Trick or treaters may have finished off their Halloween sweets, and the sparklers and fireworks have fizzled out after Bonfire Night, but we've got plenty to look forward to in the weeks ahead. November and December in Manchester is full of festivities - from the markets and winter chalets to the carol concerts and pantomime shows.

And while for some, the talk of Christmas in November is too much, the arrival of the Manchester Christmas Markets, the constant stream of supermarket's festive ads on TV and advent calendars already flying off the shelves, get us thinking about the big day and the events taking place in the lead up to it.

As you might expect, there's plenty of festive fun to be had all across Greater Manchester - for both the kids and adults. Below, you'll find everything from Christmas markets and festive food takeovers, to lights switch-on events and winter trails, plus some very special one-off events that will really get you in the Christmas mood - especially if you're a bit of a Bah Humbug at this time of year.

READ MORE: Santa's grottos and places to see Father Christmas in and around Greater Manchester this festive season 2023

READ MORE: Manchester Christmas Markets map and guide to all the locations for 2023

Winter Market at Fairfield Social Club

Fairfield Social Club is hosting its own pop-up Christmas market under the Red Bank arches
Fairfield Social Club is hosting its own pop-up Christmas market under the Red Bank arches

A pop-up winter market will be setting up shop under the iconic arches of Manchester’s Red Bank area this December. Run by Fairfield Social Club, the Christmas market, adjacent to Angel Meadows Park, will boast their own craft beer bar, barbeques, an events space hosting live performances and comedy nights, and its own dedicated Christmas tree shop.

The event takes place over the first three weekends of December and will include vendors like Foundation Coffee, Isit Kitchen, Blackjack Beers and quirky gift shop Oklahoma. There will also be appearances from the Ben Saunders’ Manchester Queer Art Market, plus a special version of comedy night A Lovely Time (A Lovely Christmas Time obviously!) will be held in the events space.

Access is free, with the exception of the A Lovely Time comedy gig - tickets can be purchased here. Christmas trees can also be pre-ordered via the Fairfield Social Club website.

Stockport's Spectacular Sunday

It was named Greater Manchester's Town of Culture earlier this year, and now Stockport will mark the festive season this November with a massive one-day Christmas celebration. Taking place at locations across the town centre, Stockport’s Spectacular Sunday will feature a line-up of over 60 breath-taking shows with 220 artists alongside roaming acts, live music and festive food stalls.

Taking place on Sunday, November 19 from 11am until 5pm, highlights include an afternoon tea party hosted by music legend Clint Boon, technicolour marching band Mr Wilson’s Second Liners and a grand concert piano recital of classic tunes - with aerial dance performers suspended above the piano.

Penguins and giant puppets will also roam the town's historic streets while local musicians, choirs and community groups will come together for a massive festive singalong under St Petersgate Bridge, while a miniature carnival - featuring 100 local flagbearers - will head up a bright and bold procession, alongside dancers and 30-strong  drumming band Katumba. All the details here.

Bar Hutte

Karaoke cabins at the festive Bar Hutte which is open now in Manchester

They're a staple of Manchester's Christmas celebrations and festive pop-up Bar Hütte is officially back in town. The much-loved karaoke huts will now be available at two different sites - Great Northern Square on Deansgate ,with 15 cosy karaoke hüttes neatly positioned under a heated stretch tent, and over at Kampus, which will feature an outdoor terrace with eight snug wooden karaoke hüttes nestled beneath the trees.

Alongside live entertainment from singers and DJs, there will be an impressive drinks selection featuring warm drinks and fancy cocktails alongside the now-famous Bar Hütte shot-ski. Meanwhile, food at Kampus will be on offer from Nell’s and Great North Pie Co, providing a comforting and fulfilling slice or pie straight to your hütte.

Bar Hütte at Kampus and Bar Hütte at Great Northern Square. Bookings available online here.

Oldham Christmas Parade, switch on and Brass Monkey Festival

Christmas in Oldham wouldn’t be the same without the annual Christmas Parade, and this year it’s back and bigger than ever. From 12 noon on Saturday, November 18, guests can join Santa and all his friends in the Town Centre, including over 200 local performers and community group members.

Also taking place on the 18th is the switch-on event which marks the start of the festive season in Oldham Town Centre. The spectacular fairy-tale outdoor show, ‘The Wrong Reindeer’ created by Oldham Theatre Workshop, tells the story of a donkey that wishes they were a reindeer and a child who can’t wish at all.

