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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. We’re more than ready to celebrate in style for 2024.

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 Europe, 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.

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.

After an unforgettable debut in 2022, Manchester’s Christmas Parade will be back bigger and better than ever on Sunday 3 December at 1pm. See spectacular characters, magical performances, extraordinary acts, and more as the parade weaves through our streets.

The Christmas Parade is part of a Festive Sunday programme that will bring free entertainment to the city centre every Sunday throughout the November and December: a series of magical takeovers that promise to capture the imaginations of youngsters and delight the whole family.

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 10th November to 21st December 2023, with certain areas reopening after Christmas into the New Year.

Christmas Markets 2023 locations

Manchester’s Christmas Markets are located in Winter Gardens at Piccadilly Gardens, King Street, St Ann’s Square, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Square, Market Street, Cathedral Gardens and the Corn Exchange.

Father Christmas will take up residence in St Peter’s Square after Remembrance Sunday.

Christmas Markets 2023 opening hours

  • All craft stalls 10 am – 8 pm
  • All bars and food stalls 11 am – 9 pm

The Ice Rink in Cathedral Gardens will be open for Christmas skaters from 2 November – 2 January 2024

The food and drink stalls in Cathedral Gardens alongside the skate rink will remain open until 31 December.

Amazing theatre in Manchester this Christmas

Hamilton
The multi award-winning masterpiece by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Sat 11th Nov 2023 - Sat 24th Feb 2024 Live at Palace Theatre
Book Here
Hallé Christmas Family Concert
Join the Hallé elves, their festive conductor Holly and presenter Tom Redmond in a magical interactive Christmas adventure. 3 Dec 2023 Live at The Bridgewater Hall
Book Here
Life of Pi
Based on the best-selling book by Yann Martel, the five-star hit show comes to Salford. Tue 5th December 2023 - Sun 7th January 2024 Live at The Lowry
Book Here
The Snow Maiden
Step into a wintry tale of magic and mystique as Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden comes to the RNCM. 10 - 16 Dec 2023
Book Here
Twinkle Twinkle
A heartwarming, adventure in melody and light, made especially for very young audiences. 14th - 31st Dec 2023 live at Z-Arts
Book Here
The Snowman
Watch Raymond Briggs’ classic animated film accompanied by the Hallé. 22 - 23 Dec Live at The Bridgewater Hall
Book Here
Little Women
See Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, one of the best loved novels of all time. Live at HOME from Fri 8th to Sat 23rd Dec 2023
Book Here
We're Going on a Bear Hunt
See the smash-hit production of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt based on the much-loved picture book. Thu 7th December 2023 - Sun 7th January 2024 Live at The Lowry
Book Here
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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!

The Hallé’s Christmas season begins with its annual performance of Messiah followed by the much-loved Christmas Family Concert presented by Tom Redmond. Families can also enjoy the magic of Raymond Briggs’ classic film, The Snowman, accompanied by Howard Blake’s spectacular score.

Hear all your favourite Christmas songs performed by top vocalists in Hallé Christmas Cracker and bring the whole family to the Hallé’s traditional Carol Concerts with the Hallé choirs in full voice and on top form.

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

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.

Experience the ultimate festive gathering at Hyatt Manchester.

See more amazing Festive Dining at Hyatt Manchester

Whether it is a treat for two or a larger gathering of friends, family or colleagues relax in the festive surroundings of the Laureate Restaurant, Graduate Bar and Atrium. Packages offer a drink on arrival and then choose from canapés or a three-course meal. If you are there to start your evening or spend your evening, they have something for everyone.

Festive Lunch or Dinner Package

  • Drink on arrival including Prosecco and soft drinks
  • Three-course festive lunch or dinner.
  • £60 per person

Festive Canape Package

  • Drink on arrival including Prosecco and soft drinks
  • A selection of festive canapes
  • £40 per person

Party Package includes DJ and Dance Floor or for something special book the 18th Floor Sparkle Package; enjoy your festive meal and extra special dessert station with views across the city.

Step into a world of enchantment and luxury with The Lowry Hotel’s exclusive party nights.

The evenings are a celebration of opulence, where every detail has been carefully crafted to ensure you experience the ultimate in festive extravagance. Their party nights promise a dining experience that will leave you in awe. Immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere as you savour a festive feast that’s second to none, accompanied by the perfect party playlist from a DJ.

Be captivated by the festive spirit as you pull crackers and capture cherished memories in their photobooth. The string infusion entertainment will transport you to a world of musical wonder, and the novelties will add a touch of whimsical magic to your night.

