That’s right, Halloween is behind us and November is taking centre stage. It’s the month to dig out your woolly hats, pin on your poppies and start some preliminary Christmas shopping. It’s also the time to treat yourself to a fun day out or indulge in a romantic date night before your calendar starts filling up with festive commitments. To help narrow down the endless possibilities that await in Manchester, we’ve rounded up some fabulous things to do in the city this November.
The Best Things To Do In Manchester In November 2021
1. Visit the Christmas Markets (from November 12)
Nothing gets you into the festive spirit like a trip to the Christmas markets. This November, an alpine-style wonderland will be popping up in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens and six other locations across the city. What better reason to wrap up and face the frosty chill than the promise of yuletide bars serving locally-brewed ales, food stalls enticing you over with the aromas of freshly cooked paella, pork rolls and triple cooked chips and ticking off your Christmas pressie list buying some quaint creations from craft sellers. The warm, gooey treat on top? There’s also cookie dough puddings and melt-in-your-mouth brownies to satisfy your sweet tooth.
2. Catch the fireworks at Escape To Freight Island (November 5)
The first word that springs to mind at the mere mention of November is always fireworks. You can remember, remember the 5th of November at Escape To Freight Island this year. In the absence of the city’s recently cancelled bonfire night they have decided to put on an epic firework display; lighting up the sky with a kaleidoscope of colours above their festive Christmas tree forest and cosy heated terraces. Round up your friends, swing by the bar for some mulled wine and grab a first row seat to witness the dazzling display.
3. Pop over to Blackpool for the incredible FriendsFestive celebrations (November 5-19)
Could we be any more excited? FriendsFestive is heading to Blackpool Winter Gardens between November 5–19, celebrating the best Christmas and NYE moments from the iconic show. There are a whole host of activities to do on site, including visiting the Holiday Armadillo’s grotto, recreating Ross and Monica’s iconic dance routine, and visiting your favourite sets, all dressed up for the festive season. It’s an unmissable Christmas celebration for Friends fans, and the show’s best festive moments will be showing on the big screen, just in case you’ve somehow forgotten why an Armadillo is so important at Christmastime… Find your tickets to FriendsFestive here. ⭐️ Sponsored ⭐️
4. Listen to the hits of Coldplay by candlelight (November 19)
On November 19 the familiar melodies of Coldplay’s biggest hits will float from the doors of Manchester Cathedral. The enchanting concert will be a slice of Paradise for fans of the band, offering a warm retreat from the bitter cold and welcoming you in with the soft Yellow glow of a sea of candlelight. Take a seat among the fascinating gothic architecture of the centuries-old church and listen as popular songs such as Fix You, Clocks and Viva La Vida are played by a talented pianist and violinist. This classical twist on Coldplay will be a treat for the eyes and ears, grab tickets now as they’ll soon be selling out at the Speed of Sound.
5. Escape to the wilderness of Manchester’s nearby forests
Nature has had its autumnal makeover and is positively glowing with a spectrum of gold, yellow and orange. You can swap pounding the pavement for crunching over fallen leaves this November. In a short drive you could be breathing in the fresh air of Blackley Forest, laced with a serpentine river, or catching sight of a red deer in the enchanting tangle of Macclesfield Forest. There’s nothing quite like a blustery stroll among the trees, free of the crowds and chaos of the city. Though, if you find yourself missing the city folk, there’ll be nothing sweeter than going home after; rosy-cheeked and refreshed. Discover Greater Manchester’s Forests here.
6. Witness fiction brought to life at Harry Potter: The Forbidden Forest
Adventure into the shadowy depths of the Forbidden Forest this November and you will encounter all manner of mystical things. Plucked from the pages of Harry Potter, this winding trail twists through the wilderness of Cheshire’s Arley Hall and Gardens, treating the curious to some unexpected surprises. You can put your wands away. There’ll be no need to cast a Lumos spell with the mesmerising lights showing the way and mythical beasts – such as centaurs, hippogriffs and unicorns – only emerge from the mist if they don’t sense a threat. The immersive experience is sure inject some magic into the month, you can find tickets here.
7-10. Treat your four-legged friend on a doggy date
Who says dogs don’t deserve be spoiled as much as us? Manchester is not just for the people, it also knows how to treat our canine friends. Whether you’re after an outdoor adventure or are looking to socialise your pup after lockdown left you both a little co-dependent, we’ve found a few special dog-friendly experiences that make for a pawfect day out..
