It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The winter season is well and truly upon us, so 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 across the city centre to amazing lanterns at Heaton Park, here are the best places to see 2022's Christmas lights in Manchester and pubs, bars or restaurants to visit afterwards.
City Centre: The Anthologist, The Bank & The Old Wellington
While the 2022 Manchester Christmas lights switch-on event isn't going ahead, the displays themselves will still be stretching across Piccadilly Gardens, St Peter’s Square, New Cathedral Street, St Ann’s Square and more. There’s plenty of places to stop for dinner and a drink after you're finished exploring them all throughout the festive period, including First Dates' The Anthologist, purveyors of pints and pub grub The Bank, or the oh-so charming Old Wellington.
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 too. Pay them a visit at Depot Mayfield to enjoy a plethora of traders, such as Madre, Burgerism and Mi & Pho, alongside a wide choice of pop-up watering holes, from Camden Town Brewery to The Jane Eyre.
Dunham Massey: The Con Club
Taking place between November and January, the Dunham Massey Christmas lights are back again. 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 tipi when you need a little alfresco action too.
MediaCityUK: The Alchemist, The Botanist & Lime
MediaCityUK is probably not the first place you’d think of when it comes to a Manchester Christmas light trail, but it’s got some pretty darn gorgeous displays year-after-year. Once you’re done snapping pictures of twinkling set-ups and glowing trees around Salford, pay a visit to the area's many restaurants and bars, including The Alchemist if you're after cocktails, The Botanist for hanging turkey kebabs, or the cheap and cheerful Lime.
Lightopia Manchester 2022: Prestwich Social
This award-winning lantern and light festival is back at Heaton Park this winter. Get ready to explore interactive installations, stunning water shows and illuminated pathways at Lightopia Festival. 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 Prestwich Social for fish 'n' chips, chilli con carne and more, all washed down with plenty of seasonal cocktails.