Our 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. Salford Quays is aglow in dazzling colours as Lightwaves returns 

A free 10-day festival has opened at MediaCity and Salford Quays, bringing a trail of illuminated installations, on now until Sunday 12 December. Lightwaves will see the arrival of Floating Earth, a huge, recreated globe with live satellite images from NASA; Cygnus – a mesmerising water ballet of glowing robot swans; life-like mermaids and sea creatures projected onto the water, plus many more glowing light installations. The installations are free to view and are open between 17:00 and 22:00. 

2. A huge Christmas town comes to the Trafford Centre 

Tinsel Town, the Trafford Centre’s new outdoor Christmas experience has opened its gates until Monday 3 January. The outdoor Christmas attraction features an enormous, covered ice rink and ice-skating show SNOWSTORM, featuring circus artiste and international skaters within a heated big top. The attraction is also home to the UK’s longest toboggan slide, the world’s largest mobile bungee, and over 20 festive-themed fairground rides. Tickets for admission, ice skating and a visit to Santa’s tipi can be booked here

3. Enjoy winter warmers at Escape to Freight Island’s Winter Island 

The winter fun continues at Escape to Freight Island with its Winter Island addition for the festive season. Alongside the boutique ice rink, mulled wine and traditional Bavarian sausages, this week’s events include a Christmas Wreath Workshop, and a selection of comedians on Tuesday 7 December; an 11-piece instrumental hip-hop band covering 90s and 00s classics on Thursday 9 December, and on Sunday 12 December, The Untold Orchestra perform all your favourite hits from Disney. Plus, The Jayne Eyre cocktail bar has announced its reopening with a brand-new menu featuring crafted cocktails made by its skilled bartenders at its ‘bar in the sky’, which offers a unique space with panoramic views of the venue and entertainment. See all the events listings and book tickets here

4. Worldwide smash hit musical The Book of Mormon returns to Manchester 

After a successful sell-out 2019 run, the worldwide hit The Book of Mormon returns to Manchester with its outrageous musical comedy. The nine-time Tony Award and four-time Olivier Award-winning Best Musical will leave you humming songs for months with a run at the Palace Theatre Manchester from Wednesday 8 December for a limited time until Saturday 1 January. Tickets are set to sell out fast so be quick and book now

5. Help find the missing elves on the Bramall Hall Elf Trail  

The elves have come out to play and have hidden all around Bramall Hall. Across the magnificent Tudor Manor House, younger visitors aged 3 to 10 can go hunting for elves at the historic site, with a small prize on offer. Adults will also enjoy the splendour of the Hall, which is home to magnificent 16th Century wall paintings, striking Elizabethan plaster ceilings, and original Victorian features. Tickets for the hall, and the Elf Trail (which runs until Thursday 23 December), can be booked here

Opening of the week – Step into Narnia with a wonderful new show at The Lowry 

This extraordinary adaption of C.S. Lewis’ much-loved novel re-tells the story with humour, music, and puppetry at The Lowry. Step through the wardrobe into the icy realm of Narnia and say hello to talking faun Mr Tumnus, an unforgettable lion, and the coldest, cruellest witch. The show premieres on Wednesday 8 December and runs until Saturday 15 January 2022. Book now for tickets before it sells out!  

Book now – Castlefield Gallery announces new exhibition for 2022 

Castlefield Gallery has announced its first exhibition for 2022 with a major solo exhibition of the work of Jocelyn McGregor. Involving sculpture, installation and animation, McGregor takes inspiration from folklore, surrealism, and supernatural fiction to bring a haunting and visually dissected exhibition that combines female identity with nature, working with natural objects like molluscs, with works that seem to crawl and creep into the gallery.  Previews begin on Thursday 13 January 2022, with the exhibition opening to the public on Sunday 16 January – free tickets can be booked here