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The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 13 – 19 December 2021, The Manc

The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 13 – 19 December 2021

How is it the third week of December already?

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We may have been saying it for quite some time now, but the festive season really is in full swing, and the city is suitably getting into the Christmas spirit as there’s absolutely no shortage of things to be getting up to in our region this week, so we’ve cherry-picked a few of the best bits to put together another fresh edition of our ‘what’s on’ guide for the city of Manchester.

Some of the events we’re going to mention here are completely free, others will set you back a few pounds, and many will need to be booked in advance.

Plenty are still taking COVID-safety measures to give you peace of mind though.

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Here’s our top picks.

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Aladdin

Manchester Opera House

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Monday 13 December 2021 – Sunday 2 January 2022

The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 13 – 19 December 2021, The Manc
Credit: Palace and Opera

X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke, and local comedian Ben Nickeless are among the names starring in this year’s festive pantomime at Manchester Opera House.

Promising theatre fans “everything you could wish for in a panto”, a festive production of Aladdin has arrived in Manchester city centre, and will see Alexandra Burke make her pantomime debut as The Spirit of The Ring, joined by local comedian Ben Nickless as Aladdin’s hapless brother Wishee Washee.

Aladdin runs from Saturday 11 December 2021 to Sunday 2 January 2022.

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Find out more, and grab tickets here.

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Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation, and hope

Science and Industry Museum

Monday 13 December – onwards

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A new world-first free exhibition that’s set to explore the revolution in science that is transforming cancer care has opened to the public at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester.

The Science Museum Group has partnered with expert partner Cancer Research UK for the curation of the new exhibition at what is a key moment in time when one in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime, but more of us than ever before are living longer and better with the disease.

Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation, and hope is the first “major object-rich exhibition” to reveal the past, present and future of how cancer is prevented, detected and treated.  

Through never-before seen objects and stories, cutting edge treatment and research, reflection, new artist commissions and installations, film, photography, interactive exhibits and a breadth of personal stories, the museum says the exhibition will present the stories of people affected by cancer and those who study and treat it.

You can find more information about the new exhibition here.

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Manchester Christmas Markets

Manchester City Centre

Monday 13 – 22 December

Manchester Christmas Markets 2021 have officially opened.

After Manchester City Council confirmed the return of the iconic event – which spreads festive cheer right across the city centre, and draws in visitors from all across the globe each year – last month, Piccadilly Gardens has taken over the reigns from Albert Square as the heart of the markets event as the town hall regeneration project continues.

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The area has become the ‘Winter Gardens’, and ionic market huts have also been set up on nine different sites across the city.

This year’s markets will run right through until Wednesday 22 December 2021.

You can find out more about Manchester Christmas Markets here, and about all the Christmas and Winter Markets in Manchester here.

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Christmas at Cheshire Oaks

Cheshire Oaks

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Monday 13 December – onwards

If you’re looking to get a head-start on your Christmas shopping with the festive season just around the corner, then there’s arguably no better place in the north west to get yourself down to than Cheshire Oaks.

Cheshire Oaks is the largest Designer Outlet in the UK, home to over 400,000 square feet of retail space with more than 150 boutiques, restaurants, and cafés to choose from, and there’s up to 60% off the RRP in all of the brands on site too, all year round.

But even though Christmas shopping is probably at the front of your mind right now, that’s not all you could be getting up to at the outlet over these next few weeks and throughout December.

We’ve rounded-up everything happening at Cheshire Oaks this festive season here.

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Lightopia

Heaton Park

Monday 13 December – 3 January 2022

Award-winning illuminations event Lightopia has returned to Heaton Park for the third year running, and has this year brought some new “festive fantasy” installations, lanterns, and light shows to Manchester.

That’s not all that’s new this year though, as nestled in the park’s woodland and surrounded by lanterns, 10 illuminated ‘Dining Domes’ make for a unique and atmospheric dining experience for families, friends and couples, while The Stables Courtyard Bar and Dining offers a more casual dining experience, with food, music and festive spirit under a heated canopy.

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Lightopia has also announced a new charity initiative called Light of Love that will be supporting a range of local organisations around Greater Manchester this year too.

