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Things to Do in Manchester in the Winter

Things to Do in Manchester in the Winter

As someone who absolutely loves Manchester in the winter, let me tell you how excited I am to share with you the best things to do in Manchester during the season! 

There’s truly something magical about this city during the colder months, and I can’t wait for you to experience it for yourself.

From the festive Christmas markets to the cosy pubs serving up comfort food and drinks, there’s so much to love about Manchester in the winter. And don’t even get me started on the museums, galleries, and ice skating rinks—there’s never a dull moment.

So whether you’re a seasoned local or a first-time visitor, get ready to fall in love with Manchester all over again. Let’s dive into the top 10 things to do in Manchester in the winter and make some unforgettable memories!

1. Eat Delicious Curry in Rusholme

Eat Delicious Curry in Rusholme's Homepage
HIGHLIGHTSDelicious curry from a range of South Asian cuisines.
LOCATIONRusholme, Manchester, UK
INSIDER TIPS• Visit during the Rusholme Curry Mile Festival in November for special discounts and events.

• Check out famous restaurants like Mughli and Shere Khan. 

As a self-proclaimed curry aficionado, I can attest that Rusholme’s Curry Mile is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to warm up with some delicious comfort food during the winter months.

Located just a stone’s throw away from Manchester’s city centre, this lively street boasts an impressive selection of Indian and Pakistani restaurants serving up a range of mouthwatering dishes.

When the weather outside is frightful, there’s nothing quite like a piping hot bowl of curry to warm you up from the inside out. And with its extensive selection of restaurants, Rusholme’s Curry Mile has something to offer for everyone’s taste buds.

Personally, I always go for the chicken tikka masala – it’s a classic for a reason, after all. But if you’re feeling adventurous, I highly recommend trying the lamb balti or the spicy vindaloo.

And with many of the restaurants open late into the night, the Curry Mile is the perfect spot to cosy up with friends and family over a warm and satisfying meal.

2. Consider a Day Trip to Blackpool

Consider a Day Trip to Blackpool's Homepage
HIGHLIGHTSEnjoy the beautiful coastline, beaches and amusement parks.
INSIDER TIPS• Take a ride on the iconic Blackpool Tower for a stunning view of the town and coastline.

• Visit the Blackpool Pleasure Beach amusement park for a thrilling day.

• Check the weather forecast before you go, as Blackpool can be windy and rainy in the winter. 

From the moment you arrive in Blackpool, the town’s festive atmosphere is palpable, with twinkling lights and holiday decorations adorning the streets.

One of my favourite winter activities in Blackpool is taking a stroll along the promenade to admire the famous Illuminations. Seeing the town lit up with millions of colourful bulbs is a truly magical experience, and one that I look forward to every year.

Another highlight of winter in Blackpool is ice skating at the Ice Arena. There’s something so exhilarating about gliding across the ice while surrounded by the sounds of holiday music and the smell of hot chocolate.

And of course, no trip to Blackpool would be complete without a visit to the top of the Blackpool Tower.

The panoramic views from the observation deck are absolutely breathtaking, and the experience is even more special during the winter months when the town is decked out in holiday lights.

3. Discover a charming cafe in the Northern Quarter to relax in.

Discover a charming cafe in the Northern Quarter to relax in's Homepage
HIGHLIGHTSCosy and unique cafes with delicious food and drink options.
LOCATIONNorthern Quarter, Manchester, UK
INSIDER TIPS• Check out popular cafes like Ezra & Gil, Foundation Coffee House, and Takk for delicious food options.

• Explore the quirky vintage shops and street art in the area.

• Some cafes may have limited seating or require reservations, so plan ahead.

I can say that the Northern Quarter is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in the city, and it’s especially charming during the winter months. The vintage decor, street art, and independent shops all come together to create a unique and vibrant atmosphere.

During the winter months, the Northern Quarter’s cafes offer the perfect respite from the chilly weather. Whether you’re looking for a warm cup of coffee or a comforting bowl of soup, the cafes in this neighbourhood have you covered.

One of my personal favourite cafes in the Northern Quarter is Ezra & Gil. With its cozy atmosphere and delicious brunch menu, it’s the perfect spot to spend a lazy winter morning.

And if you’re looking for something a bit more eclectic, Foundation Coffee House is another great option, with its mix of vintage decor and modern touches.