Begin your evening with a welcoming drink that sets the tone for the night’s festivities. Indulge in a decadent three-course meal that will capture the warmth and joy of the Christmas season. Then, let the merriment continue with a range of delightful refreshments, and dance the night away until 1am, making memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Various dates available through December
  • Parties start from £79.50 per person

From stylish Christmas cocktails to indulgent festive dishes make your holiday season truly special at Banyan Spinningfields.

Choose from a delicious 3 Course Set Menu, perfect for intimate celebrations or corporate dining, or if you’re looking for big festive get-togethers and office parties, the Festive Feast is the banquet you’re looking for.

  • Available from 20th November
  • 3 Course Set Menu from £33.95 per person
  • Festive Feast menu from £23.95 per person

There is also an added festive twist to the bottomless menu. Enjoy a Banyan favourite or a festive special with 90 minutes of unlimited drinks, including the exclusive ‘Cranberry And Ginger Swizzle’ Christmas cocktail.

  • Available from 20th November
  • Festive Bottomless Brunch £39.95 per person (Available to book from 12pm)
  • Festive Bottomless Supper Club £42.95 per person (Available to book from 3pm – 8pm)

If you’re looking for some late-night festive fun, Banyan is the ultimate stylish cocktail bar to celebrate the season. Try limited-edition festive cocktails including the delicious chocolate peppermint inspired Christmas creation ‘Before Seven’.

It’s time to get your Christmas gatherings sorted.

What better place to do it than the newly-refurbished Slug & Lettuce Deansgate. The perfect space for any party, from small team lunches to a full company extravaganza and everything in between. You can choose from buffets with a festive touch or sit down meals sparkling with Christmas dishes, all accompanied with cocktails, fizz, wine or any spirits that take your fancy.

From Crimbo feasts to big-group buffets, they’ve got all the season’s eatings you could dream of waiting for you to enjoy with your friends and family. From mouth-watering festive small plates and burgers to Christmas buffets, there is something to suit every festive occasion!

  • Packages available for parties of every size .
  • Menus from £27 per person for two courses or £30 per person for three courses

Victoria Warehouse has become a go-to destination for the ultimate Christmas party under the neon glow of Manchester’s most innovative and exciting venue.

There are six spectacular event spaces to choose from, all with the unmistakable warehouse urban charm, brought to life with an illuminated light production and the glow of Christmas decor.

New for 2023, The Tobacco Stores is steeped in industrial heritage and offers panoramic views overlooking Old Trafford football ground.

Guests can choose from an indulgent three-course meal, or festive but casual street food options crafted by in-house award-winning caterers. In true Victoria Warehouse fashion, a whole host of unique party enhancements awaits, including a winter wonderland glitter bar, unforgettable DJs, interactive games, bespoke decorations, and late-night munchies.

  • Packages available from £57 per person
  • Spaces available for parties sized 50 – 2000 people
  • Dates available through Christmas 2023 to January 2024

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 James’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

Experience the Magic of Christmas at Manchester Hall! With an impressive array of over 13 unique function rooms spread over 5 magnificent floors, our historic venue shines during the festive season.

From the elegant Masons Restaurant on the Ground Floor to the grandeur of our John Rylands Terrace, accommodating up to 500 guests – whether it’s an intimate gathering with close friends or a large corporate event, our versatile spaces provide the ideal backdrop for your festivities.

With a range of ticketed events, including Party Nights, Festive Bottomless Brunch, and the indulgent Carvery Extravaganza. We also have fantastic packages tailored to your celebration, designed to make it a memorable occasion.

  • Available from the 13th November
  • Available for large parties up to 500 guests
  • Dining packages priced from £42 per person

See more Christmas Events at Manchester Hall

Join Zouk this Christmas for a festive season with a little gold dust!

The restaurant is adorned with sumptuous white and gold décor. From towering nutcrackers and a sensational tree to glittering lights and decadent oversized baubles.

Zouk is open on Christmas Day with a fabulous 5-course banquet that features the restaurant’s famous Sunday Roast Sharing Platter. Guests can choose between a Curry Sharing Platter or a Sunday Roast Sharing Platter. While the curry platter includes 3 indulgent curries and accompaniments, the roast platter features Chicken Raan, Lamb Raan, Yorkshire puddings, golden roasties, all the trimmings and Zouk’s delicious spicy gravy.

If you are planning a Christmas party Zouk has a wonderful selection of party menus that start from just £35pp. Options include themed Christmas cocktails, mocktails and desserts to really get everyone in the festive spirit.

For more relaxed celebration Zouk is also serving up its popular Tiffin Lunch throughout December every Monday to Friday. The menu changes weekly but there are always two curries, a starter, rice and freshly baked naan bread to tuck into.

A Magical Festive season at the Garten Bar.

Whether it’s Christmas Celebrations with the family or celebrating your work’s party, heir festive menus have been carefully curated to ensure that they delight everyone this Christmas and for those who crave something extra special, try festive cocktails crafted with seasonal flavours.

