Manchester really is a city like no other, and there’s no exception when it comes to Christmas. There’s plenty of festive things to do whether you’re visiting with family, friends, or even if you’re on a business trip. Still trying to decide whether Manchester is the place for your winter retreat? Let us make your decision a little easier with our top seven reasons as to why you should book a Northern weekend away this Christmas.
Manchester Christmas Markets
The award-winning Manchester Christmas Markets will of course be making their return to the city this year from 9th November – 22nd December, and if you love all things bratwurst and mulled wine then you really are in for a treat. It’s easy to say every city offers the best Christmas Markets, but Manchester truly is our favourite. Okay, we may be bias, but hear us out – these markets aren’t strictly a German affair like their national counterparts, instead they adopt a much more international approach by showcasing a huge variety of gifts and cuisines from all over the world. Enjoy authentic Spanish Paella, Italian Panettone or half-heartedly stick to traditions and satisfy your Christmas cravings with a roast dinner encased in a generous Yorkshire pudding.
Alongside top-quality food and drink, there’s also live music, an ice-skating rink, an array of fairground rides and plenty of Christmas trinkets that would make perfect gifts for friends, family members or even work colleagues. Rumour has it the famous markets will include an ice slide for little ones this year as part of its ice village which will be centred on a theme of mythical beasts and royal regalia. With so many markets to visit and plenty of things to do at each, they are great places to spend an evening after a long day of work or a day out with the kids. You’ll want to put aside a decent amount of time to visit these iconic Christmas Markets and even then, we guarantee you’ll be visiting more than once over the course of the weekend.
Embark on a Christmas cruise
A Christmas cruise through the city is a far cry from the usual festivities making it a great way to celebrate the season, whether that’s an after-work social or with loved ones on the weekend. Dependent on who you may be visiting Manchester with, we’ve got two seasonally themed contenders you can experience this year. First up is the Father Christmas Cruise where you and your cohort can join Santa Claus on board the Princess Katherine and enjoy an unrivalled perspective of the city amid all its festivities via a unique means of transport. The jolly man himself will even be bringing his elves and his grotto on board so if you’re looking for things to do in Manchester with kids, this will certainly be a hit. Departing from Salford Quays, the magical journey will travel down the city’s historic waterway allowing for spectacular views of the Manchester Ship Canal. This one is a guaranteed fun day out for all the family with many activities taking place along the way - mums and dads be warned that adult participation is required!
Alternatively, if it’s an evening of socialising you’re after, then perhaps a night-time cruise on the Christmas River Show Boat will instead be more to your liking - think less Santa Claus and more festive tipples. Bring friends, family or colleagues for a ride along the canal accompanied by live music, mince pies and unprecedented city views. Only big kids are allowed on this particular boat ride as it’s exclusively for over 18s, so we’re afraid little ones will have to stick to the Father Christmas Cruise.
Christmas shopping heaven
Admittedly not everyone’s favourite thing to do, but what could be more satisfying that getting your Christmas checklist completely ticked off over the course of one weekend? Manchester is highly recognised for some of the best shopping in the UK as all tastes and budgets can be catered for within proximity of the city centre. No need to stop there as both Manchester Arndale and the intu Trafford Centre also offer a wide variety of stylish stores waiting to be explored. Simply hop on the Manchester Metrolink, which runs every few minutes, to efficiently tour all the shopping hotspots in one round trip.
Whether you’re after an aromatic perfume for mum, a secret Santa gift for a co-worker, or a delicate trinket for that special someone, you’re guaranteed to find it within this Northern haven of the country. The best time to visit is during December as the Christmas sales may have already began at many of the shops so you can even pick up a treat, or two, for yourself.
Big kids and little kids alike will love a day out at the UK’s largest indoor winter wonderland. Winter Funland is held annually at the intu Trafford Centre and is almost as traditional as turkey sandwiches well into the New Year, or campy theatrical productions of the much-loved British pantomime. Speaking of pantomimes, Winter Funland hosts some of the best – oh yes they do!
