6 December 2014

Polly Checkland Harding
Photo of a coffee and a Christmas bunch

Introducing our Advent Calendar – the sixth post in a cultural countdown to Christmas. Today: independent shops, Christmas markets and coffee.

Today is Small Business Saturday – which means a celebration of independent shops. We love Cow Vintage in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Magma nearby and the Craft & Design Centre. As it’s a Saturday, it’s also the ideal time to explore Manchester’s Christmas Markets – we’ve selected the very best from over 300 stalls, focussing both on some ace gift ideas and foodie indulgences to give into. Stop for a coffee at Pot Kettle Black in Barton’s Arcade when it all gets a bit much.

Do more. You could also make a shopping day trip with our Top 10 Christmas Markets in the North guide. Altrincham Market, St. George’s Hall Winter Arts Market and the Hepworth’s Christmas Market are all open this weekend – perfect for present buying as the days between now and the Big Day get ever fewer…

Culture Guides


Spring weather might be dragging its feet a little, but the world of exhibitions isn’t slowing down with new shows popping up everywhere to greet the new season.


With two weeks off school and the sun finally rearing it’s head, April is the month to have fun with family and friends and make some amazing memories in readiness for summer term!

Jen Calleja


Books are most definitely back, with a whole host of live events by writers local as well as international, from pop-up performances to regular reading series, plus some hybrid festival specials and online launches allowing access wherever you happen to be.


From Father John Misty to The Flaming Lips, The Waeve to Big Thief, here are the gigs on our radar for early spring.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


You’ll find everything from work-in-progress scratch nights to multi-award winning musicals in this month’s theatre guide.

Classical Music

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

Food and Drink

Get ready for spring and summer with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.


Northern flicks, sci-fi masterpieces and some brand new film festivals feature in this month’s cinema preview.

Tours and Activities

From indie markets to bit-sized meditation, spoon carving workshops to gallery tours, here are the headlines in the world of tours and activities.