Now in its ninth year, Oldham’s annual winter brass festival returns on Saturday December 9 from 11am. From traditional brass to funky street bands, there’s something for everyone as bands like Fat Cat Brass and Hackney Colliery Band take over locations including Oldham Tommyfield Market, Spindles Shopping Centre and Oldham Parish Church. All the details here.

Winter Tavern at the Black Friar

The historic Black Friar pub in Salford is turning its spacious beer garden and garden bar area into a ‘medieval winter tavern’
The historic Black Friar pub in Salford is turning its spacious beer garden and garden bar area into a ‘medieval winter tavern’

The historic Black Friar pub in Salford is turning its spacious beer garden into a ‘medieval winter tavern’ for the festive season. The transformed space will boast candles, real fires and furs, as well as cosy winter cabins.

Guests can stave away the chill of Manchester nights and tuck into the Black Friar á la carte and festive dining menus which include seasonal offerings like Cheshire turkey ballotine with pancetta stuffing, and festive sides such as truffle fries and pork chipolatas.

A little bit away from the Christmas Markets mayhem, guests can book out the heated winter cabins and indulge in festive drinks like the Salford Dock - made with Salford rum, vanilla liqueur, caramel syrup and double espresso.

41-43 Blackfriars Rd, Manchester M3 7DB

Tameside Christmas Lantern Parade

Tameside’s spectacular Christmas Lantern Parade will take place on Saturday, 18 November in Ashton town centre and will pave the way for festivities across the borough. If last year's event is anything to go off, then you're in for a treat - with local performers, lanterns, music, and puppets promising a magical atmosphere.

Tameside Council will be bringing the event to life with support from residents, businesses, and artists, led by the creatives at Global Grooves in collaboration with Cabassa and No-Eyed Theatre. This year the flagship event will run from the afternoon to early evening and will finish with Father Christmas lighting up the tree and town by turning on the big switch.

All nine Tameside towns will be holding Christmas events which will include everything from fairs and markets to street food and activities for all the family. All the dates and timings can be found here.

East Lancashire Railway Luxury Christmas Dining

Luxury Christmas Dining is back at East Lancashire Railway for 2023

If for you Christmas is all about the food and indulgence, this December, you can tuck into a luxury Christmas meal while riding a heritage steam train through the Greater Manchester countryside. East Lancashire Railway (ELR), is bringing back its luxury Christmas dining experiences where guests are invited on board one of the Pullman-style steam carriages on a journey through the gorgeous Irwell Valley.

A soon as you step onto the carriage, you’ll be presented with a welcome drink before tucking into a four-course, silver-served meal. Each party will have a personal waiter or waitress, and dishes will span mouth-watering dishes like fresh ricotta and asparagus cheesecake, traditional roasted turkey served with kilted chipolata and stuffing, and homemade Christmas pudding with brandy sauce.

You can book The Dining with Distinction Christmas Dinner now via the East Lancashire Railway website, with tickets priced at £77.50 per person.

Love Actually at Bridgewater Hall

A live concert version of cult Christmas classic Love Actually will be stopping off in Manchester this December. The much-loved rom-com hit cinemas in 2003, and now, twenty years on, the hit film will come alive again, with a full orchestra performing its soundtrack live to screen.

The live concert version of the Christmas hit has received rave reviews in the past, notably for "enhancing" the experience. A full, live orchestra will perform Craig Armstrong’s scores at each show, featuring takes on the film's soundtrack which included tracks from Maroon 5, The Calling, The Beach Boys, Joni Mitchell, Sugababes, and All You Need Is Love by Lynden David Hall.

Love Actually Live in Concert will take place at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall on Friday, December 8. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

Manchester Christmas Markets

Last year's Manchester Christmas Markets in full swing
Last year's Manchester Christmas Markets in full swing

Does it get much more festive than a visit to the Christmas Markets? No, we didn't think so. Back for its 25th year, Manchester Christmas Markets will be spread over nine zones and feature more than 225 vendors selling everything from deep-fried pigs in blankets to Korean corndogs, and all the classics, like sizzling German sausages and piping hot mugs of Gluhwein.

