns and installations at Heaton Park. The immersive experience is the perfect Christmas adventure for family and friends.

Festive food and drink plays a big part in the city’s celebrations, of course. From special seasonal menus in the city’s restaurants to street food stalls lining the streets, local businesses go the extra mile to make Christmas special. No wonder Manchester is so popular for Christmas parties.

And in the true spirit of Christmas, the season also brings out the charitable side of big-hearted Mancs. From local restaurants feeding the homeless to charity appeals meaning disadvantaged children in Greater Manchester are able to wake to presents on Christmas Day, Mancunians know that Christmas is all about giving.

If all that’s not enough, the city was voted one of the best Christmas destinations for 2021 in top international magazine, Forbes – the only UK destination to make the list. We can’t say we’re surprised.

Happy Christmas, Manchester!

Manchester Christmas Lights Switch On 2021

Date: 12 November 2021

The annual Christmas Light Switch-on event is usually one of the biggest events of the year attracting thousands of people into the city centre to start the festive season with a bang.

The pandemic has meant that the usual event could not go ahead this year, but three NHS workers will have the honour of pushing the button on this year’s lights, who will be joined by some of Manchester’s front-line health and social care workers.

The small, socially distanced event will take place at Manchester Cathedral on Wednesday, 2 December at 6.45pm and will be live on BBC Radio Manchester, BBC North West Tonight and live streamed on social media for people to enjoy safely from home.

Interviews with the NHS staff chosen to switch on this year’s lights will also appear on BBC Breakfast and on social media.

Manchester Christmas Markets 2023 dates and locations

It’s official! Manchester’s Christmas Markets are the best in the UK. Manchester was the first city in the UK to host dedicated Christmas markets. 20 years later, we’re still the UK’s number one.

Christmas Markets 2023 opening dates

The markets will officially be open to the public from November to December 2023, with exact dates yet to be confirmed, with certain areas reopening after Christmas into the New Year.

Christmas Markets 2023 opening hours

10am until 9pm every day – exact times to be announced.

Christmas Markets 2023 locations

Manchester’s Christmas Markets in 2022 were located in Winter Gardens at Piccadilly Gardens, King Street, St Ann’s Square, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Square, Market Street and Cathedral Gardens, and 2023 will no doubt be across the city bringing the festivities to every corner.

Comedy superstar Jason Manford is back by popular demand to lead the cast of Jack and the Beanstalk in the title role. He is joined by returning Manchester panto favourite Ben Nickless as Silly Simon, star of stage and screen Myra DuBois, and West-End performers Samara Casteallo and Emma Williams.

Doomed to sell his trusty cow, join Jack as he fights to outwit the evil giant, win riches beyond his wildest dreams and the hand of the girl he loves. Expect laughs, music, special effects, magic beans and bundles of audience participation in this giant of a pantomime!

4 December 2021 - 2 January 2022

The Original Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester is back!

The festive magic returns to Manchester with Silcock’s Winter Wonderland Manchester from 4th December 2021 to 2nd January 2022, the UK’s largest indoor Christmas theme park sponsored by Boohoo and BoohooMAN, returns to EventCity next to the Trafford Centre.

Where to have your party this Christmas

Cover your ears, we’re about to talk Christmas. Yes, we know it’s only September and you probably don’t want to start stressing about it yet. But for anyone who has to organise a Christmas party, the early bird catches the worm, as the old saying goes.

We’ve chosen a diverse selection of venues, all of which are taking Christmas bookings now. So whether you’re looking for an intimate dinner, a large company affair, or something in between, keep reading because we’ve got you covered.

Celebrate this Christmas with Sapporo Teppanyaki. Make the party season special with an amazing menu that includes chicken teriyaki, vegetable yakisoba and if you’re feeling extra special even a whole lobster (additional charge applies).

  • Christmas lunch menu served 12-4pm, Mon-Fri priced from £26.50 per person
  • Free drinks for early birds!

If you book your December table during the month of September, each person will get a free drink*. Quote EARLYBIRD when booking and they’ll do the rest.

*One free drink per person when ordering a main meal from our a la carte menu or our Christmas specials menu. Offer is valid to eat in only. Free drinks include: Prosecco, beer, house wine or soft drink.

Elevate your Christmas celebrations at Cloud 23 at Hilton Deansgate Hotel

Indulge in Festive Afternoon Tea, priced from just £35 per person. Savour an array of seasonal treats while taking in panoramic views of a Manchester winter skyline before heading over to the Christmas Manchester Markets!

