As the nights draw in, the eggnog flows at Manchester pubs and Christmas comes and goes, Manchester really comes into its own. There's an impressive array of Christmas bits and bobs going on but don't think it's all just festive markets, attractions covered in tinsel, lights being switched on and falling over on temporary ice rinks like a newborn Bambi. The Manchester Beer and Cider Festival is one other highlight but there's plenty of other cracking events to help those long, cold winter nights fly by in a feast of fun. And if that's not enough?
Winter events in Manchester
From mid November to just before Christmas, the city centre of Manchester is taken over by an enormous Santa with more than a passing resemblance to Homer Simpson, and a huge pine scented dollop of festive spirit. Expect tin toys, ceramics, paintings, jewellery knitwear and things you have to ask about because you're not sure what they are.
Date Fri 14 Nov - Sun 21 Dec
Albert Square and surrounding areas
Christmas lights switch on
Early in November, Albert Square prepares for Christmas and the arrival of the Christmas markets. Santa gets taken out of storage and pieced together outside the town hall, fairy lights adorn the trees and the anticipation of the festive spirit starts to hang in the air.
Date early Nov
What could be more fun than the fear of breaking an ankle or having your fingers sliced off, thus avoiding any wrapping of gifts? If your idea of ice skating is a nightmare before Christmas, there's as much fun to be had watching as there is doing, as ice rinks spring up around the region.
Date Nov 2014 - Jan 2015
Various venues in Manchester
Manchester Beer & Cider Festival
You wouldn't think that Manchester's outstanding velodrome would make for the most obvious of venues for a festival celebrating real ale, but this new annual event, started in January 2014, returns bigger than ever. The Festival is brought to us by the Manchester branches of the Campaign for Real Ale. With an expected 60,000 pints pulled, maybe the need to campaign is officially over.
Date January dates tbc
Chinese New Year
As home to the third largest Chinatown in Europe, Manchester has long celebrated Chinese New Year in and around the couple of blocks comprising the area. It has always drawn a huge crowd of people keen to see the Chinese dragon and sample the celebrations of the many restaurants getting involved.
Various Manchester venues
Future Everything Festival
Anyone thinking that this hugely successful festival (which originated in Manchester in 1995) is a bit geeky would probably not be proven wrong by a glance at their website. Describing the event as 'an award winning innovation lab for digital culture', it claims to make connections between 'thinkers, developers, coders, artists, designers, urbanists and policy makers'. Blimey.
Various Manchester venues