For various reasons, many of us will be spending some or all of the Christmas break here in Manchester. And while it is important to allocate plenty of time to your studies, this is also a perfect time to relax and enjoy what Manchester has to offer. With that in mind, we’ve put together some of the key things to do this Christmas, most of which are free, so you can make most of your break.
The University’s own International Society has been celebrating cultural diversity and international friendship in Greater Manchester since 1966. They have a great programme of Christmas events on, providing a chance to meet other students in the same boat as you.
- Christmas Music Party, Friday 15th 7.30pm, info and tickets
- Boxing Day sales visit to Chester and Cheshire Oaks, Tuesday 26th 9.30am, info and tickets
- Xmas and New Year Get-Together, Wednesday 27th 11am, info and tickets
Getting together to sing traditional Christmas carols has proved enduringly popular with all kinds of people, and there are plenty of free opportunities to join in with the festive spirit this winter.
- UoM Music Society free festive sing-a-long, 15th December 1pm, info and tickets
- The Hallé Carol Concert, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th 3pm, info and tickets
- Shelter free Christmas carol service, Sunday 17th 2pm, info and tickets
- Whitworth Hall free carol concert, Friday 22nd 1pm, further info
- Carols in the Tatton Park stable yard, Saturday 23rd 3pm, further info
It’s almost impossible to ignore the markets in the centre of Manchester, but there are also a range of other markets throughout the city, so you can treat yourself during the Christmas break.
- Manchester Christmas markets, every day until Thursday 21st, further info
- Levenshulme Christmas night market, Friday 15th 4pm, further info
- Chorlton Green Christmas market, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th 11am, further info
- Spinningfields Makers market Friday 15th – Sunday 17th 11am, further info
- West Didsbury Makers market Saturday 23rd 11am, further info
Ice rinks are almost as unavoidable as markets in Manchester this year, and with two rinks right in the heart of Manchester, there’s no reason not to get your skates on.
- Cathedral Gardens ice rink, open every day asides from Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day, info and tickets
- First Street ice rink, every day until Saturday 23rd, info and tickets
Walks and tours
Take the time to go walking in a winter wonderland this Christmas break. Whether you’ve only just moved to Manchester, or lived here for years, there are great opportunities to explore different parts of the city while having a relaxing stroll.
- Manchester Guided Tours, running every day including Christmas, info and tickets
- Free Manchester Walking Tours, Friday 15th– Sunday 17th, and Friday 29th – Sunday 31st, further info
- Fletcher Moss Gardens, open every day dawn till dusk, further info
- Chorlton Water Park, open every day dawn till dusk, further info
- Heaton Park, open every day dawn till dusk, further info
- Castlefield Urban Heritage Park, open at all times, further info
Arts and Culture
Engage with your inner culture vulture and appreciate some of what’s available in this great cultural city.
- The Whitworth, open every day asides from Sunday 24th – Tuesday 26th and Monday 1st, further info
- Manchester Art Gallery, open every day asides from Saturday 23rd – Tuesday 26th and Sunday 31st – Monday 1st, further info
- Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, open every day asides from Sunday 24th – Tuesday 26th and Monday 1st, further info
- Christmas film season at HOME, until Saturday 23rd, info and tickets
- John Hughes film season at HOME, Wednesday 27th – Saturday 30th, info and tickets
Being open to learn and discover is a key way to help your wellbeing, and you can practice just that for free at some terrific local museums.
- Manchester Museum, open every day asides from Sunday 24th – Tuesday 26th and Monday 1st, further info
- Museum of Science and Industry, open every day asides from Sunday 24th – Tuesday 26th and Monday 1st, further info
- National Football Museum, open every day asides from Sunday 24th – Tuesday 26th and Monday 1st, further info
- People’s History Museum, open every day Sunday 24th – Tuesday 26th and Monday 1st, further info
Cathedrals and churches
Whether you’re of any religion or none, it’s a fantastic idea to visit some of stunning places of worship in Manchester. They’ll be open every day of the year for free, and will have special Christmas events and services if you’re interested.
- Manchester Cathedral, open every day, further info
- St Mary’s the Hidden Gem, open every day, further info
- St Ann’s Church, open every day, further info
Manchester is also home to a wonderful collection of libraries, from UoM’s own slice of Hogwarts – John Rylands, to the oldest public library in the English speaking world – Chetham’s. As well as being great places to visit for a day out, they can also help to vary your studying environment (although you can find the opening times for all the main University libraries below as well!).
- John Rylands Library, open every day asides from Sunday 24th – Tuesday 2nd, further info
- Chetham’s Library, open weekdays asides from Monday 25th – Tuesday 2nd, further info
- Manchester Central Library, open Monday – Saturday asides from Monday 25th – Tuesday 26th and Monday 1st, further info
- Opening times for all University libraries (Learning Commons open every day asides from Monday 25th – Tuesday 26th) are available at this link
Should you need any more support over the break, you can visit the Student Support and Advice website for a variety of information and resources, as well as reading this guide to spending Christmas without family.