10 festive things to do in Manchester

December is almost here, and the official Christmas countdown can officially begin. So if you’re not feeling festive yet, here are a few things you can be doing to get in the mood for the most wonderful time of the year.

1. Christmas Carols at John Rylands Library. I went to this one-hour carol concert last year, and it was a lovely break from the Christmas shopping crowds. This year it will be on 4th December, 2-3pm (no booking required) and takes place in the Historical Reading Room, which is a lovely space.

John Rylands Manchester carol concert

2. Ice skating at The Winter Gathering. Manchester Ice Rink has a new home at The Winter Gathering (London Road Fire Station). It’s a bit of a festive-themed wonderland which also features street food stalls, markets and live music, so there’s definitely enough festive fun to keep you entertained for a few hours!

3. A Very 80s Christmas. Get into the festive spirit the 80s way at HOME Mcr with a showcase of 80s movie viewings. I reckon Santa Claus: The Movie and Scrooged would easily get me in the mood.

4. Craft workshops at Paperchase. Christmas crafts are the best crafts, fact. And Paperchase are putting on a range of Christmas-themed workshops at their Manchester store, including techniques such as die cutting, lino printing and foiling for making gorgeous cards and tags, plus workshops where you can make gingerbread house gift boxes (very cute!), Christmas crackers or paper poinsettia wreaths. Prices start at £10.

Handmade gift tags

5. Festive afternoon tea. Tea Hive have really gone for it when giving their afternoon tea a Christmas makeover. Here’s what you can expect for £18.95: Festive gingerbread scones; a selection of finger sandwiches including Cheddar, pear and thyme; Bacon, brie and cranberry; and Turkey and stuffing; a selection of seasonal cakes; mince pies served with brandy butter; tea or coffee; and a mulled spiced apple drink. For an extra £4 you can even get a winter berry Bellini or liquor coffee.

6. Christmas at the movies. Christmas movie music always gives me the festive chills, and on 23rd December The Hallé will be playing orchestral music from The Polar Express, White Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Frozen and Harry Potter, among others.

7. Brass band music.  Nothing sounds more like Christmas than brass bands playing carols, and Horwich RMI Brass Band will be performing In the Corn Exchange Atrium as well as in St Anne’s Square on various dates throughout December. Check out their events page for details.

8. Hot chocolate at BonBon. Cosy up and experience Manchester’s most luxurious hot chocolate away from the cold in BonBon in the Northern Quarter.

9. Manchester Christmas Markets after dark. I say after dark because there is something magical about seeing the wooden chalet huts all lit up with fairy lights twinkling in the trees above. Don’t forget to enjoy some warming mulled cider and some traditional Christmas market food for the full experience.

Manchester Christmas market

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10. Big Christmas Cracker at Hope Mill Theatre. This adults-only Christmas Cabaret featuring singers and dancers, burlesque and comedy sounds like a fun night out at Manchester’s hottest new fringe theatre venue. But if you’re looking for something more family friendly, there is also a production of the classic story of The Snow Queen too (I’m guessing it’s nothing like Frozen!)

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2 thoughts on “10 festive things to do in Manchester

  1. What a lovely unique list! The Christmas markets in the evening really do have a magical feel to them don’t they or do I just drink too much mulled wine lol The Winter Gathering sounds cool. Crafting at Paperchase sounds fun – if I had endless patience that is ;o)

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