Whether you live in Manchester or are just visiting for the festive season, there are so many festive events going on around the city and we’ve picked out some of our favourites to make your life easier. Whether you like activities, going out for food or drinks, or staying indoors, we’ve got you covered.
If the idea of wrapping up in a warm coat and big scarf and going out into the frosty outdoors fills you with excitement, then we’ve got the perfect list of activities you can do this winter to give you all the cosy feels and get you excited for Christmas.
Famous for a good reason, the beloved Manchester Christmas Markets are back and here to stay until the 22nd of December. There’s just something about heading down to the markets on a crisp cold day, indulging in international foods from the hundreds of stalls dotted around with a classic mulled wine in hand (or hot choc if that’s more your vibe) that makes us feel so cosy and Christmassy. Not to mention, the abundance of hand-made goods on sale that we just can’t say no to!
In our opinion, no activity screams Christmas more than ice-skating and in true winter season tradition, Skate Manchester is back transforming Cathedral Gardens into a winter paradise until the 2nd of January. To avoid the (very high) possibility of getting caught in the rain, the rink is covered by a roof ensuring you can enjoy the ice in spite of Manchester’s unpredictable weather! Best of all, this year’s brand-new ice path allows you to skate around a stunning Christmas tree and we don’t think it can get any more festive than that.
Won’t make it to Winter Wonderland this year? Then we have an even better alternative. Escape to Freight Island has transformed into Escape to Winter Island and we can’t recommend it enough. This spot brings together all of our favourite things: outdoor markets, an ice rink, backyard cinema, pop-ups, food vendors, talented DJs, and so much more. The entire place is filled with Christmas spirit, from a Christmas tree entrance to fairy lights lighting up the space, and it really does feel like you’re in a winter island.
Although new to the Manchester Christmas scene, Miracle on Cross Street is a winter pop-up converting Salt Dogs Slims into an adults-only Christmas grotto. The popular city centre bar will be unrecognisable with Christmas lights and tinsel covering the walls, stockings, and candy canes hung on the furniture, and of course, a twinkling Christmas tree taking centre stage. The main thing pulling us in however, is the range of festive food and drink that’ll be on offer - think all you can eat mince pies, pigs in blankets, mulled wine, Irish cream … Our mouths are watering just thinking about it!
If you’re like us and the cold weather makes you just want to snuggle up and be warm at home, (trust us, we get it!) then we’ve got you covered too. Here are some of our favourite ways to spend the festive season without leaving the comfort of your home.
The Grinch, Elf, Home Alone – there are so many Christmas classics that are a must watch over the Christmas season, not to mention the cheesy romantic comedies… Love Actually, The Holiday? Yes please! The list could go on, so it only calls for one thing, a movie night! Why not dedicate this last month before Christmas to watching all your winter favourites? You can make it cosy too, bring all your pillows, blankets, and duvets in front of the TV, make some creamy hot chocolates, bring out the popcorn, and get to marathoning.
Whether you’re the next Mary Berry or have two left hands when it comes to baking, this one is all about the experience, and the baked goods are just a happy additional – at least that’s what we’re telling ourselves! Seriously though, Christmas time is the perfect time for some home baking, and it can be super enjoyable, especially when you get into it with your nearest and dearest. Next time you’re wondering what to do at home, try out some festive recipes (you can find so many with a quick google search) or if it’s proving too difficult, why not buy a gingerbread house kit and see where your creativity can take you?
How about tapping into your inner child this Christmas? Even if you don’t consider yourself to be an artsy person, arts and crafts are a really great way to get your creative juices flowing and spend a wholesome evening making unique creations. If you’re struggling for ideas, we’ve got that covered too, how about making a Christmas card for your grandparents, a decoration for your tree, or a wreath for your front door? It doesn’t have to be the next Picasso piece, just have fun with it.