No matter which cafe you choose to visit, you’re sure to find a warm welcome and a cosy atmosphere in the Northern Quarter. So why not take a break from the winter chill and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in one of Manchester’s most charming neighbourhoods?

4. Embark on a scenic hiking adventure in the Pennines

Embark on a scenic hiking adventure in the Pennines' Homepage
HIGHLIGHTSBeautiful natural landscapes with hiking trails for all levels.
LOCATIONPennines, Penrith, UK
INSIDER TIPS• Check out popular hiking trails like the Pennine Way or the Kinder Scout. 

• Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather and wear sturdy hiking shoes.

• Bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as a map and compass.

• Consider hiring a local guide for a more immersive experience and to learn about the history and culture.

If you’re looking for a scenic outdoor adventure during the winter months, the Pennines are the perfect destination. These rugged hills and moorlands are located just a short distance from Manchester and offer a wealth of hiking opportunities for all skill levels.

While the Pennines are beautiful year-round, there’s something truly special about hiking in this region during the winter months.

The crisp air and snow-dusted hills create a serene and picturesque landscape that is perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

One of my favourite hiking routes in the Pennines is the Three Reservoirs Walk, which takes you past three picturesque reservoirs and offers stunning views of the surrounding hills.

For a more challenging hike, you can tackle the Pennine Way, a long-distance trail that stretches over 250 miles through the Pennines.

With the right gear and a sense of adventure, a winter hike in the Pennines can be an unforgettable experience that you’ll cherish for years to come.

Planning a hike in the Pennies? Here are additional tips:

The weather can be unpredictable, so it’s best to wear several layers of clothing that you can add or remove as needed. It’s also a good idea to bring a map and compass, and to let someone know where you’re going in case of an emergency.

5. Shop the Sales at Arndale Centre.

Shop the Sales at Arndale Centre's Homepage
HIGHLIGHTSHuge shopping complex with a wide range of stores and sales.
LOCATIONManchester Arndale
INSIDER TIPS• Check out the latest sales and discounts at popular stores like H&M, Topshop, and River Island.

• Visit during the weekdays or early mornings to avoid crowds.

• Make sure to grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants or cafes in the centre.

The Arndale Centre in Manchester is a shopper’s paradise with a wide variety of shops catering to every budget and taste. If you love shopping, then the Arndale Centre is a must-visit destination, particularly during the winter months.

Winter is a great time to shop for seasonal items and take advantage of post-holiday sales, and the Arndale Centre is the perfect place to do just that.

The shops here offer a range of products, from high-end fashion to budget-friendly chains, so you’re sure to find something that fits your style and budget.

One of the best things about shopping in the winter at the Arndale Centre is the festive atmosphere. The centre is often decorated with holiday lights and decorations, making for a cheerful and cosy shopping experience.

You can find plenty of winter clothes and accessories on sale, from cosy sweaters and jackets to warm boots and gloves.

6.  Show off at the ice rink sport on First Street

Show off at the ice rink sport on First Street's Homepage
HIGHLIGHTSOutdoor ice rink with a fun and festive atmosphere.
LOCATIONFirst Street, Manchester, UK
INSIDER TIPS• Enjoy skating with friends or family while surrounded by beautiful lights and holiday decorations. 

• Rent skates on-site or bring your own. Warm up with a hot drink or snack from one of the nearby vendors. 

If you’re looking for a fun and festive way to stay active during the winter months in Manchester, then the outdoor ice rink at First Street is a must-visit. It’s the perfect opportunity to show off your skating skills while enjoying the holiday season with friends.

I personally love ice-skating, and there’s no better time to do it than during the winter months. The rink at First Street offers a great outdoor setting to embrace the winter weather and get some exercise in the process.

Plus, with its festive atmosphere, including holiday decorations and music, it’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

I highly recommend checking the rink’s schedule before visiting, as it can get quite busy during peak hours. However, with a little planning, you’re sure to have a blast and create some unforgettable memories on the ice at First Street.

7. Try the Harry Potter experience in the woods of Arley Hall & Gardens

Try the Harry Potter experience in the woods of Arley Hall & Garden's Homepage
HIGHLIGHTSA magical outdoor experience inspired by the Harry Potter series.
LOCATIONArley Hall & Gardens, Arley, Northwich, UK
INSIDER TIPS• Follow the enchanted trail through the woods, where you’ll encounter creatures from the books. 

• Dress up as your favourite character for an immersive experience. Book tickets in advance, as the experience may sell out quickly. 

