It’s time to wave goodbye to November, because is December has finally arrived.
Whether you’ve been a bit of a “bah humbug”, or you’ve been embracing Christmas early doors, the festive season is officially just around the corner now, so there’s still absolutely no shortage of things to be getting up to in our region this week.
We’ve put together a fresh edition of our ‘what’s on’ guide for the city of Manchester and beyond to cherry-pick a few of the best bits.
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.
Here’s our top picks.
Van Gogh Alive
Monday 29 November – 23 January 2022
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
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.
Christmas Lights Sculpture Trail
Manchester City Centre
Monday 29 November – 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.
This year, the sculptures are all dotted around Piccadilly Gardens and St Peter’s Square.
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.
Monday 29 November – 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.
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.
Monday 29 November – 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.
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.
The Dinner Party Series with Mary-Ellen McTague
Selfridges, Exchange Square
November 30 – December 15
Luxury department store Selfridges is turning part of its building into a Christmas wonderland, where it will host a series of very special dinner parties.
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.
Monday 29 November – 24 December
Manchester Arndale’s ‘Santa’s Postbox’ has arrived.
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.
“Thrills, abduction, pills, attraction, laughs, prescriptions… and it’s all sung.”
Imagine waking up, but you’re not in your bed. Imagine waking up, realising you’ve been drugged and you’re tied to a stranger… a stranger you can’t see. Neither of you knows how you got there and neither of you knows how to escape.
Tom and Kate can’t remember a thing… not about the last few days anyway. Everything is a total blank, except for a halloumi kebab and a double-decker bus. As piece by piece they unravel their memories, each step brings them closer to knowing their captors, closer to their terrifying fate… and closer to each other.
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.
Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar – which has recently opened at the People’s History Musuem – is partnering with Hallé’s Ancoats Community Choir for a night of festivities to kick start the Christmas season.
The Hallé runs a Community Choir in the heart of Ancoats that is open to all levels of experience and will be at the food waste cafe for the evening singing classic carols to get you feeling merry, while you sip on homemade mulled wine, mince pies, and a selection of winter treats to start December off the right way.
Manchester Young Professionals is hosting its first Christmas social event in two years at at one of the most popular venues in town, Blues Kitchen, this Thursday – and it’s set to be another huge night for the networking hub as it takes over the venues entire Concert Hall upstairs.
There’ll be entertainment and live acoustic from from 6-7:30pm to kick-off the evening, before the party gets started from 7:30pm with a DJ all night until late.
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.
Silcock’s Winter Wonderland
Saturday 4 December
Silcock’s Winter Wonderland and its indoor Christmas theme park is returning to Greater Manchester this week.
The massive festive event will be taking 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.
The Royal Exchange Manchester will be getting into the festive spirit with its Luxury Christmas Shopping Event this Saturday, which means that between 1pm – 4pm, festive city centre shoppers will be in for a special treat as they browse the stores – many of which have special offers on – looking for those special Christmas gifts or that perfect outfit.
From 1pm, the amazing Victorian Carol Singers will be wandering around the building performing traditional Christmas carols, all while the Northern String Quartet play festive tunes in the Christmas tree-lined Arcade.
There’ll also be free Christmas cupcakes in the Arcade too, all while stocks last.
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 15 – 21 August 2022
Summer is in full swing across Greater Manchester, and August is already jam-packed with lots of exciting activities.
With the sun shining and temperatures hotting up right across the region, and schools out for the six-week holidays, the events calendar is continuing to be filled with plenty different things to getting up to this week, so once again, we’ve cherry-picked a few of the best bits for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide.
As always, some of the events we’re going to mention are completely free, while others will set you back a few pounds, and many will need to be booked in advance.
Here’s our top picks.
Remarkable Neighbourhood Cocktails & Events by Maker’s Mark
Manchester City Centre
Monday 15 August – onwards
A handful of Manchester’s most-popular hospitality names have joined forces to bring a series of entertainment events to neighbourhoods across the city this month.
To celebrate the launch of its ‘Remarkable Neighbourhood’ summer incentive, Kentucky handmade bourbon brand Maker’s Mark has rallied together some of Manchester’s best-loved bars and restaurants to head across the city and serve up their take on the brand’s signature Gold Rush Cocktail.
Cocktail masterclasses, live music nights, quiz nights, Kentucky food pairing events, and bar takeovers will also be on their way to the city’s residential hotspots over the next few weeks.
Adventure golf, escape rooms, and 2-for-1 tickets to catch the newest blockbusters are just some of the things families can be getting up to at Printworks this summer.
With schools across Greater Manchester now out for the summer holidays, the city centre’s landmark entertainment complex is promising “family fun and fantastic food” – with a wide range of activities and offers for parents, carers, and guardians looking for exciting ways to keep the kids occupied to make the most of.
