The festive period brings us plenty of opportunities to get our fill of mince pies, cold weather activities, magical singalongs, and so much more.
There’s no surprise that it’s the most wonderful time of the year (well, according to Andy Williams, it is). If you’re in the mood for some festive frolics to enjoy with your family, friends, partners, or even yourself, we’ve put together an extensive list of activities you can do to make sure you enjoy Christmas 2022 in and around Manchester.
Why travel all the way to Germany to experience authentic Christmas Markets when you could stay on English soil? As always, the incredibly popular markets return to the streets of Manchester, with plenty of traditional stalls offering a range of food, drinks, gifts, and more.
With over 220 stalls available to peruse until the 22nd of December, there’s sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.
If you find yourself longing for a bit of outdoorsy entertainment on a Sunday afternoon or evening in December, why not pop into the city centre and enjoy the fun of Festive Sundays?
Six consecutive Sundays of street performances, bright lights, and music will engulf the city of Manchester, providing lots of opportunities for families and friends to get into the Christmas spirit.
Skate Manchester - From £14.50 for Adults and £12.50 for Children
Ice skating has returned to the heart of Manchester. Located at Cathedral Gardens, skaters can enjoy the sound of skates sliding and slicing over the ice all day and evening long.
Whatever the weather, you can enjoy lots of fun thanks to their covered roof. This is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a nice date activity in Manchester. Fingers crossed they have plenty of penguins for those who are a little bit sceptical of their skating abilities (not us, we promise…).
The UK’s biggest family ice show is coming to the Trafford Centre this year. Experience 16 top ice skaters, international circus stars, and ice bears in 200sq meters of real shimmering ice.
The whole celebration will have you on the edge of your seat, desperate to return for more. Plus, make it a whole day and get your shopping done at all the fantastic shops inside the Trafford Centre.
Something’s happened… Santa’s locked himself in his workshop, Mrs Claus isn’t happy, the elves are panicking, and the reindeer are offering little to no help. Can you save Christmas?
This is a breakout room delivered to your door. Enjoy the stress of saving Christmas whilst sitting cosy in your own house in a box of fun that’s perfect for families and friends.
Winter Funland - From £22.50 for Adults & Children
The most awaited Christmas funfair in the UK is coming to Manchester. Winter Funland is full of child-friendly rides, bringing smiles and laughter to the faces of everyone who visits.
On top of that, if you get hungry throughout the day, there’s plenty of food and drinks available, with burgers, candyfloss, popcorn, pizzas, hot dogs, and chips on offer. You only need to purchase one ticket for unlimited rides and ice skating. What are you waiting for
Lightopia, Heaton Park - From £22.50 for Adults and £14.50 for Children
The award-winning Lightopia is back and ready to light up Heaton Park brighter than ever before. Book your tickets to embark on a journey through Christmas, focusing on new beginnings, hope, and rebirth.
Enjoy bright, dazzling illuminations, a magical water show, and the sight of the world-famous Phoenix. This year’s Lightopia is set to be the best ever. Make sure you book your tickets now to avoid disappointment!
Enchanting creatures from Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts films have come to life in the spellbinding Forbidden Forrest. Embark on a magical journey through Arley Hall & Gardens in this fantastically magical and wonderful experience.
Each ticket allows you entry to the woodland walk and access to the Village, full of Harry Potter-themed food & drink. This is the perfect event for all fans who want nothing more than to become immersed in the Wizarding World.
The incredibly popular Manchester hotspot, Escape to Freight Island, has received a festive makeover in time for the Christmas season.
Guests can enjoy food from plenty of restaurants, mulled wine and other festive drinks, a rooftop ice rink, and so much more. Whatever Christmassy treats you fancy, you’re sure to find them here.
Ah, Love Actually. An absolute Christmas classic with a star-studded cast is coming to the Bridgewater Hall in December alongside a full orchestra performing its soundtrack live to screen.
Love Actually in Concert is a highly popular event, with many other locations across the UK hosting it around this time of the year. Make sure you book now to guarantee a seat. This is one activity/event you don’t want to miss.
Cheshire Oaks is extending its opening hours this festive period and bringing you lots of ways to enjoy Christmas.
Take a trip to the Winter Village to enjoy traditional German Brätwurst with warm mulled wine and marvel at the tallest Christmas tree in the North of England. Also, take a ride on the Big Wheel and even join Santa up in the sky. Prices for the Big Wheel are from £5 for children and £6 for adults.
Ready to kickstart your Christmas with an enchanting journey through the magical Irwell Valley? The East Lancashire Railway is bringing their Santa Special voyages with more family fun than you could ever imagine.
Immerse yourself in Santa’s workshop with happy elves on hand to help you throughout the journey and a meeting with Father Christmas himself. Mrs Claus and a magical talking Christmas tree will also meet you on the approximately 80-minute-long journey.
A Christmas classic from the legend that is Raymond Briggs. The Snowman is an essential part of many families’ Christmas routines, and the Bridgewater Hall is showcasing the original 1982 TV film alongside a live orchestra.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without watching this favourite with the fire on. Whilst there may not be an actual fire in the Bridgewater Hall, we’re sure the heating will be turned up full whack for that authentic feel.
Manchester comedic superstar, Jason Manford, is headlining the pantomime classic Peter Pan. This is the ideal event for all the family to enjoy, with plenty of singing, special effects, stunning stages, and incredible costumes on show.
Be a part of the panto magic and take your family on a swashbuckling trip to Neverland this Christmas.
The Hayloft in Cheshire is inviting you to join the elves in their workshop for some enchanting Christmas activities, including making reindeer food for Santa’s drivers. Plus, a miniature railway takes you towards Santa’s grotto, with presents available for each child.
Make sure you wrap up tight, though! All the activities take place undercover outside so dress for the chilly weather. With dates available throughout December, there’s sure to be a time to suit you.