As a huge Harry Potter fan, I was delighted to discover the Harry Potter Experience in the woods of Arley Hall & Gardens. This outdoor tour takes you on a magical journey through the woods, complete with hidden surprises and nods to the beloved book/film.

The winter season adds an extra layer of enchantment to this already magical experience. The woods are transformed into a winter wonderland, with twinkling lights and snow-dusted trees adding to the ambiance.

One of the highlights of the tour is the opportunity to discover hidden secrets inspired by the Harry Potter universe. As you walk through the woods, you’ll uncover hidden objects and learn about the inspiration behind the series.

The guided tour is led by knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides, who truly bring the experience to life. They share fascinating behind-the-scenes stories about the making of the films and the creation of the series, making the tour both fun and informative.

All in all, he Harry Potter Experience in the woods of Arley Hall & Gardens is a must-visit for any fan of the series, and the winter season adds an extra touch of magic to an already unforgettable experience.

8. Dine and Drink in an Igloo

Dine and Drink in an Igloo's Homepage
HIGHLIGHTSEnjoy a unique dining experience in a cosy igloo.
LOCATIONSpinningfields, Manchester, UK
INSIDER TIPS• Dine with friends or family in a private igloo while enjoying delicious food and drinks. 

• Many restaurants and bars, such as Menagerie and The Oast House, offer igloo dining options during the winter months. 

• Make sure to book in advance, as igloos tend to fill up quickly. Dress warmly, as the igloos may not be heated. 

These cosy, heated igloos offer a truly unique setting for a night out with friends or a romantic date. The winter season can be chilly and dark, but dining in an igloo is a perfect way to warm up and brighten your evening.

The igloos are decorated with festive lights and blankets to keep you warm and comfortable.

One of the best things about dining in an igloo is the intimacy and privacy it offers. You can enjoy a delicious meal and drinks with your closest friends or loved ones without having to worry about being disturbed by other diners.

Many restaurants in Manchester offer igloo dining during the winter months, each with their own unique menus and themes. From classic British pub fare to gourmet international cuisine, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.

9. Learn the art of Sushi with YO’s sushi school.

Learn the art of Sushi with YO’s sushi school's Homepage
HIGHLIGHTSLearn how to make sushi like a pro with expert instructors.
LOCATIONYo! Sushi – Manchester Arndale, Manchester, UK
INSIDER TIPS• Get hands-on experience making sushi rolls, nigiri, and sashimi while learning about the history and culture of sushi. 

• Wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to get a little messy. 

• Enjoy your creations after the class, and take home your own sushi-making kit to continue practising at home.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make your own delicious rolls? Look no further than YO’s sushi school! This unique experience allows you to learn from professional sushi chefs in a fun and interactive setting.

During the winter months, it can be tempting to stay indoors and avoid the cold weather. But why not use this time to learn a new skill and have some fun with friends or family? 

YO’s sushi school provides a warm and welcoming environment for sushi lovers of all levels to come together and learn the art of sushi-making.

Not only is sushi-making a fun activity to do during the winter months, but it’s also a great way to impress your friends and family with your newfound skills.

You’ll learn how to make a variety of sushi rolls and other dishes, and you’ll leave with the knowledge and confidence to recreate them at home.

YO’s sushi school offers a variety of classes to suit different skill levels and preferences, from beginner classes to more advanced workshops. They also offer private group bookings, which makes it a perfect activity for a birthday party or team-building event.

10. See Manchester’s New Year Lights in Lightopia

See Manchester’s New Year Lights in Lightopia's Homepage
HIGHLIGHTSA stunning light display featuring various interactive installations and sculptures.
LOCATIONLightopia Heaton Park, Manchester, UK
INSIDER TIPS• The event offers a range of activities, including ice skating, food vendors, and fairground rides. 

• Dress warmly, as the event is outdoors, and wear comfortable shoes for walking on uneven surfaces.

Every year, Manchester transforms into a winter wonderland with its stunning New Year lights display. And in recent years, a new addition has taken the city by storm: Lightopia.

This immersive light display features larger-than-life lanterns, illuminated sculptures, and interactive installations that will leave you in awe.

The installations range from playful and whimsical to awe-inspiring and thought-provoking, making it a great activity for people of all ages and interests.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic date night, a family-friendly outing, or a fun activity with friends, Lightopia is a must-see attraction during the winter months in Manchester. 

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