From film buffs, to puzzle masters and tee-off champions, Printworks assures there’s “something for everyone” of all ages to get stuck into over the next six weeks.
Find out more here.
The Manchester City Stadium Tour
Monday 15 August – onwards
Families can kick-off the summer by going behind the scenes at Manchester City’s Stadium to “experience the magic”.
Expertly-guided by City’s Tour Guides and filled with interesting stories, facts, and anecdotes from throughout the club’s history, Manchester City’s ever-popular immersive tours of the Etihad Stadium are running throughout the summer, and they have recently been rated in the top 1% of Tripadvisor experiences in 2022.
Tickets are now on sale, and will set adults back just £25 each, while it’s £15 for those under 18, and anyone under the age of five can go for free.
Manchester‘s New York-inspired ‘sky park’ at Castlefield Viaduct has finally opened to the public for the first time ever.
After the National Trust announced its ambitious vision to create an urban green space in the heart of the city centre by tackling the challenge of “greening” the Grade II-listed Castlefield Viaduct and celebrate the history of this well-known landmark over half a year ago, visitors are now able to enjoy the park in all its glory.
Thousands of plants, shrubs, trees, and more have been planted to transform the giant 330-metre steel viaduct into an elevated park.
100 people a day are able to visit the Castlefield Viaduct, and entry onto the structure will be free, but a booking system will be in place to help manage numbers.
Manchester Originals and The Hundred is back at Emirates Old Trafford this weekend.
Sports fans will get the chance to see some of the world’s best cricketers, watch a handful of the hottest music acts, and tuck into some amazing local street food, as the city’s 100-ball cricket franchise, Manchester Originals competes in another home game v Welsh Fire at Emirates Old Trafford in The Hundred tournament on Tuesday.
The Hundred’s is one of the best sporting and entertainment events this summer, and it gives people the chance to watch the city’s very-own Manchester Originals live in action throughout the season.
Find out more about the return of The Hundred and Manchester Originals here.
Neapolitan Pizza Workshop
Thursday 18 & Friday 19 August
GRUB MCR and amazing team from Igloo Pizza Kitchen will be leading two informative workshops, one for adults on Thursday and one for kids on Friday, to show you how to make a beautiful Neapolitan pizza in a relaxed and fun environment.
In the workshop, the Igloo team will guide groups through their ingredients and processes for making the perfect Neapolitan pizza, and guests will learn to stretch and top their own pizza and will be given a recipe card to take home.
Each ticket includes all the ingredients to make a pizza to stay and eat at GRUB.
Looking for some new restaurants and bars to try out that have just opened in Manchester city centre this month?
As ever, there are a host of exciting new restaurants and bars opening in Manchester this August.
From a brand new Withington venue from the team behind Cottonopolis and The Edinburgh Castle, to the first bricks-and-mortar site in six years for supper club favourite Stretford Canteen, we’ve got plenty of good things to shout about.
Think kitchen residents, new street food stalls, and all-you-can-eat steak and sushi restaurant and loads more.
You can read our round-up to find out where to put on your list this month here.
Summer at ZOUK
Zouk Tea Bar & Grill
Thursday 18 August
One of Manchester’s best-loved restaurants
Zouk is starting the weekend early this summer with lots of entertainment and special offers on drinks every Thursday evening, with the whole of the city invited to celebrate, soak up some sunshine on the huge outdoor terrace, tuck into award-winning Indian cuisine and enjoy traditional entertainment.
Fancy coming face to flipper with magnificent giant green sea turtles as you join them for a lunch date you’ll never forget?
This is your chance to go and feed Ernie and Cammie the green sea turtles, who are SEA LIFE Manchester’s friendliest and hungriest residents. Suitable for people eight and older, the SEA LIFE Manchester ‘Turtle Feeding Experience’ includes priority access into the centre on the day of your choosing, and the 15-minute feed will be with a knowledgeable trained Aquarist to help you enjoy your experience and tell you about Ernie and Cammie’s diet and habitat.
You will then also be able to explore all the other amazing creatures cared for in the centre before and after your feeding experience too.
You can find more information, and book your place here.
Chippy Nonstop | All Night Long
Friday 19 August
As part of its popular ongoing summer live series, city centre bar, restaurant, nightlife destination, and live music venue Joshua Brooks is welcoming acclaimed techno DJ Chippy Nonstop for an all-night-long set this Friday 19 August.
Tickets are now available to buy online, setting you back just £11.20, and you must be 18 or over to gain entry to the venue.
One of the standout experiences on the 2022 East Lancashire Railway (ELR) events lineup has to be the chance to go on a “roarsome adventure” through the Greater Manchester countryside this summer holidays, where you can “get your teeth into some Jurassic Lark” and go on a prehistoric expedition on “a time-travelling steam train” to meet with a herd of adorable baby dinosaurs.