Having launched on Friday, November 10, the markets will be open daily until Thursday, December 21. The ski chalet market stalls will take over Piccadilly Gardens, which will be known as "Winter Gardens", and visitors can purchase food, drink, gifts and everything in between across stalls at Market Street, Cathedral Gardens, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, St Ann's Square, Exchange Square, The Corn Exchange and King Street.

For all the latest updates on locations, maps, how to get there and where to visit, follow our dedicated market page here.

Christmas Cocktail Cruises

For something a bit different this festive season, why not book onto a Christmas Cracker Cocktail Cruise with the Liquorists? They've been running boozy cruises in Manchester for 15 years and have perfected the perfect pre-Christmas celebration for you and your mates.

Seven festive cocktails - including the 'Mince Pie Mojito' - headline this three-hour cruise from Castlefield to Media City and back, plus there's plenty of food to soak them up, a soundtrack of Christmas hits and maybe some 90's classics too. They'll also be voting 'The Worst Xmas Jumper/Outfit' on each cruise with the winners going up against each other on the social media channels to win four tickets to a cruise in 2023.

Christmas Cracker Cocktail Cruises take place from December 1 until December 23. You can book here.

Skate Manchester

Skate Manchester is back at Cathedral Gardens

Many of you may have already done a lap of  Skate Manchester as part of the city's Halloween celebrations. If you didn't, it featured a frightfully realistic giant spider wrapped in a bright white LED light web.

While the creepy spider may have gone into hibernation to make way for the festive celebrations, it's made way for the 'dazzling' seven-metre-tall sparkling Christmas tree that has transformed Cathedral Gardens into 'the ultimate winter wonderland'. 

The outdoor ice rink will be in the heart of the city until January 2, so you have plenty of time to get in those axel jumps and back flips, or you could grab those mini penguin aids that are made for kids and take your time soaking up the festivities.

For more information and to book tickets, visit the website.

Winterhood at Diecast

DIECAST is being turned into a Christmas night market with live music, good food and beer steins
DIECAST is being turned into a Christmas night market with live music, good food and beer steins

It caused quite a stir when it opened earlier this summer, and Diecast, Manchester's burgeoning food and drink hub, is going big for Christmas - would you expect anything less? Undergoing a complete ‘Christmassification’, Winterhood at Diecast will see the massive beer hall and warehouse kitchen turned into a festive wonderland from November 1 - and that's just the start of it.

The space will be turned into a winter trailer park, transforming its now-legendary rum caravans into the ideal space for Christmas get-togethers and work parties. Meanwhile, taking over its main factory floor will be the ‘Brooklyn Beer Hall’, which will serve beer from ‘The Fairytale of NYC’ steins and play host to an Italian Prosecco and Black Martini bar. Fresh bagels will be available to order from a NYC Bodega, with a Karaoke Corner-shop providing the soundtrack.

There will also be a chance to fit in some Christmas shopping as you can peruse a range of vintage stalls at your leisure, while enjoying candle-lit dining in the Warehouse Kitchen. Campfires, donuts, marshmallow toasting, and hot chocolate have also been lined up alongside staples like sausages and warm cookie dough.

Winterhood runs at Diecast until December 31. It will be open Wednesday to Friday from 4pm until late, and weekends 12pm until late. You can book a table here.

Yuletide Festival and Gift Fair at Tatton Park

One for all the family, Yuletide at Tatton Park and is being billed as 'a unique blend of an outdoor Christmas festival and winter light trail, and is based on festive folklore, ridiculous rituals and forgotten traditions'.

At the heart of Yuletide is the Yuletide Gathering, a unique take on a family festival at Christmastime where families can wrap up warm around a warm campfire and watch live musicians, listen to campfire stories, toast marshmallows and even watch spectacular fire jugglers. There will also be food vendors serving up festive treats and mulled wine. Afterwards, visitors can walk a glittering light trail through Tatton’s famous gardens. All the ticket details here.

Meanwhile, there's also a separate Christmas shopping experience taking place at the picturesque park. This year, they're offering a unique opportunity to explore the Tenants Hall inside the stately mansion house, which is not usually open to the public. As you step inside, you'll be greeted with twinkling lights and a variety of local suppliers selling everything from jewellery to candles and crafts to gin. Totally free, it takes place the first weekend of December and all the information is here.

Lightwaves Salford

Lightwaves Salford returns to Salford Quays for its 10th anniversary

A glowing whale shark, a garden of fire and giant glowing flowers will illuminate Salford Quays next month as Lightwaves makes its return to the waterside. Marking it's 10th anniversary, the free and interactive light display will feature a total of 15 artworks that will be spread across Salford Quays and Media City.

