Christmas in Manchester

Christmas in Manchester

Christmas shopping is a chore for some. Leave it too late, and the stress levels pass the angel at the top of the Christmas tree. But if you’re not enjoying it, you’re doing it wrong. Giving at Christmas is supposed to be a thing of joy. Think of the excitement on the kids’ faces. Or even a great uncle’s polite but affectionate thanks for those hand-knitted socks. Shopping for toys, treats or the perfect artisanal wool can be just as joyful as Christmas morning. The secret is planning.

All your Christmas shopping in one weekend

That’s why Santa’s smarter helpers like to combine Christmas shopping with some seasonal quality time. And what better way to do that than by enjoying a Yuletide city break in one of Britain’s hottest winter destinations? For 25 years now, Manchester has been pioneering the trend for Christmas markets in the UK.

In recent years, Manchester’s Christmas markets have been focused on Piccadilly Gardens. It looks like the markets will have a new home for 2023, though, so watch this space for updates. Wherever they end up, you’re likely to find hundreds of stalls. Everything from German-style snacks and Glühwein to local arts and crafts will be on offer. And if previous years are anything to go by, there’ll be a Christmas lights trail. A family-friendly covered ice rink. And no doubt roaming puppets and illuminated marching bands!

Everything you could need in easy reach

Of course, for more serious Christmas shopping, you’ll want to hit the proper shops too. And Manchester has more than you can shake a candy cane at. All the leading brands in fashion, sport and leisure are well represented in the city centre. Not to mention jumbo bookshops, comic shops, record shops. If there’s a hobby your loved ones are into, Manchester has a shop for it.

And to take things to the next level, Manchester has not one but two gigantic shopping malls. The Arndale is in the heart of the city. And the Trafford Centre is a few miles to the west, with excellent transport links. You can easily spend a day in each. And come away with all the swag you could want.

Make a weekend of it

Of course, there’s more to Manchester than shopping. So why not combine your trip with a visit to one or more of the city’s other attractions? We’re talking theatre, concerts and unrivalled nightlife. As well as galleries and museums. And one or two not bad football clubs. Everything people go to Manchester for year round is still there in December! But, of course, there are more seasonal attractions too. Panto lovers can enjoy Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and more.

One unique attraction is the Santa Special steam train. Packed with colourful characters and festive cheer, the train departs from Bury, just north of Manchester. The 80-minute round trip takes you to Rawtenstall in the scenic Rossendale valley and back. Snow is not guaranteed, unfortunately, but fun surely is.

So, there’s a wealth of things to do as you grab all your Christmas shopping in a weekend. Bring the kids for family fun. Or take the opportunity to get away from family for a couple of days! Manchester is your oyster as you get into the festive spirit. Christmas shopping a chore? Bah, humbug!