As well as Christmas panto there’s also a gigantic ice-skating rink, hilarious Christmas Circus performances, spectacular funfair rides and even a daily visit from Santa who comes complete with his own grotto and two live reindeer. Whichever sessions you decide to take part in during you weekend away in Manchester, they’re all included within the entrance ticket so be sure to set aside enough time to really make the most of it. Appreciate if you’re visiting the city as a corporate traveller you may give Santa’s grotto a miss, though.
Manchester’s music scene
It’s no secret that the music scene of this city is one of the best - hardly a surprising statement for the same place to have birthed the likes of Oasis, Chemical Brothers, The Smiths, and even Take That. There are many Manchester music venues allowing you to witness first-hand what it’s all about; from well-established names like Band on the Wall within the prestigious Northern Quarter, to hot newcomers like YES, and not to mention a variety of brilliant up-and-coming spots perched on almost every corner. Throughout the year, and especially during the festive period, we also play host to an amazing array of live music performances at The Oast House so you can enjoy a limited-edition Christmas cocktail whilst listening to renditions of all the best Christmas songs. If you don’t want to miss out, take a look at our regularly updated What’s On page to help build your itinerary.
With something to suit everyone’s tastes, whether that’s locally grown talent or the band you’ve been waiting years to see, this is a great excuse for either a spontaneous social after work or a family evening out. Arguably a great reason to visit the city any time of the year, the festive period is extra special with an array of Christmas-themed events and tribute bands.
Quirky Christmas party venues
Winter in the North brings with it plenty of Manchester Christmas parties taking place all throughout the month of December. If you’ve been left in charge to organise this year’s work Christmas party festivities on behalf of your office, Manchester has some great alternative party venues which are the perfect substitutes to the usual drab of karaoke at a local bar.
Team building activities during Christmas always go down a treat amongst co-workers and offers a unique evening of entertainment. Strategic thinkers will thoroughly enjoy Lucardo, a real life action escape game which requires your cohort to solve riddles and puzzles in order to win. Those who are a little more adventurous may prefer a day-out at the Manchester Climbing Centre, perfect whether you’re a group of newbies or experienced professionals. Another excellent option for something a little unconventional is Junkyard Golf Manchester, an indoor crazy golf experience accompanied by bad puns and neon lights. Providing much more than being ideal contenders for corporate Christmas party venues, these spots are also great places to socialise with friends or enjoy a family day out as throughout December they play host to a range of fun Christmas themed events. If it’s simply dinner and drinks you’d prefer, or you want somewhere to retreat to after a day of crazy golf, The Oast House welcomes large booking all throughout the festive season. With a variety of live music, flowing drinks packages and delicious Christmas menus, we’re an ideal spot for any sized office Christmas party in Manchester.
Christmas dinner at The Oast House
If you’re still not convinced by all the reasons outlined above (hard to believe) then perhaps this will be your final temptation. Christmas 2019 in Manchester wouldn’t be the same without a hearty Mancunian Christmas roast dinner - it’s got to be at the top of our list for visiting the city over the upcoming months. If you happen to be around during the festive period, and the sound of not having to cook a traditional Christmas dinner but still getting to enjoy one is enticing you, then be sure to round off the weekend with a stop at The Oast House. Our festive menus and drinks packages are perfect for any jolly occasions – whether that’s quality family time, a Christmas social with your colleagues or something a little more chilled after a tiresome day of working or shopping. Last year we had a cosy Curious Teepee tent complete with fur throws, fire pits and fairy lights up in the courtyard as well as selfie cocktails so be sure to visit to see what festivities we’ve been brewing up this year.
Make a day of it and book one of our Ale Tasting Masterclasses whilst you’re at it. If you’ve always wanted to know your maize from your barley (or you want to treat someone who does) then there’s no better time than Christmas to indulge. And if you’re not in Manchester yourself around Christmas but know someone who will be, we’ve got just the ticket. Instead of a pair of slippers or a nice set of smellies, this year give them the gift of a unique dining experience with a gift card for The Oast House; this one’s on you!
Ready to reserve your spot at the table? For further information and bookings, please email email@example.com or give our friendly team a call on 0161 829 3830.
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