🐾 Dachshund Disco (November 14): Is there anything cuter than the pattering paws of dancing sausage dogs? We doubt it. But you can see for yourself at Revolution at Parsonage Gardens, which will be hosting a dachshund disco where the little dogs (and their owners) can socialise on a light-up doggy dance floor.
🐕 Cockapoo Cafe (November 14): Is it a poodle? Is it a spaniel? Is it a teddy bear? Nope, it’s a cockapoo, the adorably fluffy dogs that seemed to have won the hearts of half of the British public. Revolution have recognised the pups popularity and decided to bring their doggy dreams to life with an off-lead experience featuring dog-friendly mince pies and pupucinos.
🏝Take a trip to the best dog-friendly beach in the UK: Bispham Beach, just an hours drive away, is a sandy haven for dogs and their owners. As well as allowing dogs all year round, it has plenty of space for them to play, dig and run before crashing into the frothy shallows of the sea.
🦴 Doggy Grotto (from November 4): Are you one of those people with an Instagram for your dog? No judgement here, we never tire of cute pics of beloved pooches. In fact, we just wanted to pass along that the alpine-themed Bar Hutte now have a specialised ‘Bark Hütte’, complete with ‘pawsecco’, free dog treats and plenty of Christmassy props so you can juice up your feed with some festive snaps.
11. Celebrate World Vegan Day (November 1)
The first day of the month is officially World Vegan Day. As if you needed a reason to visit one of the many spots around Manchester that serve tasty vegan grub? Whether you’re someone looking to dip your toe in the world of vegan food for the first time or are a long-time vegan who is constantly on the hunt for new haunts serving delicious plant-based dishes, you are sure to find a favourite among these six vegan eateries in Manchester.
12. Challenge your friends to darts at the Flight Club
Tired of waiting around to use the one darts board at your local pub? But knowing in the back of your head that its far too busy to attempt even one throw without the distinct risk of catching a pint-wielding geezer? This is your answer. Flight Club’s fairground-themed bar has plenty of dart boards for you and your friends to unleash their competitive side on. Each one with fancy dart-tracking technology, digital score systems and cameras to catch you all in action.
13. Soak up the sounds of talented musicians at a Concorde Concert (November 6 & 13)
A truly unique experience, these mesmerising concerts take place under the gleaming wings of a svelte Concorde. An ensemble of professional musicians will sit centre stage of the intimate setting, surrounded by flickering candles whose soft light is reflected on the polished belly of the plane above. Set to enchant ticket-holders this month is a tribute to the velvet-voiced Divas of Jazz on November 6 and a celebration of classic Movie Soundtracks on November 13.
14. Pay your respects at the poppy installation at IWM North on Remembrance Day (November 11)
The crimson blanket of poppies that once flooded from the Tower of London has found a new home at the Imperial War Museum North. They will be found cascading down the Air Shard on November 10 as part of Remembrance events, serving as a striking symbol of the many lives lost in the First World War and encouraging onlookers to reflect on the true impact of the battle. Put on your poppies and visit the sculpture for free this Remembrance Day.
15. Get your culture fix at the Manchester Art Fair (November 20-21)
Attention all art aficionados, painting pundits and sculpture savants. Manchester Art Fair will be taking over Manchester Central in mid-November, promising a wealth of marvellous masterpieces from over 130 galleries and artists. The event has been running for over a decade, inviting people to both view and buy the art. Whether you’re after something special to hang in your new house or fancy soaking up the talents of regional UK artists, this fantastic fair will be a true immersion in the art world. Find out more here.
16. Stay in and snuggle up in front of Netflix
We wouldn’t blame you if the idea of venturing outdoors is the last thing on your mind right now. Sometimes all you need is to order a takeaway, put on your PJs and curl up in front of a good film (or indulge in a bit of binge-watching). Luckily, Netflix has no shortage of entertainment on offer, with new gems such as Harder The Fall – an all-black Western starring Regina King and Idris Elba – Tiger King’s long-awaited second season and The Princess Switch 3, sure to be the first in a long line of comforting Hallmark-reminiscent Christmas films. No need for a google, we’ve got a full list of what to expect on Netflix this month
17. Enter a G&T heaven at the Gin To My Tonic Show (November 12-13)
Let the good times be-gin. Connoisseurs of all things gin will be in their element at one of the largest gin festivals in the UK, a wonderland of well-stocked bars, cocktail masterclasses and eye-opening presentations from distilleries. The moment you step foot inside the Manchester Central Convention Complex you’ll be torn between grabbing the first gin-based concoction you see or blessing you palate with a tasting. Of course, you can always do both. Tickets will likely disappear as quickly as your first gin after a long day at work, so scoop them up fast.