  • Available from 9th November 2023
  • Priced at £35 per person

Looking for a Christmas Meal with friends or colleagues? Book the Festive Wine Dine & Skyline package. Delight in two courses from our Festive Menu featuring seasonal flavours paired with a glass of house wine . Then head up to Cloud 23 for a Cocktail the enchanting city lights.

  • Available from 17th November 2023
  • Priced at £50 per person for two course menu and glass of wine

Celebrate the season of joy and togetherness at James Martin Manchester with delightful festive dining options!

Gather your loved ones and indulge in a delectable Christmas lunch, a heartwarming Sunday lunch, and a delightful festive menu, all crafted to tantalize your taste buds. For a grand New Year’s celebration, savour a lavish 5-course signature menu, a true culinary extravaganza.

Embrace the festive spirit and create cherished memories as you relish Marco’s special festive dishes with your family. Experience the magic of the holidays at James Martin Manchester, where delicious food and warm camaraderie blend to make this season unforgettable. Book now to savour this joyous experience!

  • Christmas lunch will be available on Thursdays and Fridays
  • Minimum of 40 guests
  • Three Courses  £49 per person

Some things just go together. Salt & vinegar, fish and chips, steak & kidney and Christmas and the Chop House.

They are possibly the place to stop during a Manchester Christmas shop during the festive season.

Whether you need a venue for a mid-shop pit stop, works Christmas do, family get together or reunion with friends, Mr Thomas’s is the place.

Stunning cosy historic venue, home cooked best of British food and award-winning wine and beers. What more could you need at the most wonderful time of the year?

  • Party menus priced from £45 per person

Atlas Bar has a range of menus and spaces to choose from so no matter what your size of party or however extravagant or low-key you want Christmas to be, they can look after you.

Christmas party menus start from £10 per person, or for an easier casual party night why not treat your party to Christmas barms from £6 each, or they even do canapes from just £2.50 per choice.

Make a bigger deal of your party and go for one of their Christmas Buffets for just £18 per person and as well as amazing Christmas sandwiches you’ll also get an amazing selection of dishes and the much-needed mince pies!

For all dates available and any party enquiries, simply email [email protected]

“The Chronicles of The Lowry Hotel” – this season will be one you won’t want to miss at The Lowry Hotel, step into Narnia and enjoy the best Christmas parties in Manchester.

Experience an enchanting evening like no other when you step through the wardrobe doors on our shared party nights.

The Lowry Hotel’s party nights are famous for great food, service and atmosphere. We have key dates available for our Narnia at night Christmas shared party nights which include a festive feast, a DJ, festive crackers and novelties for The Lowry Hotel’s wonderful Christmas.

Enjoy a drink on arrival followed by a decadent and festive three course meal followed by further refreshments and dancing till 1am.

Party nights are available on select dates throughout December from £72.50 per person, with a non-refundable deposit of £25pp.

Party at Manchester’s most Christmassy restaurant! Rosso Restaurant is the perfect place for your festive celebration.

In true Rosso style the Christmas menu has been refined to provide you with a meal like no other.

A beautiful three-course menu is available throughout the Festive period, with a selection of Italian delights including Crocchette Di Pesce, Branzino and a Rosso-style Christmas dinner. Every menu is lightly finished with Cheesecake Al Cappucino.

Festive menus available at lunch for £40 per person from Midday to 4pm, dinner is £50 per person and served from 4pm onwards.

Availability at varying times for large parties – booking required.

In time for the start of the world famous Christmas Markets in Manchester, we are launching our three course Festive Menu!

Enjoy three courses for £40 per person from the set menu, in our 2 AA Rosette Awarded Podium Restaurant. Perfect for work Christmas Parties or for dinner before heading out to the Markets!

Bookable online for up to 20 people. Groups larger than 20 are welcome; please contact the venue for information. Please note groups of 10 or more require a preorder.

The Pen and Pencil is one of the Northern Quarter’s most vibrant bars & 
restaurants and at Christmas they don’t hold back!

Menus to suit every budget and party size; have a full sit-down two or three course meal or be as casual as you want with sliders and a buffet.

Buffet package starts at £25 per person, set menu is prices at £20 for 2 courses or £26 for 3 courses per person.

Deposits, pre-payments and minimum spends apply to party bookings.

Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with The Botanist and indulge in a selection of seasonal showstoppers.

Whether with friends, family or colleagues, celebrate those long-awaited Christmas get-togethers over mouth-watering dishes and wonderful concoctions from the bar.

