December until Christmas Eve. 10.00 – 19.00

Discover the magic of Santa’s Gingerbread Grotto this Christmas!
This year you and your little ones can revel in the magic that is Santa’s Gingerbread Grotto!
Take one step in and feel the crunch of the real snow below your feet! You’ll be stunned by the magnificent Gingerbread Grotto that is Santa’s home right up until Christmas Eve. Surrounded by real snow sparkling trees, glistening lights and chattering elves.
Chill Factore,
Trafford Quays Leisure Village,
Trafford Way,
M41 7JA

December – 2 January every day

You will be able to climb aboard the time machine and travel back to see and feel what it was really like to be there, in the late Cretaceous, 67 million years ago.
Your adventure will take you to TimeBase 67 – an extraordinary research station built in the past – to meet time-travelling scientists who now study real, living dinosaurs instead of fossils.
This unique, immersive live adventure combines theatre, theme park fun and the very latest scientific research
Phoenix Way
Off Barton Dock Road
Tel: 0843 487 5555

December – 7 January every day 11:00 – 20:45

The Rink at Cathedral Gardens
The famous Manchester ice rink returns to Cathedral Gardens for another Christmas in the city. Strap on your skates and hit the ice, maybe with some help from the rink penguins! Loads of fun for all of the family.
Cathedral Gardens
Manchester, Greater
Manchester, M4 3BG
Tel: 03336663366

December – 17 February every day

Cosgrove Hall Films Exhibition
Waterside, the new home of the Cosgrove Hall Films archive, is celebrating with an exhibition featuring your favourite Cosgrove Hall characters, including Dangermouse, Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men, Noddy, and many more.
Expect to see original puppets, story boards and props being exhibited together for the first time, alongside behind-the-scenes insights into the creative processes that brought this array of beloved characters to the screen.
Waterside Arts Centre
1 Waterside Plaza Sale
Lancashire, M33 7ZF
Tel: 01619125616

December – March every day
Monday to Friday—12.30 Saturday and Sunday—13.30 Duration 20 min

Human and machine go head to head in the ultimate battle of metal versus minds
This show features an array of fiendishly difficult tests and experiments, some that can be done by human, others by machine. Who does it best? The audience will decide. Come along for a light-hearted look into the science, ethics and future of automation.
Recommended for age 7 and older
Museum of Science and Industry
Liverpool Road Manchester M3 4FP
Tel: 0161 832 2244

December – March every day 10:00 – 17:00

Experiment! – science in action
Stare into the mirror of infinity, create a tornado, and watch your own skeleton ride a bicycle. Find out how the power of gears can give even the weakest of weaklings super strength.
Be mesmerised by bubbles passing through giant columns of coloured liquids to demonstrate viscosity, see how many of the city’s homes can be lit by using household waste as power, and measure your reactions against the speed of light.
Recommended for all ages
Museum of Science & Industry
Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester M3 4FP
To reserve a place: 0161 833 0027

Untill 24 December, 60 min session, 9am – 6pm

Father Christmas at Hamleys
Join Father Christmas and his lovable elves at The Finest Toy Shop in the World for fun, magic and theatre at this very special time of year. Meet Father Christmas at Hamleys is an extra special experience where children will take part in seasonal activities, enjoy delicious snacks, spend time with Father Christmas and receive an extra special gift bag to take home.
Booking essential
Price: £25 per child
Hamleys Manchester
intu Trafford Centre

1, 8, 15, 22, 29 December 10am – 10.45am & 11am – 11.45am

Under 5s First Steps
Weekly active dance workshop where your little one can explore their creativity and have tons of fun! In this season we will wriggle, jiggle and jump as we explore stories, rhythm and music through our bodies. Everyone welcome, come and have a go!
Suitable for ages 2½ – 4½ .
Tickets £3.50 (£1.75 Salford residents)
The Lowry, Salford Quays. Manchester
Tel: 0843 208 6000