The Dino Adventure returns on Friday 19 August, and it means you can get up close with the cute cretaceous critters, and maybe even give the T-Rex a tickle under the chin.
Tickets are priced at £13.50 for children and £18 for adults – and you can grab yours here.
The Village Screen Pop-Up Cinema
Friday 19 & Saturday 20 August
You can watch two cult-classic films inside an empty Edwardian swimming pool – and one of Manchester’s most unique events spaces – this week, as The Village Screen takes over Victoria Baths for another one of its popular pop-up cinema events.
Owners of the innovative events company behind The Village Screen say they fell in love with Victoria Baths when they did their first pop-up cinema there back in 2016, and since then, have held over 40 events inside the prestigious space – with themed screenings on Valentine’s Day and throughout the summer, to nostalgic festive favourites at Christmas.
The 1987 romantic classic Dirty Dancing, and Wes Anderson’s 2014 cult film The Grand Budapest Hotel, are the two films on show this week.
Manchester-based street fashion and footwear retailer size? is bringing some huge headliners to the city as part of a new music festival this weekend.
What first began as a series of intimate in-store sessions has now grown into size?’s very-own day festival, and it’s building on the retailer’s reputation for representing a range of up-and-coming talent from multiple genres.
Taking place right here in the retailer’s hometown of Manchester, the size?sessions all-day festival will take over the O2 Victoria Warehouse on Saturday, and chart-topping rappers AJ Tracey, Nines, and Knucks will play headline sets.
Heaton Park Food & Drink Festival is returning for 2022.
Gearing up to be a proper celebration of local food and drink, festival-goers are invited to pull up a deckchair, grab a drink, and soak up the warm atmosphere – with everything from live chef demos, artisan markets, 25+ street food traders, plenty of independent bars, live music, performing arts, art displays, and more to make the most of.
There’s also a fun fair, inflatable land, and a wide range of free activities for kids too.
To mark the end of summer, Box on the Docks – which has pitched up at MediaCityUK once again this year – is throwing its very-own ‘Family Weekender’ on 20 & 21 August.
Promising to bring a whole host of fun for all, there’ll be everything from the chance to challenge your family to giant lawn games of Jenga, Connect 4 and dominoes, to sitting back and enjoying the music with free entertainment from kids entertainers, musicians, craft activities, and even storytelling with the Salford Literacy Trail.
The two-day event is free for all to attend, and you can find out more here.
South Terrace Yoga with FORM MCR
King Street Townhouse
Sunday 21 August
One of Manchester’s most popular hotels is hosting another one of its yoga brunches on the terrace overlooking the city’s skyline this weekend.
As part of a ‘Summer Wellness’ events series geared towards those who are keen to start the day with the best intentions, King Street Townhouse is inviting you to “stretch with the city skyline as your backdrop” at an exclusive yoga and brunch event on its impressive sixth-floor terrace.
The one-hour class is run by FORM – a personal and group training community in Manchester that focuses on finding a sustainable way of achieving fitness goals – and it’s suitable for all abilities.
The class will be followed by brunch with a smoothie to sip on once you’re done, and you’ll even get an ESPA and Perricone MD skincare goodie bag to take away with you too.
Featured Image – Heaton Park Food & Drink Festival
Mani from The Stone Roses is throwing a fundraising party with his wife following cancer diagnosis
Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield and his wife Imelda are throwing a massive fundraising night to raise money for The Christie and The Stockport Charitable Trust.
The wife of the Stone Roses legend was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in November 2020, and has been undergoing gruelling treatment and surgeries ever since.
The pair, who have nine-year-old twins together, will curate an evening of first-class entertainment at The Kimpton Clocktower Hotel’s ballroom in Manchester city centre.
This is The One: Let’s Kick Cancer’s Arse will be taking place during Mani’s birthday week, with raffle and auction prizes donated by bands, footballers, actors, venues and promoters.
Imelda is an events agent who says: “Both charities have supported me through my journey. Cancer affects not just the person who has it, but everyone around them, and I hope that by investing in some more research, we can help alleviate some of the devastation caused to families.”
Mani added: “When life deals you a pair of twos, you must get your game face on! The past two years since my wife’s diagnosis have been brutal in so many ways, but it’s also opened our eyes to so many things.
“This disease needs to be eradicated – we feel duty bound to do our bit to achieve this. So everybody, get on board, dig deep, help out, we will win!”
By the time Imelda was diagnosed with bowel cancer, it had already spread to her liver and a small nodule in her lung, she wrote on her own JustGiving page.
She said: “I underwent emergency life-saving bowel surgery at it perforated. I had Covid and appendicitis for my first 3 chemo sessions, which were missed.
“I thought I was going down to the theatre to confirm appendicitis. Nobody heard anything for 9 hrs. Hence I woke with no small colon and an ileostomy stoma instead.
“Fast forward 6 months of treatments and breaks while they considered surgery, I had the right side of my liver removed.