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 last month of 2019. Check out these wonderfully festive activities and events taking place across Manchester this month and finish the year with a bang (or a banger from the Christmas markets).
1. Visit The Christmas Markets (Until December 22)
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.
2. Catch a Christmas classic at this new boutique cinema
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.
3. Visit the the Night Market (December 5)
Battling with all those people (and pushchairs) when you’re trying to do a bit of Christmas shopping can make the whole experience miserable. And it’s even worse for those who are just popping in for a swift sausage or a cheeky pint. Thankfully, the folks at Levenshulme Markets have the solution to our market malaise. Night markets! The group has organised a night at the museum on Thursday (December 5). Which will see stalls selling unique, handmade gifts, as well as some of Manchester’s best street food pop up at Manchester Museum from 6pm until 10pm. University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, M13 9PL.
4. Have Your Christmas Dinner In An Igloo (available now)
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 here. 1 Hardman Boulevard, XYZ Building, M3 3A
5. Have A Drink At The Frozen Tiki Bar
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.
6. Treat Yourself To A Fancy Feast At The Ivy
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.
7. Visit The Impossible Alpine Village
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.
8. Visit The Peter Rabbit Christmas Grotto (various dates in December)
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.
9 – 22. 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.