2 December – 7 January

Bolton’s Winter Festival
Bolton’s Winter Festival offers something for all the family from the popular covered ice rink, super fun giant snow slide, magical Santa’s Grotto and festive artisan markets.
Don’t miss the traditional nativity scene on Victoria Square and Christmas Trees which will help you get in the festive mood.
Also keep your eye out for more on our programme of festive entertainment at during the weekends, like Santa’s Express and various pantos.
Bolton Town Centre
Victoria Square
Bolton BL1 1SA
Tel:: 0843 208 1854

2, 9, 16, 23, 30 December 11am – 12.30pm

Lookout, It’s Saturday Playhouse!
A free and weekly art activity for children and their families in our dedicated Lookout space for families. Each week we lookout for what we can see both inside and outside, taking inspiration from our theatres, galleries and surrounding landscape at Salford Quays and MediaCityUK. There’s something new to do every Saturday morning!
Suitable for ages 5 – 11.
The Lowry, Salford Quays. Manchester
Tel: 0843 208 6000

Saturdays 10:15 – 11:15, 11:30 – 12:30

Toddler Outdoor Art Club
Workshops that bring art, nature and creativity together that take place come rain or shine.
Sessions designed especially for little explorers, set in the beautiful Whitworth Park. Try sculpting with mud, painting in puddles, making dens, hunting for bugs and lots more led by artists and forest school practitioners. The sessions are run in the park whatever the weather so make sure you come prepared. case.
For children under 5 and their grown-ups.
The Whitworth
The University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester M15 6ER
Tel: 01612757450

Saturdays and Sundays 12.30 and 13.30

Engineer Evan’s difficult day
Learn how a steam engine works in this interactive show right in the pulsating heart of the Power Hall. It’s lots of fun and a little bit loud.
Stoker Sam is learning how to get Pender the steam locomotive up and running, but when Engineer Evan leaves him to his own devices, Sam’s going to need to call on the help of his friends.
Museum of Science & Industry
Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester M3 4FP
Tel: 0161 833 0027

Mondays 13:00-15:00

Artbaby – Musicbaby – Drop In Sessions

Designed for babies and their grown-ups. Self- led sensory workshops explore sounds, art and music.
The Whitworth
The University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester M15 6ER
Tel: 01612757450

Mondays 10.00 – 15.00

Early Years Atelier
This free, drop-in space is based on the early years philosophy of Reggio Emilia, where the atelier (or art studio) is a place for child-led artistic exploration, a laboratory for trying out ideas and playing with materials. It is not a classroom. There won’t be a teacher or any pre-designed activities. It is simply a place where children and adults can get messy, play creatively and follow their own interests.
The Whitworth
The University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester M15 6ER
Tel: 01612757450

1 – 10, 14 – 23 December 16:45 – 20:00

Christmas at Dunham Massey
There’s something for everyone at this festive time of year as the one mile sparkling path winds its way through the historic woodland in a magical after dark experience.
Father Christmas sees you on your way through twinkling tunnels, a swaying lawn of fibre optic colour and beside glowing waterside reflections.
Complete your stroll under the stars with spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate, whilst the aroma of roasting chestnuts fills the air, before shopping for Christmas gifts.
Dunham Massey
Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ
Tel: 0161 941 1025

8 – 10, 15 – 17 and 23 December

The Twelve Days of Christmas
Join in with the count down to the big day and learn the secret symbolism behind this well-known Christmas carol. Go on a magical journey through the festive Christmas Mansion, decorated with fresh foliage and greenery, inspired by turtle doves, gold rings and ladies dancing! Music, laughter and secrets weave through the grand staterooms and servants’ quarters with festive treats and seasonal craft demonstrations on offer.
Tatton Park
Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 6QN
Tel: 01625 374400

8 – 11, 15 – 24 December 11:00 – 15:00

A Regency Christmas
During the Regency when Thomas Legh lived at Lyme, Christmas was a time of celebration. There wasn’t the emphasis on gift giving as there is today, instead the focus was on spending time with family and friends at parties, feasts and gatherings. Visit the house on open days to see how the season was celebrated.
Carol singing on selected dates.
Lyme Park
Disley, Stockport, Cheshire, SK12 2NR
Tel: 01663 762023

