Stockport is one of only a few boroughs in the region that’s not currently connected up to the expansive Metrolink network.
Work is currently ongoing to create a new state-of-the-art transport interchange in the town centre, and an important part of this includes infrastructure that will make the area “Metrolink ready” – but while the intention for trams to eventually travel to and from the town has been known for quite some time now, there hasn’t been much talk of timelines or when this would actually become a reality.
But now, Mayor Andy Burnham has finally given locals the update they’ve been waiting for.
“Transport for Greater Manchester have been doing a detailed assessment of all of our ambitions for Metrolink,” Mr Burnham explained during his interview, “and the Metrolink to Stockport is a big part of that.
“The new interchange that links to new infrastructure is going to be Metrolink ready, so it’s being built with that capability [and] what we’re doing now is looking at the precise schemes that we’ve got to expand Metrolink and looking at the cost of the, and we’re going to publish that work later this year.”
Mr Burnham added that not only does TfGM and GMCA have “big ambition” to take the Metrolink to Stockport, but also to Middleton, Heywood, and up to Bury through the new Atom Valley site.
“We’ve got a bit more capital funding from the Government,” he continued.
“We didn’t agree with their decision around high-speed rail, and east-west rail across the North, but as a result of that, they’ve increased some of our local capital so we’ve got some extra ability to do more.
“The long and short of it is that it’s a really important ambition for the city region, we’re going to give a really detailed update later this year on the business case for bringing Metrolink to Stockport so look out for that.”
Featured Image – TfGM
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 4 – 10 December 2023
December is well and truly underway now, and so are all the festivities.
We know we’ve been talking about it for weeks at this point, but there’s no denying ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ is upon us now, is there? And so it’s absolutely no surprise that the Greater Manchester events calendar is absolutely jam-packed with all sorts of festive celebrations and activities to get stuck into as Christmas nears closer.
If you’re finding it a bit tricky to pick what to do though, luckily, we’ve chosen a few of the best bits for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide this week.
Here’s some of our recommendations.
Manchester Christmas Markets 2023
Manchester City Centre
Monday 4 – Thursday 21 December
It’s that time of year once again… Manchester Christmas Markets are officially open for 2023.
The iconic annual event is an absolute staple in Manchester’s festive events calendar, and always draws in thousands of visitors from all across the globe – with more than 225 stalls across nine sites now lining the streets of our city this year.
Visitors can tuck into a wide range of festive foods and drinks, and shop for Christmas gifts from countless independent traders.
Find out everything you need to know about Manchester Christmas Markets 2023 here.
Monday 4 – Sunday 31 December
What’s a festive season in the city without Skate Manchester?
Back once again for 2023 with twinkling lights, the smell of gingerbread, and Christmas songs playing on repeat, Skate Manchester’s stunning outdoor ice rink is in the heart of the city at Cathedral Gardens right up until the new year.
With the covered rink’s convenient roof allowing everyone to enjoy the ice, whatever the weather, visitors of all ages are invited to glide over the ice and admire the glorious Christmas tree right in the centre.
This brand-new immersive experience is made up of several spectacular light displays, unique lantern installations, and a captivation sound-scape dotted around the pristine new park – with each circuit estimated to take around half an hour.
The Twilight Trail is now open, and running right through until the new year, and you can find out more and grab tickets here.
East Lancashire Railway
Monday 4 – Sunday 24 December
East Lancashire Railway’s beloved Santa steam train rides are back for more festive fun this Christmas.
Running right through until Christmas Eve, ELR’s ‘Santa Specials‘ are your chance to hop on board an old-school steam train and travel through the magical Irwell Valley to make “enchanted memories” that last a lifetime.
The famous festive steam trains have become an essential part of Christmas for many families in the North West, and there’s still some tickets left available.
Have you heard that Sides, the already-viral chicken shop launched by YouTubers The Sidemen, has now opened its doors here in Manchester?
Having joined the collection of food and drink outlets in Halle Place at Manchester Arndale, Sides has a menu centred around double-coated Nashville tenders, which are tossed 120 times (no more, no less), and if you’re into your wings their seven signature sauces are the perfect addition.
There’s also crispy chicken wings, burgers, chicken and waffles, and a whole host of other side dishes like waffle fries, mac n cheese bites, BBQ beans, chilli poppers, and halloumi sticks.
While Bar Hütte at Great Northern Square is heading back to Deansgate, with 15 cosy private hüttes neatly-positioned under a heated stretch tent and twinkling lights, Bar Hütte at Kampus will also see a new outdoor terrace, comprising of eight snug, wooden karaoke hüttes nestled beneath the trees, and an ‘Aprés Ski Bungalow’ serving as an indoor alpine bar.