Taking place over the course of four evenings, the special event will feature CETUS, a 6m long whale shark which will glow under the water, enhanced by transparent fish scales, plus giant mirror rings that will cover a 50m stretch of the Media City Piazza, and The Nectary, which will feature six giant hanging flowers.

Lightwaves Salford will run from Thursday December 7 to Sunday December 10, from 4pm to 10pm. It’s free and you don’t need to book, simply turn up and explore.

Pier 8, Salford M50 3AZ

Victoria Baths Festive Winter Fair

Victoria Baths is putting the sparkle into Christmas shopping with the arrival of its Festive Winter Fair on Sunday, 12 November. Taking place from 11am to 4pm, there will be 50 shopping stalls, plus mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas carols to enjoy.

Indie makers, crafters and local businesses will be filling their stalls with gorgeous products and original ideas that will give your Christmas gift buying an injection of inspiration. Meanwhile, the Tea Room will be serving sweet and savoury snacks, while local choirs will be getting you in the festive mood with renditions of your favourite carols and there will be a Kids Festive Trail for some Family Friendly fun.

Entry is £6 with a donation to Victoria Baths Trust (or £5 without) and free for Under 16s and VB Friends. In order to observe the two minutes silence for Remembrance Sunday the doors will open at 11.05am, but people will be able to gather outside and join in this moment collectively at 11am. Tickets can be booked in advance here.

Mayfield Park Twilight Trail and Winter Island

The Twilight Trail winter light show comes to Manchester’s Mayfield Park from Friday, 17 November

Manchester's Mayfield Park is hosting a festive Twilight Trail this Christmas, complete with an immersive light and sound show. Promising to transform the park into 'a dazzling city-centre winter escape', visitors will be able to enjoy the trail, taking in the lighting installations spread across the 6.5-acre park, before finishing at Freight Island, where there will be further festive experiences – from Christmas food and drink to the chance to see Father Christmas.

Freight Island's Plant Room will be transformed into a 'captivating' grotto and will host a special Visit Santa Experience, while the Mezz will be transformed into a cosy Alpine Lodge, where there will be a Santa Paws dog show, wreath making workshops with Northern Lights, as well as DJs and live performances. Food and drink wise, expect the city’s favourite chocolatiers Cocoa Cabana offering build your own hot chocolate with boozy options; Formaggi by Lazy Tony’s, serving some Italian American toasties; and a massive bratwurst menu which you can wash back with beers from Paulaner bar. All the details here.

Christmas Wreath Making

Volta in Didsbury will be hosting a festive wreath making workshop, led by the talented team from Hebden Bridge Flowers on December 1 at 12pm. The workshop fee covers all sustainably sourced materials required to construct and decorate your very own wreath. To get you into the festive spirit, Volta will also be treating guests to a complimentary mulled wine and mince pie. Spaces for the workshop are limited, so to secure your spot, email

Meanwhile, there's also a wreath making class at Moxy Manchester on December 3 at 1pm. They'll provide all the tools, decorations, and foliage you'll need to create your own unique creation. Plus, you can enjoy a glass of Prosecco, included in the ticket price.

Johnny Marr, Children of Zeus and Lost and Found at Aviva Studios

Johnny Marr and his band will be joined by a 30-piece orchestra

In a few weeks time, Johnny Marr will perform two orchestral live shows for Factory International at its landmark new cultural venue Aviva Studios. Taking place on 7 and 8 December, Marr and his band will be joined by a 30-piece orchestra for a huge celebration of the last decade of the musician's solo body of work. Tickets are available here.

As well as Johnny Marr presenting two nights of his music, Manchester duo Children of Zeus will take to the stage on December 9 to host a show of special guests and emerging talent. Performing with a full live band, joining them on the night will be rap-and grime MC icon Ghetts, and legendary R&B band Loose Ends. Tickets here.

This festive season, Factory International is also inviting families to come on an epic journey to the South Pole with the world premiere of Oliver Jeffers’ best-selling children's book, Lost and Found. In a touching story of friendship, audiences will meet a boy and a lost penguin as they embark on an adventure across the seas. With clever puppetry and dream-like sets, alongside colourful characters and lots of surprises, Lost and Found promises to enchant audiences. Tickets here.