8, 15 December 10:30-15:30 ( 30 min session)

Baby and Toddler meet Father Christmas
A special Christmas baby and toddler storytelling and play session which includes a private family visit to Father Christmas and a gift just for your little one.
Quarry Bank
Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4LA
Tel: 01625 527468

9 – 10, 16 – 23 December 10:00 – 11:00

Autism-friendly grotto visits!
Christmas is an absolute feast for the senses – it’s one of the things that we love about the festive season: all the sights, sounds, smells and general festive sensations.
However this rich sensory activity can have the opposite effect for people with autism or other sensory conditions. Grotto visits to see Father Christmas and his elf helpers can be impossible for some families due to the mix of flashing lights, festive music and for some children, even just seeing grown-ups wearing beards or costumes.
At Eureka! they created Autism-Friendly grotto sessions!
The team are all trained in autism awareness, and for this dedicated grotto sessions are tailored in a number of ways: turning off any flashing festive lights, having bookable sessions to prevent the need to queue (for general grotto sessions it’s first-come, first-served), adjusting lighting to suit each child (some prefer dimmed lighting, some prefer the lights right up), turning the festive music off, even romoving beards or any costume items if required.
At the start of each 10 minute visit, a special elf will discuss your child’s individual requirements, before nipping in to see Santa and make sure that everything is just as you requested.
Eureka! The National Children’s Museum
Discovery Road, Halifax HX1 2NE
Tel:01422 330069

9 – 10, 16 – 17 and 23 December 11:00-16:00

Father Christmas at the Farm
Come and see your favourite farmyard friends when you visit Father Christmas and his reindeer, Prancer and Dancer. Live music from carol singers, brass bands, children’s entertainers, face painting, meet Aunty Mary in her Christmas Cottage who will be making traditional salt dough decorations (take one home to decorate!) and meet all your farmyard favourites around the nativity including our two donkeys, Frosty and Huw.
Special admission price for this holiday event: £7 per adult, £6.50 per child (includes gift from Father Christmas).
Tatton Park
Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 6QN
Tel: 01625 374400

9-10, 16-17 December 10:30-15:30 ( 30 min session)

Meet Father Christmas at Quarry Bank
Wish lists at the ready! Join in with a special half-hour session of festive activities, including a private family visit to Father Christmas and a gift.
Suitable for children up to 10 years
Quarry Bank
Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4LA
Tel: 01625 527468

9 – 10, 16 – 17, 21 – 24 December 9.30 – 16.00 (9.30-13.00 on 24 December)

East Lancashire Railway’s Santa Specials
Take a steam train ride to Rawtenstall and back through the beautiful Irwell Valley
Soak up the festive feeling provided by a traditional brass band and carol singing.
Say hello to costumed characters on your journey. Be mesmerized by the on-board magician. Meet Santa and his happy helpers as they make their way through the carriages giving a gift to each child. Receive a biscuit and juice drink for children and a mince pie and festive tipple for grown-ups. Hunt for hidden treasure in Bury Transport Museum with the Great Christmas Treasure Hunt
The East Lancashire Railway
Bury Bolton Street Station, Bolton Street, Bury, Lancashire BL9 0EY
Tel: 0161 764 7790

9 December – 1 January

Winter Wonderland
Come for a fun filled action packed family visit. There will be rides and attractions galore where the family can have four hours of non-stop fun and entertainment, will be rides for the little ones, inflatables and side shows and of course there will be Santa’s Grotto.
Advanced booking recommended.
EventCity, Phoenix Way, Manchester M41 7TB
Tel: 0843 208 1842

10, 17 December 10:00-16:00

Artist Sundays.
Extraordinary artists invent offbeat and imaginative ways for you and your family to explore the Whitworth – every Sunday.
The Whitworth
The University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester M15 6ER
Tel: 01612757450

