Poppies at IWM North

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. Get festive with the return of Manchester’s Christmas Markets

Manchester’s popular Christmas Markets are back! After taking a break last year, the much-loved festivities will spread cheer across the city from Friday 12 November. This year’s hub of the markets is in Piccadilly Gardens, which make up the Winter Gardens, home to food stalls, craft sellers, and for the first time – live music and DJs throughout the season. The markets will also be in usual locations across the city (see a full list here), including Cathedral Gardens which will be home to Skate Manchester’s ice rink. 

The markets run until Wednesday 22 December, with the exception of the Winter Gardens, which run right through until Monday 3 January.

2. Iconic poppy sculptures arrive at IWM North for permanent installation

Following the success of Poppies: Wave and Weeping Window, which toured the UK in 2018 to mark the end of the First World War centenary, Wednesday 10 November will see the iconic sculptures return to the IWM North as part of a new permanent displayPoppies, have been re-imagined into a new dramatic sculptural form and will be displayed within the unique architecture of the museum’s Air Shard. A must visit if you are planning a day out to the Quays, and a poignant point for reflection on Armistice Day this weekend.

3. Learn about Manchester’s RSPB founder with a new exhibition

As part of the campaign to get a statue of RSPB founder Emily Williamson installed at Fletcher Moss in Didsbury, Manchester Art Gallery is hosting a small exhibition about the eco pioneer and bird lover. Founded in Didsbury in 1889, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) began with a group of women pledging not to wear feathers. Running until 14 November, the exhibition will culminate in the announcement of the winning design for the statue – which you can still vote for here.

4. Learn about China’s Qing empire with a new exhibition at the John Rylands Library

Through books, scrolls and artworks from the John Rylands Library Chinese collections, the new exhibition Qing, explores China’s last dynasty – which lasted for nearly three centuries. Get up close to a huge 24-metre scroll showing a bustling Beijing street, discover Qing Emporer’s European-designed palaces and gardens, and see a range of Qing items that reveal the Empire’s trade, diplomacy and ideas. The exhibition runs until 13 March 2022, and you can book a free timed-entry slot here.

5. Get Christmas gift inspiration at Victoria Baths Festive Winter Fair

One of Manchester’s most iconic (yet hidden) heritage gems is opening its doors for the Victoria Baths Festive Winter Fair. Taking place on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 November, the magnificent former swimming baths described as a ‘water palace’, will see stalls bursting with creative Christmas present ideas, mince pies and mulled wine – plus for the first time ever, Victoria Baths Gin, a brand-new gin in collaboration with Winding River distillery. See here for a list of stalls, book tours, and your timed-entry slot.

+ Book Now for Christmas: The NQ Grotto – an immersive Christmas performance

Native Manchester and Ducie Street Warehouse will transform into a fairy tale land, known as Mancunia, as it presents The NQ Grotto, an immersive Christmas performance where Santa and his Elves, along with their closest friends are busy preparing for Christmas. A 60-minute show features a dance with the Ice Princess, a singalong with Mrs Claus, story time by the Snow Queen, and of course, a meeting with the main man himself – Santa Claus. Tickets can be purchased here, with shows taking place on 4, 11, 18 and 19 December. 

New Opening of the Week: The Fountain House

Taking over the former Albert Square Chop House plot, in the Grade II listed Memorial Hall on the corner of Albert Square, The Fountain House is a new opening from London-based pub operator the Metropolitan Pub Co. Doors will open on Thursday 11 November and patrons can expect a chic yet charming pub atmosphere with gastropub style dining split over three floors.


IWM North
IWM North Exhibition Hall

IWM North is about people and their stories, about how lives have been and still are shaped by war and conflict.

Victoria Baths
Historic Site
Victoria Baths

Although closed since 1993, the building retains much of it's stained glass and tiling.

Manchester Christmas Markets
Manchester Christmas Market in Albert Square including the stalls and 'Zippy' the giant Father Christmas that sits on Manchester Town Hall

The UK’s original, award winning Manchester Christmas Market return with the biggest and best festive offering to date.



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