Oh! I wish it could be Christmas everyday… and this festive season, it can be! There are lots of fantastic, fun-filled events to fit on your advent calendar this year, truly something for everyone to enjoy.
1 – Lightopia
Prepare to be delighted with Lightopia’s ‘A Christmas Fantasy’ at Heaton Park. Explore the enchanting set trail, featuring interactive lights, lanterns, and
installations, which form a festive story. Hungry after the walk? No problem! Book in the brand-new Dine in the Light experience and enjoy three sumptuous courses, with a separate children’s menu available. If you fancy something more casual, The Stables Courtyard Bar and Dining is the perfect destination, with a walk-in option or a £5 booking fee, fully redeemable on food and drink on the evening.
2 – The Forbidden Forest
Delve back into the magical world of Harry Potter with an enchanting visit to the Forbidden Forest, filled with all the magical creatures and daring delights from the books and films. Visit Arley Hall and Gardens to cast your own spells, make a Patronus appear before you and fully immerse yourself with the magical creatures. Finish the evening with a warming visit to the Enchanting Village – a fun-filled evening for the whole family and a must for Potter fans!
3 – Christmas at Dunham Massey
A spectacular sight for all the family, come together to enjoy the illuminated trail through festive gardens, featuring over a million lights, lasers, and seasonal sounds. Enjoy delicious food and a hot chocolate or two from independent street food vendors. With glittering deer, tunnels full of light and even a visit from Father Christmas, don’t wait to book your tickets for this colourful Christmas treat.
4 – Manchester Christmas Market
After a toned-down Christmas last year, it’s wonderful to witness the welcome return of the famous Manchester Christmas Market, which will operate in six city-centre squares. This includes Exchange Square’s famous Mill Exchange Bar and Pork Pig’s Yorkshire Pudding Wraps; St Ann’s Square’s new hand-pulled pizzas and delicious fried chicken & salt and pepper fries; King Street’s French themed stalls, including a gin bar with over 100 varieties; New Cathedral Street’s local jewellery and crafted produce and, of course, the famous ice-skating rink in Cathedral Gardens. Pop along to enjoy yuletide bars (serving locally brewed ales), craft sellers, food stalls and live music throughout the season.
5 – The Lanterns at Chester Zoo
The call of the wild is back… and it’s leading you to Chester Zoo! The zoo has been transformed into a beautiful Christmas scene, with wonderful characters and delicious festive food to devour. There’s no better place to visit at this time of year.
6 – Wythenshawe Hall Father Christmas Experience
Make sure to book a magical Father Christmas experience inside Wythenshawe Hall. Enjoy an immersive tour of the hall and delve into the interactive storytelling for a memorable festive experience… =and a visit from the bearded one himself!
7 – Santa Specials on East Lancs Railway
Perfect for fans of The Polar Express; take your children on a magical journey through the East Lancs Railway whilst Santa’s little helpers entertain up and down the carriages! Start your experience in the beautifully decorated Bury Bolton Street station before stepping on board to enjoy the journey. This experience isn’t just for children – parents can enjoy a festive drink and mince pie too!
8 – A Christmas Carol at Waterside Arts
There’s nothing that says Christmas more than A Christmas Carol, and this stage adaptation by Adam Z. Robinson is no exception. Suitable for ages 11+, transport yourself to Victorian London to watch Ebenezer Scrooge come face to face with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, without leaving the comfort of your theatre seat.
9 – The Not So Ugly Sisters Musical at Waterside Arts
We’ve all heard of the ugly stepsisters from Cinderella, but have you ever considered things from their point of view? Join Dolly and Barb on the morning of Cindy and Prince Smarming’s royal wedding – who knows what will happen! The audience is encouraged to come along in their pyjamas and bring their favourite bear to the 6pm performance. On both Saturday 11th and 18th December, the performances will be British Sign Language interpreted.
10 – Winter Village at Ramona
Ramona’s Firehouse and Winter Village is an urban utopia of festival stalls, tequila cabins, fire-pits, live stages and dance tents, serving winter cocktails, hot chocolate and mulled wine. All spaces across The Firehouse and Ramona can be booked for unforgettable Christmas parties and gatherings – from campfire vibes to wild spirits, tequila and dancing to pizzas and hot choccies. It’s the complete cosy Christmas hideaway all nestled on the border of the Northern Quarter and Ancoats. The festivities never looked so fabulous!