13 December, The Hall will open at 19:00. Concert starts at 20:00.

Carols by Renaissance
Returning to Bramall Hall due to popular demand ‘Renaissance’ will perform a mixed repertoire of secular and Christmas classics. Come along, sing and celebrate the season.
Price: £13.15
Tickets include a warmed glass of mulled wine, a delicious minced pie and a viewing the Hall decked out for Christmas, this year in Scandinavian style.
Bramall Hall
Hall Rd, Bramhall, Stockport SK7 3NX
Tel: 0161 474 2020

16 December 13:00 – 16:00

Christmas family tour
How did people celebrate Christmas in the past? Which of our traditions began in the Tudor period?
Find out on this special, festive version of Bramall Hall family tour.
Price: Children £5, accompanying adult £2, under 4’s free
Festive treat included in the price.
Bramall Hall
Hall Rd, Bramhall, Stockport SK7 3NX
Tel: 0161 474 2020

16 December, 20 January, 17 February 9:15 – 12:15

Open doors
Open doors is a creative workshop especially for autistic children and children with other social communication issues, their families and carers. The doors are opened early just for you so that you can come enjoy and explore art together as a family. We have a designated Quiet room in the gallery, a space away from everything to feel safe and calm. For children and young people aged 5-16.
Manchester art Gallery
Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL
Tel: 0161 235 8888

17 December 13:00 – 16:00

Yuletide Sunday
Yuletide Sunday with traditional bell ringers, carol singing and Father Christmas.
Visit the Hall and as you see it beautifully dressed for Christmas, listen to the talented Burbage handbell ringers and enjoy carols by local community choir, N-Choir. Father Christmas will be flying from the North Pole and parking his sleigh in the Courtyard.
Price: Adult £5, concessions £3.75, student £3.75, children under 16 free
Bramall Hall
Hall Rd, Bramhall, Stockport SK7 3NX
Tel: 0161 474 2020

17 December 12:00 – 15:00

Father Christmas is in the House
Visit Father Christmas in his grotto in Staircase House and get a present.
Suitable for all those who believe in Father Christmas.
Price:£4 per child, one accompanying adult free, £2 additional adults
Staircase House
30/31 Market Place, Stockport, SK1 1ES
Tel: 0161 474 4444

23 December from 15:00

Christmas carols in the Stableyard
A live band and festive carols in the beautiful Stableyard. Indulge in a spot of Christmas shopping or take some time to relax before the Carol concert.
Tatton Park
Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 6QN
Tel: 01625 374400

31 December 11am – 12.30pm

Relaxed Playhouse!
Visual art activity for children with additional needs aged 5-11 and their families (Runs on last Sunday of every month). Led by an experienced visual artist this laid back activity will offer families the opportunity to spend time together doing something creative and having fun.
For children with additional needs aged 5-11 and their families.
Free, booking essential
The Lowry, Salford Quays. Manchester
Tel: 0843 208 6000

3 comments to December

  • Enjoy gluhwein, street food, music, food market and craft at the market!

  • Sunday 14th December 11am-3pm. Stanley House, Audenshaw M34 5GW

    At this festive Christmas Craft Fair there will be over 40 stalls of Handmade Crafts, selling a wide selection of Christmas Gifts and Decorations. Santa’s Grotto (£2 with a gift from Santa and his Elf), Face Painting, Balloons, Glitter Tattoo’s, a Raffle, Tombola, Afternoon Tea or simply Coffee and a Mince Pie.

    Plus Name the Bear, Lucky Dip, Tameside Radio Broadcasting Live, a visit from the Mayor and Mayoress of Tameside as well as much more. All in aid of the Stroke Association.

    Alcoholic drinks and refreshments available throughout the day in a fully accessible venue with free car parking!

    It promises to be a fun festive family day out for everyone so please come and help raise money for this amazing charity. Doors open at 11am until 3pm, £1 Adults (inc. Raffle ticket ) Children FREE. Please arrive early to purchase a ticket for Santa’s Grotto to avoid disappointment as we proved a popular event in June.

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