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Manchester’s ‘Festive Sundays’ return with four FREE family events in the run-up to Christmas

The Christmas parades are back after thousands flocked to the city centre to see them last year.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 14th November 2023

Manchester’s ‘Festive Sundays’ are set to make a comeback this Christmas after thousands flocked to see the enchanting events last year.

If it wasn’t already beginning to look at lot like Christmas in Manchester, it definitely will be doing before we know it.

Of course, Manchester Christmas Markets kicked-off for 2023 last Friday, the city’s resident Big Santa has now taken pride of place in St Peter’s Square for another year, and the rest of the region has an events calendar that’s absolutely packed with all sorts of seasonal activities and celebrations over the next few weeks.

And now, we have the return of Festive Sundays to add to that exciting list.

After proving to be a smash-hit success during their inaugural year in 2022, with families flocking to the city centre in their thousands to make the most of the free events, it’s now been confirmed that a series of four ‘Festive Sundays’ will enchant audiences in the run-up to Christmas this year too.


The city centre’s main streets will, once again, be filled with “captivating” parades and performances that are set to “surprise visitors of all ages”.

Organised by Manchester BID, in partnership with Manchester City Council and Manchester Markets, this year’s Festive Sundays event series starts on Sunday 26 November and will see 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 following Sunday until 17 December.


The Christmas parades this year are promising to “capture the imaginations” of little Mancs, and “bring festive magic to all”.

Organisers have given a quick run-down of each event and what to expect.

Families are expected to flock to the city centre in their thousands to make the most of the free events / Credit: Manchester BID

Sunday 26 November

  • Where? Manchester Arndale, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Street, St Ann’s Square, King Street, and Deansgate
  • What time? 12pm – 7pm

Kicking the series of ‘Festive Sundays’ off in style is a magical takeover across the city centre with giant roaming puppets, street performers, and live music, all accompanied by the vibrant sights and sound of the Fat Cat Brass Band and Bloco Band, who will bring “Christmas cheer and tunes” to the streets of Manchester.


Sunday 3 December

  • Where? All across the city centre
  • What time? From 1pm

The “heartwarming event of the season” returns again this year, and organisers are promising it’ll be “even bigger and better” than last year.

Manchester’s free Christmas Parade will once again bring joy to thousands of spectators, both young and old – with processions of spectacular characters, magical performances, and extraordinary acts weaving their way through the city’s streets to “sprinkling pure festive magic”.

Sunday 10 & 17 December

  • Where? St Ann’s Square
  • What time? 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm

Ready to entertain visitors as they sip on their hot chocolates and dig into Yorkshire pudding wraps, the final two Festive Sunday events will see a stunning ‘Toy Procession’ take to Manchester’s iconic Christmas Markets.

Created by Walk the Plank, the procession will feature giant stilt-walking acts of Christmas crackers, sugar plum fairies, toy soldiers, Christmas elves, a sparkling fairy mouse, and more, who’ll all bring magical street entertainment to Manchester on the run-up to Christmas Day.

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Featured Image – Manchester BID