Top Things To-Do in Manchester this Christmas

22 Dec, 2023

Our Top Picks of School Holiday Activities for Families!

It’s finally here – the Christmas school holidays!

Yep, the most magical term break of the academic year is at last upon us – and it sure seems to be a late one this year! But, fear not, as there’s still plenty of time to pack in lots of fun and seasonal activities with your family, both in the remaining lead-up to the 25th, and then more before the New Year.

Keep reading to learn some of our top picks of family things to do in Manchester during the holidays, for every taste and budget. Let’s make Christmas 2023 the most fun one yet!

Challenge Yourselves to an Escape Room

You know by now that we’re always going to recommend an escape room first! And, here at Lucardo, there’s never been a more exciting time to book an escape experience. Why? Because we've just opened TWO brand-new rooms this season!

In the city, Lucardo Manchester have finally unveiled “Derailed,” an exciting mystery game with plenty of new puzzles to get your engines running. Then, on a quick bus ride over to Lucardo Rawtenstall, families can also experience “Seriously Elfish,” a Christmas-themed game suitable for ages 7 and up. Book your games today, right here on the Lucardo website!


Enjoy Some Festive Pop-Up Activities

For many, ice skating is a must-do winter activity. Especially for the Christmas and New Year season, a vibrant outdoor rink has popped up in Cathedral Gardens, right in the heart of the city centre. Why not polish off your skating skills – it’s open through til 2nd January.

Another great spot for a skating experience is the Trafford Centre, where their annual “Tinsel Town” winter wonderland has once again taken over the venue. Along with the rink, visitors can ride fairground rides, catch a show, enjoy festive feasts at outdoor stalls and bars, and even hop aboard that eye-catching big wheel. This seasonal pop-up will be in place until 7th January.

For the little ones, the Manchester “Winter Funland” has also returned this year, full of rides, entertainment, food, and more, all aimed at the under 9’s.


Get Outdoors

If you’re looking for a truly magical experience, we’d definitely recommend visiting one of Manchester’s beautiful outdoor attractions for an evening wonderland of illuminated spectacle. Full of lights, music, food, drink, and merriment, each of these must-visit places offers something unique – we’d recommend them all!

First of all, there’s the RHS Garden Bridgewater. This always-enchanting attraction has opened a Glow Trail this season, until 30th December. Then, there’s the annual Christmas Light Trail at Dunham Massey, a fan-favorite illuminated winter wonderland which is open until 31st December. Also, for the first time, Heaton Park are also offering a festive light experience, also through until 31st December.

A bit closer to the city centre, the serene Castlefield Viaduct has also undergone a sparkling grotto transformation. This one is free to enter, and will be festive until 1st January.


Catch a Pantomime

It’s Panto Season! (oh no it isn’t!)

Year after year, there’s always so many fun-filled pantomime options available throughout the region, and tickets may still be remaining if you’re quick.

Top picks for every taste and budget include Jack and the Beanstalk at the Opera House Manchester; Jack and the Beanstalk at the Middleton Arena; Cinderella at the Albert Halls, Bolton; Cinderella at the Contact Theatre, Manchester; Aladdin at The Met in Bury; and Aladdin at Salford Arts Theatre, Salford.

If you’re more of a musical-loving family, Elf is on at the AO Arena until Christmas Eve. A bit further away, the panto-comedy play Peter Pan Goes Wrong is coming to the Opera House in Manchester too this March.


Get Building

If you’ve visited the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester, you’ll know it’s a brick-lovers’ dream, and the venue has fully transformed into a festive wonderland adventure this Christmas. Right through until the new year, young guests can enjoy activities such as scavenger hunts, festive LEGO decoration building, and other Christmassy excitement. Up until 24th December, guests may also meet LEGO Santa in his grotto!


Do Something Creative

All throughout the holidays, Aviva Studios are offering festive drop-in craft sessions for children, with creative activities including paper crafts, puppet theatre, friendship bracelet-making at more.

There’s also the Science and Industry Museum, who have exhibits such as their interactive EXPERIMENT gallery for families to get creative and learn in style!


Well, we hope that list was helpful!

Whatever you choose to do through the holidays, we hope they provide rest, magic, and joy for you and your family. Merry Christmas to all from us here at Lucardo, and here’s to 2024!

Written by Madeleine Lily

To book your next escape room adventure in Manchester or Rawtenstall, visit For any queries, you can call us on 01706 551600. Be sure to also stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram, as well as the blog, for many more fun insights, news, giveaways, and more!