Christmas is just around the corner, and with the onset of the festive season, Manchester comes alive!

In this post, you’ll find out how to get the most out of Manchester this winter - whether you’re braving the hordes of shoppers in the Arndale shopping centre for some last minute presents, toasting the season with a mug of mulled wine at the markets, or strapping your skates on in Spinningfields!

At TLG Manchester, our SMART Learning excursions will take you to some of these amazing places, and we can help you organise the rest.

1. Christmas markets

Grab some mulled wine at Manchester’s famous outdoor Christmas markets. With German sausages cooked over an open charcoal swinging grill, sweet treats from around Europe, and a wide variety of hot and cold drinks on offer, it really is the best place to get into the festive spirit.

The most famous markets are in Albert Square behind the Town Hall, though this year’s Exchange Square offering is particularly good. Visit from 10th November to 20th December.

2.  Ice-skating in the heart of the city

Manchester Ice Rink reopens on November 15th at a new venue on First Street. It’s a great central location, with plenty of food and drink available nearby. There really is nothing quite as festive as gliding across the ice under the beautiful lights.

3. Festive drive-thru cinema

This year, Old Trafford football ground will become the UK's biggest drive in cinema from December 21st to 23rd. Four of the most famous Christmas classics will be screened: Elf, Home Alone, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Die Hard. Snuggle down in the comfort of your car and enjoy a festive favourite!

4. Lowry Victorian Fayre

The free-to-enter Victorian Christmas Fayre is back and bigger than ever this season, with over 100 stalls selling seasonal food, drinks, and fabulous gifts. It’s set right outside the iconic Lowry Theatre and along the beautiful Salford Quays waterfront, which is all the more reason to visit. You can also enjoy some exciting Victorian street entertainment on the plaza. 

5. Chill Factore Manchester

Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh…or, alternatively, sliding down the slopes on some skis or a snowboard. You can also experience Santa’s grotto and lots of real snow at Chill Factore!

6. A walk in the parks

Manchester’s many beautiful parks are a fantastic pace for a winter stroll. Feed the ducks in Platt Fields Park or take a bus to the beautiful Reddish Vale Country park to enjoy some wide open countryside. Let’s just hope for some snow!

7. Treat yourself to a traditional Christmas dinner

Manchester’s food scene has never been better, and a traditional Christmas dinner is pretty hard to beat! Some great places for festive fare include Grafene on Cheapside, Sam’s Chophouse off Cross Street, or Brown’s Manchester on York Street. Turkey and all the trimmings - what could be better?

8. Elf: The Musical at the Lowry Theatre

This award-winning family favourite is coming to Manchester, where you can enjoy the antics of Buddy, the human who thinks he’s an elf. It’s a hilarious night out for adults and kids alike, and it will be running at the Lowry Theatre from 24th November – 7th January.

This post was written by Joseph Greenwood, Academic Manager at TLG Manchester.