8 December – A Christmas Extravaganza & Selfridges' seasonal cocktails

Polly Checkland Harding

Our cultural countdown to Christmas… Put Central Library’s weekend of family fun in the diary, plus some festive cocktails for grown-ups.

Manchester Central Library is holding a family extravaganza this weekend (11am-4pm 12 December, 12pm-4pm 13 December), with free events throughout the building – and even spilling outside. There’s a great line-up of local choirs and bands who’ll be playing live, festive crafting and reading dens, free mince pies, an appearance from Father Christmas (and some of his reindeer) as well as best-selling children’s author Cornelia Funke, the writer of the book that inspired HOME’s Christmas production for families, Inkheart. Funke will be reading from this and her latest novel in the library’s iconic Reading Room; also a good place to play with the echo. Christmas Extravaganza, Central Library, 11am-4pm 12 December, 12pm-4pm 13 December, free

A festive weekender for families, plus cocktails for adults

Over in Exchange Square, San Carlo Bottega in Selfridges has created a new range of stylish seasonal cocktails, each named after a constellation. Selfridges’ Christmas theme is ‘Journey to the Stars’, and this is one helluva way to mark it: enjoy a gin-based Sagittarius with sherry, orange liqueur and sea salt, or a Libran red wine and amaretto based cocktail, beautifully balanced with apple and lemon juice, vanilla syrup and berries. Yum. Cocktails at San Carlo Bottega, Selfridges Exchange Square

Culture Guides

Geronimo Festival 2022


Festivals, shows, museums, and much, much more – there’s plenty of summer fun to be had for families in Manchester and the North, whatever the weather. Here are our top picks.

Poet Caroline Bird


There’s plenty of sunshine-drenched reading to immerse yourself in from established names and emerging talent, poets and prose writers alike, both in real life as well as online.


From rising stars playing basement sets to open air shows by your favourite bands’ favourite bands, there are some gems in this month’s music picks.

Theatre in Manchester


Eclectic theatre festivals, silly slapstick and dreamy outdoor shows, there’s lots of brilliant performances happening inside and outside over the summer.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Baekdu Korean BBQ Restaurant

Food and Drink

Plan for July’s food and drink outings at some of the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.


Explore Hollywood history, queer rarities and squirm-inducing horror across the big screens of Manchester and the North this month.

The Tudors: Passion, Power and Politics


Let’s make the most of early summer, with this month’s selection of brand new art exhibitions from across the North!

Tours and Activities

Get out in the sun this month with tours and activities that will have you engaging positively with the climate, taking the plunge in Salford Quays and getting creative.