Festive Family Fun

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1. Treat the family to an enchanting voyage through the magical Irwell Valley, as you kick start your Christmas on one of the Santa Specials with East Lancashire Railway.

2. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without settling down in front of Raymond Brigg’s classic animated film, The Snowman. Bring everyone to watch whilst the Hallé performs Howard Blake’s magical score live, including a chorister singing ‘Walking in the Air’.

3. The UK’s biggest Family festive Ice Show, Snowstorm, is coming to Trafford Centre this Christmas. You can expect 16 top ice skaters, international circus stars and 200sq feet of shimmering ice.

4. Hop on a train with Churnet Valley Railway to meet Santa and give him your letters. The Polar Express™ 2023 Train Ride is inspired by the 2004 film, with the characters making their way through the carriages for some festive entertainment.

5. Everyone’s favourite elf is coming to AO Arena to spread all the Christmas cheer. Based on the festive film from 2003, Elf the Musical is set over three stages and features a giant Christmas tree for the audience to decorate.

6. Come on an epic journey to the South Pole as a boy tries to take a wandering penguin home, in this heart-warming adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ award-winning children’s story, Lost and Found.

7. Give that special and unforgettable gift of a magical Christmas experience to the ones you love and visit Winter Funland, UK's largest indoor fairground with unlimited rides and an ice rink included in the price of each ticket.

8. Snowy is inviting children and their families to take part in an interactive trail through SEA LIFE Manchester as you meet some fin-tastic creatures along the way. Take on the challenges, find the answers, learn about the oceans and have loads of fun this Christmas!

9. Horrible Histories are back with a tale of Christmas! From Victorian villains to Medieval monks, Puritan parties to Tudor treats, join this hair-raising adventure through the history of Christmas in the company of Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII and St Nicholas as they all join forces to save the festive season!

10. Experience Disney’s The Muppet Christmas Carol this winter at The Bridgewater Hall, featuring its musical score performed live alongside the film.

11. Have yourself a LEGO®-tastic Christmas this year and join in with the festive fun at LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Manchester. There will be plenty of festive-themed activities, plus access to two rides, LEGO® build & play zones and a 4D cinema experience at the ultimate indoor LEGO playground.

12. Embark on a magical journey through the streets of Manchester this Christmas as the city comes together to celebrate the festive season with a series of Festive Sundays, filled with captivating street performances ready to enchant and surprise visitors of all ages.

Illuminated Trails

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13. Yuletide: A Glittering Winter Garden Adventure is a completely new winter adventure coming to Tatton Park this Christmas. Listen to warming campfire stories while roasting marshmallows, dance to folk music and discover a mystical light trail.

14. Head to the family favourite The Lanterns at Chester Zoo and watch the little ones’ eyes light up and their imaginations run wild on a magical night-time journey.

15. Discover new immersive installations as the magical Christmas Light Trail at Dunham Massey returns for 2023. Enjoy time together with friends and family as you discover sparkling tunnels of light and dancing lakeside reflections, then walk under giant baubles and beneath glistening trees drenched in jewel-like colour.

16. Let it Glow! Enjoy an unmissable after-dark spectacle of lights at RHS Garden Bridgewater this festive season. See the garden in breathtaking beauty and follow amazing displays lighting a wonderful new route.

17. A breathtaking seasonal light show with colour-changing orbs and glowing flowers is coming to Heaton Park. Christmas at Heaton Park is a Christmas music and lights trail that will have everything you need for a memorable evening with friends or family. 

18. Step into a magical outdoor experience with dazzling lighting and supreme sound in the depths of Cheshire woodland.

19. Follow Alice’s footsteps into the Tatton Park Mansion, beautifully decorated for the season – this year, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Charming characters, including the Queen of Hearts will entertain visitors along the route of festive illuminated displays.

20. Set on an enchanting journey at Walton Gardens, where a spectacular, illuminated trail awaits you.

Christmas Walks

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21. Stroll through Fletcher Moss Park and take in the natural beauty of the place. The park has some lovely features such as the rock and heather gardens, as well as an Alpine house in the gardens adjacent to Fletcher Moss and The Alpine Tea Room, the perfect place to pick up a hot chocolate en route.   

22. Breathe in some fresh air as you circle  Hollingworth Lake, which is set against the dramatic but stunning backdrop of Blackstone Edge. This award-winning tourist destination is a tranquil beauty spot for you to escape to this festive season. 

23. Wander around the Worsley Village and take some pictures of beautiful black and white buildings. If you stroll further to the Worsley woods, you will be able to see The Aviary, a mock Tudor house.  It’s also not far from the historic Worsley Delph an old sandstone quarry near Worsley Brook for some real insight into Worsley’s history and heritage.  

24. Mayfield Park is Manchester’s newest public park to open in over 100 years and makes the perfect city centre walk this Christmas. For a longer walk, why not tie it in with a stroll down Manchester’s canal paths and take in the magic of the city at Christmas time? 

25. Kersal Wetlands will reward you with views of the Manchester skyline, the woodlands of Kersal Dale and the shimmering River Irwell. It’s the perfect spot for family walks, dog walking and cycling making it a great day out for anybody who wants to get outdoors.  

