What’s on in Manchester – December

Spinningfields Ice Rink

Spinningfields Ice Rink

The ‘What’s on in Manchester’ blog will give you a heads up for selected highlights of where to be and what to see in Manchester for the coming month – published every month on behalf of Visit Manchester.


Alison Goldfrapp: Performer as Curator at The Lowry
Until 2 March 2014
An exhibition curated by the elusive, enigmatic and uncompromisingly glamorous musician and style icon, Alison Goldfrapp. The performer gives the public a rare opportunity to explore some of her personal inspirations through the painters, film makers, illustrators and photographers who have shaped her own inimitable artistic vision.

Festive Fun at The John Rylands Library
Throughout December 2013
John Rylands Library hosts a range of festive activities for friends and family to enjoy together. This includes the Winter Fun Day (1 December), a Festive Makes Day (4 December), the Pagan Winterfest (6 December) and an afternoon of Christmas Songs (15 December).

Festive Fun at the National Football Museum
1 – 31 December 2013
Visitors to the museum can explore the world’s finest collection of football artefacts and archives. Whether you’re a die hard football fan, planning a visit with your family or on a weekend break to the great city of Manchester, enjoy a visit to the world’s biggest and best football museum.


Christmas concerts at Tatton Park
12 – 14 December 2013
This year Tatton’s Christmas concerts cover a multitude of musical genres from classical to choral. Before enjoying the performances, visitors are welcome to walk through the decorated White Christmas Mansion and enjoy a warming winter drink. Pre-concert suppers are available in the Stables Restaurant and Gardeners’ Cottage.

St. Ann’s Hospice Festival Choir Christmas Concert at Bridgewater Hall
13 December 2013
St. Ann’s Hospice Festival Choir sings Christmas music and carols with favourites for all to join in. Sing along to such classics as The Twelve Days of Christmas, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Ding Dong Merrily on High! and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.


Jack and the Beanstalk at Oldham Coliseum
16 November 2013 – 4 January 2014 
Times are hard for young Jack and his mother but when he is forced to sell his beloved cow for a few beans, Jack finds himself in a whole new world of thrills and adventure. Featuring everything you’ve come to expect from a traditional Coliseum panto – laughs galore, magnificent music and spectacular costumes. Get ready to be taken high above the clouds on a magical journey.

War Horse at The Lowry
20 November 2013 – 18 January 2014
War Horse is the powerful story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for the English in World War I. Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the war before landing in no man’s land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. A remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, War Horse features ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing and galloping horses to life on stage.

Peter Pan – The Never Ending Story at Phones4U Arena
29 – 30 December 2013 
See the boy who never grows up in a live adventure you’ll never forget. Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story World Arena Tour is a high-flying, hi-tech fantasy adventure that combines the drama and excitement of live theatre with the epic visuals of a blockbuster movie. Pinch yourself as you watch Peter Pan fly high above the stage without wires – a world first in theatre. Marvel at the spectacular scenery, brought to life by state-of-the-art digital imaging – Neverland like never before.

Feeling Festive?

Spinningfields Ice Rink
November 8 2013 – January 5 2014
The only ice rink in the city centre is returning to Hardman Square for another festive season. This year the whole estate will also be awash with Christmas activity, with late night shopping on The Avenue, letters to the North Pole, helter skelters and much, much, more!

Christmas Bricktacular at LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre
29 November 2013 – 5 January 2014 
Deck the halls with LEGO® bricks – Christmas Bricktacular is coming to LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre! Enjoy a festive LEGO Factory Tour, sing Christmas karaoke with the LEGO Friends in Olivia’s House and create a merry masterpiece at the LEGO Master Model Builder workshop, where imaginations will be inspired by Christmas décor. Experience MINILAND® as you’ve never seen it before as the local area comes to life with LEGO Minifigures celebrating their own spectacular Mini-Christmas.

Santa Specials on the East Lancashire Railway
30 November – 24 December 2013
Get ready for a ho ho ho-larious good time on one of the enchanting Santa Special Trains. A Christmas tradition for many in the North West, the Santa Special is back after a record breaking run last year. See the beautiful decorations on both the carriages and in the station, enjoy Christmas carols and live brass bands. There really is no better way to get into the festive spirit.

Lantern Magic at Chester Zoo
12 – 23 December 2013
Journey through the magical gardens, try out your lantern making skills, visit the Elephant House and Fruit Bat Forest, meet the friendly festive characters and sample some of the deliciously tasty treats. See the beautiful animal lanterns – with some ‘new arrivals’ created especially for this year’s event. Make your Christmas wish at the Giant Wishing Tree and keep the lanterns glowing. Together with the magnificent animals help Santa to light the way this Christmas.

Christmas Shopping

Christmas comes to Cheshire Oaks
14 November – 24 December 2013
Christmas launches at Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet on Thursday 14 November with the official lighting of the centre’s 90ft (Britain’s tallest) artificial Christmas tree, a continental Christmas market and a spectacular festive fireworks display. The day also marks the start of a fabulous shopping event with activities, promotions and extra special star buys on offer across the 145 stores at the centre, which will continue throughout the Christmas period.

Manchester Arndale Grotto
From 21 November 2013
Even Father Christmas knows Manchester Arndale is the best place to pick up all the hottest pressies. So put your order in when he sets up in his brand new Christmas tree star grotto in Halle Square.

The Magical Christmas Fair at Manchester Central
29 November – 1 December 2013
Whether you need some stocking fillers, top-end designer gifts or speciality food and drink to make your festive occasions extra special, you will find it all at The Magical Christmas Fair. The Magical Christmas Fair is not just about buying gifts, it’s the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit with live music, carols, bands and festive entertainment, plus a chance for kids to meet Santa and his friends in his candy cane grotto.

Lowry Outlet Victorian Christmas Market
5 – 8 December 2013
This spectacular and magical event returns to create a traditional Christmas experience for all ages. Bigger and better for 2013, this four-day event will have the whole family feeling festive from top-to-toe. Completely free to enter, the market will feature more than 100 stalls selling the finest festive food, mulled wine and warm cider plus unique crafts and gifts. For a Truly Dickensian touch, a cast of jolly Victorian characters will be bringing the market to life and transporting you back in time.

Greengate Christmas Family Market
21 – 23 December 2013
Located at the corner of Chapel Street and Victorian Bridge Street, Salford, Greengate Christmas Family Market is the perfect spot for families and shoppers to relax after a long day in the city. Within 2 minutes walk of Manchester Cathedral and the city centre, visitors to the market can enjoy this new public space with festive street performers, warming winter food and festive treats from the market traders. Children will also have a chance to meet Santa at Greengate Square, just before he drops down their chimneys.


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