Holidays Manchester

Things to do over the Christmas break in Manchester

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With just one week left of semester one people are winding down and getting ready for the Christmas holidays. 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. There are plenty of things going on throughout December, many of which are free.

If it’s you’re first time away from home and you’re not sure where to start read international student Natasha’s blog on her Manchester Christmas.

Round up of what’s on

International Society
The University’s own International Society has a great programme of events on over Christmas, which has already started. Head along and celebrate the festive season with friends.


Christmas carols
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, Friday 14th – 1pm, info and tickets
  • Christmas Carol sing-along, Saturday 15th – 12pm, info and tickets
  • The Hallé Carol Concert, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd – 3pm and 7.30pm, info and tickets

carol singing


Christmas markets
It’s almost impossible to ignore the award winning Christmas markets that span across the city centre – offering gifts, crafts and amazing food and drink. But there are also a range of other markets throughout Manchester, so you can treat yourself during the Christmas break.

  • Manchester Christmas markets, every day until Saturday 22nd, further info
  • Altrincham Christmas markets, every day until Sunday 23rd, further info
  • Spinningfields Makers market, Sunday 16th – 11am, further info
  • Levenshulme Christmas night market, Friday 21st- 5pm, further info


Get your skates on
Ice rinks are almost as unavoidable as the markets, and with two rinks right in the heart of Manchester, there’s no reason not to channel your inner Torvill and Dean and get your skates on.

  • First Street ice rink, every day until Sunday 6th January, info and tickets
  • Cathedral Gardens ice rink at the Ice Village, open every day asides from Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day, info and tickets

Not keen on looking like Bambi on ice? There’s also market stall, games, entertainment and live ice sculpting at the Ice Village.



Catch a show
Another tradition during the festive season is the Christmas pantomime. There’s a variety of shows in Manchester this month from Cinderella to Aladdin. If pantos aren’t your thing there’s plenty of opportunity to see classic Christmas films with cinemas in Manchester screening Christmas films such as ‘Elf’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ throughout December. Visit the cinemas own website to find out more details.


Walks and tours
Brave the cold this December and take the time to go walking. 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. But remember to wrap up warm!


Arts and Culture
During the semester it’s often hard fitting time in to go to some of the amazing galleries and museums Manchester has to offer. This winter engage with your inner culture vulture and appreciate some of what’s available in the city.

  • The Whitworth, open every day asides from Monday 24th – Wednesday 26th and Tuesday 1st, further info
  • Manchester Art Gallery, open every day asides from Monday 24th – Wednesday 26th and Monday 31st – Tuesday 1st, further info
  • Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, open Tuesday – Sunday asides from Monday 24th – Wednesday 26th and Tuesday 1st January, further info


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 Monday 24th – Wednesday 26th and Tuesday 1st, further info
  • Museum of Science and Industry, open every day asides from Monday 24th – Wednesday 26th and Tuesday 1st, further info
  • People’s History Museum, open every day Monday 24th – Wednesday 26th and Tuesday 1st, further info


Libraries     Wander_Through_Knowledge_John Rylands_Tori_Wolkind_10
Manchester is also home to a wonderful collection of libraries, with stunning
architecture. From the University’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, and they’ll be quieter over the winter break.


  • John Rylands Library, open every day asides from Monday 24th – Tuesday 2nd, further info
  • Chetham’s Library, open weekdays asides from Tuesday 25th – Tuesday 2nd, further info
  • Manchester Central Library, open Monday – Saturday asides from Tuesday 25th – Wednesday 26th and Tuesday 1st, further info


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.

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