Derek Jarman painting: red heartOur top tips for making the most of the week ahead, with brilliant things to do across the whole of Greater Manchester…  For even more ideas, visit our What’s On page.

1. View the new Derek Jarman exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery

Opening on Thursday 1 December, Manchester Art Gallery presents a major retrospective of the work of one of the most influential figures in 20th Century British culture with Derek Jarman: Protest! On display until April 2022, the exhibition explores film-maker, artist and gay rights activist Derek Jarman’s work, covering topics such as political protest, the AIDS crisis and displaying major bodies of work from the 1960s and 1990s, many of which have never been exhibited in public. Free tickets are now available for the exhibition, which is anticipated to be popular. 

2. Join in the festive events at Corn Exchange Manchester

Manchester’s ultimate dining and leisure destination, the Corn Exchange, is bringing the Christmas magic with a range of events including the return of Father Christmas with a special guest on Saturday 4 December, and the Favourite Snow Queens on Sunday 5 December, who will be available for photos with families in the magical wishing mirror. 

Get ready for next week, when the Corn Exchange hosts Wreath Making Classes on Monday 6 December, in the German Garten Bar, plus diners at Corn Exchange will receive a 20% off voucher for Cathedral Garden’s Ice Rink. The venue is also supporting charities this festive season with a pop-up shop with stocking fillers, supporting Forever Manchester, and a new temporary exhibition on highlighting breast cancer with METUPUK

3. Celebrate winter with music, food, art and markets as part of The Whitworth Frost Fair

For one weekend only The Whitworth presents The Frost Fair, with the largest outdoor dancefloor in the city. On the weekend of 4 and 5 December, the art gallery hosts a celebration of winter, art and togetherness with its biannual event. Taking over the grounds of The Whitworth, you can expect an epic programme of music from DJs including Mr Scruff and DJ Paulette, workshops, outdoor cinema, craft markets and street food. Taking place on both days from 11am to 7pm, the fair is free with no booking necessary. Find out more details here.

4. The Muppet Christmas Carol is brought to life with a live orchestra 

Disney favourite The Muppet Christmas Carol will be screened at the Bridgewater Hall featuring a live orchestra playing the original musical score. Performed by The Novello Orchestra, the enchanting screening takes place on Monday 29 November and Sunday 5 December, with limited tickets still available.

5. Meet Father Christmas and his elves at Wythenshawe Hall

Father Christmas comes to the historic Wythenshawe Hall in a specially created Christmas experience starting this weekend (4 December) and running throughout the festive season. Join the Wythenshawe Elves who will lead you on an enchanting interactive tour around their workshop, plus a behind the scenes visit to ‘The Jolly Elf’ tavern where you can enjoy some Christmas cheer before a meeting with Father Christmas. Tickets for the experience are now available here

Whilst in Wythenshawe you can also pop along to Wythenshawe Community farm, where they have a host of activities including face painting, and a shop selling Festive Wreaths and Christmas Trees.

Book now – Winter fun at the Science and Industry Museum

The charming final work of Rowland Emmett, creator of inventions in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will be on display for the first time at the Science and Industry Museum. The unique moving sculpture named A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley’ will come to life twice a day with visitors treated to whirring cogs, characters toasting teacakes and catching butterflies in the playful display. 

And, from the 18 December to 4 January more magical machinery will come to life with Mini Movers, an under 7s special show every day exploring the Textiles Gallery in a fun and imaginative way; whilst visitors of all ages can come along to create their own wind-up toy from recycled materials. 

Don’t forget, the museum also hosts a brand-new headline exhibition in Cancer Revolution: Science, Innovation and Hope, and it’s your final chance to catch Use Hearing Protection: The early years of Factory Records before it closes on 4 January.