Halloween is officially over, bonfire night is finished, so does that mean we can finally say the word… ‘Christmas’?!
That’s right, the most wonderful time of the year is just around the metaphorical corner and we are little bit excited to say the least. There are so many events coming up in the run up to Christmas and throughout the festive season, and here, we present to you our top family events and activities taking place in Manchester and the North, both indoor and outdoor, in the coming months.
Get your hat and gloves on and visit The Lanterns at Chester Zoo, now in its eleventh year. Families of all ages are welcome to experience the zoo after dark, where it will be transformed into a sparkling wonderland.
Enjoy some really Christmassy Christmas shopping at the Festive Sundays in Manchester City Centre, starting on 13 November and running every consecutive Sunday until 18 December. Featuring dazzling street performances, live music and incredible puppetry for families in the weeks running up to Christmas.
Next up, it’s time to journey across to the coldest part of the planet. The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin at Waterside Arts, tells the magical, heartwarming tale of a curious explorer planning for his next adventure, running from 30 November – 31 December.
On 4 December, join fantastic singer/songwriter Yemi Bolatiwa and her band at Z-arts, Manchester for T’was the Gig Before Christmas, a musical celebration featuring amazing music and some familiar festive friends.
And for the older kids, The Ocean at the End of the Lane at The Lowry welcomes young people aged 12+ and adults to experience an exciting and dangerous adventure beyond your wildest dreams! Various dates starting 12 December.
Shush… What’s that we hear? Oh help! Oh no! It’s the Gruffalo… and he’s on his way to the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) on 18 December for The Christmas Family Day: The Gruffalo, just in time for Christmas.
Other December events coming up include The Room on the Broom at The Lowry and There’s a Rang-Tan in My Bedroom & Other Stories at HOME Manchester. You can also wrap up warm in your cosiest hats, scarves and gloves and make your way to Glow at RHS Garden Bridgewater, featuring a brand-new lit-up trail jam-packed with shimmer and sparkle.
Open all year round is the interactive Fairy Tales wonderland at Z-Arts, in an innovative and enchanting exhibition that takes children aged 0-8 and their grownups to a magical world, full of storytelling and immersive play. And for a rainy day.
Here are our picks
A world premiere exhibition comes to the Science and Industry Museum. Suitable for children and adults alike, Turn It Up: The Power of Music is an interactive experience exploring the science of music’s mysterious hold over us, and how it drives us to create, perform, feel and share.
Experience a magical mix of puppetry, music and discovery at HOME Manchester this December, as we explore what we can do to make a difference to our planet and our animal friends.
Take a visit to the Outdoor Art Club at the Whitworth Art Gallery this autumn, jam-packed with fun and creative activities designed to encourage your little ones to play freely while exploring nature and the outdoors with family and friends.
The National Football Museum in Manchester boasts a variety of football-themed activities for people of all ages. Prepare for a day of football discovery, penalty shoot-outs, interactive play and much, much more.
The sun may have set over our Manchester theatres during the pandemic – but now “it’s rolling high through the sapphire sky” once again. Hit musical The Lion King has added even more dates to its previously postponed run.
Dig out those glass slippers…the previously postponed run of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella comes to Manchester. The perfect warm-up to the festive season.
Hitting the target this Christmas, Robin Hood promises to be a traditional pantomime of the highest order – great for the whole family.
Bringing music, laughter and a welcome dose of festive cheer, a brand-new adaptation of the Dickensian classic is the perfect festive treat for families this Christmas.
The award-winning and visually sensational lantern and light festival returns to illuminate Manchester this winter.
The Saltaire Living Advent Calendar has been a staple of the village since 2006, with community buildings and houses lighting up their windows with intricate illuminations.
Get away from it all at Christmas at Gibside, a fantastical fire and lantern trail. We all love a stroll in the countryside, but this is a brand new way to experience the stunning eighteenth-century house and gardens.
GRUB are hosting a sustainably focused group of makers, bakers and curators in their Indie Christmas Market. Join them for a thoroughly festive afternoon.