26. Wigan Pier’s Canalside trail is rich in heritage and nature. Choose to walk one of three routes all starting at the famous pier. The first will immerse you in nature as it takes you to Leigh Bridge through Pennington Flash one of the North West’s best birdwatching sites. The second is all about history as you pass Haigh Hall and the 18th Century Arley Hall and Woods. The third is the best of both worlds as you take in nature and heritage on the way to Appley Bridge. 

Meet Father Christmas

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27. Visit Father Christmas and his elf helpers in a festive grotto at the Tatton Park Farm. Don't forget to take your photo in Santa’s sleigh and make your magical reindeer food in the Mill to take home and sprinkle around on Christmas Eve!

28. Wish lists at the ready! Join in for a special half-hour session of festive songs and crafts, including a private family visit to meet Father Christmas and receive a gift at Quarry Bank this Christmas.

29. For a Christmas experience like no other, Manchester River Cruises invite you to board their Santa Cruise and enjoy the views while the children get to interact with Santa and his elves.

30. Make the build-up to Christmas extra special by booking to visit Santa at Knowsley Safari. Wander through the woods past glistening lights and enjoy a warming cup of hot chocolate as you make your way to Santa’s Grotto. 

31. Journey through the magical Christmas Grotto and join Mrs Claus for a Christmas story, meet Santa, snap a family photo or take a seat in Santa’s sleigh at Lancaster Park and Animal Farm.

32. Join the elves at the Hayloft for some fun workshops, take a ride on the miniature railway and end the day with a gift and story from Santa himself.

33. The family's favourite Christmas event is back! Come along and enjoy a buffet-style breakfast and get to meet Santa himself at the Hard Rock Cafe.

34. Visit Cockfields Farm for two-hour immersive festive experience, where children will get a chance to meet Santa in his grotto, decorate biscuits with Mrs. Claus, enjoy Elf Village and make their own reindeer dust.

Christmas Shopping

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35. Get your festive shopping fix at The Trafford Centre, with everyone's favourite brands including SelfridgesMichael KorsMolton Brown, Fat Face and Goldsmiths.

36. Or, you can of course find a huge selection of exciting shops from the leading high street names such as Beaverbrooks, Waterstones and Pandora to lots of smaller, stylish specialists at Manchester Arndale

37. Find your favourite local traders at Manchester Christmas Markets. You can expect mouth-watering international food, drinks and delicately crafted Yuletide gifts in the heart of the buzzing city. 

38. Make your Christmas magical with the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet. There's so much to come this holiday season, like a Winter Village laden with delicious goodies, a Ferris Wheel, live music and so much more!

Indulgent Treats for Grown-ups

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39. Escape to Winter Island to indulge in delicious festive food and drinks – with a build-your-own hot chocolate pop-up! The former railway station will transform its outdoor area into a market-style eatery, whilst the adjacent Mayfield Park brings its first ever Twilight Trail to the 6.5-acre site.

40. Be a guest in your city and embark on a gastronomic adventure with Scranchester Tours. The tour will reveal fascinating facts about Manchester's food history, touch on food science and take in some magnificent local food along the way.

41. Encourage your friends to unleash their inner Chef with a place in one of Food Sorcery's Cookery Classes, or purchase a voucher for them to choose themselves! 

42. Get ready for a festive night out at The Oast House, where you will find live music, a delightful festive menu and their fairytale-like Teepee, decorated to make your evening feel magical.

43. The former head Gardener’s Cottage at Tatton Park is the perfect location for a festive celebratory Afternoon Tea. Enjoy the special Christmas menu with handmade cakes and pastries, festive favourite finger sandwiches and savoury tarts.

44. The magic returns to Cathedral Gardens this winter with a stunning real ice rink at Skate Manchester. Enjoy skating by starlight under the cover of the rink’s roof, meaning you can skate in any weather and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

45. Steam into Christmas with a Christmas Dinner and enjoy a steam train journey through Lancashire's very own winter wonderland.

46. Treat yourself and your loved ones at the edible gift class. Not only will you enjoy a fun afternoon whilst brushing up on your baking skills, but you’ll also create scrumptious culinary sweet treats – the perfect gourmet gift.

47. Looking for a gift for a beer lover? Then look no further and book some gift vouchers for an unforgettable Craft Beer journey through Manchester, where you will visit both craft beer bars and breweries, sampling a variety of locally produced beers.

48. Head into the festive speakeasy for a Christmas Miracle: Miracle on Cross Street is a Winter Wonderland below Manchester's bustling streets. A menu of delightful festive cocktails, non-stop Christmas tunes, cosy fireplaces, and decor that'd make Santa and his elves feel right at home.

49. As the nights draw in Castlefield Viaduct transforms into a magical, sparkling grotto. From 3.30 pm to 5 pm every day, drop in to wander along the light trail and visit the garden in the sky in a different way.

50. 90s kids: your time has come. A Christmas Season gathers some of the decade's big hits and sleeper classics and puts them back on the big screen. From Bill Murray reliving the same day over and over in Groundhog Day to Macaulay Culkin terrorising the Wet Bandits in Home Alone, the seven-title selection is designed to evoke cosy feelings across the board.

51. Join the London Concertante as they celebrate the festive season through the magical world of Christmas movies. This enchanting programme will include excerpts from Christmas classics such as A Christmas Carol, Elf, Love Actually and Home Alone.