You can find out more, and grab tickets to Lightopia here.

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Van Gogh Alive

MediaCityUK

Monday 13 December – 23 January 2022

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Van Gogh Alive has officially opened at MediaCityUK.

It’s “the world’s most visited immersive, multi-sensory experience” that exhibits the life and work of the seminal Dutch artist and after having welcomed over eight million visitors in 70 cities around the world – including sell-out runs in London and Birmingham – the art and culture experience is now destined for Salford.

Van Gogh Alive takes people on a trip through the periods of Van Gogh’s life that defined him as an artist and showcases 3,000 images, including some of his most iconic works like Starry Night and Sunflowers, and lesser-known paintings inspired by his love of Japanese woodprints. 

The exhibition is home to a life-sized walk-in representation of Van Gogh’s ‘Bedroom in Arles’ painting, a ‘Sunflower selfie room’ – a 360° mirrored space complete with hundreds of sunflowers, and so much more

You can find more information here.

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Christmas Lights Sculpture Trail

Manchester City Centre

Monday 13 December – onwards

After captivating visitors in years gone by, 10 twinkly Christmas light sculptures have been brought to life across the city centre once again.

Among the festive sculptures to keep your eyes peeled for will be some giant walk-through baubles, star-spangled archways, a 36ft Christmas tree, and a colour-changing word sculpture that spells out ‘Merry Christmas MCR’, as well as some returning favourites.

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This year, the sculptures are all dotted around Piccadilly Gardens and St Peter’s Square.

You can find out more here.

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Silcock’s Winter Wonderland

EventCity

Monday 13 December – onwards

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Silcock’s Winter Wonderland and its indoor Christmas theme park has returned to Greater Manchester.

The massive festive event has taken over EventCity for the first time in four years, transforming the 22,000 sq metre exhibition space into a magical wonderland with more than 50 rides and attractions – including rollercoasters and waltzers – all under one roof.

As well as its indoor fairground, Kingpin Events will also be putting on theatrical entertainment.

You can find out more here.

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Tinsel Town

Trafford Centre

Monday 13 December – 3 January 2022

Now that temperatures are dropping and the festive season is right around the corner, the Trafford Centre’s next large-scale outdoor event invites visitors to “grab the gang for some festive fun” at ‘Tinsel Town’.

So wrap up warm and explore a winter wonderland that’s full of rides and festive fayre – including the chance to glide on down the UK’s longest tobbogan slide, take a spin on the big wheel at the festive fairground, hitch a ride on the Santa train, and shimmy and skate around a brand-new magical ice rink.

And of course, no Christmas is complete without a visit to the big man himself, so get ready to share your festive wishes with Santa in his twinkling tipi.

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You can find more information here.

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Magical VR Sleigh Ride & Santa’s Postbox

Manchester Arndale

Monday 13 – 24 December

Manchester Arndale’s ‘Santa’s Postbox’ has arrived.

You can help your little one write their Christmas wish list while chatting to the magic postbox in his winter wonderland snow scene, then simply pop it in the letterbox and head home to wait for a special reply from Santa himself. Letters posted up until 17 December will receive a reply via post, and letters posted between 18-24 December will receive a reply via email.

Also arrived at the city centre shopping centre is a brand new magical sleigh ride that’s powered by Virtual Reality technology.

Find out more here.

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The Dinner Party Series with Mary-Ellen McTague

Selfridges

Monday 6 – Wednesday 15 December

The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 13 – 19 December 2021, The Manc
Mary-Ellen McTague / Credit: Rebecca Lupton

Luxury department store Selfridges has turned part of its building into a Christmas wonderland to host a series of very special dinner parties.

And this is your last chance to take part in one.

With local chef Mary-Ellen McTague at the helm, the events will be raising money for Eat Well MCR and its Christmas wish to deliver 1000 roast dinners to refuges, homeless families and schools.Each ticket will include a seven-course dinner with cocktails and champagne, delivered in a setting packed with nostalgic glamour, fun and surprises.

