A Seasonal Selection of Festive Cheer!

December events in and around Manchester

Are you going to be in Manchester over the winter break? Are you staying local and looking for some festive fun around town? If the answer is YES, then we can help!


It’s that festive time of the year again, but if you’re not leaving for Christmas, staying here doesn’t have to mean staying home. You couldn’t ask for a better city to spend your winter break in! Here’s our short round-up of events going on around Manchester over the next month. Some are free, some are paid, but we’ve searched hard to find something to suit all budgets and tastes! If you would like us to run an event at the Learning Commons next year, please take a few minutes to fill out this short survey.


Library Opening Times

If you want to get some work done on campus over the break, please be sure to check the full list of opening times before going to the University! The Main Library will be closed from Friday 23rd December until Monday 2nd January, and the Learning Commons will close for Sunday 25th December and Monday 26th December. However, don’t forget that you can access the My Learning Essentials online resources anytime and anywhere. These resources can help you to develop study strategies and improve your academic performance.

Other Services

If you need a little extra help over the break, please be aware that although the Counselling Service will be closed from 4pm on Thursday 22nd December until Tuesday 3rd January, several alternatives will remain open to offer support.


If you want to make your December weekends truly memorable, why not venture further afield and explore the wider north-west area with the International Society?


Christmas shopping in Liverpool (Saturday 10th December)
  • Visit the city of Liverpool at Christmas with the International Society’s one-day trip! Places are limited and cost £16 for members, £21 for non-members and £11 for children aged 2-16 years.
One-day trip to the Yorkshire Dales visiting Skipton Yuletide Festival and Christmas Market and Grassington Dickensian Festival (Sunday 11th December)
  • Enjoy the traditional British countryside in an area of historical significance and see two festivals in one day! Places are limited and cost £18 for members, £23 for non-members and £15 for children aged 2-16 years.
Boxing Day Sales trip to Chester and Cheshire Oaks (Saturday 26th December)
  • Visit the Cheshire Oaks Retail Outlet on the first day of the winter sales! Places are limited and cost £18 for members, £23 for non-members and £13 for children aged 2-16 years.


Manchester’s a great location for Christmas-themed shopping and events, so see what’s happening around the town!


The Manchester Christmas Markets (10am-6pm, Thursday 10th November until Wednesday 21st December, but opening times vary slightly with sites)
  • These huge European Christmas Markets start in Albert Square and stretch over ten zones, with nearly 350 different stalls. Not to be missed!
 Christmas at the Corn Exchange (Monday 14th November until Saturday 24th December)
  • Visit the Corn Exchange at Christmas to see the winter sleigh – plus great food from 13 restaurants and winter photo opportunities.
Visit the Makers Market (Sundays, locations vary)

A range of award-winning artisan food, drinks, arts and crafts in a range of great locations. Find it at the Northern Quarter on Sunday 11th December and in West Didsbury on Sunday 18th December.

Manchester Ice Rink (until Sunday January 8th, closed on Christmas Day)
  • Find this year’s ice rink at the Winter Gathering at the Old London Road Fire Station, with street food stalls, markets, live music and an art gallery. Book online – tickets cost £15 for adults and £12 for children.


Manchester’s museums are open for most of the winter break; some have special events running and best of all, they’re free!


 Manchester Museum (closed Saturday 24th to Monday 26th December, and Sunday 1st January)
  • Why not visit Manchester Museum over the holidays? Check the full events calendar to find lots of great events, especially for families and special autism-friendly quieter opening times.
Museum of Science and Industry (closed Monday 12th, Tuesday 13th, Saturday 24th to Monday 26th December and Sunday 1st January)
  • Check out the special exhibition ‘Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond’ at the Museum of Science and Industry, as well as the permanent collections. Free entry!
 The National Football Museum (closed Thursday 23rd to Monday 26th December, and Sunday 1st January)
  • Visit the National Football Museum over the holidays for free.
The Whitworth Art Gallery (closed Saturday 24th to Monday 26th December and Sunday 1st January)
  • The Whitworth runs events all year round, including late opening on Thursdays and lots of events for families – always free.


Take some time over the break to check out local cultural events – here are some of the cinema, theatre and musical offerings we’re interested in. Please bear in mind that ticket availability and prices will vary.


Victoria Baths Pop-up Christmas Cinema (Saturday 10th December)
  • A rare chance to see the Christmas favourite ‘Elf’ on Saturday 10th December at this Grade II listed former swimming pool!
Manchester Theatres
  • Check out a great range of festive plays, pantomimes and live music from the Manchester Theatres, running throughout the winter break.
 Bridgewater Hall
  • Philharmonic orchestras, classical music nights, Christmas-themed events and much more on at the Bridgewater Hall all through the festive season.
Lightwaves at Salford Quays (Friday 9th December to Sunday 18th December)
  • See the UK’s biggest digital light festival, hosted by Quays Culture at Salford Quays and MediaCityUK.


Of course, there are parties, club nights and other special events and offers going on everywhere over the month – here are just a few!


The Warehouse Project 2016 (Friday 16th, Tuesday 27th, Friday 30th, Saturday 31st December)
  • The Warehouse Project has announced its line-ups for 2016, bringing the biggest names in the music industry to Manchester. Ticket prices vary.
 The International Society Christmas Music Party (Friday 16th December, 7:30pm)
  • A mixture of popular traditional Christmas songs and carols explained and performed by the society’s folk band, plus seasonal refreshments! Places are very limited and cost £5 for members and £6 for non-members.
The International Society Xmas and New Year Get-Together (Tuesday 27th December, 2:00pm)
  • A party for anyone in Manchester over the holiday period. Light refreshments will be provided, including mince pies and mulled wine! Entry is free for members and £3 for non-members.
Bar Hütte at Spinningfields (until Sunday 1st January)
  • The famous Bar Hütte, with its ski chalet theme, can be found at Spinningfields for the Christmas season. Exclusive festive drinks, ‘carol-oke’ machines for a good sing-along, hot water bottles and heated lamps complete the experience!


Whatever you’re into, there’s something going on in Manchester, so we hope this post provided a few ideas to get you started! Don’t forget to keep an eye on the following websites as new events are announced: Manchester Evening News, Time Out Manchester, Visit Manchester, Manchester Wire and Northern Quarter website.

Most importantly, whatever you decide to do over the winter break, on behalf of the Student Team and the Learning Commons staff:



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