Fun Festive Family Events in Manchester this Holiday Season

By October 29, 2019 November 6th, 2019 Features-Manchester
Mother and Daughter having fun at Christmas markets

Keep the kids entertained this winter holiday season… We’ve found this year’s best festive family events in Manchester!


The first of our festive family events in Manchester this winter is Lightopia. This new immersive light festival takes place at Heaton Park from 21st November to 31st December, promising an immersive fusion of art installations and interactive experiences.

The first of its kind in Europe, Lightopia explores light, movement and form, leading visitors through a trail of installations from laser shows to water-screen multimedia, all sharing the theme of harmony. Live entertainment, including acrobatic performances, local musicians and family-friendly rides will also be available to enjoy every night, alongside a host of pop-up food stalls.

Performersin The Slightly Annoying Elephant, the family-friendly festive theatre show coming to Manchester this December

Credit: Ellie Kurttz

The Slightly Annoying Elephant

Part of the Christmas at HOME 2019 programme, Little Angel Theatre brings comedian David Walliams’ best-selling children’s picture book, The Slightly Annoying Elephant, to the stage from 5th to 29th December.

Sam, the story’s unwitting child protagonist gets a big surprise as a tired, hungry, antique-loving, cycling enthusiast elephant turns up on his doorstep. Returning to HOME following Wow! Said the Owl and Red Riding Hood & the Wolf, Little Angel Theatre bring the hilarious antics of this rather unpleasant elephant to life through live action, puppetry and witty sing-along tunes.

A girl in an elf costume on a carousel at Winter Funland in Manchester

The annual Winter Funland fair will be in Manchester from 6th December to 5th January

Winter Funland

Keeping you warm this winter, EventCity, the north’s largest indoor event hosts the annual Winter Funland fair from 6th December to 5th January. Santa Claus himself accompanied by real-life reindeers, Rudolph and Dancer, will be ready to welcome the kids to his grotto, while the city’s biggest ice-skating rink awaits with instructors and penguin skates ready to give a helping hand.

From carousels to helter-skelters, and not forgetting the ever-popular dodgems, the funfair offers rides for all the family, all included in the entrance fee. Expect plenty of winter-themed acrobatics from the festive circus show, with flying fairy trapeze artists and tumbling clowns, while the theatre will host a programme of pantomime performances each day.

A still from The Snowman, which will be screened in The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester this festive period

Image: Snowman Enterprises Ltd. 1982, 2019

The Snowman

Without doubt the hardest working elves in Manchester over the Christmas season, the boys and girls of The Hallé youth choir have been a stalwart of the city’s festivities for more than a century and a half.

The year, from 20th to 23rd December at The Bridgewater Hall, the whole family can enjoy a screening of Raymond Briggs’ classic animated film, The Snowman, accompanied by the Hallé performing Howard Blake’s magical score live, including one talented chorister belting a solo of festive favourite, Walking in the Air.

Prepare to climb aboard the Hallé spaceship for the second half of the concert, as the choir takes the audience on a journey to party with aliens on planet Zum-Zee, with a musical take on the Tony Mitton and Guy Parker-Rees picture book, Alien Tea on Planet Zum-Zee.

A photo of two ice thrones from last years Manchester Ice Village

Ice Village will return to Manchester from 8th November to 5th January this year

Ice Village

Ice Village returns to Manchester from 8th November to 5th January to transform Cathedral Gardens into a winter wonderland, featuring all-new attractions for 2019.

Ice Cavern boasts a frozen realm of mythical fairy-tale sculptures including a unicorn, griffin, and massive dragon guarding the entrance to a frozen castle. As an interactive experience, you can hop in the regal ice carriage, take a selfie ‘trapped’ in an ice block and battle it out with the dragon bathed in fire-red light. Kids can meet the big man himself over at Santa’s grotto and get their skates on at the outdoor ice rink, while the grown-ups can chill out in the frozen tiki bar, sipping cocktails at -10°C. When it comes to festive family event in Manchester, Ice Village definitely offers something for the whole family!

If you’re feeling peckish after checking out Manchester’s festive family events, why not try one of Manchester’s best new restaurants?