things to do in december

December

Creative Tourist

There’s no denying that Christmas is coming, but there’s still plenty of things to do in December in Manchester and across the North.

A lot of the things to do in December are festive-themed; from Christmas shows and concerts to hip-hop holiday specials. But don’t worry, there’s plenty out there for you Grinch’s too; with literary nights, exhibitions and gigs galore.

Here’s where you’ll find our editors this month.

Still showing this month

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives – exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 14 December 2021, FREE

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives at Manchester Art Gallery

Trading Station at Manchester Art Gallery charts the history and changing social role of hot drinks in our lives.

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2022, FREE

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike

A collaborative project that takes inspiration from the history of the Leigh Female Reformers of 1819 and the monstrous representations of them in the media of the time.

Literature Until 5 February 2025, FREE

The Little Library in Spinningfields

Take your pick from The Little Library’s carefully curated collection of classics and new releases, adding a recently read book of your own as a replacement.

What is Manchester Art Gallery?
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2023, FREE

What is Manchester Art Gallery? at Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery reopens with a thought-provoking new exhibition that delves into the history of the public institution and its role within the city.

Blackburn Open Walls
Activity Until 31 December 2021, FREE

Blackburn Open Walls

Over 3 years, forgotten walls of Blackburn were brought to life with the creation of a vibrant outdoor gallery, by international, national and local artists, who together over 2 weeks, created a collection of large scale murals and art walk trails for the residents and visitors of Blackburn to enjoy.

Pendle Witch Experience Tours
Activity Until 31 December 2021, from £18

Pendle Hill Witch Experience Tours

Group tours of Lancashire in the area surrounding Pendle Hill. Through visiting the countryside and villages of Pendle, visitors learn all about the dark deeds and wicked plots surrounding the Pendle Witches in the 1600s.

Discover Buxton Tram Tours
Activity Until 31 December 2021, from £80

Discover Buxton Tram Tours

Enjoy a journey through time on Discover Buxton Tour’s unique vintage tram.

Discover Buxton Character Tours
Activity Until 31 December 2021, from £15

Discover Buxton Character Tours

These colourful character guides offer unique and entertaining insights into the history of some of Buxton’s most iconic buildings.

Discover Buxton Walking Tours
Activity Until 31 December 2021, from £10

Discover Buxton Walking Tours

Have your history delivered by expert guides whose passion for the heritage of Buxton spills into the unexpected.

Discover Buxton Roman Tours
Activity Until 31 December 2021, from £15

Discover Buxton Roman Tours

Join local historian Brian Shepherd for a walk around the town and learn what Buxton may have looked like during Britain’s Roman occupation.

Discover Buxton Audio Tours
Activity Until 31 December 2021, from £10

Discover Buxton Audio Tours

Discover Buxton’s audio tours of The Peak cover the area around Buxton and are designed to be enjoyed from the comfort of your own vehicle.

Hardeep Sahota: Bhangra Lexicon – Online
Dance Until 1 April 2022, FREE

Hardeep Sahota: Bhangra Lexicon – Online

The world’s first ‘visual dictionary’ of movements found within Bhangra, compiled by World Bhangra Day founder, Hardeep Sahota.

doodle den at people's history museum, young girl using thick marker pen to drawer on a glass panel
Activity Until 31 December 2021, FREE

Doodle Den: Playful Protests Online

Pick up a pen and encourage the whole family to explore the art of peaceful protest.

Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank
Activity Until 31 December 2021, FREE

Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank

Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank is a perfect way to keep children (and their adults) busy while learning from home.

Cinema Until 21 February 2022, FREE

Queer Treatment

To coincide with LGBT History Month, Heart of Glass launches Queer Treatment, a new animated short film by the amazing Amy Pennington. Queer Treatment is inspired by conversations with members of the LGBTQIA+ community and explores connection, identity, representation and celebrating queer icons past and present.

PUSH Festival - HOME
Festivals Until 31 December 2021,

PUSH Festival 2021 at HOME

Thrilling and challenging, HOME’s annual festival is a glimmering reminder that new performance continues to be developed, despite ‘you-know-what’.

Tai Shani: The Neon Hieroglyph – Online with Manchester International Festival Virtual Factory
Exhibitions Until 31 March 2022, FREE

Tai Shani: The Neon Hieroglyph – Online with Manchester International Festival Virtual Factory

Turner Prize winning artist Tai Shani takes us on an LSD-inspired hallucinatory journey across time and space. Prepare to have your consciousness expanded.

Ad Minoliti at BALTIC in Gateshead
Exhibitions Until 13 March 2022, FREE

Ad Minoliti at BALTIC in Gateshead

Argentinian artist Ad Minoliti’s immersive exhibition draws upon queer and feminist theory to offer new understandings of the world around us.

Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
Literature Until 12 December 2021, FREE

Book sale at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and award-winning garden is a must-see, with the famous book sale back on 18 April and scheduled thereafter for 9 May, 13 June, 11 July, 8 August, 12 September, 10 October, 14 November and 12 December 2021, 11am-4pm.

Mindscapes While Waiting, Wait Here
Visual Arts 19 April 2021–16 May 2022, FREE

MINDSCAPES: While Waiting, Wait Here – Merel Smitt

Created in collaboration with service users and staff, this online interactive game explores the benefits system and the process of applying for Universal Credit.

Mindscapes //OUTSIDEIN//
Visual Arts 19 April 2021–16 May 2022, FREE

MINDSCAPES: //OUTSIDEIN// – Theater DEGASTEN

A brand-new online work, by Amsterdam-based Theater DEGASTEN, exploring the connection between mental health and where we live.

Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life
Exhibitions 21 May 2021–27 February 2022,

Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life at The Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield celebrates its 10th birthday with the largest exhibition of Barbara Hepworth’s work since the artist’s death in 1975.

Jadé Fadojutimi at The Hepworth Wakefield
Exhibitions 20 November 2021–1 May 2022, FREE

Jadé Fadojutimi at The Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield will present an exhibition of new work by British artist Jadé Fadojutimi.

The Not So Ugly Sisters. Image from Wrongsemble's previous show The Princess and the Sprout.
Families 24 November 2021–1 January 2022, from £12.00

The Not So Ugly Sisters at Waterside

The Yorkshire based theatre-company Wrongsemble bring this wonderful new take on the well-loved classic to audiences for Christmas 2021.

Lumen Festival of Lights
Visual Arts 26 November–11 December 2021, FREE

Lumen Festival of Lights

Lumen is returning to Crewe on Friday 26 November to Saturday 11 December 2021. The colourful light-art trail will visit the town centre and give audiences the chance to be immersed in art, light and sound.

Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield
Exhibitions 27 November 2021–29 May 2022,

Sheila Hicks: Off Grid at The Hepworth Wakefield

Drawing together over 70 pieces from international public and private collections, this major exhibition will explore the many facets of Hicks’ ground-breaking work – from her intimate Minimes, small woven drawings she creates on a hand-held frame, to large-scale installations that fill gallery spaces with vibrant colour.