30 Fabulously Festive Things To Do In Manchester This Christmas

Laura O'Neill Laura O'Neill

30 Fabulously Festive Things To Do In Manchester This Christmas

Step into Christmas!

As winter sets in the temptation is to stay in and bask in the glow of your scented candles when you should be making the most of the festive period! Check out these wonderfully Christmasy activities and events taking place across Manchester and finish the year with a bang (or a banger from the Christmas markets). 

1. Sing along with your favourite festive bangers at this Christmas sing-along disco (December 14)

Christmas is coming and there’s one place you will want to be; Fever’s raucous sing-a-long Christmas anthems party!

From 9pm until 2am, guests can expect a raucous sing-a-long Christmas anthems party with hits from the likes of Robbie, Bublé, Kylie and Mariah with song lyrics projected on the wall for anyone who needs them. Get your tickets here. Gorilla, Whitworth Street.

2. Enjoy bottomless drinks and unlimited popcorn at these immersive Christmas film screenings (December 14 – 21)

Film fans will be able to watch these iconic festive films, with free drink flowing throughout the whole screening and bottomless popcorn.

Frozen: December 14 – Brickworks, Barton Arcade
Elf: December 14 – Brickworks, Barton Arcade
Home Alone: December 21 – Brickworks, Barton Arcade
Love Actually: December 21 – Brickworks, Barton Arcade

6. Enjoy the fantastic sequel to festive favourite, A Christmas Carol (December 15)

The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit tells the tale of Timothy, a.k.a Tiny Tim, as he sets out to find his place in an expanding and volatile world.

Inspired by the characters of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the story follows the young Tim as he travels from the home of his benefactor, Ebenezer Scrooge, to the theatrical madness of the great comic, Giuseppe Grimaldi. Get your tickets hereHope Mill Theatre, 113 Pollard St, M4 7JA.

7. Take a Christmas cruise along Manchester’s canal network (December 19)

Photo: capt.salt

Fever has fixed up the perfect winter’s eve event for those who want more from their nights than an evening in front of the heater. Christmas lovers will be invited aboard the Princess Katherine for a sunset cruise along Manchester’s iconic canal network, with a soundtrack of Christmas classics provided by Manchester wedding singer Russel Shaun. Get your tickets herePier 8, The Quays, M50 3AZ.

8. Visit the Christmas Markets (Until December 22)

Photo: iestynhuw

Traders from across the North West and Europe have descended on Albert Square as Manchester has transformed into the UK’s Christmas capital. For the 20th year, a host of much-loved foodies and craft traders have returned for Manchester’s Christmas Markets, including Porky Pigs, the creators of the life-changing Yorkshire pudding wrap, the Amsterdam Frites stall (boasting 30 different toppings and sauces over their triple cooked fries) and Zouk, a traditional curry house offering two new curries every day with a range of veggie and vegan options. And for those with a sweet tooth, there’s bubble waffles, cupcakes and classic British favourites including Christmas puds and trifles.  Albert Square.

9. Step into Spinningfields for a spellbinding Christmas

With the return of après-ski experience Bar Hütte and a month of festive giveaways, those who visit Spinningfields the winter are guaranteed and enchanting experience. Featuring luminous lights, Manchester’s tallest tree and a variety of unique festive venues, Spinningfields is set to become a magical wonderland this Christmas season.

And Spinningfieds will be revealing a new exclusive offer or festive treat every other day, until December 23, with a range of goodies up for grabs. Brands set to take part include Bill’s, The Oast House, Bar Hütte and The Blowout, who will all be offering something special for you to discover.

To see who else will be taking part, check the @Spinningfields Instagram and Twitter account for daily updates!

10. Catch a Christmas classic at this new boutique cinema

Photo: JohnnySphotography

When Everyman St Johns threw open its doors in October, it signalled the arrival of lush seating, ice cream sundaes delivered to your seat, and a fancy cocktail bar. They’ve still got all of that, but in adding festive films like Elf and Gremlins (yes, it’s a Christmas film, look it up), they’ve just taken Christmas cinema to indulgent new levels. Read all about Everyman St Johns here.

