Binge! - Presented by A Mighty Heatre Theatre. Photo: Push Festival / HOME

It’s no secret that January feels like a hard slog. From the freezing cold conditions and dark mornings, to inflated stomach lines and deflated bank accounts, it can feel like an endurance test. But despite the bad rap this month gets, there are plenty of perks to enjoy.

For one, you can grab a bargain as companies do their best to entice you out of hibernation mode. A clear diary is welcome relief after the giddiness of December and allows for time to see and do exactly what you want to do; and with lots of people opting to stay indoors, there’s more room to enjoy experiences when you do venture out.

Here are just a few ideas that’ll get you rethinking the remaining weeks in January. And don’t forget the I Love Mcr app for the latest offers, deals and experiences.

Celebrate home at HOME

Walk the Dog – Presented by Most Wanted Theatre. Photo: Push Festival/HOME

Have you been to HOME yet, or is it one of those places that’s been on your to do list since it opened back in 2015? Make the most of your free time this month by heading down to the multi-million pound arts centre that’s right on our doorstep for the annual Push Festival, which is running until 26th January. Celebrating all that’s great and good about the north west’s creative community on screen, stage and throughout its exhibition space, you can save money by booking two or more theatre shows or workshops.

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Feed your face for a fraction of the price

If ever there was need for some cheering comfort food, it’s now and the good news is there are some amazing offers at some of the city’s favourite haunts. Albert’s Schloss, the Alchemist bars, Banyan Bar and Kitchen, the Chop Houses and Australasia are just some of the places offering 50 per cent off deals – and there are plenty more on the I Love Mcr app. What are you waiting for? Tuck in and cherish the taste because it’ll be even more delicious knowing you’re getting it at a discount.

Watch world class cyclists

If you’ve decided to welcome in the New Year with a revised fitness regime but find yourself flagging already, then get yourself over to the velodrome on Stuart Street for some much-needed motivation as the country’s greatest cyclists take to the track as part of the HSBC UK National Track Championships from 25th to 27th.  Familiar faces from the Olympics and Paralympics will be vying for top spots alongside stars of the future. Tickets start from just £5.

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Toast Tryanuary at the Beer and Cider Festival

If you haven’t embarked on Dry January then pick the pint of your dreams at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival at Manchester Central between 24th and 27th January. There will be numerous bars, including an extended Irish bar and the new Beers from the Wood; over 700 drinks to choose from, including British and International options; as well as traditional pub games and food stalls. Tickets from £7.

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Channel your inner culture vulture

Enjoy a quiet wander around the Lowry’s current exhibition Lowry and The Pre-Raphaelites while you can as it ends next month. Inspired by LS Lowry’s love of the 19th century movement, there are more than 40 works on display by artists including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown and Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones. And the best news is, it’s free.

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Party like an Aussie

We might not have the Aussie sunshine right now, but we can at least pretend for a few hours as part of Australia Day on 26th January. Walkabout in the Printworks is inviting everyone down to celebrate across the weekend so grab a cork hat, toy koala and party like you’re Down Under from midday.

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Pay homage to Take That

Take a trip down memory lane with Take That’s songs when the musical The Band arrives at The Lowry later this week starring the winners from the BBC talent show Let It Shine. Songs such as Never Forget, Back for Good and Relight My Fire are just some of the classics you can expect to singalong to until 26th January when the show moves on. Tickets start for less than £20.

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Find holiday inspiration

One of the most enjoyable aspects of January is spending cosy afternoons planning adventures to tick off throughout the year and trips to daydream about on depressing days. For inspiration, make a beeline for Destinations: The Holiday and Travel Show, which is taking place at EventCity from 17th to 20th January. It will play host to exhibitions, panel sessions, expert talks, tastings and master classes. Tickets from £8.50.

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Raise a dram for Mr Burns

The weather calls for something strong to warm the cockles and this month you’ve got an even greater reason to take a sip of something strong as it’s time to raise a glass to Scotland’s famous poet Robert Burns. The Whiskey Jar, Nutters and Beastro are just a few of the places taking part in Burns Night celebrations on 25th January but keep your eyes peeled for plenty more tempting tipple offers and haggis specials across the region.

Explore for less

As tempting as it is to hide beneath a blanket and binge-watch your way through Netflix boxsets, muster the motivation to explore the great outdoors and you’ll find fresh air, picturesque ambles and a cosy country pubs. TransPennine’s making the idea even more palatable by offering a third off Express Advance Purchase tickets as part of their Express January Sale.

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What's on your mind?