Best family theatre:
– Cinderella at Salford Arts Theatre is top of our list. We go to their panto every year and LOVE it. Something for all ages with all of the usual slapstick humour and festive cheer.
– The Stick Man is on at The Lowry, ideal for younger children who love the Julia Donaldson book. A short theatre experience – perfect for a December afternoon.
– Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs is on at The Waterside in Sale. Book an evening ticket and the kids get to wear their pjs, plus you get to book milk and cookies at a little extra cost. After The Bear last year which was phenomenal, this promises to be a fantastic show.
Best family free stuff:
– Don’t want to spend cash? Head to The Refuge 2nd Dec 10-12 for Christmas Craft FREE drop in with Our Kids Social in The Den. Winter headresses, disco twirlers, letters to Santa and badge making all feature at this family social – Why not stay for a family roast but don’t forget to book – it’s bound to be busy!
Best family freeze:
– The Ice Village has come to Manchester for the first time and has landed in Cathedral Gardens. Visit the beautiful sculptures and see how long you can last in the cold! Warm up outside will a mulled wine at the bar – or maybe something stronger!
– The Ice Rink is at First Street this year and booking in advance as always, is necessary. We recommend going first thing in the morning if you have smaller children as it can be quieter and less busy on the ice.
Best family sparkly lights:
– Dunham Massey has the beautiful walk through their lit up grounds again this year. Perfect for families with lights, music and last year you could toast giant marshmallows half way round. Wrap up warm, prepare to be amazed and if you are a National Trust member you get a discount on entrance price.
– Lightwaves is back at MediaCity and as always promises to be a spectacle of delight for all ages. Plus there are a few decent bars around for a cheeky pint on your walk round.
– Wild Rumpus bring back The Lanterns to Chester Zoo and this is such a fabulous evening experience for families. We recommend booking some food in advance and taking in the whole experience. Give yourself time to walk around in wonder at the huge animal lanterns, performers and artists.
Best family New Year’s Eve party:
Our Kids Social are throwing a family NYE social at YES (Manchester City Centre) on 31st Dec 1-3. You won’t need a babysitter because everyone has welcome! With a two channel silent disco, festival vibes DJ, arts and crafts with Papertown Crafts, glitter face paint, circus skills, an enchanted mystery trail, pizza and a bar – this promises to be a wonderful afternoon with family and friends. Leave the car at home and come and settle in for the afternoon in the most beautiful surrounding. Kids tickets all come with a large slice of pizza – bonus! Tickets from the website.
Best family Halle:
The Snowman with The Hallé at Bridgewater – fantastic. 15th – 16th Dec, Tickets usually fly out for this event so don’t hang around if you want to grab some! A perfectly wonderful family Christmas event.
Best family gig:
The Rockin Rhinos are back with their annual Christmas Cracker and what a shindig this is. Live music with a band of animals singing everything from Wheels on the Bus to Bowie – a set list not to be missed! 9th Dec we will deffo be on this dancefloor and don’t forget the bar for a sneaky afternoon pint!
Best family Father Christmas:
All of the nearby National Trust sites have a variety of family Christmas experiences on this year. Lyme Hall is pretty much all sold out but Quarry Bank Mill has some spaces left if you add quick! Alternately jump on the East Lancs Railway for a steamtastic experience, or how about Gulliver’s World for a full family fun day out!
Best family markets:
Want to avoid the city centre? Head to Ramsbottom 15th 16th Dec for their Christmas markets, and give yourself some time for a wander around this beautiful town and enjoy some of the lovely pubs, bars and cafes.
Best family cosy pub:
It wouldn’t be a guide to Christmas without a mention of Worsley Old Hall – families, kids, dogs all welcome. Fab menu, great staff, a vast choice of gins, open fires, comfy chair and a whole outdoor space for little people to explore – we love it.