Filled with seasonal delights and well-loved festive favourites, there is something for everyone on the delicious Christmas Set Menu.

2-course lunch from £27.95 per person, 3 course dinner menus from £34.95 per person. Both menus include an alcoholic or non-alcoholic cocktail.

This festive season, Manchester will be merry as the city’s destination venue, Ducie Street Warehouse will present a warm Christmas programme from Thursday 17th November with something for everyone.

The Festive Dining Menu has a selection of starters, mains and desserts. Two courses are priced at £35 per person available every day for lunch. Three courses are priced at £40 per person for Monday to Wednesday, and £45 per person for Thursday to Sunday.

Take the hassle out of your Christmas meal plans and take a traditional yuletide trip on luxuriously appointed festive dinners with East Lancashire Railways.

These evening meals are ideal for work parties, friendly gatherings or just a Christmas feast with those most important to you. Settle in and soak up the atmosphere on one of the wonderfully turned-out carriages, then enjoy your food as the twilight Irwell Valley glides by on the other side of the window.

Indulge in an enchanting evening meal complete with all the trimmings and festive foodie favourites. Dinner on the Christmas steam trains are the best way to celebrate the season in style.

  • A 2 and ¾ hour steam train ride through the Irwell Valley
  • A welcome glass of fizz
  • A traditional four course festive meal followed by tea or coffee and homemade mince pies

Make your Christmas effortlessly classy with a gem of Manchester’s Italian food scene.

Christmas party bookings available throughout December for your family, friends and colleagues.

Have a decadent Italian Christmas party, a three course menu is available from £34.99 per person

★ Book early to get yourself a little reward: book for December before the end of November to get a £50 voucher to use in 2023

Looking for somewhere to enjoy the best of British hospitality and a hearty British festive dinner? Perhaps you need a venue for your Christmas do? Sam’s Chop House is the place for you.

Let us sprinkle a little bit of our Chop House Christmas magic over your festive season. You can ever join us on Christmas Day itself, and hand over all of the faff.

Choose from a tasty selection of dishes including whipped burrata and ham hock terrine for your starter, and mains include salmon, porchetta and the classic Sam’s traditional turkey dinner.

3 course Christmas party menu priced at £54.99 per person

Other places to visit this Christmas

The world-renowned shopping and leisure destination where you’ll always find must-have brands, high street favourites, delicious food and exciting leisure all under one spectacular roof.

Come and experience the Trafford Centre difference.

Home to a mouthwatering mix of restaurants and activity in the heart of the city centre.

Offering an eclectic selection of restaurants, with a menu for every taste and an exciting array of leisure activities to keep you captivated from brunch to cocktails.

Great Northern is perfectly positioned in the heart of the city centre as the perfect place to eat, drink, meet and play.

Our Grade II listed warehouse, public square and the longest Victorian terrace in Europe all fit together to create a must-visit destination in the city centre.

We’re here to help when it comes to Christmas, Be Inspired to try something different.

Whether you’re looking for gifts for the whole family, fabulous food to serve at home, or something to keep the kids happy on your shopping trip – you’ll find all the information you need on the website.

The number one spot in the heart of Manchester for days out with the kids, nights out with your mates and everything in between.

With 14 bars and restaurants, leisure activities for every age and one of the largest IMAX screens in Europe, Printworks has it all.

Discover an enticing and distinctive shopping experience, right at the heart of the city. Within one of Manchester’s most iconic buildings, you’ll find some of the world’s favourite high-street brands, chic independent stores and luxury boutiques.

Magical Manchester events this Christmas

Guide Dogs Christmas Wishes Concert

Manchester Cathedral Victoria Street, Manchester, United Kingdom

Join us for our Christmas Wishes Concert - 2023’s most heart-warming celebration!

FROM £11

T’was the Gig Before Christmas

Z-Arts 335 Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester, United Kingdom

You’re invited to our secret party, for elves, yourselves and ALL magical Lapland creatures. This fabulous live music event will feature stories through song, dancing, and prancing with laughter, and spreading plenty of festive spirit. Ssshh, don’t tell Santa!


Twinkle Fun Day

Z-Arts 335 Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester, United Kingdom

Expect twinkles, craft, sparkles, arts, glittery things, stories and everything that makes you think of Christmas!


Lost and Found

Factory International Water Street, Manchester, United Kingdom

Come with us on an epic journey to the South Pole as a boy tries to take a wandering penguin home, in this heart-warming adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ award-winning children’s story.

FROM £7.50

Gift Guide

News about Christmas in Manchester