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Free activities to do over Christmas in Manchester

by Kiran Purewal | 20 December 2017

Christmas is expensive and on average around a third of all income goes towards festive presents and over-indulgence during December. In the run up to Christmas day I have compiled a list of some cost effective activities in Manchester to do with family, colleagues or even clients to build and strengthen relationships.

1. Walk around the Christmas markets to get present ideas. I’ll never be found slowly ambling around with a mulled wine, I’m always far too cold and I find it hard to walk slowly, it frustrates me. But if you’re hoping to make  some of your presents then it can be a good place to get some inspiration, and if you are an ambler I am told it’s a nice day/night out.   

2. Head out with my camera to take pictures. Manchester may not have rolling hills and an abundance of natural beauty in the city centre but there is always something that catches the eye, whether it’s some new graffiti or a striking haircut.

3. Visit Southern Cemetery in Chorlton. On a clear winter’s day, this can be a really peaceful place to spend a few hours. If you’re into music and a fan of The Smiths, this is apparently where Morrisey did the majority of his early writing.

4. Levenshulme Antiques Village is also a brilliant place to go and get some inspiration. When I find the time, I really enjoy upcycling old furniture and I tend to get my best ideas from wandering around this rambling building and speaking to the stall holders about the techniques they used.

5. Surrounded by the sleek and modern buildings in Spinningfields, the John Ryland’s Library surprises visitors with its gothic Victorian style. If you’re even remotely interested in books and enjoy being in beautiful buildings then this place is definitely worth a visit.

6. Heaton Park is a lovely park to walk around, it actually covers 600 acres. Within the grounds themselves there is a lot of nice things to see, there are animals, grade 1 listed buildings, a garden centre, botanical gardens, a tramway – there is a lot to do there! If you’re based in South Manchester then Tatton Park is equally lovely and probably more conveniently located.   

7. Take a long walk along the Bridgewater Canal. The towpath is 39 miles in total, and you can actually walk from one end to the other if you are a keen walker!  

8. Museum of Science and Industry is always free and always a good day out. If you want to you can pay a little more for the exhibitions, they are doing a ‘Light’ exhibition over Christmas that looks interesting and will no doubt be very popular.

9. Makers Markets – these are free every weekend and based in Spinningfields over Christmas. Here you can find lots of arts and crafts that are all produced locally, you can sample anything from pies, to cakes, gin – you name it you will probably find it there. It’s also a fantastic way to support local artists and produce. 

10. Go and see the lights along Deansgate, it’s a festive walk all the way down and some businesses go to town on the decorations like House of Fraser and The Deansgate pub – they are worth seeing! Not to mention all the usual decorations that line one of the busiest city centre roads in Manchester, that will certainly get you in the festive spirit and there are plenty of lovely bars to sample on the way for a rest.

As you can see, you don’t have to break the bank to show your colleagues and clients a great time this festive season. I am always keen to hear of any ideas you may have for low cost activities to do in Manchester, so if you know of anything going on over the Christmas period, or just have any suggestions for things to do, please do let me know by emailing me on kiran.purewal@sellickpartnership.co.uk.

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