The rotting pumpkins are now feeding our plants while our trolleys are filling with sparklers and firewood… 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 the city, we’ve rounded up some fabulous things to do in Manchester this November.
1. Visit the Christmas Markets
Nothing gets you into the festive spirit like a trip to Christmas markets. This November, an alpine-style wonderland will be popping up in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens and multiple 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.
Take a dancefloor-vibrating set from a top DJ, add in some striking Edwardian architecture then mix it up with a unique 360-degree element and you’ve got Manchester 360°: Weekend Takeover at Victoria Baths. This unforgettable clubbing experience is set to get the weekend in full swing on November 4, 5 and 6. Revellers will be treated to some no doubt dance-inducing sets from world-renowned DJs including Dimitri from Paris, Lee Burridge and Darius Syrossian, all in the empty swimming pool of a stunning Grade-II listed building.
3. Catch the fireworks at Escape To Freight Island
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.
The World Cup is back this month and this time, it’s coming home. There’ll be no better place to wait for the inevitable homecoming of the golden FIFA World Cup Trophy than Soccer 6’s World Cup 2022 indoor fan park. This dedicated fan zone in Trafford Park, hosted by 4TheFans, will provide the ultimate fan experience right here in Manchester this winter. Last year’s 4TheFans Euros fan park was a top seller, so grab your tickets early here.
5. Dive into the animated world at the UK’s largest animation festival
Returning for the first time in two years, the Manchester Animation Festival will be showcasing some of the finest animation work in person, with sessions taking place across the city. Kicking off this November with over 100 events such as screenings, panels, workshops, masterclasses, Making Of and studio talks, there is plenty for animation enthusiasts to get involved in with this year’s festival.
“Four seasons in one day” is just British weather all over, right? Well, at this candlelight concert, settle down and listen to four seasons in just two hours – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concerto that is. Far less stressful. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by Candlelight will bring talented classical musicians to Hallé St Peter’s in Ancoats for two evening performances this November, all lit beautifully by an array of candles.
7. 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, especially within the local and enchanting forests. 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.
8. 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 with this immersive experience. Plucked from the pages of Harry Potter, as well as from the Fantastic Beasts series, 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.
9. Switch off from the world at The Lowry Hotel’s new, relaxing spa
Opening November, The Spa at The Lowry Hotel will relaunch as RE:TREAT, a technologically advanced spa offering wellness experiences that will leave you feeling refreshed and mentally rejuvenated. With cryotherapy chambers, meditation pods and sensory deprivation tanks all under one roof in a UK first, RE:TREAT will also offer plenty of traditional spa treatments, wellness classes and membership options for locals. The new luxury spa will feature four new spacious treatment rooms, a relaxation area – a zen space with loungers to sooth the senses, as well as technology advanced equipment, a multifunctional fitness studio which will be used for a variety of fitness and wellbeing classes, and a brow & lash bar.
10. Get into the festive spirit at the Trafford Centre’s ‘Tinseltown’
The Trafford Centre has gone all out with its entertainment this year. From the hit Summer Social to Halloween’s Spookfest, there’s been tons of fun for the family to enjoy this year – and thankfully, it doesn’t end there. Sending the year out with a bang with ‘Tinseltown’ is complete with a festive fairground, SNOWSTORM 2 spectacular ice show, winter ice rink, and a very exciting new Paddington grotto; so you can expect a magical winter ahead.
11. Celebrate World Vegan Day
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 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.
The lovely folks of Fever are hosting some utterly magical nights of candlelit ballet – with performances scheduled for November 26 at Contact Theatre respectively – making for an unforgettable display of music and dance. With a string quartet, professional ballet dancers, and a beautiful venue bathed in the soft glow of candlelight, it might just be the most romantic date you’ve ever been on.
14. Pay your respects at the poppy installation at IWM North on Remembrance Day
The crimson blanket of poppies that once flooded from the Tower of London has a permanent home at the Imperial War Museum North. They can be found cascading down the Air Shard 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
Attention all art aficionados, painting pundits and sculpture savants. Manchester Art Fair will be taking over Manchester Central on the first weekend of 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.
16. Tuck into divine Japanese food at this new immersive dining spot
Opening this November on Manchester’s Bridge Street, MUSU aims to set itself apart by bringing “a new breed of restaurant that offers both the pinnacle of fine dining and a totally immersive experience”. The Japanese word MUSU translates as “infinite possibilities”, something that the restaurant hopes to encapsulate in every aspect of the venue, from its menus to its interiors. Expect an exquisite tasting menu concept designed to deliver a multi-sensory dining experience featuring the likes of A5 grade wagyu beef and sustainable blue fin tuna.
17. Party the night away at this year’s Homobloc at Depot Mayfield
The legendary block party for all, Homobloc, has announced its return this November, bringing artists and performers together to present one of the greatest coalitions of the LGBTQ+ community. Taking place at Depot Mayfield on November 5, the event will showcase next level production and performances across four stages, plus there will be a special Bollox presents Homosquat takeover at the legendary pub Star & Garter. Róisín Murphy and Self Esteem are among the headliners set to play this year’s Homobloc one-day festival, and will also be joined by The Blessed Madonna, Honey Dijon, HAAi, Saoirse and Horse Meat Disco.
