The Lanterns at Chester Zoo

Family things to do at Christmas

Gemma Gibb, Families Editor

Excitement is high …even the scrooges among us have to admit that the winter holiday with little people around is a whole lot of magic and wonder. This time of year can also be the blinking busiest so fear not, there’s loads of family things to do at Christmas and we’ve rounded up the top happenings in Manchester and the North, just for you.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Manchester Christmas Markets

    Photo of the festive display outside the Corn Exchange

    Manchester Christmas Markets at Albert Square, City Centre, 9 November–23 December 2018, free entry - Visit now

    One of the biggest Christmas Markets in Europe, you’ll be able to explore over 300 stalls in ten different locations across the city. Albert Square remains the main hub, opposite the town hall, but you’ll also find them in St Anne’s Square, Cathedral Gardens and many more areas around the city, including King Street, Market Street and Exchange Street.

  • 2. Festive cinema: It’s A Wonderful Life at the People’s History Museum

    It's A Wonderful Life

    Festive cinema: It's A Wonderful Life at People’s History Museum, City Centre, 13 December 2018, free entry - Find Out More

    Join the People’s History Museum for a festive screening of It’s A Wonderful Life, an iconic story of Christmas cheer and solidarity. Cinema snacks and treats available to buy from The Left Bank cafe bar on the night, including popcorn.

  • 3. People’s History Museum

    People's History Museum Manchester
    Image courtesy of the People's History Museum.

    People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER - Visit now

    Winner of the 2017 Family Friendly Museum of the Year award, the People’s History Museum in Manchester is bursting with stories that will inspire all the family; with plenty of hands-on fun for younger ones.  It is open throughout the Christmas holidays (apart from 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January).  Entry is free with a suggested donation of £5.

  • 4. Science and Industry Museum

    Jonty Wilde

    Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4FP - Visit now

    It’s all about the magic of light this holiday at Manchester’s interactive Museum of Science and Industry. Explore the permanent collections and conduct experiments galore. Or take part in special Light Battles in Science Showdowns, become a Light Dectective and solve mysteries in Fluorescent Workshops and make Light Catchers to take home. It is open daily (apart from 24 – 26 December and 1 January). Entry is free with a suggested donation of £3.

  • 5. Black Beauty at Z-arts

    Red Bridge Arts

    Black Beauty at Z-arts, Manchester, 6–15 December 2018, from £6 - Book now

    Get your Christmas off to a galloping start in this award-winning family adventure of friendship, courage, hope and heroes.

  • 6. Contact and Jackie Hagan: The Forest of Forgotten Discos! at Hope Mill Theatre

    Laura Skilbeck

    Contact and Jackie Hagan: The Forest of Forgotten Discos! at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, 11–23 December 2018, from £7.00 - 13.00 - Book now

    This festive season, join CONTACT and Jackie Hagan for a new and exciting show for children aged 5+ (and the older ones who look after them!)

  • 7. White at HOME

    Paul Watt

    White at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 13–23 December 2018, from £7 - Book now

    The beautifully strange world of White is the hottest ticket for toddlers in town this Christmas.

  • 8. The Hallé – The Snowman at The Bridgewater Hall

    (Image credit: Snowman Enterprises Ltd) © Snowman Enterprises Ltd

    The Hallé - The Snowman at The Bridgewater Hall, City Centre, 15–16 December 2018, from £17.50 - Book now

    Performing Howard Blake’s wonderful score, the Hallé will provide a live accompaniment for a screening of Raymond Briggs’ animated classic, The Snowman.

  • 9. Stick Man at The Lowry

    Stick Man at The Lowry, Manchester, 1 December 2018–6 January 2019, from £14 - Book now

    This much- loved Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler tale of misadventure is brought to life for small people and their grown ups this festive season by Scamp Theatre.

  • 10. Doctor Dolittle at The Lowry

    Rehearsal image courtesy of The Lowry

    Doctor Dolittle at The Lowry, Manchester, 11 December 2018–5 January 2019, from £16.50 - Book now

    Get your tickets quick to have your eyes opened by a whole other (animal) world this festive season. Mark Williams (The Fast Show) stars in the title role of this major new musical adaptation.

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