18. Catch up with a friend over a toasty hot chocolate
Gone are the summer days of craving a cold pint or iced coffee in the park. Now, with the autumnal chill setting in, we find ourselves with a hankering for something warm, sweet and comforting. There are a variety of spots around Manchester where you can find yourself clutching a frothy hot chocolate and we’ve rounded them up especially for you. From indulgent classics topped with cream and melt-in-your-mouth marshmallows to tempting flavour variations such as peanut butter, chocolate orange or a twist of boozy liqueur. Call your friend, you now know exactly where to meet.
19. Dig into a hearty homestyle curry at Mowgli
Bringing the scrumptious street food of India to Manchester, Mowgli is a warmly-lit restaurant found in the corn exchange. Stepping inside unsurprisingly transports you to the natural playground of The Jungle Book, where ropes reminiscent of swooping vines twist around a trellis and table-side swings let you dangle your feet while you tuck into the aromatic dishes. The menu boasts comfort food gems such as the Mother Butter Chicken Curry, consisting of tandoori chicken pieces, spiced tomato & yoghurt sauce. If you’ve already swung by Mowgli, why not check out these other cosy restaurants in Manchester.
20-23. Kick off your weekend with a boozy bottomless brunch
Picture it now. You’ve had a tough week at work, you send off that last email on the Friday and collapse onto your sofa to check you calendar, there, in bold letters: bottomless brunch. Your heart soars, the week is saved. A boozy excuse to see your mates and let your hair down a little is always welcome in our book and thankfully Manchester is chocka with brilliant bottomless brunches offering free-flowing drinks, delicious food and endless entertainment. Here are just a few to wet your appetite…
🎶 R&B Brunch with Bottomless Rum Punch (November 27): Get ready to dance the day away. This themed brunch takes place at Manchester Bierkeller, inviting R&B fans to boogie on down to hits from the likes of Mary J Blige, Pharrell and TLC. Street food is on offer when your stomach grumbles and it can be washed down with an hour of bottomless rum punch.
💪Buff Bingo Bottomless Brunch (November 13): Bottomless bevvies served by Boy Toy buff butlers, cut-throat sass from hilarious drag queen performers, an epic game of bingo…what more could you want? Oh, and the stone-baked pizzas don’t hurt either.
💄Spice Girls Bottomless Brunch (November 14): This brunch is sure to spice up your life. Fans of the iconic girl group will be in heaven singing along to their greatest hits and gulping down fruity cocktails to keep their vocal cords fully lubricated. Fancy dress is also encouraged, so pick your favourite Spice Girl and go all out.
🥟 WowYauChow Bottomless Brunch: The mouthwatering food is the star of the show at this brunch, meaning it’s not just the drinks that are bottomless. WowYauChow are treating our flavour-loving palates with authentic dishes such as buffalo chicken dumplings and bao buns stuffed with juicy meat, tofu or vegan ‘filet-o-bao’. To wash it all down? Wine, cocktails or and Tsing Tao.
24. Take in a rainbow of lights and dine in twinkling domes at Lightopia (November 18 -January 3)
The psychedelic wonders of the Lightopia will soon return to Manchester once more, piercing the onyx nights with vibrant light installations, mesmerising sci-fi-reminiscent tunnels and a giant lit-up Christmas tree. An undeniable highlight (in more ways than one) of the year, the spellbinding festival adds a much-need splash of colour to a gloomy season and gets you out in the chilly evenings for a bit of fresh air. If you need a bit more to get you out the door, you can now book a private dining dome among the trees and dig into fondue, toasted flatbread and sticky glaze ribs under the stars.
25. Taste toasty brews at the Manchester Coffee Festival (November 6-7)
Does the nutty aroma of coffee entice you out of bed in the morning? Is your wallet stuffed with coffee shop loyalty cards? Is your cupboard overflowing with cafetieres and ground coffee because people figured that’s what you like and all zoned in on the same gift idea? If this sounds like a bit of you then the Manchester Coffee Festival is right up your street. Coming to Bowlers Exhibition Centre soon, the festival has coffee tastings, workshops, stalls and plenty of tempting samples. Find tickets here.