The five best things to do in Manchester this Christmas

The Yorkshire pudding wraps are game-changing

If you’re spending the festive period in Manchester this year, there are plenty of ways to get in the mood despite all the gloom. The nights might feel long, cold and dark but that doesn’t mean they have to be miserable, Manchester knows how to do Christmas right.

Fill yourself up on enough food and booze to send you into a coma till January and hopefully when you wake up everything will be okay again.

So here are just five of the best ways to get that warm fuzzy Christmas feeling going.

Porky Pig

Manchester Christmas markets have arrived, and with them brings Porky Pig carvery back on the streets of Manc! Everybody’s favourite festive Yorkshire pudding wrap is back in town, serving a selection of meats including; gammon, beef, chicken, and of course, pork.

You’ll have stuffing, veggies and gravy to top it off, all wrapped inside a giant Yorkshire pudding. If you’re a meat-lover then why not try a three-meats-in-one and if you’re a meat-hater then there are plenty of veggie options too. There are also new scrumptious sides to try this year including battered pigs in blankets. Get there early if you don’t fancy queuing for long.


If you love the sight of the giant Santa and the Manchester bee being constructed once again in the city centre, you’ll have to head down to the Lightopia festival for some more sparkling fun. Put on those walking boots and embark upon a magical journey through Heaton park where immersive light installations are around every corner.

Alongside the mesmerising light trail lies a food and drinks court ready to satisfy your pigs in blankets and hot chocolate cravings all night long. While fairground rides greet you halfway through the walk, so why not give the dodgems a go.

 Van Gogh Alive Exhibition

For those of you who are feeling a bit arty, but not quite enough to visit a gallery, the Van Gogh Alive exhibition in Media City is not to be missed. The multi-sensory experience takes you through the story of Van Gogh’s life and his intricate artworks. From the moment you set foot in the gallery, you’ll be immersed in light and colour, free to wander around or sit down to watch the beautifully lit screens.

On leaving the exhibition room, you’ll be greeted with a room full of life-like sunflowers and mirrored walls enabling you to admire their beauty from every angle. There is even the chance to have your photo taken stood inside a physical recreation of one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings, his Bedroom in Arles.

Ice skating

There’s nothing more thrilling than popping on a pair of skates and clinging to the edge of the ice rink whilst your friends glide circles around you elegantly. It’s a timely tradition that gets everybody in the festive spirit, even those of us who wish we could pass as a child and borrow a penguin to keep them upright.

Escape to Freight Winter Island is the place to be this year with their boutique ice rink in the sky. Skaters can grab a bite to eat and look around the Christmas village before donning their skates. Cathedral gardens is also offering a unique skating experience, with their rink encased in glass so you are able to enjoy the weather, perhaps the snow, if we have any, without getting too cold.

Cocoa Cabana

Fancy a festive twist on your usual winter drink? Why not grab yourself a boozy hot chocolate from Cocoa Cabana Ancoats, or their stall at this years Escape to Freight Winter Island. A classic Belgium hot chocolate, with your choice of Baileys, rum, or whisky.

What’s not to love? You can even choose from a selection of flavours including mint and berries. Loaded on top are truffles and whipped cream, with chocolate oozing all over. I’ll take three, please.

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