What’s Christmas without a little sparkle? Bring on the holiday cheers & warm fuzzy feelings this festive season at Garten Bar. Located inside the Corn Exchange, there are a beautiful variety of spaces & seating areas perfect for Christmas gatherings, matched with an atmosphere to provide a real sense of occasion.

From smaller groups & dinners in private areas, to large company Christmas parties & full venue hire, Garten Bar sets the stage for the most remarkable of holiday celebrations.

  • Packages from £30 per person for a two-course menu or £35 per person for three courses
  • A free glass of prosecco included for all group bookings

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

This Winter Tattu is designed to entertain all the senses

Taking inspiration from the Northernmost provinces in China where snow-capped mountains and bright stars scatter the horizon, Tattu embraces The Great Snow this winter; a celebrated moment in the Chinese Calendar symbolising royalty, dignity, and purity.

With elevated modern-Chinese dishes, artfully curated limited-edition cocktails and showstopping snow-scaped desserts, we’ll make sure that each moment is truly memorable.

  • Festive menus are available throughout December
  • Priced from £70 per person
  • Deposit and minimum spend may apply – see website for full details.

Pho

Christmas parties are back and bookings are open! Check out Pho‘s new set menus including a three course vegan feast.

Deck with bowls with herbs and chillies! Christmas at Pho is heating up with bowls of winter-warming Pho and heart-warming curries. That means less predictable plates of meat and veg and more epic Pho dishes.

Join them on your big shopping breaks, glammed up before a big night out or for a gift-swapping feast. Visit Pho at the Corn Exchange with your group of 5 or more and enjoy the special limited-time menu today.

This year, they’re putting vegans on the nice list with a set menu of tasty vegan flavours. So, move over nut roast ’cause there’s a new, totally vegan, festive feast in town.

Fuel every celebration with a menu of fully vegan goodies. And to gluten-free party people, remember the menu is mostly naturally gluten-free!

  • 2 course menu from £21.95
  • 3 course menu from £25.95

This year The Real Greek have 8 new festive specials created by Michelin Star Greek chef Nikos Karathanos.

The menu offers a selection of Christmas specials.

It includes dishes such as Loukaniko Stew with Vegetables: beef and pork Greek sausage stew with colourful peppers in signature tomato Giahni sauce; Lamb Kokkinisto: marinated lamb, cooked in a rich tomato sauce, served on a bed of smoky aubergine and bechamel purée; Cauliflower Steak: roasted cauliflower with chickpeas and roasted red peppers served on a bed of creamy vegan yoghurt; Vegan Chicken Monastiraki: Planted’s pea-based chicken pieces, marinated with Greek herbs, served on a bed of vegan Tzatziki, onion, tomatoes, and more…

  • Get 4 dishes for £20 (or £25 with a welcome glass of  Prosecco)
  • Available from the 20th November until the 26th December 2023

Etci Mehmet are turning up the heat this winter.

Celebrate with them and enjoy the Festive Etci Special Menu. From savoury starters, mouthwatering mains, decadent desserts and Etci’s limited-edition mocktails, we’ve created a flavourful feast for the season. Gather your loved ones and reserve your table now. Served with a festive cracker and every diner recieves a gift voucher.

  • Available 7-days a week from 15th November 2023
  • Choice of 2 or 3 courses.
  • Add Christmas Menu to booking notes
  • Groups of 8 or more call 0161 228 3158 to pre-order.

Bowl guests over with high jinks cricket accompanied by delicious Festive Feasting packages. There might even be a cameo from a resident Santa bowler…

Christmas at Sixes delivers all the signature party vibes with a sprinkling of added Festive spin, ensuring spirits are kept as high as the sporting stakes themselves!

All packages include: selected cocktails, premium wines, sparkling wines, draught beer, single house spirit and mixer. Higher packages include food options and reserved areas

  • Four party packages available, prices start from £19 per person up to £80 per person
  • Cricket is added as extra on top of all packages

Situated in the heart of Manchester and considered as one of the best Spanish restaurants in the UK, the award wining Spanish Restaurant La Bandera symbolizes a new era of Spanish culinary excellence.

This Christmas they’re providing incredible Spanish treats and seasonal flavours with two set menus to choose from.

  • Set menus priced from £40 per person
  • Every booking of 10+ receives a bottle of Montefrio Tinto & Blanco per table.

Spend Christmas with Manchester’s gin palace, Atlas Bar!

It may be for drinks only, or include a range of food options created for you by Chef Ross and his amazing team.

Equally, if you and your friends and family, are across the UK, they can organise virtual Gin Tastings and Parties too!

