I’m quite lucky to live in a city which was voted best place to live in 2016. Although it may not before everyone, I certainly agree for a lot of different reasons; the people, the music, the food, the nightlife, to name but a few. Manchester has just about everything you need here (minus an Anthropologie… but we can keep our fingers crossed) and I live right in the centre of it! As much as I love my city, I’ll soon be travelling to another northern city in the hope of a change of scenery, Christmas festivities and a cracking weekend with the girls. I’ve already begun to question “What are the hidden gems?” “What bars should we visit?” “Where can we get breakfast?” etc. So, if you are wondering What To Do in Manchester for Christmas, here’s my personal little guide to what I would personally recommend!
I would recommend hitting the markets in the week; they will still be busy but not as much as the weekend. I think the best time of day to visit is around 2-3pm; the queues for food are smaller, there are seats available if you can be stood up for long periods of time and it’s a lot calmer. You also get the amazing golden hour as the sun begins to set. I think the twinkly lights are so beautiful at this time of day as they become alive as it gradually gets darker. Also, I’ve never been a massive fan of their mugs but this year, they are large stackable red & white Santa mugs!
Also, Christmas Markets tip for 2017: the big thing this year is the Yorkshire Pudding stand! A massive Yorkshire, filled with every heartwarming filling you can imagine. EVERYONE is talking about them, when I went down their, I discovered I didn’t have a lens long enough to photograph the queue – easily, 50 people queuing, and this wasn’t at peak time!
Not that Winter Wonderland, no. If you have kids to entertain, the Markets may not be the one for you. Instead, why not hop on down to Event City? Over the Road for The Trafford Centre, with rides and attractions spanning of 22,000sq m. Santa has kindly stopped by, so the kiddos can meet him too which is sweet. From rides to circus workshops, this is the UK’s largest indoor winter wonderland Christmas attraction, and will be opening its doors on Saturday 9th December until 1st Jan 2018! (Of course, excluding the big day)
This has made it onto my list because I am STILL to visit and I am very excited to do so. I have only heard good things about Mackie Mayor and I think certainly for anyone visiting the city, this is a must. Located on the outskirts of the city centre, this is walking distance for just about anywhere (but I would judge you for jumping in a Gett or Uber). “1858 Grade II listed market building on the edge of Manchester’s NQ. Overhauled & reimagined by all the people involved in Altrincham Market and Market House.” I couldn’t have summed it up better myself, with carefully curated independent kitchens and the bars, I highly recommend (along with most of Manchester!)
Fun Fact: When I was in primary school, we went ice skating for a school trip and I managed to fall over on the ice and really hurt myself (as I seemed to be the ONLY child there who wasn’t a blumming professional ice skater at the age of 7?!) and then I just cried and sat on the side for hours in the cold. Great job Mikki, well done. As you can imagine, Ice Skating isn’t exactly my cup of tea but I know how many people LOVE this in the winter months. Manchester Ice Rink is back on 15th November 2017 right up to December 23rd and better than ever in their new home in First Street, near Deansgate Locks. There’s a bunch of restaurants and bars close by too so this would make a lovely evening (unless you have been mentally scarred like me).
If you are a local, you will notice every year that TeePees pop up in Spinningfields as November is coming to a close. The bar that opens them is called The Oast House; they line the teepees with fairy lights, firepits, fur throws and they even show Christmas films on their big screen! (I think tickets are sold out right now but keep an eye out for any more dates being released in December!) It truly is a magical setting to snuggle up and have wintery drinks or a hearty lunch with friends and family, something I would highly recommend as their food is cracking! Last New Year, Matt and I spent our evening at The Oast House and it was so incredible, so much so that we are considering booking again…
I understand there are people who absolutely hate the crowds at Christmas time, and granted, it can become a little annoying. However, avoiding the shops is never an option for me. I love to spend hours perusing; comfy shoes on, backpack at the ready, Manchester is really really good for shopping. You can visit The Trafford Centre but get there as early as possible, as car parking spaces can be impossible to find. They Trafford CEntre has shopping, food, bars, cinema, Sea Life Centre and even a Laser Quest. So, you won’t struggle to find things to do here.
Manchester Arndale is the shopping centre I spend most of my time, as well as the surround shops. First of all, because it’s closer to me but mostly because I prefer it being a little more spread out. Once you know your way, there are shortcuts here th4ere and everywhere to find the shops you want – the Trafford Centre is one long stretch which sends me a little dizzy. If you are in the centre on Market Street (Debenhams, Primark, WH Smith etc.) head through either Aldi or TK Maxx to jump straight into the Arndale Centre. At the end of Market Street, you can go up the escalators to the food court that with bring you into the Arndale too. If you carry on down Market Street, you will find my favourite collection of shops; Boots, Lush, Paperchase, Oliver Bonas, & Other Stores and Zara.
Are you visiting anywhere nice this festive season? I’m off to Birmingham next weekend, followed by a weekend in Hamburg for the German Markets! If you guys have any guides on any of the above, please do link below and help a gal out!?