The Christmas Markets have now arrived – but there’s much more happening in the city this weekend. Winter fun continues with the launch of the Ice Rink at First Street, for budding or skilful skaters alike. You can also plan your trip to one of Santa’s grottos.

Indulge your cultural interests at The Lowry Theatre with an exceptional performance of the opera Tosca by Opera North on Friday evening. Alternatively, enter a world of darkness and dance with a screening of Suspiria at HOME; this re-imagining of Dario Argento’s masterpiece is on a limited run and not for the faint-hearted.

Several grand figures are in the city this weekend. Russell T. Davies will be at the Geoffrey Manton Building at MMU talking about how Manchester has inspired his writing and influenced series such as Queer as Folk, Bob and Rose and his new BBC series Years and Years, due to be screened in 2019.

The first Muslim to be appointed to the cabinet, Baroness Warsi takes part in Muslim Art and Culture Festival on Sunday in a conversation at The British Muslim Heritage Centre. She will discuss her long (and outspoken) career that has taken her across the world.

Here’s what else is happening this weekend.

Kindness Night Market

Credit Levenshulme Market

In honour of World Kindness Day this week, Levenshulme Market is throwing a big, kind, foodie community party. The November night market is all about the tiny but important ways to be kind, to help other people and to come together to make communities great places to live. The market is teaming up with a number of partners for the night, including Real Junk Food Manchester and Contact Theatre, who’ll be running a free kids workshop from 5-9pm with themes including kindness, inclusion and acceptance.

As always at Levenshulme Night Markets there will be a full bar (including a special bar selling hot boozy winter warmers from a converted horse box) and incredible street food including Geordie Seoul, Dirty Franks, Sushi Craft, Hi Fries, Mid Pizza and many more. There are also handmade, unique gifts to browse from stalls including Mint To Be, Lydia Meiying, Olive Owl Flowers, In Truffle We Trust and Riverside Spirits.

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Chorlton Book Festival

Credit Chorlton Book Festival

Back for a 14th year, the Chorlton Book Festival boasts a lineup of eclectic readings, talks, poetry and family-friendly activities. A highlight of this launch weekend is a local history walk through Chorlton with local historian Andrew Simpson (2-4pm on Sunday 18th), taking in the hamlets of Chorlton, Hardy and a lesser known third borough of Martlet. Tickets for the walk cost £7.50 and include lunch at the end in the Dressing Room cafe at The Edge Theatre.

Highlights across the festival, running until the 24th November, include poet Henry Normal, novelist Phaedra Patrick, playtime with Dominic Berry, Viz creator Simon Donald, a code-cracking workshop, and the famous Literary Pub Quiz. Most events are free and are all listed on the festival’s website.

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Foodies Festival Tatton Park

Foodies Festival 2018

Further afield and back to the Christmas theme is Tatton Park’s Foodies Festival at Christmas. Open all weekend, the festival is a showcase for celebrity chef demos, gift gathering and sampling lots of new flavours ahead of the season.

This year’s MasterChef winner Kenny Tutt is on hand with a live demo in The Chef’s Theatre, as well as The French’s Adam Reid, Aiden Byrne, and Wholefood Warrior Eve Humphries. They’ll all be cooking festive favourites throughout the weekend.

The Festive Foodies Workshop is where you’ll be able to learn festive crafts, make edible gifts for Christmas and learn to make the ultimate Christmas cocktails. Finish your weekend sampling Tatton Brewery in the Drinks Theatre – or perhaps get into the Gin Alley where you can discover your favourite new tipple.

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