It’s that time of year, when you start to plan how you are going to spend the festive season. Whether you’re interested in theatre, food and drink, shopping, exploring or anything in between – Manchester has it for you this Christmas. And now getting to the city is even easier with First TransPennine Express services running from Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds and York directly to Manchester Victoria – a perfect starting point for your festive visit.

Undoubtedly, Manchester’s Christmas Markets are a highlight for locals and city visitors alike. Now in the sixteenth year, the award-winning have more than 300 beautifully festooned stalls and chalets spread across the city centre, the Christmas Markets are accessible to all.

Soak up the atmosphere and follow the market trail as it winds through the city centre, tempting you with gifts, crafts, jewellery, clothes and toys. European and local producers offer everything from fine amber jewellery, handcrafted leather bags and top-quality bonsai trees, to handmade Belgian kitchenware, framed photo prints and French soaps. And when planning your visit, don’t miss the amazing array of food and drink! Manchester’s Christmas Markets are famous for traditional bratwurst, but you can also treat yourself to Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella or a good old-fashioned hog roast.

After browsing the Christmas Markets, why not take a trip down to Spinningfields, which will be in full festive spirit with its ever-popular Manchester ice-rink is ideal for friends and family, with ‘penguin’ guides for hire to skate alongside the under 10s. You might also wish to treat the kids to a visit to Santa’s Grotto in Manchester Arndale.

If you’re looking for a warmer, indoor option this Christmas, what better way to soak up the Christmas atmosphere than a show at one of Manchester’s fantastic venues. The Palace Theatre, Opera House and The Lowry offer a variety of exciting Christmas performances. For live music – try the likes of intimate venues such as Sound Control, Deaf Institute, Night and Day, and the Castle Hotel. Larger venues include the Phones 4U Arena,  the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Academy and the Royal Northern College of Music.

If the theatre is your thing, enter our competition to win a theatre break to see the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at The Lowry, with an overnight stay at the Ramada, Salford Quays. This highly acclaimed  National Theatre production is the winner of seven 2013 Olivier Awards and is based on the award-winning novel by Mark Haddon. 

For more information about What’s On in Manchester over the festive season,
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