Celebrate this Christmas with Sapporo Teppanyaki. Make the party season extra memorable with their amazing specials menu that includes seared beer sirloin maki to start, sharing Chateaubriand for the main event and layered fudge matcha cake for dessert, to name a few dishes!

  • Christmas lunch menu served 12-4pm, Mon-Fri priced from £26.50 per person
  • Can accommodate parties of all sizes from small private parties to work’s do

places to visit this Christmas

Christmas at Heaton Park has everything you need for an unforgettable time with friends and family.

Discover colour-changing orbs of light stretching out into the distance, larger-than-life flowers and neon strings that reach high into the sky. Wander through a laser garden filled with thousands of tiny beams of light and into a giant twinkling tunnel that surrounds you with sparkle. Immerse yourself in the tantalising world of thrills, spills and the sweetest of treats at the fairground village.

Grab a seasonal snack from one of the hand-picked street food vendors who bring an indulgent twist to the menu on offer. Complete your walk under the stars with a perfectly festive *spiced winter warmer, *hot chocolate or *toasted marshmallow and share it with someone special.

  • Open 1 – 31 Dec 2023
  •  Closed on certain dates; check website for details.
  • Tickets from: £15 Adults, £10 Children

Enchanting festive light show Glow returns to RHS Bridgewater, Wednesday to Saturday evenings from 15 November to 30 December and tickets are selling fast.

Lighting experts SLX have created a glittering new trail, illuminating the garden’s best-loved features on a magical winter walk.

There are also two exciting new interactive commissions for 2023.
Kaleider’s Twist and Shine is a playful installation of giant, interactive light sculptures. Made out of interconnected triangular prisms, visitors can twist each glowing sculpture into thousands of different shapes and create their own shining work of art.

  • Open 15 Nov – 30 Dec 2023
  • Ticket prices:
    • RHS Members: Adult £8.95; Child £4.45
    • Non Members: Adult £14.95; Child £7.95

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.

Make the most of a visit to Trafford Centre this Christmas to include the Snowstorm Northern Lights &Tinsel Town

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.

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.

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.

Gift Guide

The Lowry is a world-class arts centre in the heart of Salford Quays. With a range of shows throughout the year from musicals and stand-up comedy to heartwarming stories and children’s books come to life, there is something for the whole family to enjoy.  Give the gift of tickets this Christmas and make somebody’s year.

  • Life of Pi: Dec 2023 – Jan 2024
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Dec 2023
  • Murder In The Dark: Jan 2024
  • The King and I: Jan 2024
  • 42 Balloons: April – May 2024

Manchester’s Palace Theatre has been one of the city’s premier venues since 1981 and continues to deliver groundbreaking and record-breaking performances year after year. The gift of award-winning and exclusive performances is something that will never be forgotten.

  • Hamilton: Until Feb 2024
  • Pretty Woman The Musical: Feb – Mar 2024
  • Disney’s Aladdin: May – Jul 2024
  • The Book of Mormon: Sep – Oct 2024
  • Wicked: Dec 2024 – Jan 2025

Be part of the action as Basil, Sybil and Manuel serve up mayhem on a plate alongside a 3-course meal and two hours of non-stop laughter at the Hotel Brooklyn.

  • Tickets priced from £47.25 for adults and £37.50 for children
  • Bookings available on various dates between 14th February and 3rd March 2024

Give 12 months of entertainment at The Lowry with a membership. Get exclusive priority ticket access, 2-4-1 tickets and additional discounts online. The gift that gives all year round for just £35.

Use code ILMLOWRY30 to get £5 off memberships in November 2023

Magical Manchester events this Christmas

Elf The Musical

Palace Theatre 97 Oxford Street, Manchester, United Kingdom

Based on the cherished 2003 New Line Cinema hit, Elf features songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, with a book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin.

From £15

The Jungle Book

Octagon Theatre Howell Croft South, Bolton, BL1 1SB, United Kingdom

A wild & wonderful adventure for Christmas 2024

From £15

Event Series A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

The Lowry Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, Manchester, United Kingdom

Hope Mill Theatre is to stage a new production of the magical musical version of A Christmas Carol at The Lowry, Salford for the 2024/25 festive season

Cinderella

Opera House 3 Quay St, Manchester, United Kingdom

You shall go to the ball next Christmas with the spectacular family pantomime Cinderella.

From £13

Swing Into Christmas

The Stoller Hall Hunts Bank, Manchester, England, United Kingdom

Celebrate the festive season in style with the vocalists and instrumentalists of Down for the Count Concert Orchestra

From £38.50

Love Actually in Concert

The Bridgewater Hall Lower Mosley Street, Manchester

Presented live in concert, with a full orchestra playing the score live-to-film.

From £36.50

News about Christmas in Manchester

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