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- hot chocolate, of course. There are a variety of spots around Manchester where you can find yourself clutching a frothy hot chocolate. 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. Visit this independent bookshop on a mission to combat loneliness
With the aim to combat loneliness in the community law firm gunnercooke has announced it is launching a purpose-led independent bookshop, café and events space in Manchester. Known as The House of Books & Friends, the space is due to open this autumn in Bruntwood’s Manchester Club building at the top of King Street. The bookshop will offer initiatives for customers and businesses through pay it forward schemes, as well as opportunities to make connections with their community through events and a café.
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 12 & 26): 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 12): 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.
💄Absolutely Britney Bottomless Brunch (November 19): Relive the early noughties with the best tunes from Britney Spears’ brilliant back catalogue, performed by the UK’s number one Britney impersonator, ‘Absolute Britney’. There will also be games, dancing and drag artists, including the hostess-with-the-mostess Miss Blair.
🧀 The Mouse Trap Bottomless Brunch: The mouthwatering food is the star of the show at this brunch, which can be accompanied by bottomless drinks for 90 minutes. The Mouse Trap in Ramsbottom are treating our flavour-loving palates with gorgeously gooey cheese fondue and raclette with plenty of bread, charcuterie and cornichons to dip into the cheese. To wash it all down? All of the wine or Aperol Spritz.
24. Follow the bright lights and magical trail at Lightopia in Heaton Park
Returning to Heaton Park for the fourth year running, the family-friendly event is set to bring a brand new enchanting and immersive light festival for this year’s ‘A Christmas Story by Lightopia’, which will include a ‘never-seen-before’ illuminated trail with some very special features like unseen audio-visual displays. Set to be a completely immersive affair for Mancs of all ages, guests will be welcomed at Lightopia by the magical Guardian Gate, before entering transported into a wonderland decorated by a blanket of shooting stars with the Essence of Light display. Follow the mystical path to the Christmas realm, celebrating the festive season with the gift of giant baubles, trees and presents.
25. Celebrate the first birthday of Nell’s at Kampus with free slices and frozen margaritas
The bright orange baby that is Nell’s at Kampus is all grown up and deserves a party to celebrate. Nell’s NY Pizza & Bar didn’t have the easiest start in life with Omicron on the rise but she’s all caught up, even launching Manchester’s only standalone slice bar earlier this summer, offering ‘substantial’ slices from her famous 22in bin lid sized NY style pies. To celebrate the first birthday, she’s throwing a party on November 3 where freebies and treats will be flying out thick and fast, on the hour, every hour from 4pm-8pm. Expect free frozen margaritas, slices, dough sticks, ice cream sandwiches and more.
Looking for the ultimate feel-good night out, where you can let your hair down, dance into the night, and sing at the top of your lungs? Well, my friends, Disco Classical is the place to be. Forget Saturday Night Fever, it’s all about Friday night as you take it back to the heyday of Sister Sledge, the Bee Gees, and Prince at Manchester Bridgewater Hall on November 18. This all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza will heat up the cold Autumn night with live music, dancers and so much more.
27. Get hyped for the World Cup at this new fan park featuring light shows and massive screens
This November will see the arrival of Europe’s largest World Cup fan park, Road to Victory, with the Manchester venue set to offer a capacity of over 6,000 guests and the largest screen in the continent. Presented by AIX Live and taking place at Manchester’s Depot Mayfield, the home of The Warehouse Project and Escape To Freight Island; Road to Victory promises immense production combined with the latest interactive technology to deliver an incredible multi-sensory football experience this winter, including a massive 140sqm screen and a fully immersive light show.
28. Watch environmental movies on the big screen at The UK Green Film Festival
The UK Green Film Festival, the UK’s only national environmental film festival, is set to return for its tenth year this November at venues around the country, including Manchester’s HOME. The festival aims to unite movie lovers and green enthusiasts by exploring environmental issues through the medium of film. The 2022 official programme is made up of five films, four of which have been directed by women, and three are UK exclusive premieres.
29. Head out on an after-dark illuminated trail at Dunham Massey
Back for 2022 and here to lift our spirits, Dunham Massey has confirmed the return of their stunningly festive illumination trail, which is set to take place from this November. The after-dark illuminated trail will be bringing all the festive feels to the historic National Trust venue, along with three new light installations. The event, which will be its sixth run this Christmas, will transform the beautiful formal gardens and deer park with festive lights trailing throughout.
30. Watch the Christmas classic Home Alone with a live orchestra playing along
When it comes to Christmas films, Home Alone will be the first to pop up in our minds. The film has become a tradition every holiday season bringing back magical childhood memories for many. And now, the iconic Christmas comedy blockbuster is coming to Manchester in the form of a concert. As spectators watch Home Alone on screen, a full live orchestra will be playing along as the movie unfolds.