11. Have Your Christmas Dinner In An Igloo (available now)

Photo: The Refinery

The Refinery’s glorious igloos are back for Christmas. Each igloo will accommodate up to eight people for dining or up to 10 for drinks and nibbles – and guests will receive full table service. Igloos of four or less can be shared on the day and treats will be available for diners to munch on include pigs in blankets, mini cheeseburgers, duck liver tarts, roasted chestnuts and wild mushroom Yorkshire puddings (among others). More information here1 Hardman Boulevard, XYZ Building, M3 3A

12. Have A Drink At The Frozen Tiki Bar

Photo: ice village

Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens will be transformed into an Ice Village this Christmas, complete with ice sculpture cave, ice bar, ice rink, Santa’s grotto. Click here for more information. Cathedral Gardens, Manchester.

13. Treat Yourself To A Fancy Feast At The Ivy

Photo: @theivymanchester

The gorgeous timber-framed space is based in the city’s financial district and surrounded by lush foliage, creating a welcome green space in the heart of the city. The restaurant features a ground floor brasserie, first-floor private dining room, an opulent Asian bar and restaurant on the second floor, as well a sumptuous roof garden complete with fire pits and lush greenery on the top floor. Click here to book. The Pavilion, Byrom St, M3 3HG.

14. Visit The Impossible Alpine Village

Photo: Great Northern

This winter there’s no need to leave the city as Impossible’s Alpine Village will bring all the fun of a festive après-ski to the centre of Manchester. The Impossible Alpine Village will be open daily from noon and visitors will be able to enjoy a whole host of seasonal experiences.  Including a giant, luxury tipi and bar, decorated with thousands of shimmering lights and vintage ski memorabilia. The tipi will transport guests off-piste, providing the perfect winter setting for an unforgettable festive celebration with friends, families or for the office party. Impossible Manchester, 36 Peter St, M2 5QR.

15. Visit The Peter Rabbit Christmas Grotto (various dates in December)

Photo: intutraffordcentre

Beatrix Potter’s most loved character, Peter Rabbit, has been brought to life in an immersive Christmas grotto experience that will be outside the Great Hall throughout the festive period. Peter Rabbit will welcome visitors into his cosy burrow before sending them off to meet his friends and explore the amazing Beatrix Potter-themed winter woodland. More information here. Trafford Centre, Stretford, M17 8AA.

16 – 30. Go to the pictures


It’s that curious time of year when family-friendly flicks and serious Oscar contenders start mingling in the cineplexes. Here’s what you can see this month – don’t forget about our sweet odeon deal.

🎠 Playmobil: The Movie (Dec 6): shameless attempt to copy the Lego Movie’s success? You decide!
🥀 Little Joe (Dec 6): horticulture gets rather perilous in this sci-fi flick
🎲 Jumanji: The Next Level (Dec 13): the world’s most dangerous game returns
🖤 Black Christmas (Dec 13): sorority horror with a jaunty festive spin
👮‍♂️ Richard Jewell (Dec 13): Clint Eastwood directs this doc about a security guard wrongly vilified as a terrorist
💎 Uncut Gems (Dec 13): Adam Sandler is on sparkling form as a high-flying jeweller
🚀 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Dec 20): epic, sweeping conclusion to the grand nonology
🐱 Cats (Dec 20): not just a rich source of memes, but also a completely baffling musical!
💣 Bombshell (Dec 20): the ladies of Fox News take aim at the toxic, sexist workplace culture
📽 1917 (Dec 27): stunning, star-powered war drama shot as if in one take
👩 Little Women (Dec 27): Greta Gerwig’s fab update is winning rave reviews already
🧐 Spies In Disguise (Dec 27): Will Smith is the world’s greatest spy – and then he is a pigeon. OK…
💉 Clemency (Dec 27): contemplative death row drama with Alfre Woodward and Wendell Pierce
⚖️ Just Mercy (Dec 27): powerful legal flick starring Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, and Jamie Foxx

Also published on Medium.