It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The festive season is well and truly upon us, so of course that means it’s time to pull out the cosiest clothes you own and hit the streets for a little festive sightseeing. From the massive displays in the city centre to amazing lasers at Heaton Park, here are the best places to see winter lights in Manchester and pubs to visit afterwards.
Manchester City Centre: The Anthologist, The Bank and The Old Wellington
Stretching across Piccadilly Gardens, St Peter’s Square and New Cathedral Street, with a crib in St Ann’s Square and a Christmas tree on Victoria Street, the annual light display is a Manchester must-see. There’s plenty of places to stop for dinner and a drink after you're finished exploring them all, including The Anthologist on St Peter’s Square, purveyors of pints and pub grub, The Bank and the oh-so charming Old Wellington, which can be found a stone’s throw from the cathedral.
Mayfield Depot: Escape to Freight Island
You may know Escape to Freight Island for its raucous DJ nights, tasty street food and outdoor bars, but this sprawling space has been known to boast some of the best Christmas lights in Manchester. Pay them a visit at Depot Mayfield and enjoy a plethora of traders such as Madre, Voodoo Rays and Baratxuri, alongside a wide choice of pop-up bars from the likes of Camden Town beer, Forever Changes and plenty more alongside jaw-dropping entertainment events lined-up.
Dunham Massey: The Con Club
Taking place between November and January, Dunham Massey’s winter display is back for its fifth year. Found just outside of Manchester in nearing Altrincham, this pretty walk through a National Trust site will have you gazing in awe over festive gardens and photogenic locations. Once you’re all finished? Head to the charming Con Club restaurant for elevated British dishes and microbrewed beers. There’s even a stunning rooftop for a little alfresco action too.
MediaCityUK: The Alchemist, The Dockyard and Lime
MediaCityUK is probably not the first place you’d think of when it comes to Christmas trails in Manchester, but it’s got some pretty darn gorgeous displays. Once you’re done snapping pictures of twinkling lights and glowing trees around Salford, pay a visit to one of the area's many restaurants and bars, including The Alchemist for cocktails, The Dockyard which specialises in British grub or the cheap and cheerful Lime.
Lightopia Festival at Heaton Park: The Woodthorpe
This award-winning lantern and light festival is back at Heaton Park for winter. Get ready to explore interactive installations, stunning water shows and illuminated pathways. From charming flower arrangements to fabulously festive Christmas trees, there’s plenty to see at this unique spot. When you’re all finished, stop off at The Woodthorpe for seasonal pub classics such as bangers and mash, steak and ale pie and Wexford chicken, washed down with plenty of mulled wine.
Looking for more fun things to do this winter? Explore our guide to the best events right here.