Pantomime? Grotto? Christmas markets?
Whatever your Christmas traditions, there’s something for everyone in the North West this year. Here’s my pick of what’s on…
Two of my favourite grottos each year are at Chill Factore and Intu Trafford Centre. Both are always great events and the boys have always thoroughly enjoyed them.
This year, intu Trafford Centre have moved away from the traditional queue-santa-leave formation and incorporated some inclusive activities for visitors to do as they wait for their opportunity to meet the man in red. You can pre-book tickets or just turn up and chance it!
Chill Factore is a great place to take the kids at Christmas. Already set within by magical snowy surroundings, the mood is set as soon as you enter. Peppa Pig makes appearances during the weekends of 14th-15th and 21st-22nd November too, so do try to make it down there on those dates if you have a little Peppa fan! The grotto visit is part of your booking to either the snow park or Mini Moose Land so it’s an all-inclusive experience rather than just a visit to Santa. Prices and booking available on the Chill Factore website.
There are always lots of pantomimes at this time of year and it’s difficult to choose the best one. Here are three of my favourite venues and details of what’s on at each of them.
Z-Arts: This is a small, friendly theatre at the heart of their community. This year, Z-Arts is host to Christmas classic Snow Queen, presented with a digital twist. Tickets are priced from £6.00 – a very reasonable price for a Christmas show!
The Lowry: A place we visit fairly regularly, The Lowry’s Christmas show this year is not one of the usual suspects but instead a beautiful tale of a child brought to life through the power of love and magic. Snow Child by Emma Reeves is set to be a huge hit this year, so book your tickets via The Lowry website soon.
Epstein: Although it’s a little way for us to travel, we really love this place in Liverpool. A small, beautiful and traditionally presented theatre, you really feel you’re at a ‘proper show’ when watching a performance at Epstein. This year they’re hosting LHK Production’s version of the classic Cinderella from 10th December. For tickets visit Epstein’s website.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to an inspirational exhibition, right? My two favourites in Manchester this year are The Ideal Home Show at Christmas and The Handmade Fair.
Ideal Home Show: If you need any kind of help making your home more Christmassy, this is the place you need to be. Like Pinterest for ideas, but in real life. It’s a great way to get into the Christmas spirit too, and tickets aren’t expensive. I’d always recommend a visit at this time of year. Hosted at EventCity in Manchester, next to the Trafford Centre, it’s easily accessible from the motorway and there’s lots of free parking. Be quick though – it only runs until Monday! Buy tickets online.
The Handmade Christmas Fair: New to Manchester, Kirstie Allsop’s Handmade Christmas Fair is something I’m really looking forward to going to this year. I love making things but if I’m honest I’m not all that skilled! I need more practise and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the types of handmade products people can produce when they’ve driven by their creative passion. Tickets for The Handmade Christmas Fair are available online and it runs from 20th – 22nd November.
This Christmas spectacular doesn’t really fit into a category. Visiting Winter Wonderland is fast becoming a family tradition in our house; the boys look forward to this more than anything else. And why wouldn’t they – fairground rides, a circus, a puppet show, Santa and a whole lot more all under one roof. Read our review of previous Winter Wonderland visits here and here and you’ll see for yourself that it’s well worth taking the whole family along. Tickets available from the Winter Wonderland website.
There is so much to do this Christmas – what will you be doing?