Christmas Food and Drink

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming so it’s time to find out about the very best Christmas Food and Drink options in the North of England. And we have the lot. That means it’s time to eat, drink, be merry and do all kinds of things you might well regret in the morning.

Find out about the very best Christmas Food and Drink options in the North of England

But you don’t have to regret what you eat and drink this Christmas, courtesy of our guide to the best festive food and drink across the North, taking in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and more. We’ve plucked out some of the very best destinations out there, offering festive-themed food and drink, with an eye on Christmas parties as well as spontaneous days out at places that showcase the best Christmassy side of these major UK cities.

Time to eat, drink, be merry and do all kinds of things you might well regret in the morning

That means special pop-up bars, established favourites offering a special winter-themed menu of things to eat and drink (mulled wine and stuffing make a strong showing), the ever-present world-famous Christmas Markets – now in more locations than ever before, and everything else to make your festive season go with a bang. Yes, even more exhilarating and memorable than your wildly hilarious Christmas jumper, you wacky so and so.

Everything festive in the North to make your festive season go with a bang

And it’s not all calorific heavy meals either, we’ve included some of our favourite vegan eateries, plus the best independent venues in the UK. See it as a kind of pared-down advent calendar – make sure you tick them all off, otherwise Santa will be sad Santa and you won’t get anything good this year. Don’t blame us, we don’t make the rules.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Manchester Christmas Markets

    Manchester Christmas Markets 2020

    Manchester Christmas Markets at Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, 8 November–21 December 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Guess what? The Manchester Christmas Markets are BACK – just as they will be until the end of time. They’re an established Manchester tradition now: mulled wine, check; German sausage, check; silly jumper, check. They’re dotted all over the city and you owe it to yourself to make at least one trip to them this Yuletide season. Christmas isn’t Christmas without them.

  • 2. Bar Hütte


    Bar Hütte | Spinningfields at Spinningfields, Manchester, 7 November–31 December 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Welcome Christmas in style thanks to the return of Manchester’s favourite ski-themed experience, Bar Hütte. It’s coming back to Spinningfields this winter to deliver an après-ski atmosphere like nowhere else in the city.

  • 3. El Gato Negro Tapas

    El Gato Negro Tapas
    Image courtesy of Marketing Manchester

    El Gato Negro Tapas, 52 King Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 4LY - Visit now

    Let El Gato Negro bring festive cheer and plenty of tapas to the table this Christmas. It’s always a good time to go to El  Gato, but their £50 per head Christmas menu makes for an especially tempting break from the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

  • 4. Randall & Aubin Manchester

    Randall And Aubin Manchester
    Ian Jones

    Randall & Aubin Manchester, 64 Bridge St, Manchester, M3 3BN - Visit now

    If you’re looking for a quality Christmas dinner with a little bit of a modern twist, head over to the always-good Randall & Aubin. They have options for two and three-course meals, or event just a roast turkey dinner starting at £18. All that’s missing is the Queen’s speech.

  • 5. Gaucho Manchester

    Gaucho Manchester
    Gaucho Manchester

    Gaucho Manchester, 2a St Mary’s Street, Manchester, M3 2LB - Visit now

    For something slightly alternative, Gaucho has put together ‘a haven away from the usual take on the festive season’ with a festive menu opting for a minimal approach without all the fanfare. Even their simple decorations are designed not to offend. We’re big fans!

  • 6. Eat The City – Scranchester Tours

    Eat The City - Scranchester Tours
    Scranchester tours

    Eat The City - Scranchester Tours at Mackie Mayor, Manchester, 27 October 2019–19 November 2022, from £50 - Book now

    Give the gift of Scranchester this Christmas and take the food lover in your life on a culinary tour of Manchester. Use the discount code CREATIVESCRAN (valid until December 20) and get 10% off gift vouchers which are valid for 12 months from date of purchase. Just tick the ‘purchase as gift voucher’ box when booking. Still not convinced? Read why we love Scranchester Tours.

  • 7. Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom, Grand Arcade

    Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom Leeds

    Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom, Grand Arcade, 8-9 Grand Arcade, New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6PG - Visit now

    Leeds’ favourite coffee shop, Just Grand are pushing the boat out this Yuletide season, opening on Sundays throughout December for winter warming brews, festive-themed baked goods and, of course, Christmassy Afternoon Teas. Well worth a special visit. You can even buy some sweet treats that Santa will actually enjoy (he’s sick of supermarket cookies, so he told us).

  • 8. Knave’s Kitchen

    Knave's Kitchen
    Knave's Kitchen

    Knave’s Kitchen, 31 Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 7BT - Visit now

    Knave’s Kitchen is probably the best vegan restaurant in Leeds, and that’s all thanks to how they’re breaking the outdated stereotypes of vegan food being all kale and lentils. You can expect glorious vegan junk food, and this December they’re putting on a Christmas menu that features dishes like ‘Christmas Wurst and Parsnip Bacon Bun’ as well as ‘Boozy Shallots, Root Hash and Lambs Lettuce Truffle Crunch’, ‘Peruvian Jack Fruit Ceviche, Corn Croquettes, Sweet Pepper Aji’ and ‘Yorkshire Seitan and Wild Mushroom Wellington, Rosemary Roasties, Mulled Cabbage, Buttered Greens and PROPER Gravy’. Now this is how it’s done.

  • 9. Tattu

    Tattu Chinese restaurant Manchester
    Ian Jones

    Tattu, Gartside Street, 3 Hardman Square, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3EB - Visit now

    Nowhere does Christmas quite like Tattu, and their expert chefs have been busy crafting a series of spectacular festive dishes. This festive menu is available now and it’s as jaw-dropping and delicious as we’ve come to expect. Treat yourself this winter.

  • 10. Harvey Nichols Manchester

    Harvey Nichols

    Harvey Nichols Manchester, 21 Cathedral Approach, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1AD - Visit now

    One of Creative Tourist’s favourite Manchester eateries, the Harvey Nichols Second Floor Bar and Brasserie always puts on a good spread come Christmastime. This year, choices include Milford Farm turkey roulade served with pork and apricot stuffing, creamed Brussels sprouts and pigs in blankets, plus a classic handmade Christmas pudding for dessert. Wipe your mouth, you’re drooling.

  • 11. Christmas in Lancaster

    Ice rink - part of Christmas in Lancaster
    The Borough Lancaster

    Christmas in Lancaster, 23 November 2019–5 January 2020 - Find Out More

    You’re going to need more than the twelve days of Christmas to enjoy all of the fun on offer in Lancaster this festive season.

Places to go / stay / shop / eat / drink

Things to do right now

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tours and activities
Activity 12 October–23 November 2019, from £14.5

Silent Adventures Silent disco tours

The Shadow at HOME
Dance 22–23 November 2019, from £12.00

The Shadow at HOME

Activity 26 March–26 November 2019, from £17

Tours of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and The Pankhurst Centre

Guitar Lessons
Activity 25 September–27 November 2019, FREE

Guitar Lessons for Beginners at Partisan

Cinema 22–28 November 2019, from £7.50

Marriage Story at HOME

Cinema 15–28 November 2019, from £7.5

The Irishman at HOME

lived-in rooms
Exhibitions 22 November–1 December 2019, FREE

Lived-In Rooms at Tenancy house