Cheshire Oaks’ beloved grotto looks a little different to usual in 2023.
That’s because the big man in red and his trusty elves are taking to the skies once again this year, and are inviting you on a fantastical festive adventure on the outlet’s ‘Big Wheel’.
Open every weekend and on selected weekday dates throughout December, the ‘Santa in the Sky’ experience is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas as a family this winter, and make memories to last a lifetime.
A brand-new breathtaking light trail has officially opened at Heaton Park this Christmas.
Transforming the popular Manchester park into a twinkling winter wonderland, visitors will get to walk through fields of colour-changing orbs of light, venture among larger-than-life glowing flowers, and even wander through a giant twinkling tunnel as part of the all-new seasonal light display.
Neon strings will reach high into the sky and a laser garden will light up its space with thousands of tiny beams of light.
Have you heard there’s a brand-new winter menu at The Botanist?
The Botanist may have already been known for its imaginative food and drink creations for quite some time now, but its new winter menu for 2023 is something else – with everything from indulgent sharing boards, oozy Camembert bread loaves, and mouthwatering twists on Christmas classics on the lineup to choose from.
Some of the other stand-out dishes have to be the classic turkey hanging kebabs, pies topped with pigs in blankets, and s’mores cookie dough skillets.
Land of Lights has transformed Gulliver’s World in Warrington into an immersive winter wonderland with 12 “vivid dreamworlds” full of dozens of gigantic lanterns that are inspired by animals, mega monuments, and wonders of the natural world.
As the sun goes down and the nights draw in, visitors to the North West attraction can explore an amazing array of light installations as they walk all around the park.
A whole host of classic Christmas films are hitting the big screen at the little cinema tucked away inside King Street Townhouse this month.
With a marathon of three films set to be screened on each day of the event, the Christmas screenings schedule kicks off this Saturday with the absolute cult-classic that is Elf – which is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its release this year – all before you can sit down to watch Love Actually, and Home Alone on the same day.
Other festive favourites on the lineup across other weekends include It’s a Wonderful Life, The Holiday, The Muppet Christmas Carol, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and Bad Santa.
Manchester’s ‘Festive Sundays’ have made a comeback this Christmas after thousands flocked to see the enchanting events last year.
After proving to be a smash-hit success during the inaugural year in 2022, the city centre’s main shopping streets will be filled with “captivating” parades and performances that are set to “surprise visitors of all ages”.
Organised by Manchester BID, the free event series sees roaming performers and illuminated acts take to the streets across St Ann’s Square, King Street, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Square, and Manchester Arndale every Sunday until 17 December.
Find out more about on the ‘Festive Sundays’ lineup here.
Featured Image – Chester Zoo | The Botanist | CityCo
Coca-Cola confirms the Christmas Truck is coming to Manchester this weekend
Coca-Cola has finally confirmed the news we’ve all been waiting for… the Christmas Truck will be in Manchester this weekend.
December is here, the temperatures have plummeted outside, and the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ is nearing closer and closer by the day – but it’s not Christmas until you’ve gone and got a Coca-Cola from the giant red van is it, right?
Well luckily, we won’t have to wait too much longer to get to do that once again.
The soft drinks company confirmed that ‘Holidays Are Coming’ a couple of weeks back, with the UK tour of the iconic Coca-Cola Christmas Truck now well underway, and having visited other major northern cities such as Leeds and Liverpool over the last few days.
And now, Coca-Cola has revealed that the legendary van is coming to Greater Manchester this weekend, and will be stopping off at the Trafford Centre for one day only.
The much-loved festive symbol will be arriving outside the shopping centre tomorrow (Saturday 2 December) from midday right through until 8pm to provide “the ultimate Christmas celebration”, with a whole host of activities planned for families of all ages.
The 2023 Coca-Cola Christmas Truck journey will be packed with “interactive experiences for visitors to immerse themselves in”.
Anyone who heads to the Trafford Centre from midday tomorrow will first be welcomed by a walk-in, snow-filled bauble that invites them to “step into a winter wonderland for the perfect holiday snapshot”, all before making a stop at the ‘Ho-Ho-Hoop Hut’ to take part in a fun festive game for the chance to win a selection of prizes – including meal-inspired rewards, and recycled Christmas tree decorations.
Families can then finish off the tour by posing for a memorable photo opportunity in front of the iconic Coca-Cola truck.
Visitors are welcome to listen to the Coca-Cola Christmas choir as they perform a set of carols too.