Tickets are priced at £95 per person with soft drinks paring or £120 with cocktail pairing, and you can book your place here.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home

The Light Stockport

Wednesday 15 December

The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 13 – 19 December 2021, The Manc
Credit: Marvel / Disney

The Light cinema in Stockport is going all out for the highly-anticipated release of the new Marvel franchise instalment – Spider-Man: No Way Home, which is being released on 15 December – with a special 7am screening for super fans.

Stockport’s very-own Spiderman – who’s raised thousands of pounds since the start of the pandemic – will also be making an appearance too, so keep an eye out.

A description for the film on The Light’s website reads: “For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighbourhood hero is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life from the high-stakes of being a Super Hero. When he asks for help from Doctor Strange the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.”

Find out more, and book tickets for the 7am screening here.

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TRIM-IT x The Manc

Manchester City Centre

Wednesday 15 December

“Like Uber, but for haircuts.”

Do you need a haircut for your this Christmas party year, but haven’t got round to booking to one yet? Well, this Wednesday, The Manc is teaming up with revolutionary mobile barber app service TRIM-IT to bring the haircuts to you, so you fresh fade ready for the festive season.

Make sure to keep your eye on The Manc’s Instagram stories here on Wednesday morning if you fancy taking part.

You can find out more about TRIM-IT here.

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Christmas City

Soccer Dome Stretford

Wednesday 15 December – 2 January 2022

It was the sell-out success of 2020 – and now the immersive drive-in cinema experience Christmas City has returned to Manchester once again.

Christmas City has taken over a brand-new location at the Soccer Dome in Stretford from 26 November 2021 – 2 January 2022 to bring entertainment safely to visitors in their own cars from the biggest screen in the UK.

Having returned with what is being described as a “festive extravaganza”, Christmas City – hosted by Park N Party, the team also behind popular drive-in events SecretCity and ScareCity – is set to show a huge selection of outdoor Christmas cinema classics, including Home Alone, Elf, The Polar Express, and so many more.

There’s also set to be a fully-licensed bar and festive food vendors on site throughout the whole running of the event.

You can find out more, and book tickets here.

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Christmas in Bavaria

Hotel Football

Thursday 16 & Saturday 18 September

The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 13 – 19 December 2021, The Manc
Credit: Hotel Football

This Christmas, Hotel Football is bringing the best of Bavaria to Old Trafford.

The Old Trafford Supporters Club will be transformed into traditional Christmas Markets, and using custom made market stalls, fully-stocked with delicious sweet and savoury treats and specially selected drinks, Hotel Football is inviting everyone to come down and enjoy the festivities. 

You can expect good-quality, classic German delicacies – such as bratwursts, kartoffelpuffer, flammkuchen, and strudel, as well as traditional drinks such as gluhwein, a Hotel Football Alpine special cocktail and of course, plenty of beer.

A resident DJ will also be playing the finest of tunes to get everyone in the mood for the Christmas festivities ahead. 

You can find out more and grab tickets here.

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Big in Japan

Great Northern

Friday 10 December – onwards

The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 13 – 19 December 2021, The Manc
Credit: Big in Japan

A brand-new “insane and super wacky” live event that’s inspired by popular Japanese game shows has arrived in Manchester.

It’s fair to say that Ginger Vanderpump – known by many as ‘the Duchess of daytime TV’ – and her co-star Mr Leonard Lilypops are giving Manchester an experience like no other, where those who are up to the challenge can expect “mind-blowing entertainment” from a crazy cast of misfits.

There’s some wild games, banging tunes, live DJ’s, Drag Queens, everyone’s favourite drinks, and chaos like you’ve never seen before.

This is Big in Japan.

You can find more information and grab tickets here.

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SANTA’S GROOVE

HATCH

Saturday 18 December

The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 13 – 19 December 2021, The Manc

Christmas really has come early at HATCH.

On Saturday 18 December, the popular Oxford Road venue is throwing an all-day and all-night party called SANTA’S GROOVE. Courtesy of the team from The Mu, from 2pm, there’ll be an incredible lineup of local and international DJs mixing disco, funk and tech house, with an exclusive lock-in starting from at midnight.

Tickets start from £15, and you can grab them from the HATCH website here.

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Featured Image – Lightopia | TRIM-IT

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