Family things to do in Manchester and the North

Shekina Rose, Families Editor

Hoorah! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is just around the corner and we can almost smell those delicious mince pies, as we round up some of the best family activities and fun days out taking place across Manchester and the North throughout the festive season.

For theatre-loving families: Our favourite Stick Man returns to The Lowry in Manchester to delight families of all ages, in this moving, relatable and totally hilarious adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stick Man by Freckle Productions.

Experience the magic of the Hallé Christmas Family Concerts at The Bridgewater Hall this festive season, including ‘Bash and the Missing Merry Melody’, The Snowman and The Magical Music of Harry Potter.

And for an enchanting Christmas experience for the entire family, the Frost Fair at The Whitworth returns on 4 & 5 December, with music, dancing, entertainment, craft markets and street food, or step inside the dazzling Silcock’s Winter Wonderland at EventCity and experience a magical Christmas family adventure inside the largest indoor Christmas Theme Park in the UK, featuring over 50 spectacular rides, attractions and shows.

A very special visitor is coming to Manchester all the way from the North Pole for the magical and memorable Father Christmas Experience at Wythenshawe Hall.

Are you stuck for things to do during the winter holidays? Mini mechanics and small scientists are invited to the Science and Industry Museum to discover all there is to know about marvellous machines and learn some spectacularly surprising scientific facts, in an awesome programme of family activities.

Join in the festive fun at Christmas Bricktacular at LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Manchester, for a LEGO®-tastic Christmas Bricktacular Experience, taking place from 4 December 2021 – 2 January 2022, you can also come along to the interactive Little Play Squad Sessions at Legoland Discovery Centre, designed for parents and their little ones to get creative and build new, colourful worlds.

Step into the Electric Gamebox in the Arndale Centre in Manchester for a new digital gaming adventure experience. You’ll be mind blown by this interactive, fully private high-tech digital room full of fun and immersive arcade-style games and challenges.

And if you don’t mind getting just a little bit muddy, take a visit to the Outdoor Art Club at the Whitworth Art Gallery, 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.

Here’s one for the football fanatics and a rainy weekend in Manchester. Prepare for a day of football discovery, penalty shoot-outs, interactive play and much, much more, with family activities at the National Football Museum.

 

Here are our picks

More in Families

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.

Families Until 23 December 2021, from £5

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo

Adventure around nine new magical, illuminated worlds after dark including an Ice Kingdom and meet Father Christmas.

Manchester Christmas Markets 2021
Families Until 22 December 2021, FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets

The Manchester Christmas Markets are back, with many dozens of stalls in front of the town hall, and hundreds of traders spread across city-centre squares.

Manchester Christmas Markets 2021
Families Until 22 December 2021, FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets 2021

The Manchester Christmas Markets 2021 are back, with many dozens of stalls in front of the town hall, and hundreds of traders spread across city-centre squares.

Families Until 8 January 2022, from £13.50

Aladdin at Oldham Coliseum

Our favourite panto team are back to put some sparkle into the festive season – dust off your magic carpet and get ready to fly into Oldham this Christmas.

Lightopia at Heaton Park
Childrens Until 3 January 2022, from £13.00

Lightopia at Heaton Park

The award-winning and visually sensational lantern and light festival returns to illuminate Manchester this winter.

Not So Ugly Sisters
Families Until 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.

ignite at gibside
Families Until 2 January 2022, FREE

Ignite at Gibside

Get away from it all at Ignite 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.

Culture Guides

Cinema

Christmas programming, Japanese classics and the latest new releases coming to a screen near you this December.

Exhibitions

With autumn in full swing, we may be missing the daylight but there are plenty of fantastic exhibitions this month to indulge your senses.

Writer and musician Anthony Joseph. Image: Bunny Bread/@icreatenotdestroy

Literature

There are plenty of writerly launches, open mics, literature festivals, pre-Christmas book fairs and festive readings to pop into your diary, some online, some in person – and some both.

BC Camplight

Music

Manchester’s music scene in on glorious form as we head into winter, with artists and audiences reconnecting in ecstatic style. Here are our highlights from the city’s chock-a-block gig calendar.

Bree Smith (Glinda) in The Wiz at Hope Mill Theatre. Theatre in Manchester.

Theatre

All-sung comedy thrillers, joyous musicals and our pick of the pantos. Our theatre guide spans the festive season and beyond.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Embankment Kitchen

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

We’re cramming two seasons of festive cheer into one as we present our top Christmas menus and cocktail lists in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

There is plenty to make, see and do in the winter months. This month’s top picks include soul-warming folk clubs, clay workshops and jewellery making.

Things to do right now

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Beauty & The Beast at The Dukes
Families Until 31 December 2021, from £16.00

Beauty & The Beast at The Dukes

Childrens Until 9 January 2022, from £19

Stick Man at The Lowry

Manchester Christmas Markets 2021
Families Until 22 December 2021, FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets

Families Until 8 January 2022, from £13.50

Aladdin at Oldham Coliseum

Not So Ugly Sisters
Families Until 1 January 2022, from £12.00

The Not So Ugly Sisters at Waterside

Families Until 23 December 2021, from £5

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo

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

Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank

Silcock's Winter Wonderland at EventCity
Childrens Until 2 January 2022, from £0.00

Silcock’s Winter Wonderland at EventCity

Christmas Bricktacular at Legoland
Childrens Until 2 January 2022, from £17.50

Christmas Bricktacular at LEGOLAND®

Frost Fair at The Whitworth
Families Until 5 December 2021, FREE

Frost Fair at The Whitworth

Magical Father Christmas Experience at Wythenshawe Hall
Childrens Until 23 December 2021, from £11.00

Magical Father Christmas Experience at Wythenshawe Hall

OUTDOOR ART CLUB AT THE WHITWORTH
Childrens Until 18 December 2021, FREE

Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth

Electric Gamebox at the arndale
Childrens Until 22 October 2022, from £5.00

Electric Gamebox at The Arndale